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. leftclicktic We are all Neil Lennon on





    17:20 on 18 June, 2014




    Robben again. 1-0.


    Ladbrokes were giving you enhanced odds of 5/1 on him scoring 1st goal,I thought that is a good price as I proceeded to ignore it :(((

  2. TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels on

    Only a TIM could score a goal like that



    Goal of the tournament … Will take some beating

  3. Kojo no probs offer is always there. Sure it must be on your bucket list to visit Celtic Park sometime soon let me know if I can help. Hail Hail Hebcelt

  4. Tim Cahill a box to box midfielder



    Australian manager selects him as their out and out striker



    Bold decision which is reaping its rewards

  5. Leftclicktic



    Same happened to me with Cavani at 6-1 in Uruguay’s first game. I could sense the inevitable 5 minutes into the match!

  6. weet weet weet(GBWO) on

    T n T



    4out of 5 placed



    Hope you leathered them mate




  7. This already has the signs of being a memorable tournament. Goals like that will help make it so.

  8. HebCelt






    Ah will keep You in Mind, if Ah ever Come Over.



    Nice Chatting,wi Ye.. as Alwiz.






  9. Just had to keep it down a bit. Dutch midfield have no control of the game at the moment. I don’t think they’re that great in that department and are going to rely heavily on the front two.

  10. The Australian number 7 Leckie, who’s just signed for a second division German team, is causing the Dutch all sorts of problems.

  11. Well..



    When the World Cup Fiba’ Stuff .. Comes thru the Doorway..







    Takes a Dive…






    Oot,,o’ the Nearest Windae!



    Seeya Folks..





    Still, Laughin/

  12. ulysses mcghee - a demographic of one on

    Awe Naw



    Word is Neil couldn’t/wouldn’t commit to the next 2 years.



    Couple that with this ego stating he was surprised certain EPL teams hadn’t come a knocking…



    Time for change.



    The issues you might have concerns about are how our signing policy might change in a world of a manager making brass from muck…

  13. ulysses mcghee – a demographic of one



    ‘Word is Neil couldn’t/wouldn’t commit to the next 2 years.



    Couple that with this ego stating he was surprised certain EPL teams hadn’t come a knocking…’






    Where did you get that information if you don’t mind me asking?

  14. What a stupid tackle from Cahill. . . .booked and misses next game, which could be vital for Oz as things stand.

  15. TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels on

    We need to sign Tim Cahill … But sure there will be a lot of clubs thinking the same



    Yon Dutch thug kicked the life out of the Spanish players … TC put him in his place . How dya like them apples :)

  16. Tbj



    Cahill might have put Australia in their place too. . . 3rd or 4th in Group B, as they’ll be weakened in their final game with him being out.

  17. 16 roads - Celtic über alles... on

    Nearly certain that Tim Cahill declared to play for Ireland at one time.



    Water under the bridge now a suppose.




  18. Aussies spook the Dutch by turning up dressed as brazil waiting on v persie anytime goalscorer

  19. TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels on




    I love his type of player .. No holds barred .



    Doubt they would have much of a chance with or without Tim so a great goal and a ko will do for me :)



    BTW bhoys




    Last three Celtic managers on the bbc / itv panels



    Can see the zombies refusing to pay licence fees !!!!!!! FFS what am I on … When did they ever pay bills

  20. bournesouprecipe on

    I’m going to sell all my Celtic Lennon memorabilia on eBay Imagine all the PayPal.

  21. tbj says wee oscar knox is in heaven with the angels



    17:56 on 18 June,



    Last three Celtic managers on the bbc / itv panels




    You forgot about Tony Mowbray. The rest of us just try to!!

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