White gloves are usually associated with the handling of rare art masterpieces; omnipresent tools of the trade when executing the movement of vintage works from collection to collection or storage facility to gallery. With the preservation of any artist’s magnum opus being akin to safeguarding priceless treasure in clandestine underground vaults, these protective gloves ensure that the merchandise remains unadulterated by the filth and grime of value-reducing human hands.
When an 852-paged slab of captivating literature and iconic photographs – weighing in at 37 kg – was delivered to Celtic Park in 2010, it must surely have been the first history book outside of an auction room to have arrived with a pair of said white gloves.
That this unique work was named The Celtic Opus provided a hint of the full scope of what was nothing short of an astonishing work of art that is unlikely ever to be matched in the club’s vast canon of literary texts.
The gargantuan task of editing the Opus’ 200,000 words was bestowed on Kevin McKenna, a hugely revered writer who previously edited the Celtic View, was editor-in-chief of Scotsman publications, and who is now Scotland’s preeminent political commentator.
Just as Kevin was overseeing the release of The Celtic Opus, I was embarking on the writing of a far more modest project – my first book, The Quality Street Gang. By the time that my debut was released, Kevin had also weaved his magic throughout my 140,000-word manuscript, refining it to the 90,000-word version that was finally released. Had he not done such a remarkable job, I may not have been writing this very article…
Six years after The Quality Street Gang was released, Kevin and I were joined by David Low for a charity event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Fergus McCann’s historic takeover of Celtic Football Club. David and Kevin spoke with authority that night to a capacity crowd within the much-acclaimed Greenock CSC, and Kevin agreed afterwards to appear as a guest on A Celtic State of Mind.
The episode was finally recorded this week, as Kevin took us on a journey of Celtic mismanagement from the fifties to the nineties, through the McCann takeover, and right up to the present regime under Peter Lawwell.
Enjoy Kevin McKenna with A Celtic State of Mind, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel:
Paul John Dykes