Celtic hire The System


It was (honestly) a complete coincidence that at the start of last week I wrote that football clubs need “people who can say to the manager, “A club in Romania is doing something really clever, we should try it”, without being frog-marched off the premises”, a few days before Celtic employed a GAA coach as a performance consultant.

Organisations who succeed actively look for development ideas from unusual sources.  If you are fishing in the same pond as everyone else, you’ll not find a strategy that will allow you to over-perform.  Jim McGuinness, coach at Donegal GAA, will work with Neil Lennon’s technical team two days per week.

McGuinness had transformed Gaelic football, since taking control of unfancied Donegal they have been described as “virtually unbeatable”, provoking astonishment and some hostility from those close to the game as a result of his tactical revolution, known as ‘The System’. For his sport, he has found the ‘Moneyball code’ and the metaphorical answer to ‘Why England lose’, which we have discussed here for a number of years.

In short, Jim McGuinness sees things that others don’t and Celtic know the value of new ideas. I’m pleased at both.

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  1. len brennan



    13:07 on


    12 November, 2012



    Great song but i have many many favorites.. Changes by the mood.



    On the bridge and city of chicago at minute.

  2. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Gus1969. I agree with your post the Green Brigade light up parkhead without them it would be like sitting in the library.H.H.

  3. Afternoon all.



    I have gone from fairly regular evening time poster to lurker – my wee girl is now just over 1yr and a half and takes up most of my evening time now so there would be no sense in starting a conversation because I wouldnt be able to finish it.



    I feel compelled to add my tuppence into Paul67’s leader because this guy could go on to become the most inspired off field signing since John Park.



    To give you an idea into the level of detail the GAA operates to at County Minor Level – my wifes cousin is on the Tyrone team and was the one who told me – and this carries all the sound bites to Jim McGuinness’s initial interview.



    You get player profiled – which takes into consideration the position you play and where your strengths and weaknesses lie, both physical and technical.


    You are then designed a personal development programme that tells you where you are at now (blood pressures, heart rates etc) and where that will become at regular intervals providing you follow the programme.



    Initially you are told in basic terms the absolute no’s in terms of food and drink and advised of what the good food’s are.



    If, after one of your interval tests you have fallen behind predicted levels, they take a closer look. Are you not following the programme? If you are then it must be your diet – and it becomes more indepth and intense.



    You get a diet plan written for you.



    If you are a central defender your programme will be designed for you to become physically stronger, central midfielder increased stamina, wingers agile and speedy and strikers a little bit of all of the above etc.



    From a physcological point of view they get into your head, find out your personality in order to find out what you respond to and what you do not. There is no blanket approach to the coaching, it is recognised that the objective is to achieve the maximum performance from each individual – so if that means you have to flex one man’s ego more than anyone elses, then that is what you do because you wont achieve your objective any other way.



    It goes to an individual, personal level of detail which is clearly missing at the moment. I am absolutely delighted that Celtic have also identified it.



    For years Celtic have graduated the vertically challenged – from James Forrest, Aidan McGeady, Simon Ferry, Simon Lynch, Shaun Maloney, Ross Wallace et al..



    Come on, you all must have at some point said to your Mrs or your mates what the hell is in the water we feed our weans!?



    James Forrest recently admitted that since he moved to Glasgow, because he cant cook he eats take aways most nights – something I find astounding. Whilst im not inferring its Chinese take away type food – he certainly wont be feeding his body with the right vitamins and proteins that he needs to, and that a personal development programme diet would instruct (how much would it cost to employ a professional, specialised cook who could make the right foods for you and give it to you on your way home from training?)



    Jim’s biggest hurdle is he will be used to working with players who want to do well, who are willingly sacrificing their time and effort on a voluntary basis just to try and succeed at an amateur and unpaid level. Their fire burns as bright as it always has and the will to win, the eye of the tiger is never corrupted to the extremes a modern day footballers head gets turned – so they will listen to every word he says.



    Celtic’s youngsters will have more ego’s about them and they may not follow the programmes as religiously as GAA’s own elite for their age bracket – however the fact he has a sports physcology degree indicates to me that even this wont hinder the man.



    What he will do, is ensure that every person he has spent time on will be as physically and mentally ready for the step up from youth / lower level football/soccer as they could ever have been – and thats about as far as you can hope for.



    Its also possibly the most comforting thing to know for those who dont make it, they are never riddled with that never to be answered question of, did I piss it all away??



    He also has a gift – and this is a comparison I swear to you I dont use easily – in the Tommy Burns bracket.



    He has the ability to tell a man he is playing rank rotten and walk away with that same fella feeling good about themselves. The guy is as articulate as I have come across and its a privilege just to listen to him give an interview because you learn something new from every one of them (if you are like me, when soccer was your childhood game with gaelic only entering when you are in your teens)



    I hope we spend the next 2 years (whats left on his Donegal contract) putting him through his coaching badges.



    From a perspective of seeing things others do not – again as Paul67 mentioned I have never in my life been so confident having seen a team I was supporting walk in at half time having played poorly; because you just know that Jim will not only have seen everything each of his own players were doing well and needed to improve on, but also seen where the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses were and change the team to suit (if it was too complex for him to change from the sidelines – as can be the case).



    He has taken practically the same team that he took over 2 years ago from a team of known socialisers (before and after games) to become one of the most undisputed All Ireland champions of recent times – they had to knock out virtually every one of the favourites along the way (all bar Dublin).



    How did he do this? There are secrets within the game that will quite rightly stay as such – the county captain was no longer considered for selection after going against an agreement to keep all in-house, by giving away some of the training techniques in a published book – but this is a story in the public domain;



    Have a listen to this for leadership.



    When he took on the job he drove to every single player on the panels house (Donegal takes up a vast amount of land and is practically 100% rural) sat them down and told them what he was going to be asking of them – drink knocked on the head, gym 5-7 times per week (meaning some had to go to the gym before work and after work one or two days per week), complete and absolute commitment.



    He told them he didnt want an answer there and then he wanted them to think about it and he would return one week later, to which he did.



    He was then given verbal agreements by every one of the now all Ireland champion players.



    Can you imagine the difference in being told not to answer it there and then would have made on the mind?



    Inspirational stuff.



    This guy will lead our bhoys into men.



    (If anyone wants to comment – I have used my lunch break to write this so wont be back until after 9pm tonight, ill look back)


    p.s I dont get lunch breaks!

  4. Auldheid,



    Each Cell in a system is limited to the number of calls each cell can cope with. ( I think about 50- 100 per cell.)



    In high call traffic areas ( eg city centre), the networks add as many extra base stations as they need to cope with the calls.


    If you know what you are looking for you will see base stations every 100 yards in High Streets.



    Celtic Park will peak for 3 hours per fortnight so it is unlikely that the extra stations will be added ( might change with the Games Arena on the door step, )



    Nuclear Bovril If you were to come back to 116 on non game day , you could give empty stadium reports to your hearts content





    The Onlooker


    Bring your own messenger pigeon CSC

  5. sixtaeseven: Wanyama! Watt!!! and a consolation goal for Messi on

    Sports psychology at Lennoxtown, day 1:



    “Jim, can I have a wee word?”



    “Sure, come on in. What’s seems to be the trouble?”



    “I don’t understand it: I’ve had two or three bad games, and I’m getting dogs abuse out there. It’s really getting to me.”



    “Right enough, that’s bad. Just lie down on the couch over there. I’ll get my notebook…”



    “Sorry, Jim, I’m not allowed on the couch…”

  6. The one thing over anything else that Jim McGuinnes brought to Donegal was to increase the fitness of the players.



    GAA players are amateurs but do play a lot of football over the season and the Donegal players who capitulated in 2010 were by and large the same bunch of players who took the game forward in 2011 and 2012.



    Yes, he changed the system but it was more of an adaption of the Tyrone system that was so successful during the early part of the 21st century. What he also did was increase the fitness of the players as his team keeps going to the very end and will eventually batter down the other team until they win.



    He also worked wonders on the players belief in themselves.




  7. Green Lantern (((((0))))) on

    Lennon, Park and McGuinness could be the triumvirate which will lead Celtic to even greater heights in the coming years.



    Good to see we are not standing still regardless of what happens with the Zombies.

  8. GUS1969 ,



    Could not agree more.


    The Boys of the Green Brigade were truly inspirational yesterday.


    Without them the place would have been like a Retreat House.



    Well Done, Bhoys.

  9. One of the truly great things about Christy Moore is that he doesn’t shy away from difficult truths, yet remains faithful to powerful and deep cultural history.


    Seen him myself. Loved the gig.


    Got the cd’s and dvd from The Point.


    Good to be reminded of him on here today.




    I understand people feeling let down by yesterday. I get to attend only a few matches a season, so I’m as happy to see The Bhoys in pre-season friendly against Norwich (which we lost) as I was to be at the Barça game (though that was extraordinary to say the least). Then there are those who go, game in, game out, in all weathers and feel that it’s only right that the team perform to it’s potential, regardless. So I do get it.


    I was explaining to non-Tim friends here where I live how being at Celtic Park on Wednesday, apart from being an amazing footballing encounter, felt like a great cultural event.


    That is part of being an ex-pat: we tend to get a bit misty-eyed and feel a powerful nostalgia which somehow seeps into present reality.


    Oh well. All I can do is look forward to my next visit to Parkhead. In the meantime I have to do with the second hand experience via the airwaves and commentary.


    Doesn’t begin to compare with the very real highs….and lows….of actually being there.


    So…a big Hail! Hail! to all of you who do that. I don’t envy much in this life, but I envy that, for all the wins, losses, and draws.

  10. Let’s hope Mr McG can also have a word with the first team squad so that there is no more of this “flatness” after a Champions League game.



    The other 3 teams in Celtic’s CL group all won at the weekend. All 3 German teams in the CL won at the weekend. Two of the four English teams won, the other two drew. All of them played against much better teams than St Johnstone. Ajax and Anderlecht both won.



    None of these teams experienced the “flatness” that Lenny has diagnosed in our team. We should ask them, or Mr McG, why.

  11. Paul67 etal.



    I hope that Jim McGuiness has brought his magic wand to Celtic Park to solve the problem of winning after playing a game in Europe.This is not a problem for Neil alone,It’s been going on for years.



    This season we’ve lost 2 points to St Johnstone after last Wednesdays Bacelona game,previously this year we dropped 3 points to Killie and 2 points to Hibs after games against Barcelona.and Helsingborg.Seven points lost in Three games after competing in European games already this season, A big total so far.


    If John McGuiness can get into players heads and fix this leakage after European games,it will be a big feather in his cap,this problem has been in existance since European football became big business.

  12. Bada Bing & Nuke Bovril Thank you for replies apologies for late responce had to go out.


    I think that is a great shame they no longer do them, as in trying financial times like now I would have thought it would have made sense to sell half season books.


    Just means I now have to stretch the brain cells to think of another present.




  13. Was reading on Celtic website of the players who went


    to fight in WW 1, the majority of whom did not return.





    Reading the article I noticed that Celtic won the 1912 Charity


    cup 7-0 on corners after drawing 0-0 with Clyde after 90 mins.



    I know games have been decided on the toss of a coin, does


    anyone know of any other way games have been decided.

  14. Apologies on invoking Godwins Law but just read an article on Hitler on the BBC website that contained the following paragraph :



    “In an economic crisis millions of people suddenly decided to turn to an unconventional leader they thought had “charisma” because he connected with their fears, hopes and latent desire to blame others for their predicament.”



    Sound familiar?



    Here is another pertinent paragraph:



    “This history matters to us today. Not because history offers “lessons” – how can it since the past can never repeat itself exactly? But because history can contain warnings.”

  15. thetimrieper – several games against the huns were decided on the basis of which school the ref attended.

  16. I would ban all alcohol.during the season,also I cannot believe that Celtic are allowing Forrest to live on takeaways,if true..


    Jimmy McGuinness should be working with the First team squad,not the under 20s,if this is true.


    mighty tim




    12:29 on 12 November, 2012




    Can anyone tell me if we have stopped selling half season books. Was wanting to buy my nephew one for his Christmas but cannot see how to go about it. Took him to his first European game against Barca and he loved it. He is 9 years old and I think his mum would keep it going for him for seasons to come. If we do not do them anymore can someone tell me why.





    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



    Pretty sure they are available. My sister recently asked my niece if she would like one for her Christmas.



    Sadly,said niece had just sat through the Kilmarnock game-in Baltic conditions as well,and clearly learned some new words.



    There were a fair few effs in her reply!



    She’s a work in progress……….



    How you doing anyway,bud?



    Back home early next year-as long as I didn’t blot my copybook too much the last time,would love to meet up again.



    I might even try to get the right pub this time-TBM blames it on the blue taxi………..

  18. mighty tim/tomtheleedstim



    I suppose if they started awarding games for most corners


    won we wouldn`t get any corners.

  19. The Onlooker




    13:21 on 12 November, 2012




    Thanks for that info. Wonder if there is any incentive to any particular network to have the rights to allow the 55000 at the Barcelona game to be able to “talk to the world” before during and after the game.



    I wonder how big an external tweeting audience that would attract? Just musing. :)



    Apparently a phenomenom during the Olympics was the number watching on TV and interacting on tablets. OK audience was vast but whilst maybe not costing in for SPL matches on the wider UEFA stage (plus piggy backing on the CWealth games) it might become a commercial possibility.

  20. Nuclear Bovril and a Half Munched Pie on

    mighty tim



    With a wee bit of luck we will have a few other CL games in the new year you can buy him tickets for



    The onlooker



    Cheers for that technological explanation but you lost me at ‘cell’ :)

  21. I dont know too much about new ideas, but here is an old one, we need to be able to find a way of winning when playing poorly, this is not new we have done it for years, being able to squeeze results from poor performances used to be the usual, now we seem to think its ok to lose probably because we will make it up some other time, all good teams have bad games.


    We are a young team and like most young teams we are fine as long as things are going for us, as soon as it looks difficult we are not so sure how to proceed, this may be “Game Inelligence” or an Auld Heid required but sooner or later we are going to need it, we have shown in the last few domestic games that we are Naive in the extreme.






    13:02 on 12 November, 2012







    Onwards upwards. I can’t wait to go to Lisbon…



    The media salivating at the myth story.. Just threw my paper away on disgust.. This man was there when EVERYTHING was going on.. The MSM will stop at nothing until Sevco PR has been successful..



    At times like these we miss the late great Paul Mc Bride QC..





    ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~



    There may be more to come regarding Smith’s PREVIOUS involvement.

  23. Well, good luck Jim in trying to tell millionaire footballers not to have a drink or a Big Mac. You’ll have your work cut out.



    Now, where’s my lunchtime steak bake?

  24. i cant think of another team in the world who played this weekend after a more mentally and physically exhausting night than wednesday. over achievement isnt possible without going beyond what you are used to giving, every single one of the team must have been drained after the game.



    it doesnt take much of a collective drop in performance in professional sport for differences in talent to be nullified.

  25. On returning from a fortnight away i’m astounded to notice on Sky’s live fixtures that they are covering SevCo’s SC tie at home to Elgin



    Two 4th tier sides facing each other for the 2nd time this season.How on earth is this attractive to a neutral viewer in any way?



    I have long held the belief that Sky are one of SevCo’s main cheerleaders



    That decision confirms it





    Fascinating post,my thanks.



    I have previously remarked that James Forrest has not been the same player since he left home-I just put it down to a young guy being on his own for the first time-and genuinely didnae think the eejit was surviving on the local takeaway.



    Sometimes you despair……….

  27. Afternoon bhoys from a damp but thankfully hun free mountain.



    I just watched the puke parade that took place at the bigot dome on saturday.






    Pay your taxes ffs.

  28. Ten Men Won The League



    Talksport also seem to be their cheerleaders. Today they mentioned


    that 49,000? turned up to see the armed services, not the football.



    If they are so desperate to see the army maybe they should


    enlist and get to see them daily.

  29. Nuke Bovril It looks that way so here’s hoping.


    BMCUW How are you mate all good I hope. Apparently they have stopped them as of this season – strange call if you ask me. I look forward to your next visit back home and having a catch up and a shandy or 2 mate that would be a nice way to start the new year. I am good just busy so tend to lurk more when I should be writing and preparing athlete performance plans. Looking forward to wee Oscars race night on Saturday and catching up with some great CQN’rs.


    4GF I noticed that package maybe settle for that mate. Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday.




  30. old tim a very erudite post have you been abstaining from drink :-) no doubt you will be back on the waggon in Lisbon when


    we take on Benfica



    I do wonder if the celtic players are demotivated when playing against SPL opposition



    As someone pointed out in the aftermath of the heroic effort against Barcelona Celtic also need a gameplan to play against opposition who park the bus



    and our defence needs to stop leaking like a sieve



    me I can’t understand how a team that beat St Johnstone 5-0 in the pouring rain in the league cup 2 weeks ago can struggle to


    muster a sustained amount of attacking play at parkhead on a sunday afternoon



    its allright to put the missing pieces in the jigsaw puzzle


    but i prefer 3 points myself and no defensive lapses



    if the players were knackered (or even hung-over) then the squad should have been freshened up



    is it possible that because Rangers are not in the SPL celtic players think they just need to turn up to win



    complacency seems to be celtics worst enemy lets hope jim mcginness can sort it out



    will the return of Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes improve celtics recent lack of goals

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