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Celtic v Livingston, Live updates

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  1. I have no scooby what the problem is, but we are banking the points, that’s the overriding factor.

     

    Will we click, who knows, we can only guess, a bit like out manager is doing just now, there is no cohesive anything about the team, the defence is all over the place, hopefully in time it sorts itself out, he has no clue as to what our best midfield is, games are won and lost there and we are getting the points cos we have the better players, that’s the bottom line here, as has been show in Europe, any manager with a smigin of tactical awareness is taking us to the cleaners with teams that can only dream of our budget, I know that on occasion smaller teams will bet the bigger teams, but we have a habit of blowing it against them.

     

    I love Lenny the man, but I am in the not as our manager camp, it’s our better players that are doing the biz for us just now against domestic dare I say it, crap.

     

    Delighted with the three points as ever, but FFS we are so much better than we are showing, or should be.

  2. A stupid penalty and a wonder strike by a player who should not have been on the field, made this a nervy day & a worried grumpy blog.

     

    We had 78% possession, scored 3 good goals & dominated game,

     

    We were kicked with abandon & got nothing from a poor referee,

     

    Thank God we still won the game.

     

    That is not said to cover up our very apparent deficiencies, We do have problems but we can and I believe will sort it out & go on to win 10 in a row.

     

    Off to Mass now, Thanks for the chat.

     

    Say what you feel but let your love of Celtic shine through, regardless.

  3. For those that are satisfied with our teams performances then you have it . For the rest of us who are wanting better , no a lot better than what we’re getting from the team, then we can only hope .

  4. the defence is all over the place, hopefully in time it sorts itself out,

     

     

    imo the defence needs properly coached as I also feel that Lenny has the same belief that it will sort itself out, dearie dearie.

  5. did anyone notice the linesman when Taylor was trying to take a throw in – he wouldn’t get out of his way – Taylor had to shout at him to move back which to slowly and reluctantly did. if that was me I would have been right in his face or I would have ran into him trying to take the throw in. Thought officials were rank today with all 50-50’s going their way.

     

     

    I have been giving Taylor a hard time recently but always respect his efforts – he has a great left foot and is probably playing to instructions. Don’t try to take your man on, rather pass inside to mcgregor or striker. Thats fine but its predictable. I think he struggles defensively and not in the mould of left back celtic need.

     

     

    He played with heart today and played on despite taking a knock – ok to have as back up but I don’t see where he can improve.

  6. The Exiled Tim:-18:41 Hours On The 19th of September 2020.

     

    I have no scooby what the problem is, but we are banking the points, that’s the overriding factor.

     

    Will we click, who knows, we can only guess, a bit like out manager is doing just now, there is no cohesive anything about the team, the defence is all over the place, hopefully in time it sorts itself out, he has no clue as to what our best midfield is, games are won and lost there and we are getting the points cos we have the better players, that’s the bottom line here, as has been show in Europe, any manager with a smigin of tactical awareness is taking us to the cleaners with teams that can only dream of our budget, I know that on occasion smaller teams will bet the bigger teams, but we have a habit of blowing it against them.

     

    I love Lenny the man, but I am in the not as our manager camp, it’s our better players that are doing the biz for us just now against domestic dare I say it, crap.

     

    Delighted with the three points as ever, but FFS we are so much better than we are showing, or should be.

     

     

    You are damn tooting The Exile Tim.

  7. Very last word from me, JimTim I think we can all honestly say no one, no one at all is satisfied with the team’s performances.

     

    However we all express our concerns in a different manner.

  8. the lions had good players and a good manager, the seville team had good players and a good manager, the present celtic team have good players and hopefully a good manager, the jury is still out.

  9. Easy the Tic.

     

     

    Brilliant 3 points.

     

     

    Hanging on against Livvy at home, well done Lenny. 1 up front or 2 up front no one knows.

     

    What formation was it?

     

    3 points anyway.

     

     

    Let’s see what team, firmation Lenny plays on Thursday.

     

     

    Top of the league mama

     

     

    HH

     

     

    D :)

  10. TEBHOY on 19TH SEPTEMBER 2020 6:48 PM

     

    ‘did anyone notice the linesman when Taylor was trying to take a throw in – he wouldn’t get out of his way – Taylor had to shout at him to move back which to slowly and reluctantly did.’

     

     

    ###

     

     

    And a few seconds later Livi had a throw in which they took more or less where they wanted without a word from the linesman.

  11. STEBHOY on 19TH SEPTEMBER 2020 6:48 PM

     

    did anyone notice the linesman when Taylor was trying to take a throw in – he wouldn’t get out of his way – Taylor had to shout at him to move back which to slowly and reluctantly did. if that was me I would have been right in his face or I would have ran into him trying to take the throw in. Thought officials were rank today with all 50-50’s going their way.

     

    I have been giving Taylor a hard time recently but always respect his efforts – he has a great left foot and is probably playing to instructions. Don’t try to take your man on, rather pass inside to mcgregor or striker. Thats fine but its predictable. I think he struggles defensively and not in the mould of left back celtic need.

     

    He played with heart today and played on despite taking a knock – ok to have as back up but I don’t see where he can improve.

     

     

    Stebhoy, you are damn tooting about the so called match officials today, cheating B’s. Did you also notice said cheating numpty Linesman waiting to see what the Ref would award before putting his Flag Up. This will be the normal procedure this Season, while those cheating B’s try to stop us doing 10IAR.

     

    As for Greg Taylor, no one can fault the young Bhoy, for the effort he puts into matches. He would be better utilised playing GT in another position on the field of play. That is why it’s important, that we really need propper & effective cover, in the leftback position of our team, & squad of players, not makeshifts.

  12. garygillespieshamstring on

    Tin hat time

     

     

    I thought Greg Taylor had a decent game today and put in an excellent cross for the second goal.

  13. RC

     

    So I am ejit for thinking and hoping that the defence will sort itself out, cos like you I have no faith that our coaches will sort it.

     

    I do believe that they {the players} will despite our defensive coaching frailties.

     

    What do you suggest ?

     

    Cos a new manager with any tactical nous is out of the question, Lenny is going nowhere soon IMO.

     

    HH

     

    ………………………………………

     

    AK

     

    HH

  14. GARYGILLESPIESHAMSTRING on 19TH SEPTEMBER 2020 7:06 PM

     

    Tin hat time

     

    I thought Greg Taylor had a decent game today and put in an excellent cross for the second goal.

     

     

    You are right, GartGillespiesHamstring, he played a lot better today, than how he played last

     

    Wednesday. However GT is not a natural Leftback, & he is also too short/small to be an effective

     

    Leftback, especially on Set Pieces, where opposition Teams will exploit that fact. GT would be

     

    better utilised, playing him on the leftside of Midfield, going forward, taking on a man to create

     

    some space, & picking out good crosses which he can do, when he puts his mind to said task.

  15. Caution – a long post. It’s from a subscription site, so can’t post the link. This is the full interview of Dermot Desmond by The Athletic, in which he discusses the team playing out of Govan, and opines that the team we watched today would beat the Seville team of Larsson, Sutton et al.

     

     

    Softly-spoken, sometimes smiling and sometimes serious, Dermot Desmond’s conversation ranges from him selling programmes as a boy in Dublin in the 1950s to Celtic’s match last Saturday at Ross County. He speaks of seeing Atletico Madrid in 1958 and Celtic’s League Cup final win over Rangers last December. In between, there are mentions for Guus Hiddink, Alex Ferguson and Mr Micawber, as well as 21st century Celtic figures such as Martin O’Neill, Henrik Larsson, Brendan Rodgers and Neil Lennon. Most of all, there is the here and now.

     

     

    Desmond, 70, has been Celtic’s principal shareholder for more than two decades. He is an Irish businessman of expansive wealth and prudent practice. The latter sees him quoting Charles Dickens, and Desmond’s economic worldview is unlikely to be relaxed by a global pandemic.

     

     

    Asked to assess the state of Scottish football in September 2020 in three words, Desmond replies with: “Experimental. Fearful. Devastating.” His tone, however, is not nervous. Panic is a non-strategy he has long tried to avoid.

     

     

    “Experimental, I’d say — like all other leagues without fans,” Desmond begins. “Fearful – for all the clubs. They don’t know what the financial consequences will be. Without the ancillary income from fans attending, stadium income, that has an adverse effect, especially in Scotland because there is no major TV royalties. And third, I’d say devastating – for national organisations that run the various leagues etc, the SFA, the SPFL. It’s a really tough time.”

     

     

    And before the pandemic?

     

     

    Desmond speaks publicly rarely, but in the past he has been vocal on the finances of Scottish football, where one or the other of the two Glasgow giants have been champions every season since 1985. He has also pushed for Celtic and Rangers to join English and Welsh clubs to create a British Premier League.

     

     

    “In Scotland, the reality is you’ve got two behemoths in Rangers and Celtic and they’ve got budgets because of their support base that outstrip all the other competition,” he says. “And there’s no way of equalising that, you can’t equalise it. So, therefore, you have this rivalry between Celtic and Rangers.

     

     

    “It’s the financial situation. Look at all the countries in Europe now who can attract players and pay them as well if not better than Scottish clubs, that’s just the economic reality. I’ve got huge admiration for Scottish clubs and how they survive, how ingenious and creative they are at balancing their budgets, they’ve produced some great footballers and when you’ve got limited budgets in a competitive landscape, it’s very hard to compete with the budgets of Celtic and Rangers. Pound for pound, some of them outperform the budgets of Celtic and Rangers, no doubt about that.”

     

     

     

     

    It has been some time since the concept of Celtic and Rangers playing in England has been mooted seriously and in 2020 Desmond is not in campaign mode. Realistically, is that idea over?

     

     

    “I don’t know if it’s over,” he says. “Everything now is about the size of clubs and their followings. It’s become a digital world – streaming, Zoom. This pandemic has changed things.

     

     

    “Now, what are we going to see with football? Will we see clubs sell their own international rights, take more control of their finances internationally? If that’s the case, because you know the top clubs in England want to control their international rights, those rights will be far more valuable if they’re playing against Celtic and Rangers.

     

     

    “Celtic and Rangers are in the top eight clubs in Great Britain by any metric – support, attendance, international appeal. At some stage, there’s going to be the realisation that if they want to maximise their revenues, then there’ll be a British Premier League. And there should be a British Premier League, because you already have a couple of Welsh teams in the English leagues. So why not?

     

     

    “As we get more digitally advanced and as clubs take more control of their revenue streams — particularly broadcasting revenues — that will create more potential for Celtic and Rangers, and maybe some other Scottish clubs, to be invited into British leagues.”

     

     

    Is this a conversation he is having with relevant parties?

     

     

    “I’m having no conversations, no. I had all the conversations throughout the years – turkeys aren’t going to vote for Christmas. But digital forces will, I think, make English clubs reconsider the construction of their leagues.”

     

     

    So the status quo endures. Celtic are Scottish champions and have been for the past nine seasons. Make it 10 and they will have set a record. Ten in a row may not excite many outside the Glasgow bubble, but from within, it is top of the domestic agenda.

     

     

    When Scottish clubs lose in Europe, though, as Celtic did to Ferencvaros last month in a Champions League qualifier, there is, even within Glasgow, distress at the external reputational damage. Desmond is calm even when returning to that disappointment, although he does sound slightly exasperated when asked whether he is motivated more by Europe or 10 in a row.

     

     

    “Every year since I have had somewhat of an influence within the club, the ambition is to improve in every metric, full stop,” he says. “We want to win the league, the cups, succeed in Europe. We want to entertain better, we want the club to carry out its functions in a highly professional way in every single department. That’s the strategy and ambition of the board.

     

     

    “So whether it’s 10 in a row or six in a row or two in a row, what we want to do is to improve. We want to improve our methodology in every operating department.

     

     

    “If, in 2000, you’d said Celtic will have won 15 leagues and 20-odd trophies and we’ve had the ‘Invincibles’ and the Treble and you say to the fans, ‘Is that enough?’ Their reply would definitely be no.

     

     

    “It’s never enough, and 10 in a row won’t be enough. So these are all mythical things to me. It’s nice. It’s nice to set a record, but the ambition is to perform to your utmost and, at the end of the season, give yourself a mark.

     

     

    “You can win a league or win a cup and you say to yourself, ‘Yes, it’s great.’ But we won the League Cup last year and Rangers played better than us in the final – it’s gone the other way plenty of times, by the way. So it was a bit bittersweet in the sense we stole it.

     

     

    “What we had to look at was why we underperformed and it was the same when they beat us at Celtic Park. How did that happen and what can we learn from it at all levels: the players, management, the board? That’s what’s so good at Celtic, we’re unified, we don’t have recriminations, we’re not here to fire somebody or blame someone, we take collective responsibility.”

     

     

    Celtic as a club are seeking answers to what Desmond thinks is a question about mentality more than talent.

     

     

    “Europe is so important,” he says, “as a yardstick of our football progression. On a sporting level, I think the Celtic team we have now is as good as at any time in the last 25 years, no doubt, and that’s even without a player like Henrik Larsson. If you asked me if the Celtic team today would beat the one that reached (the 2003 UEFA Cup final in) Seville, I’d say, ‘Yes’.”

     

     

    The Athletic suggests then-manager Martin O’Neill might not agree with that view. Desmond responds, laughing: “Martin would disagree with anything that disagrees with him. Martin would tell you that without Larsson or Chris Sutton or Lennon, the rest were rubbish. So I’ve got eight against three.

     

     

    “So I don’t think the quality of football has deteriorated. What we’ve got to learn is to cope with the pressure of playing in Europe. That’s what I’d say and I think that’s a psychological thing rather than a competitive thing. If you talk about the matches we lost in the past couple of years in the Champions League, they were lost despite us dominating possession, or whatever other measure you want to use – except goalscoring.

     

     

    “And that is something I think is more of a psychological blockage than our football capability. That is something management have recognised and we will do something about it.”

     

     

    How will Celtic do that?

     

     

    “We will address it by asking what the fear factor is in Europe. We will learn how to get over the fear of failure by bringing in experts to help us.”

     

     

    But when Celtic were progressive in Europe, surely there was pressure? Is it not to do with talent?

     

     

    “Well, it has to do with talent; you also need a bit of luck – when we got to Seville that year, we had some lucky results. I attended all those matches, home and away, and we had luck at times.

     

     

    “And you need belief. We had people who were extremely confident – Henrik, Chris Sutton, Neil Lennon were confident. They were leaders. Martin could instil confidence in people who shouldn’t be confident, had no right to be confident. He was magical at that.

     

     

     

     

    “Gordon (Strachan) did a great job. Look at the players he had. When we narrowly went out, 1-0 against AC Milan (the eventual winners, in the 2006-07 Champions League last 16 after extra time), you look at the centre-backs. I think Darren O’Dea played that night. Gordon was a motivator, a tactician, a strategist, as was Martin. But, again, I’d say we have a better squad now than then. Much better.”

     

     

    If so, how does that explain the Ferencvaros result?

     

     

    “I know their manager, Serhiy Rebrov, said we were the best footballing team they’d played in the last couple of years. He said he would not like to play us again. Andriy Shevchenko relayed his opinion to me.

     

     

    “Their counter-attack was the difference. That happens. It’s not down to Lenny (now-manager Lennon). Brendan (Rodgers) had the same difficulty. He had the atmospheric pressure of the fans, their anxiety, their requirement for us to progress in Europe and it can be a burden on players. Their feeling does move onto the pitch, that angst. But we’ve to face it, recognise it and do something about it.

     

     

    “I don’t think personnel is the issue. The (Celtic) personnel were better than the opposition. I think it is inexperience and a fear factor, a fear of failure, and we’ve got to do something about it. Sometimes, whether you’re a tennis player, a golfer, a footballer, there are mental blockages and what we’ve to do is find a route around them.”

     

     

    There was disquiet among Celtic’s support at the Ferencvaros exit. Lennon is an authentic Celtic hero but he does not enjoy the coaching prestige Rodgers had during his near three years at Parkhead. Lennon had preceded Rodgers as manager – with Ronny Deila in between the two – before going back to the club when Rodgers left for Leicester City. Desmond heard strong opinions on Lennon’s return.

     

     

    “I know when we appointed Lenny there were Rangers fans who thought we were handing them the league, but we felt that he had done an extremely good job at Hibs and he was a Celtic man true and true. I have quite a few Rangers friends in business, all very nice people who subscribed to the former viewpoint. However, I did have a wager with a few of them, so I owe Lenny a night out.

     

     

    “You underestimate Lenny at your peril. He’s a very intelligent individual, he’s got great awareness and integrity. As far as analysis is concerned, he doesn’t shy away from performances. I’d a discussion yesterday with him about winning 5-0 at Ross County. As a headline, 5-0 looks great, but it was terrible, it flattered us completely. Ross County hit the post twice, they held the ball for long periods and had many shots. We should have won but 2-1, not 5-0.

     

     

    “Lenny is up for that, he’d give you that same analysis. That’s what I like about him, he’s not camouflaging underperformance. When we’re succeeding, he’s looking where it came from and it’s the same with poor performances. He wants to play entertaining, attacking football, and, like Brendan, it’s possession football. It’s about being able to consistently deliver that Celtic brand of football.”

     

     

    Desmond and Lennon’s Ross County chat reveals a level of daily engagement from the former that will surprise a few in Scotland.

     

     

    Rodgers’ departure for Leicester 18 months ago provoked outrage among a fanbase he had wooed and wowed. The general feeling was that Rodgers had taken Celtic up a level and that he would lead them to 10 in a row. There was shock and bitterness when Leicester seemed to be more attractive. It was a moment of rupture for the club, but Desmond says Celtic were ready for it.

     

     

    “What the fans saw was a Celtic man coming to Parkhead. Brendan brought in his team, a system of playing and the players responded to him. As an ex-Liverpool manager he had gravitas, status. He also had the detail – ‘This is how we want to play’ – which the players took on board. He did a fantastic job and was highly professional in his approach to everything.

     

     

    “He was approached the previous summer with an unbelievable offer from China. I mean, financially transformational for him. He told me about it. We talked it through and it didn’t come to pass for various reasons. But I knew then that it was always likely he was going to go, because he was undoubtedly going to be offered a more lucrative contract in the future.

     

     

    “It should be stated that no Celtic player or manager ever earned as much as Brendan Rodgers. He was a quality individual who did a quality job.

     

     

    “So we had prepared ourselves. We knew it was only a matter of time before clubs would make an offer because he is the commodity every club needs — a first-class manager.

     

     

    “Lenny was always on our radar. Lenny has been a work in progress for us. He’s been that person we have kind-of tutored and he’s learned along the way. The advice we gave him he’s now realised was good advice, and he’s matured and everybody’s allowed to make mistakes. None of them were fatal.

     

     

    “So we took him back in even though some of the fans thought it was a retrograde step. But you learn more from mistakes, it can change your personality, your modus operandi. We saw that with Lenny and he has repaid our belief in him.”

     

     

    Desmond first became involved in Celtic, as a non-executive director, in 1995. Tommy Burns was the manager and Rangers were rampant – they were seven titles into their own nine-in-a-row league championships. Celtic were very much Glasgow’s poor relations.

     

     

    “What happened in ’95 was that someone approached me saying Celtic were raising money, that the club was on the verge of going bankrupt,” Desmond explains. “Fergus McCann was raising £4 million to develop the squad and the ground.

     

     

    “I looked at the numbers and I said, ‘It’s too little, they need more than that.’ I said they needed £8 million and I would put in the additional £4 million. That’s what I did. That’s how I got involved.

     

     

    “No matter what company it is, they never raise enough money; because everyone is an optimist, including myself. We raised the money and then we did another issue around 2000. As I’ve said many times, our whole objective is to invest intellectual capital rather than financial capital. That’s why we’ve had really strong board members over the years, unbelievably strong management under our outstanding chief executive, Peter Lawwell, and we prudently manage our finances.

     

     

    “We’ve adopted Mr Micawber economics, you know the one. Annual income: twenty pounds, annual expenditure: nineteen, nineteen and six, result: happiness. Annual income: twenty pounds, annual expenditure: twenty pounds ought and six, result: misery.’

     

     

    “Going back to that period, the club was shell-shocked. It hadn’t performed well on the field, it was falling asunder financially. Fergus did a great job resurrecting the club from the ashes, without going into administration, putting his own money in He was wise, a canny Scotsman, he got out with a profit and not many do that in a Scottish football club. I don’t know if anyone has ever done it.”

     

     

    Across at Ibrox, Micawberism would have been mocked openly. Rangers’ owner David Murray had the opposite attitude, as Desmond recalls: “When I got involved, David Murray had said that for every five pounds Celtic spent, Rangers would spend 10.”

     

     

    That had long-term issues for Rangers and would eventually lead to administration and their drop from Scotland’s top flight in 2012. Two cup ties aside, Rangers were out of Celtic’s sporting life for four years. Did Desmond miss them?

     

     

    Laughing, he replies: “I missed them in an anxiety sense. If we’ve an Old Firm match, they ruin the three or four days before it, the morning of the match and it would have consequences for the next few days if we lost. I missed that anxiety.”

     

     

    He is adamant “we’re not competing with Rangers, we’re competing with ourselves”, but adds: “To be absolutely honest about it, Rangers make Celtic better. Competition makes you better. They’re there, they’ve a very good manager in Steven Gerrard, they’ve a good team. We have our work cut out to beat them.”

     

     

    The two clubs define each other. When pondering the highs and lows of the last 25 years, Desmond immediately mentions two Old Firm games – the first two of the O’Neill era from 2000, the 6-2 home win in the August and the 5-1 away defeat three months later.

     

     

    “The 6-2, definitely,” he says. “The other side of it was the 5-1, when (Tore Andre) Flo scored. Another low point was Martin’s last league match, at Motherwell (a 2-1 defeat in May 2005). That was the lowest point. We lost the league there.”

     

     

    O’Neill had been a landmark appointment in June 2000. Rangers had just won their 11th title in 12 years, with Celtic finishing 21 points adrift. The decision to bring Kenny Dalglish back to Parkhead, with John Barnes alongside, had not worked. Celtic’s board, thinking what to do next, had contacted Guus Hiddink. Then Desmond stepped in.

     

     

    “In 2000, they were going to appoint Hiddink – after Barnes and Dalglish,” Desmond says. “The existing management were going to do that. I said, ‘If I am to be involved in the recruitment of a manager I want to meet him and look into his eyes.’

     

     

    “I told (directors) Pat Sheehy and Brian Quinn that I was going to Seville to meet Hiddink (then at Real Betis) and would they come along because I valued their opinion. On the day we met, there was a lawyer in Switzerland ready to sign the Hiddink contract.

     

     

    “When we met it was obvious to me that Hiddink didn’t have the requisite passion for the Celtic job. Both Pat and Brian agreed. On our return, it was decided that we would reorganise the board and management and we appointed Brian Quinn as chairman and subsequently headhunted Peter Lawwell. I took on the responsibility of looking for a new manager.

     

     

    “I had asked Alex Ferguson to be manager of Celtic around 1997 and I offered to pay the money myself, twice the salary he was on at Manchester United. He said he would like to consider it, even though he had a Rangers background. He said, ‘I’d like to do it, to follow in the footsteps of Jock Stein,’ but he said his overriding ambition was to win the Champions League with Manchester United. In fact, my good friend JP McManus and I were his guests at the (1999) final in Barcelona, where he fulfilled his dream.

     

     

    “In 2000, I went back and asked him if he was to pick his replacement at that time who would it be. He said there were three people: Dave O’Leary, Alan Curbishley and Martin O’Neill. I said the one I’m interested in is Martin O’Neill.

     

     

    “I had previously asked a prominent broadcaster if Martin (then managing Leicester in the Premier League) would be interested in the job and I got a response in the negative. I then asked Alex if he would speak with Martin, to see if he would meet with me, and the response was that he would be very interested in meeting. So I met Martin for dinner and we got on very well. I introduced him to Pat and Brian and they also felt he was a remarkable individual, so we hired Martin.”

     

     

    In his first season, O’Neill turned that 21-point deficit of 1999-2000 into a 15-point title-winning margin. Celtic were rejuvenated. In 2003 they reached that UEFA Cup final in Seville against Jose Mourinho’s Porto and there would be other famous European nights such as the victory over Barcelona in 2012.

     

     

    What next? What is Desmond’s Celtic vision for 2025?

     

     

    “I’d like to be able to say that in five years’ time our team is better than any of the great teams that were led by Martin, Gordon, Brendan and Lenny.”

     

     

    Celtic are not the only team in green and white Desmond has an interest in.

     

     

    Last October he was invited to invest in Dublin club Shamrock Rovers. It was a club he watched as a boy (selling match programmes) in the late 1950s and 1960s when Rovers would pack out their Milltown ground. He also saw another Dublin side, Drumcondra, face Atletico Madrid in the 1958 European Cup’s qualifiers.

     

     

    “It appealed to me to invest in the club because after they went into a major decline, they were rescued by their supporters,” he says of Shamrock Rovers. “They built a whole new model: stadium, new training ground, under-age teams, developing a youth policy. They are trying to keep their young players at home and allow them to finish their education. I like that a lot. They’ve a very good young chief executive in there called Brendan Murray, who really impressed me. I decided to invest on certain terms.

     

     

    “And they’ve the same jersey as Celtic, so no confusion. With Brexit, it could be good if Rovers develop some young players. We could trial them and vice versa, we could conversely send some of our players on loan. Co-operation, nothing formal.”

     

     

    Rovers are ambitious, sit eight points clear at the top of the League of Ireland at mid-season and last night hosted AC Milan in a Europa League qualifier, losing 2-0.

     

     

    But, as with Scotland, Irish domestic football faces challenges sporting and economic. Desmond likes the All-Island League idea proposed by businessman Kieran Lucid It would bring clubs from both sides of the Irish border into one competition. But it has opponents on and off the pitch.

     

     

    “If the structure is on an all-island basis, we could progress,” Desmond says of Irish football. “We have to look at the size of the island and replicate the rugby model. They have provinces and clubs, north and south, and they face each other on a weekly basis. While there are political and cultural differences, they are unified in developing the sport of rugby on the island of Ireland. I’d like to see that happening (in football).

     

     

    “I’d like to see an all-island soccer team and then players wouldn’t have to pick allegiance and so on. We’d have something we could unify around. Is a Unionist any less of a Unionist because he supports an all-Ireland rugby team? I don’t think so. Is a Republican going to be less of a Republican because he supports an all-Ireland soccer team with Unionists playing on it? I don’t think so.”

     

     

    He sees this in the context of a changing Ireland and a changing world and change isn’t stopping. Nor is Desmond.

     

     

    “We have had an influx of people from all over. When I grew up, you saw no one from Europe or South America or Africa. Now we’ve a whole village of Brazilians in Ireland, Nigerians, Romanians, etc; we’re a confluence of nationalities. They have all got their culture and histories and we learnt to embrace these differences.

     

     

    “Change happens because of leadership. The powers that be on both sides can make this happen. It is in everybody’s interest to make the island of Ireland a more competitive soccer force.”

  16. RobertTressell @ 19:20 Hours On The 20th of September 2020.

     

    Maybe a better left back would make us more effective at 4-4-2?

     

     

    Yeah Robert, two solid & tall left-back’s, who take no prisoners, & have a no-nonsense

     

    approach, in their play.

  17. So I am ejit for thinking and hoping that the defence will sort itself

     

     

    you’re no ejit, I think this will be Lenny’s last season with 1 or 2 others.

     

     

    HH

  18. As far as I can see we have the perfect player pool to play 3-5-2

     

    That would mean on MOST occasions dropping favourite players…but….heyho…what do I know? Let’s play one striker against a bottom of the league team….hoorah

  19. Crying out for a left wingback

     

     

    Brown’s legacy have gone, ot happens and he need to sit it out more often.

     

     

    HH

  20. …and never forget…..if you’re a Celtic fan you may never EVER question your manager, his tactics, his formation or indeed the performance of his players…

  21. Old school

     

    Build a TEAM around the most effective SPINE of your team..

     

    Spine

     

    Barkas

     

    Duffy

     

    McGregor

     

    Edouard

     

     

    Around that

     

    Julienne

     

    Ajmer

     

    Turnbull

     

    Frimpong

     

    Ntcham

     

    Elouynisi

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