The accusation was of a private viewing club, that the all-encompassing 10 In A Row was chased at the expense of almost everything else.
‘Ridiculous’: According to Neil Lennon, four days after Ferencvaros kicked Celtic out of Champions League qualification and not six months before he lost his job.
Evidence to the contrary had been accumulating long before that and what once seemed like an unstoppable green and white behemoth sputtered to the end of the rainbow to find the pot of gold long gone.
With the wheels completely off, the road back seemed awfully long for Celtic.
The departure of veteran CEO Peter Lawwell, the expiry of key player contracts and the Rangers’ resurgence under Steven Gerrard all stacked the odds against whoever eventually replaced Lennon on the bench.
With all that in mind, the very public and ultimately doomed search for Eddie Howe certainly didn’t feel like the happiest of accidents.
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Fast-forward eight months, however, and it could already mark one of the most significant sliding-door moments in the club’s long history.
What Ange Postecoglou has built in her short tenure has already exceeded most predictions, even the most optimistic ones.
In what was supposed to be the crowning glory of a decade of success, Celtic fans were instead treated to uninspiring (even disastrous) signings, a pompous style of play and the deep fracture in the relationship between a club and its followers.
Less than a year later, it’s starting to feel like a distant memory.
An unknown in Scottish football whose arrival was greeted with skepticism by many, Postecoglou has quickly implemented a high-octane philosophy catalysed by a series of vibrant young additions and the reunification of a disillusioned fan base.
It handed over the League Cup in December and, after beating champions Rangers in midweek, Celtic sit top of the Premiership with 14 games to play.
Of course, nothing has yet been decided in the title race, as the manager has carefully underlined, but the momentum is largely with his players.
In any case, it was never meant to be a one-time job, but the efficiency with which Postecoglou has now restored something semblance of a long-term vision is highly impressive.
In the summer, Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie all started well below their projected transfer values as they were allowed into the final months of their contracts in a bid to deliver all 10.
Failed short-term loan firms Shane Duffy, Jonjoe Kenny and Diego Laxalt are best forgotten, and expensive summer 2020 acquisitions in Vasilis Barkas and Albian Ajeti already seemed surplus to requirements.
Compare with the business already done under Postecoglou and the contrast is stark.
They have unearthed one superstar in Kyogo Furuhashi, Reo Hatate could well be another and the club is in pole position to sign Jota on a permanent deal from Benfica.
Throw in Joe Hart, Josip Juranovic, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Matt O’Riley, Daizen Maeda, among others, and it’s fair to say the transfers have been a success so far.
But not only has cohesion been restored in the field, but the short-termism that persecuted the persecution of 10 has been abandoned.
Almost exactly a year ago, the Celtic team that took the field against Motherwell had an average remaining contract length of less than two years.
Against the Rangers on Wednesday, that number has jumped to nearly 3 1/2 years.
The average age of Postecoglou’s signings to date is just 23 years old.
The last thing anyone of the Verdiblanca persuasion wants to hear at the moment is talk of sales, but player swaps will continue to be a key part of the club’s strategy and in that respect they are well positioned once again.
For now though, this looks like a team built to last and one that’s still far from its peak.
What is perhaps most impressive about this change is how much the manager has seemingly pulled it off on his own.
You won’t see Postecoglou taking any credit, but it is his ideas that have transformed the team on the pitch and in the transfer market.
Whispers around the appointment of a sporting director have faded into silence and there has been even more turmoil in the boardroom, with Lawwell’s replacement in Dominic McKay already replaced by Michael Nicholson.
As well as being the manager, Postecoglou appears to have become Celtic’s de facto head of recruiting.
The club has long faced calls to modernize its structure in line with European football’s most lauded operations, but Postecoglou has expressed a preference for keeping “control” over transfers and, at the moment, it’s hard to argue with his index. of hits.
An obvious pitfall here is if he suddenly left unexpectedly, but the 56-year-old has given no indication he’s in it for anything other than the long haul.
As for the here and now, a first title win and the restoration of Celtic’s reputation on the continent will be at the forefront of the manager’s mind.
Celtic is now very much the house that Ange built, but it’s clear she’s just getting started.