Casino football, G.o.D.


When Ibrox legend Walter Smith issued a statement in June 2012 saying, “We wish the new Rangers Football Club every good fortune”, he no doubt hoped that one day the club would win a major trophy.  That happened yesterday, when Celtic lost only their second domestic trophy since 2016 and their first league in a decade.

Credit where it’s due, “new Rangers Football Club” have yet to lose a league game this season and are worthy winners.  Like old Rangers, they chose to play Casino Football, accumulating £86m in operational losses in their 8-year of financial history, while, as ever, Celtic live within their means.  There is not a hope in hell they would have won the league this season otherwise.

Notwithstanding this, Celtic can reflect on a season of unmitigated failure, and the feeling that they never asked a question of a team who famously bottled every opportunity to win a prize against full time opposition.  Had we got our act together, even as late as January, the outcome may have been different.

Today, the consequences of failure are ours.  We will explore the reasons at the end of the season, none is insurmountable.  The consequences of playing Casio Football are structural and also for a later date.  We got many things wrong this season but trying to live without our means is not one of them.

In January 2005, When Martin O’Neill’s Celtic were sliding below the water line before our eyes, I told you we were 5 years into a Generation of Domination (I was mocked and abused thoroughly for my trouble).  How spectacularly correct that turned out.  It was not a gambler’s hunch; it was the inevitable outcome of how Celtic and Oldco were corporately managed.

I know it’s difficult to step back and look beyond today’s pain, but this is not Self-Flagellation Quick News, I’ll leave that to others.  What was overwhelmingly evident in January 2005 remains so today.  21 years in, we are now in our second successive Generation of Domination (cue 2005’s blind reaction).  All that has changed is the weather, not the climate, so forgive me a lack of panic.


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  1. Philbhoy .


    I am serious when I say this .



    I have every confidence that could have managed Celtic to 7 of those titles .



    I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have sanctioned the signings of Klimala, Bayo , Taylor or Bolingoli.




  2. I’m not sure I share P67’s optimism about the future.



    I see a settled Ibrox team, a settled Ibrox management and a recruitment policy in line with their style of play.



    We’ve a squad in need of a massive overhaul, a new coaching set up to come in and a new recruitment strategy and organisation to implement.



    I think we’re up against it next season. Should the Sevco get CL group stages in the summer and again next year then we could well be seeing Mr Glib and Shameless house of cards prediction come about.



    We’ve a summer of crucial recruitment ahead of us, if we get it wrong, then we’ll be second best in Glasgow for some years to come.

  3. I’d guess that anyone who never had to manage a squad of senior league professional footballers would think it is easier than it looks.



    It’s hardly worth the effort of proving it ny demonstrating your worth at amateur team or semi pro management leve;s.



    I dare say there are people with good man management skills on here and there are many with basic coaching badges but there are very few experience in the actual arena.



    There is a huge jump from a First Aid proficiency badge to actual skiled surgery.



    There is an equally huge gap in having the confidence to imagine you could mange a senior football club and getting 40 odd hairy arsed footballers to share the confidence you have.



    It involves a lot more than scouting and buying, for a start

  4. The problem we have is we are stale and behind the times at board level.



    What has Dermot Desmond done for the club recently?



    I have no inside knowledge but I get the impression that he is very much in the employ Irish camp, or at the very least employ celtic (you don’t need to look far for examples).



    I’d advise anyone with an interest to how a club should be run to listen to the Training Ground Guru podcast with the sporting director at AZ Alkmaar.





    Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t see is having anywhere near this level of expertise, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t.

  5. Rolling_Stone on

    @PHILBHOY on 8TH MARCH 2021 1:11 PM



    In multiple articles Paul has paraphrased conversations he has had with the decision makers at Celtic (you can speculate as to who they are, but PL seems a fair assumption; I’m sure those on personal terms with Paul probably could confirm definitively).



    Given that as the case, it is somewhat surprising that PL has not been mentioned negatively or has had blame attributed to him for any aspect of the management of the club this season or any other season prior.



    Now, given the amount of mud thrown in P67’s articles this year (the government, COVID, Neil, wantaway players etc), it is inconceivable that those in the boardroom should have escaped criticism, but they have.



    I would argue that is due to the proximity between P67 and those decision makers.



    For so long as Paul is uncritical, he will have access but attacks on the person or decisions will likely result in access being removed.



    I would wager Paul enjoys the access garnered with the big wigs more than the ability to write independently.

  6. SFTB



    If Derek McInness had been in charge of Celtic and Neil Lennon in charge of Aberdeen over the last 10 years .



    Do you think Celtic or Aberdeen would have won the league titles?




  7. RS



    Can you explain why the powers that be at CP would demand uncritical leader blogs from Paul when most of the words posted on the blog (as written by the rest of us) constitute critical statements of the bOard, CEO and majority shareholder?



    Are the board getting any bang for their buck by having one poster/blog article writer confined to milder criticism while the rest of us can vent to our heart’s content?



    Are there lots of people who identify the site only by the lead article?



    Are the Board unaware of the content written by participants as they only eread the article?




    It does not make any sense to me that they see CQN as any effective pro-Board outlet. I know it is a view held by other blogs and blog writers who do not enjoy Paul’s level of access, but it does not make commercial sense to me. If i was “bribing” someone to promote my propaganda, I’d want a more subservient outlet all round with much more suppression of alternative views.



    The Board are many things but they cannot be unaware of how little is their influence on social media or on how Celtic fans think. They do not even try too hard on that front on their own Official Celtic site.

  8. TT



    “If Derek McInness had been in charge of Celtic and Neil Lennon in charge of Aberdeen over the last 10 years .



    Do you think Celtic or Aberdeen would have won the league titles? ”






    I don’t know, for sure, but I am willing to bet that Celtic would have remained favourites if the managerial posts had been reversed.



    That would dent my argument not one bit, however. There are many talented people on here with great people skills but they definitely could not command a senior football dressing room. I know I could not do so. And I coached 3 different amateur sports for over 35 years.

  9. We have failed dramatically at all levels. Quote ” Fallen asleep at the wheel ”



    We have let them out the box and now we will all suffer the consequences of that.


    In football and beyond.



    HH to all.

  10. login in allover the place todays, navigating between pages or clicking on a link and i have to log back in. pain.

  11. GREENPINATA on 8TH MARCH 2021 2:40 PM


    ‘We have failed dramatically at all levels. ‘







    Who is this ‘we’ you speak about.



    What if this is the outcome that the owner wanted? A financial secure competitor rather than an insolvent or basket case competitor?



    Would that not make this a success rather than a failure?

  12. Garngad to Croy on

    We have conceded the league at the earliest point in our history (38 game league) , I am scared for the short / medium term of our football club. The great financial position of our corporately managed club is in serious jeopardy without the fans engagement , will you pay another £600 for a 20 game pay per view which is 2-3 minutes behind the live radio commentary and 30 seconds behind illegal streams ?

  13. Ryan Christie thinks this season is just a blip and no doubt soon things will return to normal. I disagree with Ryan. The situation today could be a lot worse. Gerrard could have been going for 3 in a row.


    Someone posted on here at the end of last year that our league win in 2018/19 was comfortable. Maybe Lawwell was of the same opinion and maybe this explains the complacency.


    The final gap was 9 points. Going into the last game of the season we had a 6 point lead. Celtic and Hearts agreed to play reserve teams because they were meeting in the cup final a week later. We beat Hearts 2-1 and sevco lost 2-1 to Kilmarnock. These were meaningless games. If the results had been reversed the final gap would have been 3 points.


    Earlier in the season Scott Brown scored in the 94th minute at Kilmarnock. The bench, the players and the supporters celebrated as if we had just won the European Cup. Everyone knew how important this goal was and how close the league was.


    Eduoard scored in the 95th minute at Hearts and in the 96th minute at Dundee. 3 points thankfully became 9 points in games we didn’t look like winning. If these late goals had not been scored we would have gone into the split with a three point advantage with a trip to ibrox looming. That’s how close it was. Gerrard gave Brendan a run for his money and was sure to give Neil a run for his money too.


    At the end of December 2019 we had a 2 point lead over sevco and had they had a game in hand. We had £40m in the bank and they were skint. Sevco went to Dubai for winter training. Alfredo was allowed to return to his homeland. Sevco players were doing double training sessions under the hot Arabian sun. Alfredo returned from Colombia late, fat and unfit. The rumour was that the sevco players were very unhappy with this situation. Maybe Alfredo’s disruptive behaviour explains sevco’s collapse. Maybe we should call our 9th title the Alfredo title.


    At the start of this season paul67 wrote that the gap at the end of last season was misleading. I agreed with this assessment. He wrote that he believed that we were 70:30 favourites to win the league. Maybe Lawwell was of the same opinion. I thought it was too close to call. We were both wrong.


    Sevco’s results in Europe in Gerrard’s 2 years in charge would suggest that he knew what he was doing and that we had a real fight on our hands. Maybe Lawwell thought that Neil would be able to handle Gerrard. This has not worked out the way Lawwell wanted it to.


    Lawwell has been presented with plenty opportunities to make a change at the top. Cluj, the league cup final, back to back losses to sevco in the league at parkhead, Ferencvaros, Sparta Prague (twice), Ross County in the league cup and conceding 3 goals to Hearts before eventually beating them on penalties in the cup final. If the change had been made early enough this league campaign could have been salvaged.


    6 games in January with 1 win 3 draws and 2 defeats. 6 points out of a possible 18 was when this league was lost. A new manager, even a short term appointment to take us to the end of the season, could not have done any worse. Lawwell just kept on compounding his original mistake.


    The farcical goalkeeping situation sums up how incompetent Lawwell is. We lost 2 top quality keepers in the close season. We could have gone after David Marshall, the current Scotland keeper, who was available on a free transfer. We now have 3 average keepers none of whom are commanding and dominate the penalty box.


    We have been betrayed by Lawwell and the rest of the Celtic board. Sevco should never have been able to claim they have won 55 titles. All the garbage we will now have to endure and all down to the incompetence and negligence of Lawwell and the Celtic board.


    When Lawwell leaves he should take the rest of the board with him.

  14. MADMITCH on 8TH MARCH 2021 1:19 PM



    All legitimate questions.



    I challenged your original point that DD was “only in it for the money”. You seem to have dropped that assertation and now moved the debate to his role in the club which is much more relevant.

  15. Paul67



    Obviously, you and others know better the financial state of play at Ibrox. However, as things stand, I rate their chances of playing in next year’s CL at considerably higher than 50/50 – in the “non-Champions path”, we can forget it for next season.



    If this were to happen along with the sale of one asset – say Ryan Kent, for example, I see a potential £40m swing with a barely weakened squad and a settled team that has already made plans for next season.



    We face a huge rebuild with over half our first team unlikely to be here or feature next season and a new manager with next to no time to do it.



    I’d love to know where the optimism is coming from.

  16. IniquitousIV on



    Welcome to my world! Happens to me at least 50% of the time. Oddly, mostly at night. Can’t figure that one out.

  17. Go tell the Spartim on

    Were we as good as we could’ve been ?


    It’s gone now but we have the opportunity to at least try and redress the balance, next appointments are critical, specifically for the short term cash flow.

  18. timmy7_noted on

    Garngad to Croy on 8th March 2021 2:48 pm



    Only if I see the club trying to put together a plan to take the footballing part of the business forward, however I am very doubtful they have the skillset or the passion to do that, so probably no.

  19. Paul does a good job running this site but his track record of insisting that situation X will occur, usually makes me think that the opposite will happen instead.

  20. NTB @ 2.52



    Perfect timing — all the evidence points to DD only being in it for the money.


    He has bought at SPL money / values and wants to sell at EPL money / values.



    His 20 plus year association has delivered little in the way of actual engagement.


    Real fans don’t miss the AGM on a regular basis.



    The fact that he is seemingly giving pep talks to various individuals is strange in the extreme given his lack of effort in the past.



    DD is the cause of our current shambles.


    He left PL to his own devices for far too long.


    He struggles to deal with ambitious / money driven managers — MON in 2002 / BR in 2018.


    We are paying the price for his laziness and lack of desire.



    He is only in it for the money — we are an arbitrage play just like the storied LCY deal of yesteryear.

  21. Kris Commons on Huns` behaviour:



    ” The only thing to ‘understand’ is their blatant disregard for the rest of civilised society.”



    Not often I agree with MrCommons but he says much in that article (CQN) which chimes with my own thinking..

  22. We didn’t put pressure on them- granted.



    They have got slightly better but no plan b.



    But this season they:



    Thrived without their own fans who pressure and abuse them regularly.



    Have had no sendings off.



    Most sendings off against.



    No pens given against.



    Most pens given.



    Zero covid cases from a zero transparent process in their part.



    Bizarre refereeing. Scottish style. And only retrospective action. One game sending off should have been after 17 mins.



    We were always going to be on top of game and I think we all knew how bizarre the establishment would act when the possibility of 10 was here.



    I have not been surprised by the refereeing this season. Not sure our board or management calling it out would have made a difference as the papers and the 8 ebt eejits in BBC Scotlandfor instance, eould probably labelled us “paranoid” again.



    In addition there are no doubt more sevco leaning players in each other team we play who would have their own motivations and inclination to boot us at will knowing the ref’s in their lodge and won’t doing anything.



    Just my thoughts.

  23. onenightinlisbon on

    So that’s Kennedy and now Christie using the word “blip” to describe the failure of our most important season in years. What with Frimpong and Lennon’s comments recently it’s hardly surprising this bunch of overpaid cowards did not have the bottle for it this year.

  24. NOTTHEBUS on 8TH MARCH 2021 2:52 PM


    MADMITCH on 8TH MARCH 2021 1:19 PM










    ‘I challenged your original point that DD was “only in it for the money”.’







    I think it’s likely that his principal motivation in acquiring the club was the profit to be made if EPL membership was obtained. There would also have been bragging rights among his chums, and some degree of kudos in Ireland generally that would have flowed.



    Trouble is he hasn’t obtained his objective and doesn’t seem to have a Plan B. So Plan A is still being pursued albeit in recent years that has mostly involved reconstituting The Old Firm.

  25. SFTB @ 2:17 pm



    “There is a huge jump from a First Aid proficiency badge to actual skiled surgery.”



    An excellent analogy.


    I suspect if the many First Aiders on CQN took note of it, each article would evoke a very small response ;-)



  26. Garngad to Croy on




    The appointment of a top drawer management team would engage the fans as per the Brendan Rodgers appointment , sadly I fear that that type of appointment is beyond our reach at present. I hope and pray that I am wrong.

  27. 67 European Cup Winners on

    Paul67 I will read your blog dailly – more for the posters than your wisdom


    You have been spending too much time with Peter Lawwell



    Your arrogance is a worry – the Hun is back and please do not be the next CEO of Nokia and tells us not to worry about Apple and Samsung


    Your dismissive view of the Hun is a real worry


    Wake up for God’s sake



    When PL leaves the building I hope Dominic McKay does not make contact with you looking for infinite wisdom on our plight


    Oh relax Dominic says Paul67 the Hun is skint they will disappear – Aye Right



    Why is it Financial people think Balance sheets win football matches – FFS




  28. Nokia are only one company that failed in the Mobile segment, there are literally dozens of them.



    It is a rubbish business comparison, drivel.

  29. M80 @ 3.02



    The numbers don’t lie.



    The MIB have been their 12-15th man this season.


    We need to work to get that narrative across and those facts out there.



    However they have worked every angle to the max while we have sat back and dreamt of bonuses.


    They have put the effort in while we have phoned it in at every level.

  30. ST2 @ 3.12



    Nokia is a huge business story — rise and fall.


    We will get published in the HBR — our business failures are that big.

  31. 67 European Cup Winners on

    SAINT STIVS on 8TH MARCH 2021 3:12 PM


    Its a comparison


    The link is arrogance


    The mistake is underestimating your competition



    I don’t see drivel




  32. Also SB needs to find a new challenge.


    He should not / cannot be captain next year.



    This season’s failure happened on his watch.


    He allowed experienced players in the team to play games with NL to suit their own agendas.


    He is part of this failure.



    He is at least 3 seasons past his sell by date.

  33. ST STIVS



    Can you post a few pics to cheer me up please?



    Might cheer some others up too!



    Thanks in advance