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. thomthethim for oscar ok



    15:08 on 18 June, 2014



    Knowledge and wisdom do not necessarily accompany age.



    Just ask SFTB :-)

  2. thomthethim for Oscar OK on




    15:20 on 18 June, 2014


    thomthethim for oscar ok



    15:08 on 18 June, 2014



    Knowledge and wisdom do not necessarily accompany age.



    Just ask SFTB :-)





    It does if they are possessed by ones who agree with my opinions!!

  3. Tnt



    see that Horse for tonight that might or might not win Jenny ?



    Can it play football because it could’t do any worse than some


    of my bets in the World cup so far.



    Only thing I have had up during world cup was


    MR Maynard last Thursday.


    (suppose technically before world cup)



    ps I am not really jc so dont get FAT Sally on my case


    I dont want to be on his list of names.

  4. Good luck to Ronny and Johnny – hopefully their philosophy and attitude to the game will rub off on the players and this will be seen in the pre-season friendlies – ready in time for the CL qualifiers

  5. Shieldmuir Celtic on

    Bawsman 12.48.


    Thanks for an excellent analysis of this corporate chaos.


    On this matter, does anyone know who at S.F.A. declined Campbell Ogilvie’s offer of resignation?

  6. Rory McIlroy opts for Ireland at Olympics.



    Brave decision – won’t go down well with the usual suspects.

  7. HT



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







    He, and managers like him, tend to get the sack before the fruits of their labour can come to pass. We live in a world which mistakes change for improvement.



    Which is why I ask for Yogi & co to get a youth coaching job. If football really did sensible economics, the head of Youth Coaching would be as important and as well paid as the position of first team coach.



    As for endorsements, it would not sway me if Pele, Big Jock and Pope Francis endorsed him, he’d still have to prove himself on the job, this job. Anybody can say he will or he won’t do a good job. There is no data to prove or disprove the assertion.



    Pochetino got the sack from Espanyol and did well at Southampton and is now with Spurs.



    Paul Lambert failed at Livi but succeeded at subsequent clubs. He might still get sacked if Villa start badly. Capello was a winner but two disastrous WC campaigns in a row will tarnish his reputation.



    Reputations are so last year.






    Catch you later. More hedge trimming calls

  8. SFTB “reputations are so last year” love it should be posted in every dressing room. Hail Hail Hebcelt

  9. Say what you like about John Collins but I think he will bring additional professionalism to the ethos at CP.



    He is confident, intelligent and was one of the most skilful Scottish players at CP in the last 20 years.



    Another thought he doesn’t forget where he comes from. After his long successful football career had taken him out of Gala, he returned for the funeral of the coach/manager of his very first football team as a youngster. I would therefore say he is grounded.



    I can see him and Ronny working well together.

  10. Ah am oan record… oan this Blog..



    O’… Accusing ..Mr.Lennon o’ being a “Corner Boy”.






    Ah dinna see .. Anywhere.. that . My Accusation ,wiz ..”Ill-Founded”..eether..



    Mr. Lennon.. Could n Would.. Indulge in Scraps n Confrontations..wi’ the Best


    n.. the Worst.. of Them…



    be they…be..


    .. Spectators.. Soccer Officials.. Et al..



    Seemingly.. at the Drap o’ a Participle!



    Look.. Ah am Only tellin the TREWTH.. If It Bothers ye, dear Reader..



    Stop Reading.. Right Here~



    Also..Mr. Lennon, wiz Known tae Indulge in having a Few… At Local (an Un-local ,wans tae…).. Public… Watering Holes.



    But, He sure wiznae Drinkin’.. WAATER~



    A Bad example tae his Charges.. ?? Don’t you Agree..?



    Noo. . It wid seem ..tae be..According, tae Reports,,, that..



    Mr. Ronny Dee.. is a Man After Ma Ain Hert..



    As.. Baith He n Me/ Ah?…..



    Believe.. STRONGLY.. n .. FIERCELY..



    in the Credo( As it Applies .. Pointedly, tae Fitba’ Players.)






    “Sano Mens Sana Corpore”.



    Which Means..



    “Nae Boozin’.. Nae Smokin’.. Nae Carousin’..n.. Nae . Whorin'”



    That is ..if ye wish tae Reach Yer Full . Honest tae Goodness. Potential…as an


    Athlete.. or. Fitba’ Player..



    Noo.. Mr. Lennon.. in Ma Opinion..



    Never did.. Gie the Impression, that He wiz ..well .. too. IMPRESSED, by the above





    Na.. He jist didnae..




    So.. Naturally, he couldnae Berate his Charges.. Too Severely..






    They Stayed too much. fae the Straight n Narrow, during thur After School Activities..






    Sure, Ah am Right.



    Noo. Let’s hope that oor Info oan the Character o’ oor Noo Manager..



    Proves tae be.. Somewhit Different than that o’ Mr. Lennon..



    Inasmuch that ..



    He Wull Turn oot tae be



    A Shining Example.. of Social Uprightness n ..Faultless Docorum…in Public.


    (n..In Private)



    n..therefore.. He WULL be a Shinin’ Example tae Follow , fur his Charges.



    Who Wull Be obliged tae Pull Up thur Socks. Place thur Shooders ..tae the Wheel..



    n.. Keep thur Noses..firmly fixerd oan the Grindstone.. NOO..



    Under the Stewardship of thur Noo Manager.



    Until, they eventually, Achieve.. The Required Standard of Excellence in thur Sporting Performances.. whit..Mr. Ronny Dee shall Demand..



    If Ma Hopes are realized..



    Ah expect tae See Improvements in Attitude, Physical Fitness..n.. Skill.



    Breakin’ oot. Everywhere.. Amongst oor.. Present Cadre of Fitba’ Players..



    Which, My Dear Virginia.. ..wull Only Be…… fur the good n the elevation.. of The Club n Country.





    Still Laughin’

  11. Kojo I appreciate you have a unique way of posting but I’m afraid it goes over my head hence I scroll by. This kinda defeats the purpose of posting on here where I’m sure you would like as many people as possible to peruse your musings and understand them. Just saying like!! Hail Hail Hebcelt

  12. A guy in the pub telt (said to me) ages back that it was frank connor who suggested Aitken in midfield vs dundee utd Scottish cup final 1995.


    Is this an example of a good assistant manager?


    Is it true? If memory serves it he (the guy in the pub not frank connor (or mibbie)) was a wee bit mingin’ drunk at the time.

  13. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    John four clubs managed in four years Hughes is hardly a ringing endorsement.



    John Collins might work out. Certainly was not saught after by anyone else.



    The cheap option and the last vestages of the MON reign well and truly gone.



    How does The Bunnet feel about this one ?



    A ringing endorsement soon from him perhaps ?



    An Old Firm appointment endorsed on CQN by John “old firm” Hughes.



    I see this management team as;



    A big gamble. One that if it fails then nobody will be accountable for.









    Focus is on profit more than success



    Unproven at SPL level including John Collins.



    Money horny. Is JC on a percentage or does he get a wage.



    We all know how his mind works.



    It strikes me as a management team appointed by a plc. One that the plc is more comfortable with. It is portrayed as innovative rather than a big gamble.



    I see it as Old Firm realignment on and off the park.



    CL qualification results will be a good indication.




  14. HebCelt



    It seems,pal. that Ah hiv YOU at a Disadvantage..



    As Ah..



    Understand, Perfectly…



    Whit you Write..









  15. It’s all academic really. Fact is I’m in the Hirschgarten on my 3rd.


    Can anyone get even.close to that at the moment?

  16. Hopefully the support give the new management team a chance to bed in and not over react if we don’t make the group stages this season, I’m willing to suffer short term pain for long term gain. HH

  17. Kojo I’d like to invite you as my guest to any home game you can make this season-genuine offer – if it appeals get my email from Paul67 or give him permission to send me yours. Trust me you’ll love it. Hail Hail Hebcelt

  18. Hope JC can teach our players how to take throw ins an corners, that would be a start.

  19. Greenwells Glory on

    Hi Ghuys, Salve salve;- Never heard of Ronny Deila before he got the job but from what I have read and seen from him at press conferences, I think this could be a very good appointment indeed. I have read he is intelligent, tactically aware and most of all, learns from his mistakes – all good traits in my book and for me the icing on the cake is he believes in the development of own reared youth. I am also extremely hopeful that this appointment will see the end of management by favouritism.


    I am also really liking the appointment of John Collins for his attitude to fitness, conditioning, tactical awareness and general professionalism. Key to this appointment however will be the chemistry between the two men.


    Hoping to go fishing this week or next or possibly both.





    Greenwellsa locuta est. Causa finita est

  20. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Ladbrokes doing Holland 7/1 to reach final,only available til first goal in Holland v Australia game

  21. setting free the bears supports res. 12 & oscar knox



    15:51 on 18 June, 2014





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






    He, and managers like him, tend to get the sack before the fruits of their labour can come to pass. We live in a world which mistakes change for improvement.



    Which is why I ask for Yogi & co to get a youth coaching job. If football really did sensible economics, the head of Youth Coaching would be as important and as well paid as the position of first team coach.






    I’m not following you.



    It seems like you’re suggesting that because Yogi continually gets the sack he should be given a position coaching youths.



    I don’t get the logic in that I’m afraid.



    Anyway I think we’re agreed, his endorsement counts for little, which was after all my original point :-)

  22. I wonder if Carlisle saw the second leg v Karagandy. ..he certainly seemed to relish slaughtering us in first leg, from what i remember, even before we’d gone one down.

  23. N.. Nae Tattoos.. Eethur~



    Tattoos,,in Ma Opinion. ur..



    Badges o’ Ignorance.



    Look.. If fur Some weird reason a Guy or a Gal..



    Wants tae .. Sport BLEMISHES oan his or her Body ..






    Why doesn’t He or She..



    Go tae the Local Five n Dime..



    There they wull Find.. a whole Panoply of..



    Interesting n Colorful..






    Sure, DABBITIES.. n.. Ah know awe aboot . Dabbities.. Let me tell ye,folks..



    As a Wee Boy..



    Ah used tae Hae a Loata Fun.. wi Those Things..



    N.. After the Fun wiz Over..



    Well.. Ah could Jist..



    WASH those Colorful Prints that Ah hid Stamped oan Ma Boady..



    Away doon the Drain!



    But. Tattoos, oan the Ither Haun..






    So.. well. PERMANENT BLEMISHES..or.. If they ur NOT QUITE… That..they are extremely Difficult tae Remove…not tae mention .. the Expense.. so Ah wullnae!






    Why wid Anywan in thur Right Mind..



    Wish tae . Pit a Doze of Difficult tae Remove, Blemishes oan thur Skin?



    Maks Nae Sense tae Me..



    So. Naturally..



    Ah am convinced that Anywan who Diz this..



    is.. n ..Must Be..













    Cakey..No awe There.. Nuts? Yep.. that Tae.



    Like Ah hiv Suggested..



    if Folk wanta … Use thur body as a Canvas tae further thur Yen ..


    Fur Artistic Expression..






    They should Ankle doon tae the Local Five n Dime..






    PIck up a Bunch o’…. Transfers . or. Dabbities.. Like AH Used tae dae..



    When Ah wiz a Kid..



    Maks Sense tae Me.



    As soon as Ah See, even, a Wee Tattoo oan a Person



    Ah immediately.. form A very Unflattering Opinion of that Person.



    Seems Very Harsh of Me ,tae dae that… but.. Ah canny Help it..






  24. Hebcelt



    at 16.46



    Thanks fur yer Generous Offer,Pal






    No Thanks..



    Fur a Start.. Ah am Here in Los Angeles/ Las Vegas..



    n.. Celtic Park, is Six Thousand Miles Away.



    An am quite Happy tae watch watch the Celtic.. Games..



    Oan Ma Computer Screen..Right Here,in wan of Ma Homes.




    Nice chatting Pally…






  25. leftclicktic We are all Neil Lennon on

    Just seen on mates FB page


    Malysian man paid £100 on internet for a penis enlarger, they sent him a £5 magnifying glass.


    made me smile anyway

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