Background on Shkendija and Kalju, Turnbull, another that got away


If Celtic overcome FK Sarajevo in the Champions League first qualification round they will face either Macedonians, FK Shkendija or Nomme Kalju, from Estonia.  Shkendija are first round seeds.

Last season Shkendija eliminated Welsh side The New Saints in a remarkable tie, winning the first leg 5-0 and losing the return 4-0.  They then eliminated Moldovans, Sheriff Tiraspol 1-0 on aggregate before Salzburg knocked them out 4-0 on aggregate (no shame there).  Our old pals Rosenborg then knocked them out at the Europa League play-off round, 5-1 on aggregate.

In 2018 Shkendija won cofomrtably against Moldovan opponents in the Europa first qualifying round, then beat HJK Helsinki in the second round and Luthianians Trakai in the third.  This setup a trip to the San Siro for the team from Tetovo (population 52,000), where they lost 6-0.

Nomme Kalju exited last season’s Europa League at the first round to Stjarnan, our pals from Iceland.

It is almost certain Shkendija will progress to the second round.  They are one of the better teams who float around the qualifiers without ever reaching a group stage, but Celtic should have enough in the tank to progress through both opening rounds.  Happy to take this draw.

It is clear Celtic wanted David Turnbull, but not at any price.  Wage structures have been broken for ‘the right player’ but everyone needs to have signed up to the view that the player in question is worthy of breaking the structure.  The player and his agent are entitled to shop around for the highest wage.

Still, it is another one that got away.  Stiffer challenges than Sarajevo, Shkendija and Kalju will arrive in August.

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  1. I don’t think money in the balance sheet is the main reason why I find Ajax to be not a true comparator club for Celtic, unfortunately. There are plenty of fish owners and fanatical fans of clubs in Russia or China who do not regularly achieve what we have managed to do as a club in national and trans-national competitions.



    The main differences are, in order of importance:-



    1) Competitive environment- They play in a league with 2 other big rivals, Feyenoord and PSV. A couple of handy teams in Alkmaar and Vitesse, and a couple of challenging middling teams like Utrecht, Willem II, Heerenveen etc; They are exposed to a higher level of technical challenge in a league which is much less “blood and spotters” than ours.



    2) Historical Standing- They have won the EC/CL 4 times more than we have. They can add a ECWC, a UEFA Cup an Intercontinental Trophy and 2 UEFA super cups to their record. They have been winning in Europe in the 70s, 80s and 90s. No Ajax fan would consider Celtic a team with a right to claim to be on the same level as them. Even Feyenoord and PSV can boast the one EC that we have, and both Feyenoord and PSV can better us with an additional 2 and one UEFA Cup WINNER’S achievements, so they too can be considered more successful clubs.



    3) Transfer Money- Regardless of how we compare the players their top stars sell for bigger bucks than ours do. Consequently they can spend a similar fraction of what they receive in, as we do, in buying new replacements. But their amount of spend will be larger because of what they received in the first place.


    Ajax have sold 12 players for over 16m euro, going right back to Berrgkamp in 1993. That is 12 players above our current record for Moussa in the inflated modern market where they got 75m euro for De Jong, 42 for Sanchez and 32 for Milik. And that’s before De Lift and others are stripped from them.


    The money they get dwarfs ours because they are a trusted supplier of talent to the big leagues, but we are not, no matter how often or how long we have been “studying” the methods of the Ajax Academy. They do better in attracting S. American talent because of this. The best we get from there is Scheidt.



    4) Size and TV money- They have a native population of 17m, three times as many as we do and they attract more TV money than we do, even after Ajax and others have decided to distribute their TV earnings more equitably to smaller clubs, an act of generosity I do not think we can afford without dropping even further back in Europe.




    So I don’t think bank balances tell anywhere near the full story or even account for the major factors, though it is better to have a good balance than a bad one. We have been deluding ourselves that we are the Celtic of 66- 74 when Scottish football was still world class.



    We are recruiting from a native pool in a small country with a recent terrible record of National football competitiveness. Like Ireland, we have tried to stem that tide by recruiting Anglos who have played at a higher level, most of them have been Championship rather than Premiership quality. Meanwhile we are slipping further and further down from our heyday.



    Even, if Scottish boys gets better at developing into adult football talent, it won’t necessary alter our stars much. Belgium have a current golden generation but Anderlecht and Bruges are faring no better than us in Europe because the big clubs strip them of talent.



    It will take change in all of the 4 above factors to get us back to a chance of 66-74 again, or 1960 to 1992 if you want to lump in all Scottish clubs, with the deid club bookmarking those 2 dates.



    Meanwhile, we do the best we can and there are many things we can do better.



    Stopping the scapegoating and looking at the reality would be the best start.

  2. We have known for a substantial period of time which players would definitely be leaving and which players may be leaving.



    I would expect a list of feasible potential targets to be in place.


    Subsequently it would be prudent to assume we have a contingency plan in place.



    Would it not.






    PS : Still gutted for the girls last night. Dodgy VAR creating controversy, not solving it and failure to play the regulatory 90 minutes plus added time.

  3. traditionalist88 on

    Ajax again!



    They earn multiple times what we do from TV, they play in a league with a much higher reputation, in a country with nearly 4 times the population, they don’t start qualifying games in mid-July, and they haven’t voted to leave the EU.



    These and other factors make it much easier for them to attract players. Factors often omitted by those making the comparison.



    Yes it’d be great to nab more promising players from around the world but the difficulty in getting a player out of Motherwell highlights the increasingly difficult market in which we compete.




  4. Trying to type on CQN when the page unexpectedly jumps, where your words are corrected for you (fish was rich and spotters was spotters when I typed them), and where the posting box unexpectedly freezes, leaving you to have to type whole sentences again, is making posting on CQN a chore (Stifle the cheers lads!)



    This is happening on my Mac with Adblock and AVG.



    Why? It’s bad enough other posters twisting my words without the spellcheck doing it too.

  5. traditionalist88 on

    Scotland women very unlucky last night. Looked confident and creative on the ball, more so than the mens team, but back to glorious failure unfortunately.



    Not entirely sure the reason for the splitting hairs with the goalies coming off the line a little bit, not like she was standing at the 6 yard box. Keepers have to guess which way to go and their feet will inevitably move!



    I know it may be the letter of the law but a bit farcical, Argentina penalty was saved fairly and squarely – at least if you looked at any penalty save from the last 50 years in comparison.

  6. The DT farrago — the issue is not that we didn’t get him, the issue is that we have no-one else coming in or being seen as coming in.



    We look like one club golfers — doing one deal at a time.


    I can live with one MF player at a time but we should be working on a number of deals at the moment — LB potential / CB starter and potential / RB starter.



    What can we put out for the 9/10th July?


    What team can we put out for the start of August?



    If it is the bare bones of last season then surely questions need to be asked and people are removed from their current responsibilities — the excuses will have to stop sometime soon.



    Loving the board friendly vibe being put out by GFTB / T88.


    Toxic mixture of the Scottish cringe and CEO love.

  7. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ CELTIC40ME on 19TH JUNE 2019 11:54 PM



    I think there is confusion here between our net and gross cash at the bank. I do not think Celtic now or in the recent past have had net £50m in the bank.



    Our interim report as at December 2018 showed £44.6m in the bank (reduced to £38.6m net of bank borrowing). I’m unsure how this figure is being disputed when it is shown in our interim accounts.



    Now, will that figure remain the same come 30 June this year? Well on one hand we received the comp for Brendan and then didn’t have to pay him and his team a chunky wage from mid-Feb onwards. On the other hand, income is generally lower in the second half of the season as we do not get big payments from the EL/CL, and in addition to this we added some loan signings, Bayo and Shved. On the whole, I would wager that our net cash in the bank will remain roughly around the same level- circa £45m. It may drop, but I doubt it will be significant.



    So from June last year to June this year we have maintained roughly £42-£45m in the bank. This all the while experiencing three very poor transfer windows (including the Jan window of 2018).

  8. traditionalist88 on

    MADMITCH on 20TH JUNE 2019 9:13 AM



    As usual big on demands and little on specifics.



    My post was simply to highlight the competitive discrepancies between ourselves and Ajax following the debate on the previous pages. If you are going to refute any of the points listed please do so specifically???



    This is the reality of the situation and you can talk about the Scottish cringe all day but puffing our chest out and shouting louder is not a viable tactic when entering into player negotiations.




  9. Now that we’ve lost “No Legs Lustig” should we be looking at ”Twolegs Lautrec” from Paris SG just to paint a better transfer window ;-)

  10. traditionalist88 on

    One question that needs answering …



    Why, if we are ignoring highly pertinent factors affecting our clubs transfer market recruitment, are we only aiming to emulate Ajax?!



    The Scottish cringe, aiming low?!



    Why aim for Ajax when you can be Barcelona, PSG or Man City!




  11. Mad Mitch, do you honestly believe that Celtic only handle one deal at a time or you spouting Rafael for the sake of it. Celtic should keep all negotiations quiet until it suits Celtic to disclose. I think Motherwell were being naughty disclosing the deal maybe knowing that the player had no intention of signing for Celtic and making us look unprofessional IMHO of course

  12. MM 9.13am



    In real life I am no where near being a “board lover” of any Celtic boards, I do think PL does what his boss DD tells him and some of the stuff on here about our CEO is childlike … his fault we didn’t get Turnbull if we got Turnbull it would the boards lack of imagination or bowing to the young lads demands … although people moaning about the window, it has been open a week now … for the record, JMcG last season & DT this season could have both signed for Celtic as Celtic had both agreed fees with Hibs (eventually) & Motherwell at a very early stage :-)



    But don’t let facts get in the way of a good wee moan

  13. traditionalist88 on

    On this day in history: Brian McClair signs for the Hoops



    IT was on this day 36 years ago, June 20, 1983, that Brian McClair signed for Celtic from Motherwell.



    The striker would go on to score 121 goals in 199 games for the club before leaving for Manchester United four seasons later.



    Not only did he just miss out on playing 200 games, he also narrowly missed out on 100 league goals by hitting the 99 mark.



    Here we take a look at some of his goalscoring milestones…




  14. My niece’s 7 year old son has signed for Ran*ers. Starts at Murray Park in August and will be sent to a fee paying school in the area as he doesn’t live local, funded by Ran*ers.



    Celtic and St Mirren were also watching him but made no further contact.



    I’m delighted for the boy and hope he is a huge success.

  15. Our CEO will work to a remit, there will be parameters but within those he will have a free hand, no way will he be doing what Desmond tells him, Desmond won’t care about the club is run as long as Lawwell keeps within the set out guidelines.


    It’s how a PLC works.

  16. Tim Horton


    Didn’t know that re Rab Douglas, thanks. Would explain why I see him in Sainsbury’s from time to time.



  17. Dermot Desmond is the biggest shareholder but he does not hold a majority of shares…..the rest of us do, so why does he seem to be all powerful?

  18. traditionalist88 on

    GEEBEE1978 on 19TH JUNE 2019 4:20 PM





    It would appear that Enrique’s daughter had a bad horseriding accident and the prognosis isn’t good.



    Terrible news if true.





    That is terrible. I heard it was in relation to his daughter but wasn’t sure what the problem was, thanks.







    Won’t make the golf tomorrow as heading up to Stonehaven for the Beer Festival.



    Hope you get a sunny day!

  20. SFTB 8.55 am


    Excellent analysis of where Celtic is at now in the grand scheme of things.



  21. Re Celtic Shareholders. Desmond holds holds 34.9 & an Investment House Lindsell Train Ltd hold 17,4 % so between these 2 there is a majority of 52,3%..


    Another 3 Shareholder Christopher Trainer, James Keane &Thomas Allison between their individual holdings account for a further 20.2%.


    So 5 shareholders hold 72.5% of the Company.



    And not a single one will care how the club is run as long as they received their dividends, Lawwell runs Celtic how he sees fit, investors invest in people like Lawwell to make money for them, they only care about how much their investment makes for them, the wages PL takes is small change in the grand scheme of things for the investors, hence Lawwell will have a free reign to do as he pleases.



    @ CELTIC40ME on 19TH JUNE 2019 11:54 PM




    I think there is confusion here between our net and gross cash at the bank. I do not think Celtic now or in the recent past have had net £50m in the bank.



    From last night: “We now have nearly £50m in the bank gross (plus BR’s compensation package)”


    Our debt would reduce the gross amount by 6m (as per interims) but Rodgers compensation package take it to £53m net.



    This morning you’ve said:


    “On the whole, I would wager that our net cash in the bank will remain roughly around the same level- circa £45m.” When was the net cash at bank £45m?



    From the interims, December 31: Period end net cash at bank of £38.6m


    From the Annnual Accounts June 30 2018: Cash flow management has delivered a year-end net cash at bank of £36.1m




    Any comment on the figures I looked up ftom the Ajax Annual Accounts?


    Cash at bank at 30 June:


    2013 – €43


    2014 – €60m


    2015 – €80m


    2016 – €70m


    2017 – €64m


    2018 – €12m





    Except for 2018 when they had a disastrous season with no CL or EL football and, for them, poor player sales they have maintained a cash balance considerable higher than ours.



    I could have saved myself the time and effort and looked up the Swiss Rambler’s comments on their 2018 accounts. They include the figures I got from the Annual Accounts.

  24. Father Jack, I wouldn’t pigeon hole, Trainer, Keane & Allison but there is absolutely no doubt that the Investment House cares nothing at all about Football & just see the Club as a medium term bet to make money. There is no way they would try to rock the boat & question Desmond’s stewardship, so any talk of a Shareholders coup against Desmond is pure nonsense. I would say the combined total of shares in the hands of your normal fan worldwide is somewhere between 10 & 20 % of the Share Total.


    If a group with a lot of time & expertise tried to unify the fan’s Shareholding base it might be possible to demand a seat on the Board representing the rank & file Supporter but that would be as far as it goes.




    Of course it’s not as simple as how much cash we hoard compared to them. But it won’t stop some people from trying to use it as a way of criticising how our club is run.

  26. weebobbycollins on

    Goodbye PC Mikael…you were brilliant for us…not too many full-backs become hunskelpers, you were definitely one…thank you…

  27. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    A lot of talk about Ajax being a comparator club, or at least a club who we should be looking to emulate. I think SFTB and TRADITIONALIST88 make good points about Ajax having many advantages over us in terms of a more competitive league, more money, and a proven track record in producing and developing players for the moneyed leagues.


    I think we can also use Ajax as an example of how difficult it is to find a strategy that will guarantee UCL group stage participation.


    Ajax’s run to the UCL semifinal last season, was impressive, and gives clubs like ourselves, indeed all clubs out with the moneyed leagues, hope that we can still be competitive in the UCL.


    It is of course though, not that simple. In season 2017-18, Ajax were bombed out of the UCL at the third qualifying round, which was the round they entered at (as an aside, they were then put out of the UEL in the play off round, by a team Celtic have bettered in recent seasons, Rosenborg). The previous season, 2016-17, they were knocked out of the UCL at the play off stage (they then went on to UEL Final). In season 2015-16 they again failed to qualify for the UCL group stage, getting knocked out in the play off round.


    So Ajax are a better run club, from a better league. They are the club who in many people’s eyes, we should be modelling ourselves on. They are a club who have seemingly performed well in the last few years, getting to the Semi Final of the UCL and the final of the UEL. That club failed to qualify for the UCL group stage in three out of the last four attempts.


    It is difficult to reach the group stages of the UCL, there are a lot of really good teams vying for fewer and fewer berths in the competition. Our failure to qualify last season was not because we didn’t buy John McGInn. It is not that simple.



  28. traditionalist88 on




    Good work, but little to be gained from getting into specifics I fear when people will point blank refuse to consider, not mitigating factors, but huge factors that affect our ability to compete with a club like Ajax in the transfer market.



    [Thats not to say of course that we can’t do better]




  29. weebobbycollins on

    Sometimes it is not easy to be a Celtic fan…nothing to do with the team nor Lawwell but more to do with the fans who moan constantly and never agree with my opinions…

  30. Go tell the Spartim on

    The usual suspects trying to confuscate the issue.



    So a simple question that requires a simple answer (if there are no easy answers your not looking hard enough (c) Bart Simpson), whether its net or gross it doesnt matter the pertinent question should be, what is the money in the bank there for? Did someone not say that everypenny we make goes back into the club, im sure he didnt mean club bank.



    BSR spot on regarding PC Lustig

  31. traditionalist88 on




    Good points. There are no guarantees, however much we spend. The Seville season, rightly remembered as giving us some incredible memories, started with a crushing low in Basel, with a squad we paid a lot for, figures we couldnt have sustained long term.




  32. Absolutely gutted that PC Lustig has gone.



    I really don’t see the reasoning to this. We should have given him what he wanted to stay with us. His influence in the dressing room will be sorely missed.



    Replacing an experienced international, a born winner with CL experience will not be cheap.



    Time to get the finger oot!!



    Hail Hail ??

  33. TRADITIONALIST88 on 20TH JUNE 2019 11:08 AM



    [Thats not to say of course that we can’t do better]



    Absoeffinglutely. But its what we do better and how we do thats the issue. Copying a model when we dont even know what it is doesn’t seem very sensible to me.



    I doubt Desmond has a clue from one day to the next what happens at the club, Celtic are but a tiny part of his empire, a tiny bit that will make far less for him than the vast majority of his other investment so he will give it little heed, that’s why the Lawwell’s of this world are employed, as I said, he will work within set guidelines, as long as he doesn’t step out of those lines he can do as he pleases, it’s just the way it works.