The axe finally fell on the tortuous reign of Big Tony Mowbray at Celtic Park today. Unanimously hailed as “a nice guy” by pretty much everyone – including me – that niceness wasn’t enough to paper over the glaring cracks. From his tactical ineptitude, mind boggling substitutions, and bizarre transfer dealings, to his tendency to treat the captain’s armband like a hot potato.
At one point last night, I think there were something like 5 forwards on the park, with Aiden McGeady playing at left back… I mean, seriously… c’mon!
The squad that he inherited did need some work done to it, even Gordon Strachan would admit to that. What it didn’t need was constant rejigging from week to week, overloading on wingers, and just awful, awful tactical decisions.
The man got West Brom relegated by playing pretty football… what on Earth made him think the same tactic would work at Celtic? Yes, at times, it was great to watch – but 90% of the time, there was no end product. We’re like a cheaper version of Arsenal right now.
As for his signings, the jury is well and truly out on some of them. Fortuné looks like a world beater with the ball at his feet but has spells where the proverbial cow’s arse and banjo would never meet; Danny Fox came and went, felt like a loan signing more than someone Mogga thought would improve the back four, and as much as I’m loving having Robbie Keane in the hoops, it’s always gonna be short term, and a centre half would have been much preferred.
But the main thing is, Mogga himself never looked happy. He always had the look of a man that had dropped a tenner and found a pound. He looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights and had absolutely no idea how to cope with “THE MEDIA” as a whole. His constant “we’ll take it on the chin and move on” lectures after each loss or dropped point or European whuppin’ started to grate a little.
Well, I hope Mogga goes on to make himself happy, and I’d love him to go back down to England and make a go of his career.. But as a Celtic manager, he made me reminisce about the good ol’ days of John Barnes. We had little excitement on the pitch, and crucially, even less passion, something Neil Lennon will instill for the rest of the season, if nothing else.
Farewell, Big Tony Mowbray.