ANDY WALKER has urged Celtic supremo Dermot Desmond to react to current shambles at Parkhead.
The team’s former striker, who was brought to the Hoops by the legendary Billy McNeill to play his part in the Centenary league and Cup double, believes it is time for the club’s ruler to make his move – before it is too late.
Walker admitted that second place in Scotland is USELESS as the nine-in-a-row champions struggle to keep pace with what is happening during Steven Gerrard’s reign at Ibrox where Rangers are stacking up the wins as they eye their first championship in a decade.
They have already beaten their Glasgow rivals twice in the league – 2-0 at Parkhead and 1-0 in Govan – as they zero in on their priority target.
Neil Lennon’s men, on the other hand, have also dropped points in draws against Hibs (twice), Kilmarnock, Aberdeen and St Johnstone as they feel their grip on the crown loosening.
Walker, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “With Celtic so far behind Rangers in the Scottish Premiership and having no realistic chance of retaining the title and securing the much-coveted 10-in-a-row that the fans were desperate to see, the spotlight will now turn to the only man that can give the Celtic supporters a bit of hope.
“Just exactly what is going through Dermot Desmond’s mind?
“He may well be the billionaire majority shareholder and the only man who has the authority to make serious changes at the club, but I imagine he’ll be asking the same questions as every other ordinary Celtic fan – namely, what on earth is happening to my team, on and off the park?
“On the park, even when you’re just one point behind Rangers, demanding questions are asked constantly. Being second in Glasgow is useless. Celtic have far greater financial muscle than Rangers and a huge squad, so it’s reasonable to ask why they are trailing so far behind.
“All the supporters can see is their team not one, but 21 points behind Rangers before the second week of January! That’s as well as getting knocked out of the Champions League, Europa League, and the League Cup. As things stand in the title race, they’re now also-rans.”
The media pundit continued: “The consequences of the Dubai trip are that 13 players and three staff members are self-isolating after Christopher Jullien tested positive for Covid-19, meaning an under-strength Celtic dropped more points on Monday night against Hibs and a similar squad will go up against Livingston at the weekend.
“It’s as big a failure off the pitch as it is on it.
“So, what does Dermot Desmond do now?
“I reckon he’ll realise it’s fast becoming an endurance test for the supporters between now and the end of the season. The harsh reality?
“It’s a question of when Rangers will secure the title, not if.
“That means supporter apathy will kick in and the renewal of season tickets for some is in serious doubt.
“When this has happened before, Desmond took matters into his own hands. He spoke directly to both Martin O’Neill and Brendan Rodgers and convinced them that Glasgow, Scottish football and producing an exciting, winning Celtic side can be as attractive as anywhere in Europe. Well, for a short time, at least.
“Under John Barnes and Kenny Dalglish, Celtic had finished 21 points behind Rangers. Desmond brought O’Neill into town in 2000 and success at home and abroad followed.
“Magical times and fabulous memories for the Celtic support.
“Under Ronny Deila, parts of the stadium were closed, the football was dull and Celtic lost to Rangers in a Scottish Cup semi-final. Again, Desmond knew what was required.
“He took control and lured a former Liverpool manager to Glasgow. Queues formed at the ground with everyone desperate for season tickets.
“Brendan Rodgers delivered trebles, an invincible season and sparkling football. He improved players that were already there, he introduced a high level of professionalism and, as a result, the fans got value for money.”
The former marksman added: “With the current board letting them down, Desmond has to take control and deliver a set-up they can buy into again.
“Whoever comes in, on and off the park, has a huge job in front of them. Clearly, loan players like Diego Laxalt, Mo Elyounoussi and Shane Duffy will go back to their parent clubs.
“Others like Odsonne Edouard, Olivier Ntcham, Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie could be sold. Captain Scott Brown won’t play as often.
“It’s a huge challenge for the club to get back to winning ways. But if Dermot Desmond can source good, strong leadership in the boardroom to set up a new structure at the club, all is not lost.”