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. Are we in danger of setting goals too high for new management duo?


    When oldco were around, we were apparently 3 games away from a crisis


    Nowadays that may be extended to perhaps 6 domestic games away from a crisis


    Europe wise, maybe that number is different



    A lot folk trumpeting how much fitter and better we are going to be. It suggests that we werent, (even though we won the league by a landslide.)



    if we are going to be so much improved under the two onnies, is CL qualification a foregone conclusion? or just poor expectation management?

  2. !!Bada Bing!! on

    SSN “The Dundee Derby at Tynecastle……..” they probably should move it to the best league in the world.

  3. ....PFayr supports WeeOscar on

    Betting advice



    CQN coupon for the first week of the WC concludes this evening



    6 teams were selected …first 5 have won…line is all running onto Croatia to beat Cameroon …my selection …no pressure



    i put a tenner on my line @ 60/1….



    my dilemma is do i lay some of it off



    Cameroon are 4/1 to win and the draw is 29/30…i could put £100 on each leaving me with £400 profit if Coatia win and best part of £300 profit for any other result



    PP are not offering me a cash out facility …



    thoughts ???

  4. 1. “Celtic fans, you are great, you are marvellous”






    2. “I don’t make anything of anything to do with Rangers.”






    3. “Football will survive because of teams like Celtic and its fans.”






    4. “This is what we need in Italy, this type of environment. This was the essence of sport. To hear the Celtic fans singing and chanting after the game was incredible.”






    5. “We work hard all week, but on a Saturday we get the day off to play football”




  5. Geordie Munro on




    I can’t speak for everyone but I believe you to be confusing ‘an excitement about the season ahead’ and ‘p1shing the qualifiers with ease’.

  6. angelgabriel on

    Feeling worried being positive about our new management dou.Far better being worried then finding positives.

  7. Geordie Munro on




    I’d lay something off.



    That’s a horrible price for a draw.



    Good luck.

  8. 16 roads - Celtic über alles... on

    eyes wide open



    14:23 on 18 June, 2014






    Celtic were playing some exceptional football during the course of last season,particularly after Christmas.



    The team scored 102 goals in the league, and conceded only 25.




  9. Lots of pessimism on here. This is a new era for us and I am really looking forward to it. I, like many others, am a bit unsure of John Collins as part of the managerial set up but time will tell. It wasn’t that long ago we signed a manager who I had only ever heard about because Archie Gemmell left him on his arse in Argentina, but look how that turned out.


    Let’s stop the moaning and look forward to a new beginning.

  10. HT



    I think the complaints you raise were all conceded already in my post.



    The fans of all those teams, and our own are no different, will value results over style all day long. That is why it was brave, in a Yes Minister sense, for Yogi and Shielsy and Pressley-ey, to set their teams out in that way and try to improve them as professionals. If they were allowed time they would eventually improve the standard of footballer produced by these clubs.



    But, of course, they would not be given time to prove me right or wrong. That is why I suggested these guys, idealists if you like, should get free rein at Youth level, where results should take a long 2nd place to development.



    I know a fair few ICT fans. Surprisingly, or not, they hated Butcher, even as they were achieving their highest ever league placing under him. They welcomed John Hughes as a breath of fresh air and a promise of more entertainment. He has not been as radical in dismantling Butcher’s team and style so he has only marginally improved entertainment while retaining their Top 6 position. The usual group of fans will already be calling for change, as they like nothing more than new bling and the latest victim as manager, but Yogi retains a higher proportion of fans onside than did Butcher at the same stage.



    Sheils, unfortunately, has other characteristics, that make it easier to overlook his attractive playing style, and still find fault with him. he never learned how to schmooze fans, directors or even ordinary members of the human race.

  11. Sir Paul



    Ah Agree One Hundred n Two Per Cent , wi Maist… o’ whit ye said In Today’s





    Ah said.. “Maist”.






    There is the Lingering.. Bothersome…Irritation?… That..



    Hey… Mebbe, this Collins Guy.. May be ..



    Too Hot tae Juggle.









    Ah wull Keep Ma Trap Shut.. Until, Ah see how awe this Pans oot.



    Ma Imprimatur ,oan this Union … o’ theseTwo”Likes”…. in the Meantime.. wull be..



    … WITH-HELD.. Pending.



    Fair Enuff?



    Ah Think so.



    Nice chatting ,Pal. as Alwiz.





    Still Laughin’

  12. traditionalist88 on

    Ah wull Keep Ma Trap Shut.. Until, Ah see how awe this Pans oot.






    There is a God.

  13. ***Looks like being a rollover. Two coconuts tomorrow???***





    You are almost there with 4 and 5.

  14. I wonder how much of the negative feelings on JC are based on the MSM’s reporting of his time at Hibs. I also wonder if it had been an ex Hun that did the same as JC how differently that would have been reported.

  15. angelgabriel on

    PF Ayr.


    Cover the other 2 results.


    Guarantee a profit.




  16. 16 roads - Celtic über alles... on




    14:39 on 18 June, 2014






    I know that it probably did read like that, but a just can’t bring myself to say that a Celtic player isn’t very good.



    Mo Bangura, seeing that goat is no longer at the club.




  17. Bada/BMCUWP



    The taxi outing is predominately made up of radio drivers who have school


    runs etc.I enquired about it last year and was politely informed ‘leave it to the TOA




    Still not on road yet ,hopefully tonight/tomorrow.


    Boaby thanks for ‘heart of gold’ but ..see me ..see cheeky weans…God bless them.

  18. Catman’s post reminded me that I also visited the Celtic Way last week to view my slab. I did not mention it before because I was off line all of last week…computer fault. My slab was moved from in front of Jinky and now rests at the feet of the Big Mhan. Cannot complain about that. Not often you get the chance to be at the feet of two Celtic greats in a short time.



    As I walked away from the ground I turned round and looked up the Celtic Way and as I admired the beauty of it, I thought of Bro Walfrid and ever fan with whom I have had the pleasure to share the Celtic dream. Said a wee prayer for them all and wept like a wean.



    With regard to the new management team, I am delighted. Now we will have a plan B as well in games. I feel that a lot of players who appeared to many around me as half fit last year will have to shape up or ship out.



    The dream goes on and the fans will always be here to give their all to Celtic.

  19. Geordie Munro on







    Plus Croatia couldny even beat wgs tartan army ;)

  20. To argue or debate I suppose is a better word on celtics selling policy is some accept it (like me, no. Surprise there. Eh!) and others don’t like it, it all economics and bank balances and that’s the was it goes these days, it’s also a two way street as most of the foreign players come and use us as a rung on the ladder to success and that’s there choice as it works. For them too.


    They are interesting times at Celtic right now and apart from the obvious this is by far the best back five I’ve seen at Celtic park in my days ( my first game was in 55) and last season I watched a team playing entertaining football and was happy with it, so all in all as far as I’m concerned we are in a good place right now, and hopefully we stay there for many many years, no competition? Hey we set our bar to what our strengths are, others? Not our problem they are where they are, formula 1 Grand Prix Mercedes has winner written all over it from the start of the season and prob. The next few too Armageddon …….aye like feck it does gimmi a break Ffs.

  21. Bada



    I have had an unpaid holiday,in garden having drinks conversing with the cat,weather


    has been excellent…gettin a tan and the missus is beelin….LIFE IS SWEET!

  22. 16 roads - Celtic über alles... on

    Such a spell beautiful weather there has been this week.



    All the neighbours are outside listening to music and drinking in the summer sunshine.



    A wee squad just dandered past with their carry outs, in fine spirits.



    It looks like somebody has thrown a few kettles of boiling water over them.




  23. Agree 100% Paul67. This management team is exactly what was required. Neil Lennon brought the thunder back to Parkhead and we will always be grateful for that. Hopefully he finds his way back in the future in some capacity.



    Neil could not take the team any further. I don’t know what big Johan did behind the scenes, but my gut tells me that John Collins will be a lot more effective. We have not progressed the style of our play in the last 2 years. We have not adapted to the challenge of European football. We have not used the opportunity we have to experiment in the SPL with new styles of play, preferring to strive for personal records on the field and year on year financial improvements off it. It’s time for change.



    I do believe in our Board and I believe we are operating to a strategy. This is the biggest and the most positive step we have taken to date. I look forward to being entertained.



    I pray that the CL qualifiers can be navigated safely. Failure to do so will have the supporter patience stretched to the limit.

  24. thomthethim for Oscar OK on




    13:46 on 18 June, 2014


    thomthethim for Oscar OK


    13:27 on


    18 June, 2014



    I share the eager anticipation of CQN’s more knowledgeable and wiser posters.










    Fairly obvious, I would have thought.



    Those of my generation, who have the same views as me, are obviously the “more knowledgeable and wiser poster”, of whom I spoke, Grasshopper.

  25. Pfay you must lay it off. I bet valencia to win the c/l at 16s the year they lost to real mad I did not lay it off dont be as silly as me.

  26. Paul,


    that is an outstanding assessment of where we should be a far as management/training/leadership are concerned. I wholeheartedly agree with with your take on this. It has been a missing factor and we now surely have have it in place. Onward and upward.







  27. SFTB



    I’m sorry but for me there’s not enough evidence that Yogi considerably improved players and therefore his endorsement matters little.



    Nor is there a great deal of evidence that JC has the skills now required of him.



    I’m not being pessimistic believe it or not :-) I’m delighted with the appointment of Ronny and now that he’s picked his assistant they’ll both receive my full support.

  28. Kingoh



    at 14.03.





    Pal.. Let me say this.. Right Away…



    “AhLuv .. Amido.. n … Ah don’t care who Knows It!”



    Amido…in Ma Opinion.. Has Heaps o’ Potential..Jist Strainin’ tae be let loose.






    Under the Management o’..oor.. Erstwhile,Manager..



    Amido. ..In Ma Opinion..



    Wiz ..Unquestionably,Unfairly Restrained..Frun Gettin’ an Opportuniity o’ Gettin’ a Fair Crack.. at Spinnin’ .. His.. Ain Peerie.



    Yes.. Mr. Lennon, had his Reasons, fur .. Keeping Amido oota the Spotlight..


    But.. Were they..well.. Reasonable.. Wans???



    Awe that Being Said..



    Ah , continue, tae Vouchsafe..






    Mr. Lennon.. Treated the Big Guy…






    Hey! .. that’s Jist Ma AIN. .. Opinion..



    Your’s,of course.. May Be Different!



    Fair Enuff.



    Ah hope Ronny, gies the Big Felllah.. a Whip n a Peerie o’ his Ain..



    N.. Gies Him .. SEVERAL.. Opportunities.. Tae gie It a Spin.



    Who Knows?



    Amido. .May turn oot .



    Tae be.. a WHIZ.. at . Spinning the Peerie!



    Nice chatting,pal.






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