Although he agrees the season could have gone better, he believes it bears up to much closer scrutiny than many would admit. Celtic reached the first round of the FA Cup and, by finishing twelfth, enjoyed their best league position since 2012 after two years of going perilously close to relegation.
“I get criticised over our style of play,” said Watson. “When I was appointed manager the complaints were that we were too weak and ineffective at set-plays. Now I’m told we’re too strong and rely too much on set-plays.
“When I came to Stalybridge Celtic in 2015 we were nine points adrift with eight games to play. We’d only taken two points from the previous 18. People talk about the great escape but what followed was a miracle — we took 15 points from the last eight matches.
“Some people hold it against me that I don’t go into the social club for a drink but as I’ve tried to explain, my son plays football so a lot of the time I’ve got to get off to get him. It’s just one of those things.
“If I didn’t care I wouldn’t have sold players like Bohan Dixon to bring money into the club and I wouldn’t have fought for my budget. If I didn’t care I wouldn’t be there.”
Watson is already building for next season which he expects to be much more difficult than the one just ended. He already has a couple of players lined up but says he is keeping them under wraps so that he can attract one or two more.
“With Altrincham and Halifax relegated there’s going to be something like eight clubs in Greater Manchester or close to it fighting for the same players,” Watson commented.
“It’s not going to be easy and we’ll have to see what we dig up as we go along. Next season National League North is going to be one very tough division.”