There can’t be many things more uncomfortable than holding a mirror up to yourself and to countenance the possibility that all the certainties of your world are starting to evaporate before your eyes.
Is this what is happening to Brendan Rodgers, and the fans alike, in his third season as manager of a Celtic team which had previously constructed the seemingly unbreakable support beams to those certainties?
It is almost definitely the uncomfortable position that an increasing number of Celtic fans are experiencing as this season unfolds.
The Rodgers-inspired group of winners of the first two seasons under his tutelage were something to behold. Their style and the success of the team were an irresistible elixir, guaranteed to induce total devotion to the manager and his coaching staff.
Back when we were in the throes of his arrival, fresh approach and success, he was infallible. Then… he dropped Craig Gordon for De Vries. It didn’t work out for him. He took his own laddie and played him on a pre-season tour. He played Benyu in a CL qualifier and loads more, but still, he was untouchable. He always came across as having a clear vision. We all believed in him.
That has now all changed and his reaction to what is happening is curious. It’s like he knows in his own mind that he doesn’t want to be here anymore (probably due to the breakdown of his relationship with Peter Lawwell). His body language speaks volumes. He’s here but doesn’t have (nor does he instil) the belief that he did before.
Despite the oft-quoted saying that football fans are fickle, there is a constant about Celtic fans that remains. They will always give a player or manager or coaching staff every encouragement up to the point (and sometimes beyond) where they sense that the troupers in this sporting theatre are not giving 100% to their performance.
If the people who make the big decisions above Brendan’s pay grade reach for the mirror and feel discomfort in the reflection it casts, this feeling will not last for any great length of time. It’s the way of the corporate world and Brendan will not be given the time to ‘work his ticket’ if that is, as many seem to suspect, what we are witnessing just now.
Intriguing times. A test of character for Brendan Rodgers and, in many respect, of the Celtic fanbase.
We, as a team, are floundering and we are in worrying times. Now is the test of a true leader.