Collins arrival means new type of management team at Celtic


Two years ago, current Inverness manager, John Hughes, was guest of honour at the CQN Golf Day.  For around two hours during the meal he spoke privately to me about John Collins.

Hughes worked alongside Collins at Livingston and regarded our new assistant manager as the most insightful, tactically aware and innovative person he’d met in the game.  According to Hughes, Collins could see things hidden to others, including himself.  He could spot weaknesses in opposition teams and make telling observations about his own players and formations.

When recruiting anyone to the management team we want to hear endorsements like this.  Most of the CQN demographic are old enough to remember times when managers’ and assistants’ most important attribute was their ability to bang his first on a table and yell “Get stuck right intae them” with a legendary level of authority.

This model of the desirable manager is still valued by British clubs, it’s a superstition which has been fed by famous and successful table bangers like Sir Alex Ferguson, but Ferguson’s Fist was not the source of his magic touch.  More than anything else, Ferguson’s successful longevity was his insistence on appointing insightful, tactically aware innovators as assistants, who were often more switched-on than he was.

I wanted a student of the game as manager but I also want another strong tactical head as assistant.  The last thing a manager actually needs as his assistant is his pal, or someone who is good at shouting, or even someone to be a buffer between him and the players.  Whoever puts the cones out at Lennoxtown, like the Scottish physio at Chelsea, can be the players’ pal, cum-go-between, cum-nag.

One of football’s many inefficiencies is the managerial structure.  Unlike other industries, the responsibility and wage gaps between the man with the top job and his assistant are huge.  There is no reason for this, in fact, it’s mad.  You always need a hierarchy but the no. 2 should have duties, responsibilities and pay only a fraction less than his immediate superior.  The huge disparities in authority which are common do not give you a functioning team, at best you have a less efficient autocracy.

As we’ve said for years, guru managers don’t exist, but good, properly constituted, management teams do.

Those in the management team, responsible for spending millions of pounds of our money each year, of making tactical decisions against the best teams in Europe, need to be oracles of the game.  Anything less and we’re indulging in one of football’s glaring and costly inefficiencies.

John Collins fits the profile.  He also doesn’t suffer fools, with strong ideas on training, fitness, laxity, drinking, diet and off-field behaviour.  For Celtic, all of this is necessary.  Footballers are elite athletes but there is enormous variation in how dedicated they are to their personal development.  This doesn’t exist in elite participants in sports like athletics, where you don’t get near the podium without a puritanical level of commitment to your development, and to your coach’s instructions.

You can also forget any concerns about Scott Brown.  The Scott Brown of 2014, who as Neil Lennon’s captain was responsible for imposing misdemeanor fines on players, is more like John Collins than he is like the Scott Brown of 2007.

Over the last seven years we have built the sports science, medical, technical analysis and scouting capacity, all of which are particularly impressive, but the management team has always had a homespun feel about it.  In 10 years of CQN I’ve never backed a Celtic management appointment, but with the appointment of Ronny Deila and John Collins we have a new type of management team.  There are no guarantees of immediate success in any walk of life, and Champions League qualification this season will still be exposed to the vagaries of sport, but I’m delighted we finally have what looks like a properly constituted team in the dug out.

Visit the CQN Bookstore to get Tommy Gemmell to sign your personal copy of his book, All the Best.

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  1. Nags



    Not too bad a day yesterday on the Ascot betting. 4 places from 5 and a handsome profit. Add the banker from Ripon, Kickboxer, and a nice wee tennis bet and a good day all in all.



    Genny Wren, was, well, Genny Wren. Swallowed her tongue. She will have a tongue tie applied next time, not that she’ll be carrying my dosh:-)



    Ascot today is the opposite of yesterday for me. All shortish price selections.



    Ascot 2.30 -THE GREAT WAR 10/11



    Ascot 3.05 – CANNOCK CHASE 2/1



    Ascot 3.45 – VAZIRA 11/4



    Meantime, something which will I’m sure capture the interest. A message from someone in the know to say he will probably mail me with a horse at 4.30pm. States ” cannot send you the name now as it is highly price sensitive”. Interesting. Will try to post detail if as promised, he sends it at 4.30pm. Problem is I am running at 5pm (on 2 legs not 4) and wont be back in till 6pm, so hopefully, if it’s sent late, 6pm will be soon enough to get on to whatever it is.






    Ascot 4.25 – LEADING LIGHT 11/10

  2. 1. Is Blatter or the wee fat guy that tops UEFA



    2. Lawwell



    3. Bertie Auld (it was wan o the Lions that said this)



    4. Kevin McKenna



    5. Milan manager




    Whit huv a won?

  3. Twisty



    Thanks for Kickboxer yesterday, pity about Genny >}



    I just can’t see england losing tonight, and when they win, their media will have them winning the cup, shame that Costa Rica will put a spanner in their works !!!




  4. LiviBhoy – Is the identity ever revealed?



    I used to read the articles each week in the Guardian, I became suspicious when the stories didn’t really align. For this to be a single guy he would have had to have a career spanning 30 years at 20 professional clubs and representing 4 countries internationally and seemed to be present at every major event in football. Sometimes seemingly at different clubs at the same time.



    Unless it was always a group of footballers, with a ghost writer providing the writing consistency. I suspect it was always just intended to be representative of the type of things that happen in football, rather than a true record of actual events.

  5. I’ve just seen an Italian woman with the longest pair of legs EVER!



    Quite astounding!



    Going for a lie doon!







    05:26 on 19 June, 2014



    I don’t care about them or what they do next however if that comes to fruition they’ll be right next door to my Morrisons of choice!! I’d need to start going to Giffnock and thats not a welcome thought.Even more huns there than Shawlands.



    No huns at Newlands!!

  7. livibhoy



    12:03 on 19 June, 2014





    Was looking at that book on the kindle last night.. Worth a read by the sounds of it. Have a few others to read first incluing Cqn very own seville book.

  8. hamiltontim,



    Just read your comment that you thought I had made a cheap and low shot. Sorry you feel that way but, imo, anyone who makes cheap shots at Neil Lennon doesn’t deserve the name Celtic supporter.

  9. England game looks a stick on draw for me tonight.


    Can see both Saurez and Rooney doing nothing.


    The Uruguyan captain is out and that is a huge blow. They were poor the first game but will stop at nothing to win including biting, kicking, spitting and anything else they can get away with. I think the teams are pretty evenly matched and it will be a score draw. I can also see a red card for either team but fancy Rooney to see red. He has got the weight of a nation on him and he can’t handle it.


    Costa Rica will beat England. They look a very useful side and will need the win to go through.


    I reckon Italy and Uruguay will end up a draw as well. There you have it. Get it on in the bookies and become a millionaire before the knock out stages!



    Talkingballs CSC




  10. ernie lynch



    11:59 on 19 June, 2014


    Speaking of yourself in the third person suggests conceit and ego mania verging on self obsession.



    These obviously aren’t traits anyone could associate John Collins with so I assume he was having a larf.



    He strikes me as the sort who likes a larf and a joke.



    Probably why he and Scott Brown hit it off so well.




    Well said Ernie. Scott Browns massive ego clearly got in the way of what should have been a fruitful working relationship. If only he had been more humble Hibs could have joked and laughed their way to a title.



    You won’t hear NatKnow coming out with self obsessive remarks! Fo shizzle….

  11. leftclicktic We are all Neil Lennon on

    twists n turns



    “Problem is I am running at 5pm ”


    Enjoy sir

  12. Just heard Miliband on the radio sounding more like the tories than the tories.



    Vote early.


    Vote often.


    Vote Yes.

  13. SonsOfErin



    The identity of the guy is apparently Dave Kitson. It’s been worked out online. The collumn was originally one guy but I reckon half way through the book it is 2 players morphed into one. I think the other player is Danny Murphy. After the book was released the column then received stories from other pros and they were directed to the secret footbalelr and it has snowballed. I would suspect that the 2nd book which has a story on Celtic I believe contains stories from a number of players but the majority from just 2.


    I find it a fascinating read and it explains to anyone why footballers in general don;t give a stuff for the club they play for. The majority are interested in money. Nothing else.






    Anyone interested in football should read this book.


    Kids interested in being a footballer should read this book.


    It’s a great concept and it really gives you an insight into what actually goes on and the mindset of a millionaire pro footballer.




  14. Neil Lennon was a great Celtic manager I am sad he left us whatever the reason.I am enjoying his appearances on the world cup tv progs and I don’t understand why anyone finds his appearances offensive seems a bit odd.However most importantly he is no longer the Celtic manager so I do not give a flying F£$% where he goes next or what he says on tv.



    Timmy7_noted 100% supporting the new management team.



    Vote YES.

  15. .



    Famous Illetists.. Oops Footballers that refer to themselves in the Third Person..




    Soccer legend Pelé, who was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, refers to himself in the third person because he thinks of himself as two distinct people. “Yes, of course I think of Pelé as a different person,” he told Sports Illustrated in 1994. “When I met Pelé, I was seven or eight. Pelé doesn’t have a nation, race, religion or color. People all over the world love Pelé. Edson is a man like other men.”



    In a 2003 interview with The Guardian, Pelé echoed the same beliefs. “I think of Pelé as a gift of God. We have billions of billions of people in the world, and we have one Beethoven, one Bach, one Michelangelo, one Pelé. That is the gift of God.”



    Summa of Summa

  16. parkheadcumsalford



    I’ve been critical of NL in the past and will continue to be if I think he’s wrong.



    Should I re classify myself as something other than a Celtic supporter going by your criteria?

  17. Re Nags, and since this is almost the end of this thread, (hate jamming the pages with horsey stuff) , if anyone is interested in Ascot stats, such as the example below, let me know and if you can get your mail address to me, I shall send them. I don’t want to put 6 or 7 races worth of this type of info on CQN. I shall get sine die :-)



    A s c o t 4.25



    11/8 Leading Light, 11/2 Brown Panther, 15/2 Estimate


    8/1 Tac De Boistron, 9/1 Altano, 12/1 Pale Mimosa


    14/1 Royal Diamond, 20/1 Ahzeemah, 20/1 Simenon


    25/1 Missunited, 33/1 Saddler´s Rock, 40/1 Shwaiman


    50/1 Ralston Road, 66/1 Havana Beat, 66/1 Oriental Fox.



    * The Ascot Gold Cup is a Group 1 race over 2m 4f.


    * This is an ultimate test of Class and Stamina



    * I want to start with some Sire Stats


    * I looked the sire records of horses who bred the following


    * Listed or Group Class horses over 2m 2f or longer


    * Only 5 Sires in this race have bred winners doing this


    * The horses in todays race from these sires are below







    I’m struggling to see past LEADING LIGHT from Aidan O’Brien’s


    stable. I don’t see many viable options. ESTIMATE won this last


    year but it was a weaker race than this and she had a prep run.


    This year she is a mare and first time out after a setback so she


    has to go. The fantastic YEATS won this aged 5 6 7 and 8 which


    spoilt a few stats as he got older. Take him out of the equation


    and the record of older horses begins to look quite desperate.



    * The last 7yo winner before Yeats won in 1993


    * The one before that was back in 1929


    * The last 8yo winner before Yeats was back in 1900



    * ALTANO and ROYAL DIAMOND are 8 year olds.


    * TAC DE BOISTRON is 7 and will hate the ground


    * SIMENON is 7 and doesn’t make much appeal


    * AHZEEMAH looks out of his depth



    PALE MIMOSA could go well but she is held by the favourite


    and her numbers are consistently lower than his. There is a


    case for BROWN PANTHER from a Good trial race. I feel that


    he may struggle to beat the favourite. After all it took him 9


    attempts to win a Group race and he is 0-6 in Group 1 races.


    LEADING LIGHT won on his first try in Group Class and won


    on his first ever start in a Group 1 race. Besides that he will


    find this ground much faster than he likes. LEADING LIGHT


    should have no trouble at the trip given that he was only a


    3 year old when he won the Queens Vase last year over 2m.


    The last 2 winners of this were 4 year olds that had one run


    that season and I expect LEADING LIGHT to be another one.







  18. livibhoy



    12:23 on 19 June, 2014





    So there is 2 different books out then ? Best to read both or 1 of them be enough. Might just buy it now so i dont forget

  19. spikeysauldman on

    vote yes for independence and a constitution and a queen as head of state.



    oh, haay – no way .



    as for milliband’s latest – what a total f**** joker.



    meanwhile back at the world cup……..

  20. Fear factor creeping in to the England camp from their captain of all people.



    “It could be a terrible long, frustrating summer if we don’t get it right on Thursday. There is no hiding place for a player when you go out of a tournament.



    “It can be tough as a player and it can take an awful long time to get over it. I have been there. I know what that feeling is about and that is the feeling that I don’t want come Friday morning.”



    Up to now thought England would win but now ……..

  21. hamiltontim,



    I was one of those who booed him for passing the ball back at a vital stage in thon European tie. I was one of only 2 people at the Open Meeting where Jeanette Findlay tried to foist Neil Lennon on Celtic as manager who voted against him. I don’t even begin to harbour any ill-feelings towards those who criticise him for how he played or managed Celtic for proper constructive reasons; but the stuff I was reading this morning I felt had nothing to do with that.



    Imo, Neil Lennon deserves the undying respect from every Celtic supporter for what he had to deal with while he was with us.

  22. tomtheleedstim on

    Twists n Turns – 4.25 Brown Panther – Michael Owen’s horse.


    Seen it beat my choice twice at Pontefract – could go close at about 6/1


    (buyer beware)

  23. Leftclicktic



    Ridiculous having a tear in your eye as you’re trying to work with others around you….but that was me after reading that blog.



    Tremendous, many thanks.

  24. TnT,



    Dropped you a quick e-mail – would appreciate if you could send on any stats you get which could help me out (I need plenty of help :-) )


    For example I had chosen Tac De Boistron, which your data pretty much tells me not to and it is now a non-runner !!!!



    Had a decent day yesterday with 2 places from my 3 e/w bets (Sea shanty & Wee Jean), plus had them on a small e/w Trixie. Then had Chile to win in the evening ;-)


    My 3 win bets were not so good with two of them finishing 2nd and the other nowhere :-(




    Cheers Mate,



  25. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon ....The angels are with Wee Oscar in Heaven.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    Stonewall penalty for IC but, with it being an English referee (good one, actually), no comment from the commentators … Bless ’em