As the season has unfolded though the coaching team have shown some of the qualities they possessed as players. Passion in the dugout is not limited to Lennon’s engrossed characteristics. One only needs to be keeping an eye on the Celtic dug out during games to see that passion being channelled to good use by the other 3 coaches. Thompson, Mjallby and Parker supplement Lennon’s overall guidance to the team with their own rotating input to the players on the park. The delivery of instructions, encouragement and advice is coming from guys who were winners in their own right and, Parker apart, all know what winning at Celtic means. It is this coaching team effort which appears to be a significant driving force behind where this Celtic team appear to be heading.
It may also be the force which has instilled a high tempo pressing game being deployed by Celtic and a midfield which now looks easier on the eye. It has balance, and creative presence while also protecting the back four adequately. It’s perhaps no surprise that Lennon, Thompson and Parker all played in midfield during their careers but perhaps more tellingly they all played different roles within the midfield. The sum of these coaching parts appears to be bringing out the natural strengths of Kayal, Brown, Ledley and Ki. Together they are creating and supporting the opportunities for their attacking colleagues.
Garry Parker has also been credited with a good eye for a player and while I was well aware of Hooper’s emerging talent a good while before he came to Celtic (no, honestly) it appears that Parker’s scouting instincts had led him to focus on the young striker at Scunthorpe. We have been well rewarded with this player spot and it is hoped that other talents can be unearthed in a similar vein.
For those who never saw Parker play he had a natural footballing brain with an eye for a telling pass and he was always capable of keeping a place in teams ahead of names who were more highly regarded at the time. To be a regular starter in teams managed by Pleat, Clough and Atkinson gives a flavour of Parker’s credentials. It is these underlying qualities which appears to be bringing significant input to Lennon’s team.
On the park there is a collective mentality being expressed by the team. We appear to be seeing a group of largely young twenty somethings cherishing pulling on the hoops and playing for each other, the manager and, most importantly, the support.
The season is going to be a tight one but the stands are full of praise for the way Celtic are currently playing. This is down to the excellent team effort from Neil Lennon and his coaching staff.
One gets the feeling that something is being built here without anyone telling us that they are here to build a football team. Actions have always spoken louder than words.