Celtic planning now clear as season opens up


There was an unusual reaction at full time last night.  Some attempted to boo, but the applause from the majority in the crowd soon drowned them out.  Not all defeats are the same, this one came after one of our best performances of the season, against an undoubtedly better team.

It was important to qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League.  Bereft of domestic competition, Celtic need to test their abilities against top teams, they need to be stretched, forced to defend for long periods, parts of the game which simply never happen in Scotland.

It’s also important to see tangible signs of improvement.  Those four weeks of summer, which saw defeats twice to Legia, to Maribor and Inverness, were signs of a team in crisis.  They cost us Champions League football, and revenue, but finishing our Europa League group in second place behind Salzburg is the top end of where we expected to be three months ago.

I’m not happy with this morning’s line that we qualified thanks to the result in Romania; we qualified because we collected eight points from our opening four games, including a highly respectable draw in Salzburg.  Win, lose or draw last night, the qualification work had been done.  We can now start planning for the second half of the season.

Those three months since the summer crisis passed with only one defeat, an ultimately costless, if embarrassing, reversal at home to Hamilton.  We can afford a similar episode on the next three months, but not this Sunday.  The visit to Tynecastle is our most important game in the next two months, considerably more so than last night’s.

Commons and Forrest return to full fitness will be closer, while it would be good to see Denayer and Lustig available again.

It was kind of Rangers International to publish their accounts as a pick-me-up for us when we got home last night.  More tomorrow, if we have time.

Shocked and stunned at the news Roy Keane has chucked it at Aston Villa.  No way did I ever see his appointment as assistant to Paul Lambert looking like a pointless distraction so quickly.  Next time we appoint a manager, cut the lines to Barbados and keep Martin’s mobile engaged!

Pre-orders are being accepted for the 2015 CQN Annual, which will be posted week commencing 8 December. Get your orders in now

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  1. There’s an old ex-con that’s been away, now he’s back no-one’s safe – stool pigeon – cha cha cha chaaaa….

  2. dr ramesh and the love potion on

    Nightmare first 30 mins but after that we looked good and should have scored.


    So Salzburg were missing first team players? So were we.


    They were very fast with good touches and showed up our more flat footed players. Anyway, we fought back into the game and it could easily have been a draw.


    After a nightmare start at the club for RD, we are now in Europe after Xmas. Think about that. When was the last time a Celtic manager got that far in Europe in his first season? He has not yet built the team he wants, not got the players he needs or can shape to fit. I’m very pleased for him and for us. Now we have a couple of months to get the team firing on all cylinders in the league. Looking forward to it and the January window.


    Hail hail RD’s Celts!

  3. Davidopoulos @ 11 12 .



    I watched the highlights Highlights indicated 2 things ——— the fans were up for it and the Ref was dire.

  4. winning captains



    Not got mine yet.



    Ordered at the beginning of last week.



    Should I be concerned?

  5. Paul, your article could be termed a Quarterback Sneak, a term used in American football. Tal,king sense as usual.

  6. Paul sneakily posted a new article whilst i was typing this…





    Burning Bush @ 1034,



    “We played badly for 30 minutes, pretty well for an hour and then got caught out at the end. A draw would have been fair but no one said life has to be fair.”



    Sums last night up to a T.



    A few of my mates had a “lively” discussion after the game last night and a couple of them were going ballistic raging at the performance, the result, the club etc. To honest, for me now, i very rarely get really upset at a Celtic defeat. The simple reason being management of Expectation. My expectation levels now are low. The downsizing of the team has led me to this. I believe we are merely mediocre now and therefore have mediocre expectations. In Guidetti I think we have a very good player. Id love to see us hang onto him as he will , again imo, make a difference esp in Europe. The question is: will we manage to sign him? Unfortunately I have my doubts. Hopefully those doubts will be proven to be unfounded.



    I am happy we have qualified for the Last 32 despite the manner of progression. Likewise I am happy we are top of the League and are in the semi final of the League cup. (I would much rather have avoided them as I believe we are in a no win situation with that game).



    Am I happy with how we have played to reach those milestones, not particularly, but as I mentioned previously Im not too downbeat about it either due to my expectation level.



    And that for me is the crux of the matter.



    Should I simply accept that my expectation level is now low and carry on as is, or should I be pissed off that Celtic have been able to manage my expectation to such a mediocre level??? Whether through necessity or media-managed brain washing that we no longer can compete at the highest levels financially or otherwise.






  7. The Token Tim (from last thread). I agree with every word to be honest. I find myself in the odd position of defending Ronny because I don’t think one defeat in nine is grounds for sacking and he seems like a decent bloke. I don’t generally agree with his formations but I’m not even good at Football Manager so what do i know?



    I do know I predicted we would lose last night mainly because I know we’re not very good and RBS are better. Not complicated. In days gone by I would have been contemplating launching the laptop but not with the current state of affairs.



    On the one hand I understand we don’t have the income to fund the playing squad I would like to see (and we know where ignoring that reality can lead) but on the other I’m fed up watching our best players leave and our standards drop. Leads to a certain degree of apathetic acceptance.



    I am also not in the least bit confident about playing Hearts after the shift our players put in last night.

  8. The Battered Bunnet on

    Whatever else you might wish to say about progress in recent months, we’ve been beaten at home in Europe. Again.



    However you package that up, it’s rank.

  9. Philbhoy



    It was a mixture of us playing well and united being very poor that day IMO.



    I’m looking forward to our performance of the season in the Europa Final after we fluke our way there.



    I’m not impressed with the bhoys this season at all, one or 2 players aside.



    And the jury is still out on RD for me at this time. I hope he can improve upon what we have seen so far given a little backing in the tranny windy.



    MWD said AYE

  10. mighty tim supporting wee Oscar on

    Westies our bhoy is at sheriff court today. Press all over it they have been here since before 8 am.










  11. Morning all.



    I feel a bit odd this morning. A bit like the weather: beautiful day down here, by the bye. We were well beaten by a team playing the kind of football our manager wants us playing. If only we can reach their level. Great to watch.



    Imo, we will never attain it with the likes of Mulgrew, Commons and Stokes. I wonder too how committed Van Dijk is. He is the one who disappointed me the most last night. We sorely missed Denayer and Lustig, although I thought Ambrose gave a good account of himself. Broonie and Griffiths gave their all. They epitomised our team. All heart but little craft and movement.



    Still, we need to be playing teams like Salzburg if we are to improve. Hopefully, we will be able to cope with Hearts too.

  12. MWD



    Fair post mate!



    As i said earlier this window could be a watershed moment for Ronny.



    He must know who the duds are and he must get his own signings in.



    Take care.

  13. lawellsaccountant how I wish you would post more often, your incisive knowledge on our team,how they should play and you deadly use of grammar are a joy to behold. H H Hebcelt

  14. After 20 minutes I thought it was the beginning of July again with a very disjointed performance.



    I was trying to see if Stefan Johannsen was on the park when he scored the goal and his arrival not just the goal saw us actually competing, which is what football is all about.



    I thought Griffiths poor first half in efficiency terms but not work rate and only a really good save by the keeper second redeemed him totally.



    I was curious at Tonev coming on but two good chances came as a result of incisive play by him. Our previous star Bulgarian took time to settle so here’s hoping.



    We are still well short of midfield solidity by which I mean too many Red Bull players were picking up the ball in midfield with no Celt near enough to pressure never mind tackle.



    So we still have a way to go but that is the cyclical nature of football and as Paul says we did our hard work away from home ( whilst making hard work of it at home).

  15. The consensus on here is that big Virgil had a poor game last night ( I agree) and that Izzy put in a good shift. (I agree)



    Well I’ve got news for the lot of you!



    I’ve just looked at a copy of today’s Sun and they give Virgil 5 out of 10 and Izzy 4 out of 10!!!



    Were you at the same game???


    Dearie,dearie me!

  16. It is good for Scottish football to have a team in the last 32 of a European competition into 2015.



    Remember that our other Scottish qualifiers Motherwell, St.Johnstone and Aberdeen were all out of the Europa league by 7th August



    Hail Hail

  17. foghorn leghorn



    07:58 on 28 November, 2014



    to all the sad gits who went to supermarkets at midnight



    the fat cat CEOs of these comapanies snap their fingers and you all go running to them like lap dogs



    get a life






    No, get an xbox One for less than 300 quid, thus get a happy child at Xmas, thus get peace, THUS get a life.

  18. Parkheadcumsalford …”Ambrose gave a good account of himself”.



    Thought we weren’t allowed to say that out loud?!


    Covered Virgil’s @r$e on more than one occasion.



    Funny watching most people refuse to give big Efe credit for whatever reason.



    El Mad

  19. Ronny Deila’s midfield system relies on players pinging 20 yard passes about a crowded park with unerring accuracy.

  20. Noo I havnt seen anything of last nights game, but some fholk would appear to be celebrating qualification as some major achievement against 3 teams that come from the very lower echelons of European football. I suspect that if results had gone different elsewhere the majority would not have been so confident of going to Zagreb to qualify. Three humiliating defeats at home in Europe against teams we should be wiping the floor with is how we should be measuring our progress


    As it stands just now Celtic have all the outward appearances of being up there with Ferraris of European football while underneath the bonnet we have all the qualities of of an old Mark 2 Cortina engine, prone to coughing and spluttering and eventually breaking down,only to let the apprentices loose on it with some borrowed spare parts and expect it to function at peak Ferrari performance

  21. The Battered Bunnet @ 11 29 .



    Rubber Biscuit ——–The Chips ( Josie 7 ” ) .



    One of the vocalists ended up in the O Jays . .



    The single significantly increased in value when The Blues Brothers covered it .I cashed in.

  22. Paul67



    What on earth are you thinking of?!



    You are at least an hour early in posting a new article.



    Going Xmas shopping this afternoon?




  23. Europa League opponents in the Round of 32 and of 16 draws



    We will find out our opponents on 15 December in Nyon



    There will be two pots for the round of 32 draw: the 12 group winners and the four best third-ranked teams in the UEFA Champions League group stage are seeded. They will be drawn against the 12 group runners-up and the remaining third-placed UEFA Champions League sides. No team can play a club from their group or a side from the same association.



    The group-winners and the four best third-ranked in the Champions League group stage play the return leg at home. Games will be played on 19 and 26 February.



    (So we will play our home leg on Thursday 19th Feb)



    The draw for the round of 16 follows and there are no seeded sides. The 16 balls containing slips of paper representing ‘Winners of match 1’ to ‘Winners of match 16’ are placed in one bowl and shuffled. The first team drawn are to play their first match at home against the second team drawn; the same procedure is then repeated for the other matches. There are no restrictions on the round of 16 draw. Ties are on 12 and 19 March.



    Road to Warsaw


    Quarter-finals: Draw 20 March, matches 2 & 9 April


    Semi-finals: Draw 25 April, matches 7 & 14 May


    Final: Wednesday 27 May, National Stadium, Warsaw

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