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. 16 roads - Celtic über alles... on

    Three former Celtic managers providing their expert opinion for television viewers @ the World Cup.



    Also former Celtic player wee Juninho.



    Not bad, not bad atall.



    Hail Hail MON,WGS and Lenny.




  2. 16 roads - Celtic über alles... on

    Sorry Jinky, far too slow from the traps again there I was.



    Great shout chief.




  3. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon ....The angels are with Wee Oscar in Heaven.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    Latest from Phil…..DYNAMITE



    Deloittes respond to RIFC proposals


    Leave a reply


    As had previously been reported here Deloittes, the auditors of Rangers International Football Club, have had serious concerns about financial health of the AIM listed company.



    They had requested detailed documentation from RIFC by close of business last Friday (13th June 2014).



    This was complied with and sources have told me that the auditors have now responded to the RIFC proposals through their NOMAD Daniel Stewart & Company.



    I understand that Deloittes have three major issues which need to be dealt with before they will sign off on the year end accounts.



    (1) Murray Park must be sold as the cost of running it is unsustainable for the company.



    (2) The ten highest earning staff (excluding Chief Executive Officer Graham Wallace and Chief Financial Officer Philip Nash) will have to be let go without further delay.



    (3) Apart from those high earners there must also be a major reduction in the overall staffing levels.



    These are non-negotiable for Deloittes and must be complied with if the highly regarded auditors are not To Do Walking Away.



    Deloittes made one other request of the senior RIFC chaps.



    They wanted them to plug the leaks and I don’t think they meant the plumbing at Ibrox…

  4. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon ....The angels are with Wee Oscar in Heaven.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    16 roads – celtic über alles…



    17:52 on 18 June, 2014



    Well, he IS a Tim after all…hehe

  5. Ht



    “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. ”




    My fault if I did not spell it out. What I mean is:-



    1) I think John Hughes & Co play an attractive style of football with his teams


    2) He gets jobs at clubs with high turnover of managers looking to improve their playing style AND keep a winning team on the park.


    3) It takes time to influence the playing style of a club, get rid of the old dead wod and cynical burnt out players, and promote youth and fringe players who buy into your philosophy


    4) Because football is a results driven business, the coach tends to get the sack before he can influence, long-term, the prospects of his team via player improvement


    5) Therefore, rather than employ him in the results driven business of top team coaching, I would employ these guys as Youth Team coaches, free from the threat of sacking for 5 years minimum, and let them raise talented footballers for a fisrt team coach to use.



    Overall, I am saying football is too short term in its thinking, too open to sackings to appease fan reaction, and it results in wasteful churn at every club where the last manager’s signings have to be sold before you get to buy your favourites, and usually, by then, you are due to get sacked.



    Hope that makes more sense

  6. Just read the latest from Phil as linked above. Something not quite right about the article.



    Why would a company’s auditors make demands on that company? The auditors are employed by the company to perform an independent audit. The auditor has the right to add a rider to the accounts if they believe the company is insolvent, but they cannot simply refuse to sign-off on the accounts unless the company makes severe financial cuts. The auditor can make suggestions, but has no power to force financial sanctions on the company.

  7. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    I still feel Lennie may well rue the day he walked away from his job at Celtic I doubt if he will ever manage such a big club again and he may well never get to manage in the CL again.Also it is unlikely he will ever get a group of fans to love him as he was loved by Celtic fans it makes you think the grass is not allways as green on the other side. H.H.

  8. Tom McGlaughlin 18.10



    I agree .



    Deloitte have no power to do anything other than report and make recommendations.



    I really struggle to take Phil as a reliable credible source as off late.




  9. Thindimebhoy on

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



    2) The ten highest earning staff (excluding Chief Executive Officer Graham Wallace and Chief Financial Officer Philip Nash) will have to be let go without further delay.



    Dynamite indeed



    I expect that means Sleekit will have to go unless he takes another paycut (deferred)

  10. If Phil Mac is to be believed, Deloittes have said RIFC must sell Murray Park and must also rid themselves of their top ten earners excluding some on The Board. Are RIFC likely to comply? If not, how does it affect them?




  11. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Thindimebhoy.Surely if correct it would also include a few players ? H.H.

  12. Thindimebhoy on

    Tom McLaughlin



    Maybe they were just suggestions from Deloittes and Phils slightly over emphasized them a bit



    No harm there, I expect the essence is near enough to the truth.