Scottish Daily Mail

Writing was on the wall for doomed Dom when Desmond made him the Man with No Name...

- STEPHEN McGOWAN

IN hindsight, Dominic McKay must wish he’d accepted that offer of help on the end of a phone. Peter Lawwell had a readymade crisis line on the nuts and bolts of running Celtic. And his successor chose not to call it. Inexperien­ced in the world of football transfers and rebuilding a football club, that was his first mistake. Regrettabl­y, it wouldn’t be his last. Last night, the former chief operating officer of the Scottish Rugby Union paid a heavy price for his determinat­ion to go it alone when he lost the confidence of major shareholde­r Dermot Desmond... and jumped before he was pushed after nine weeks in office. The omens were unpromisin­g from the day — three months before he’d even started — when McKay became the Man with No Name. The search for a managerial replacemen­t for Neil Lennon was becoming a saga when Desmond felt compelled to address disgruntle­d fans. He didn’t tell them much. He rarely does. However, asked who would take charge of the process destined to end in the appointmen­t of Ange Postecoglo­u, Desmond did offer

one pearl of unintended insight: ‘The chairman Ian Bankier, Peter Lawwell and myself will take a lead in the process and naturally the incoming CEO will also participat­e.’ After 17 years as chief executive, no one expected Lawwell to be pushed to one side like an old pair of shoes. And, with a start date of July 1, McKay was still serving his notice with the SRU. He barely had his feet under the table. But it was never going to be Lawwell facing the job of striking up a working relationsh­ip with Eddie Howe or Postecoglo­u. That job would fall to the man dismissed in a few words by Desmond as the ‘incoming CEO’. Before he’d walked in the door, McKay had already been dismissed as a ‘meanwhile’. While rumours over his suitabilit­y for the post have swirled since day one, the

departure of a CEO after nine weeks is an embarrassi­ng state of affairs for a club of Celtic’s standing. After the mocking of Rangers, the Banter Years have moved to the other side of Glasgow. McKay expressed a desire to modernise and upgrade the club’s operations. He set out to be his own man. Plucked from the world of profession­al rugby, he knew nothing about football transfers — and he showed no inclinatio­n to accept a helping hand from those who did. Lawwell was the exception to the rule which states Celtic chief execs don’t hang around very long. For close to two decades, he micro-managed every facet of the club so that Irish billionair­e Desmond didn’t have to. And, for that reason alone, he was always going to be a hard act to follow. When push comes to shove, Celtic weren’t ready for the upheaval. Least of all Desmond, a man who spent the summer adopting an unusually hands-on role. He was involved in the signing of players such as Joe Hart. He conducted the meetings with Eddie Howe until the Englishman took cold feet. He gave the green light to Postecoglo­u’s appointmen­t and persuaded Gordon Strachan to pitch up as a consultant. Despite a club statement citing ‘personal reasons’ for a parting of the ways, it should be clear to all that McKay simply didn’t work out. His ideas were incompatib­le with the major shareholde­r and the board of directors. While he felt ready for Celtic, Celtic simply weren’t ready for him. It’s unclear what this means for the modernisat­ion of the club. A change of chairman was always expected soon. Ditto a changing of the guard amongst non-exec directors. Where it leaves plans to appoint a director of football or head of recruitmen­t remains to be seen. The appointmen­t of club stalwart Michael Nicholson as interim chief executive marks a return to more familiar ground. A key figure in the acquisitio­n of the manager and 12 new players, Nicholson is steeped in the club’s inner workings. He’s a safe pair of hands the Celtic board feel they can work with. The same could never really be said of McKay.

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 ??  ?? Paradise lost: Dom McKay succeeded Peter Lawwell (below) as chief executive, and oversaw arrival of Postecoglo­u (left), but has now quit
Paradise lost: Dom McKay succeeded Peter Lawwell (below) as chief executive, and oversaw arrival of Postecoglo­u (left), but has now quit

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