Celtic’s fitness deficit


With a little over two weeks until the league campaign is underway and, more importantly, five weeks until Champions League qualification starts, Celtic’s three games in France in the coming week take on an importance beyond results.

Many of the teams we could face in the early qualification rounds have been back playing football for a month and will be at peak fitness for the European qualifiers.  Celtic normally face this fitness deficit in the qualifiers only against Scandinavian opposition but there is a high probability we will face teams five weeks ahead of Celtic in match fitness.

This autumn, European football will split into the haves and the have nots.  Celtic could be a team in the Champions League, picking up talent at a price not seen for a decade, or we could lose more money than at any time in our history.  Champions League qualification is up there alongside winning the league as the most important objective for the club, even this season, when 10 is on the horizon.

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  1. EX-PAT



    I have no idea of SOT’s family name, but he lived along the south coast of Sicily, seemed fairly rural from his frequent descriptions. It must have been the very south (south east?) as that is the only part which is, in terms of latitude, actually south of the city of Tunis.

  2. Having a look at the squad’s contracts I am a little worried about what happens AFTER the 10.



    If we win the 10, there will be a sense of something momentous having been achieved. Many of the players will probably be thinking “What next?”



    If we somehow lose this season there will be an unbelievable amount of negativity surrounding the club that players will want to escape.



    Contract Expiry



    2021: Elyounoussi, Brown



    2022: Ajer, Ntcham, Hendry, Ralston, Christie, Edouard, Griffiths, Bayo, Afolabi



    2023: Bain, Jullien, Elhamed, Bolingoli, Taylor, Frimpong, Bitton, Connell, Forrest, Rogic, Shved



    2024: Soro, McGregor, Klimala



    2025: Johnston



    Celtic’s priority is obviously new contracts for the key players in 2022. Ajer, Ntcham, Edouard and Christie will all be approached.



    But after we decide what happens with those guys one way or another, there is a hell of a job to do with the players who’s contracts expire in 2023. In particular Frimpong and Jullien.


    There’s also questions surrounding some of our more experienced players. Will Rogic, Brown, Griffiths or Forrest play for Celtic beyond their current contracts?

  3. Timaloy29



    I think our core in the next few years will be serial winners in Brown, Calmac, James, Christie, Forster, Mikey, Griff and maybe a few others who fall in love with the club. Many will churn and many will earn us some bucks as we “buy low, sell high”….good players will emerge from the academy and the world will keep turning.



    I think we’ll be ok.

  4. My wife has managed 30 IAR, believe me guys her being with me for 30 years, I know who has won the watch in this house.😁



    D :)

  5. DAVID66 on 14TH JULY 2020 2:20 PM


    30 years married today boys







    D :)






    congrats, and a timely reminder for me, my anniversary tomorrow, 23 years already. Petrol station flowers this time I think.

  6. BIG WAVY on 14TH JULY 2020 2:37 PM



    Scott Brown is 35. I think this will be his last season.



    The hope is, that some of the bit-part players like Bayo, Taylor, Soro, Klimala, or even Shved will make a name for themselves given a chance.



    Maybe a couple like Christie and Frimpong will sign new deals.



    Add to that some young players like Hickey and Turnbull



    But we’re not as comfortable as we were 3 or 4 years ago. There is a hell of a lot of work to be done with succession planning.

  7. Sorry Paul,



    It has to be the 10. Don’t get me wrong, if we get into the Champions League as well, that will be fantastic and I’ll be whooping it up with the rest of you but it is not up there with the 10.



    If we don’t get into the Champions League this season, I’m sure we will in at least one of the next few seasons. I will never see Celtic win 10-in-a-row again. I won’t live long enough for one thing!



    This season it has to be the 10. Everything else comes second. Everything.

  8. Timaloy29 – 2016 opening day team. Kinda plays out my point. Core team and a bunch of transient – some stellar and some forgettable.



    Gordon – GONE


    Tierney – GONE


    O’Connell – GONE


    Touré – GONE


    Lustig – GONE


    McGregor – NEXT CAPTAIN


    Armstrong – GONE


    Brown – FUTURE COACH




    Griffiths – STICK


    Dembele – GONE




    Izaguirre, Ciftci, Sinclair, Janko, Johansen & Fasan – GONE


    Rogic – STICK

  9. David66 congrats on 30 years of married bliss!



    For the beer garden Bhoys on Friday:



    50% chance of rain so hopefully fully covered area!

  10. I am absolutely not bothered about qualification from the Champions League and got much moire enjoyment from this season’s Europa League campaign. Loadsamoney and a handful of hammerings versus Stilldecentmoney and a competitive group.


    I am however extremely bothered about securing our 10th league title in a row. For this season only that’s pretty much all that matters.


    Back to workin and lurkin…

  11. BIG WAVY on 14TH JULY 2020 2:53 PM



    I don’t think it’s worthwhile to hold up a lineup from 4 years ago and point out the differences.



    Look at that squad you posted for opening day 2016. 1 year later 10 of them featured on opening day 2017. To me, that’s the sign of a well managed successful squad.



    I think the point is, you need to have succession planning BECAUSE people will move on. Moussa Dembele was always destined for bigger things. So you have to have a clear idea of what happens next.



    We have a group of key players that are on the back 9 of their contracts already: Christie, Ntcham, Ajer & Edouard. Of that group, I’m only confident of securing Christie over 12 months.



    Scott Brown and Elyounoussi will need replaced one way or another as well.



    Our squad (plus another Goalkeeper) should be able to handle the 20/21 season as long as we don’t sell.



    I don’t think the squad is well placed for the 21/22 season. That can of course change. Edouard and Christie could sign new contracts tomorrow. We could sign 10 players before the window closes.



    But it doesn’t change the fact that there is a massive job on Celtic’s hands.

  12. DD and BIG JIMMY



    Re The Albion club in Yoker . My uncle and Aunt has a house in Hawick street. And during the school holidays I’d be sent down to live with them for a week or two to give my dad a break ( my mum died when I was 11) my three cousins were so good to me 2 older and one younger , and remember walking past the Albion club I would be 12 or13 and the bowling green right behind their house.The only problem I had was I couldn’t sleep at night because of the noise of the Aeroplanes🤣. Young bhoys happy memories HH

  13. JOBO BALDIE on 14TH JULY 2020 3:02 PM



    I agree with you about last season. But considering the impact of Covid, I’d be willing to take our lumps in the CL and secure our financial standing!

  14. DAVID66



    Congratulations on your wedding Anniversary. Have a good day out with big jimmy and BRRB.HH

  15. bigrailroadblues on

    Big Jimmy, apparently I look like Redford? More like a hungover Captain Redbeard. 😂😂

  16. We all want Celtic to go as farms possible in every competition we enter, but this year the overwhelming view is to nail the ten. Who am I to argue?


    On recruitment, I’m told we need this, that and the next either replaced or covered. The recently departed Damien Duff said thar the talent in the development squad is awesome and we should be confident looking forward. I suggest he would know better than all of us. I noticed that a few youngsters were awarded improved contracts to fend off bids from EPL clubs. Let’s hope Damien is right.


    My stomach is tingling at the thought of 10IAR.

  17. We are in the pub on Friday afternoon, beer garden cancelled.



    Pappajoe – my grannie had a house at the corner of Hawick street at Halley street, she brought up my dad his 8 brothers and 3 sisters there and when my dad married my mum and had a house in Kirkton Ave we would always walk down Halley street by the club and football parks.



    I would kick a ball all day off the red shutters in the industrial estate on Halley street.



    D :)

  18. Timaloy29,



    All about opinions but I think you’re unduly worrying. We have a core set of winning professionals who are likely to be with us still next season such as Scott Bain, Callum, Jamesey, Ryan, Tom R, Leigh Griff, Mikey, Greg Taylor, hopefully FF…..emerging talent for succession planning such as Dembele, Okoflex, O’Connor, Welsh, Henderson and others who’ll be a year older.



    Folk to emerg such as Soro and Klimala..



    We will have a budget to kick off a cycle and I’d expect cross border young uns to feature again this summer.



    Chill. We are a professionally run club. I’d hope we get Scott on as player : coach soon.




  19. GENE on 14TH JULY 2020 1:27 PM




    Cheers mate, I am holding off from booking Travel and Hotel etc to see how things are with COVID in the next 3 or 4 weeks ?



  20. Like others, I probably wont be alive to see Celtic do another 10 in a row if that were to happen in the future ?



    I was 19 when we lost out on 10 in a row in the mid 1970’s, and it didnt feel good good at all as the huns were gloating like hell etc.



    If we failed this time around…the feeling would be even worse, considering how far ahead we are of the Huns in every way ?


    Paul Lambert has said that trying to STOP 10 in a row in 1998 was probably harder than trying to win it due to the pressure…who am I to argue ?



    The sense of unbridled joy and RELIEF in Celtic Park that day against St Johnstone when we stopped their attempt at ten was one of the most nervous days that I have ever had watching Celtic…until Harold bagged the 2nd of course !



  21. Ten in a row iprobably more important for supporters of Celtic;


    CL probably more important for Celtic plc.

  22. Big Jimmy


    I am almost looking forward to your return to the pub as much as you are !


    You seem to have handled quarantine very well and remained entertaining on here at the same time.Enjoy evry one of those pints but, as Corkcelt suggested earlier, remember it is your first time for quite a while…..could be Castle Vaults all over ( literally ) again !

  23. Put yer Hand up for Detroit.



    As Churches empty.



    No knee bowed to anyone Except the Almighty.



    Thats just me




  24. DAVID66 on 14TH JULY 2020 3:24 PM




    I moved from a Flat in Sauchiehall St to my own Cooncil Flat Halley Place in Yoker in 1985…til 1992. My Da and my Evil Step mother lived in the Eight Story Flats in Halley Pace…number 42…5 Floors up… from around the early 1970’s.


    My living window looked on to the Railway tracks and Cleaning Dept for the Trains that ran under the bridge on Kelso St.


    Between the noise of the Trains braking late at night pulling in to be cleaned… and the low flying Planes…it could be rather noisy but I got used to it I suppose ?


    At the time that I moved to Halley Place, my Auntie and Uncle and cousin had also moved to Halley Place from Partick.


    It was in my Aunties and Uncles hoose in Halley Place that I saw my first Colour TV. I clearly remember being awestruck by this colour TV and I remember watching the fantastic World Cup of 1970 and the superb Brazil and Pele, especially when they beat England 1-0, as my Auntie/Uncle had guests from England in the the house who watched that game with us Scots…it was also during that time that Celtic were due to play in our 2nd European Cup Final in 1970, and my Da offered me the chance for us to both go to Milan for the Final…as he went with his mates to Lisbon without me ?


    I remember him asking me…” What do you think wee Jimmy…should we go to Milan or will I buy a Colour TV” ?


    I advised him to just buy the TV…especially with the World Cup due to start.


    I didnt live with my Da and Evil step mother so I dont know why he was asking me, unless he was feeling guilty about not taking me to Lisbon in 1967 ?


    I got the feeling that he really wanted his 1st Colour TV ?



  25. The Music out of Detroit is indeed, IMO, Heaven sent.



    It is now, hopefully, the Polish and Awesomeness personified to get us the 10.



    Lets go.

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