Demographics, Asia and Celtic


Ask any group why Scotland produces so few great players now, compared to where we were as recently as the 1980s and you will get a familiar list of reasons.  Clubs no longer promote youth prospects at the same rate, facilities here have been overtaken by those in similar small countries and have been left well behind by those in England.  Our diet is shamefully poor, youth coaching is often a glimpse into a bygone age and having seen all of this, responsible parents are increasingly reluctant to encourage their sons to take the possibility of a career in the game seriously.

All of the above deserve merit, but the real reason we are not where we were in my youth is demographics.  When Celtic won the European Cup, there were only a handful of fulltime leagues in the continent.

West Germany only got a country-wide league in the 60s, the game was totally amateur in the Netherlands until the 50s, while top-flight French football was largely semi-professional into the 70s.  The game spread beyond its Europe and South America heartlands.  Thousands of pitches were laid across Africa, bringing a new population of players into the game, many of whom made their way to European leagues and even European national teams.

Demographics is the number one reason we do not produce European Cup winners anymore and that tide is never coming back.  For Celtic, being the best at recruiting from a population of 5m people is almost pointless.

Japan has a population of 127m; Korea’s is 51m.  Neither country has the heritage in the game that we do, baseball (a kind of rounders) is the top sport in both countries, drawing more talented athletes, but that picture is changing, football has and will continue to close the gap, specifically among young people.

We will forever need to fulfil the Home Developed Player list on the Uefa form, but for all other practical purposes, work where demography is on your side.  The vast populations in Korea and Japan will continue to outperform Scotland and most European nations for decades.  This week we tour Japan, the culmination of an enormous project by the Celtic commercial team which has worked to understand business culture in Japan and developed contacts as they try to establish our brand there.

Before we fly home, we will hopefully add two more players from Korea, a market we have worked hard on for a year.  It’s football, so there are lots of uncertainties with our strategy in Asia, as well as significant logistical challenges.  But if it was easy, the whole of lazy Europe would be there.

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  1. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Tete signing for us on a free , met with Nicholson in Paris apparently.



    Don’t shoot the messenger….

  2. One of the problems we have in this country with kids football is that for a lot of teams ability appears to have been taken out of team selection.



    Teams now have waiting lists and getting in is more based on what parents contribute to training etc rather than have a trial and pick the best

  3. AN TEARMANN on 17TH JULY 2023 10:35 AM



    Thanks D, sounds good. Thank your mate as well.



    ‘Toddling’ will take place late September – the problem was getting accommodation lined up in the various places.



    Ave Ave

  4. !!BADA BING!! on 17TH JULY 2023 12:16 PM


    Tete signing for us on a free , met with Nicholson in Paris apparently.


    Don’t shoot the messenger….





    He’s out of contract?

  5. Hope the team are wearing masks when out and about. There’s a new Corona wave sweeping Japan right now.

  6. !!BADA BING!! on 17TH JULY 2023 12:44 PM



    Mind-bogglingly ridiculous. What kind of people still read The Record?

  7. I was talking about this the other day with someone. Why does Portugal, with a population twice the size of Scotland produce so many very good players and we don’t?



    I also saw that Lewis Ferguson has been signed up to a new contract at Bologna and Josh Doig is about to get a move from Verona to a bigger club Lazio who finished second last season are interested. Hickey was a success in Italy and got a move the the EPL.



    None of them looked decent to me in Scotland. Maybe the change of coaching and culture is what’s made the difference.



    But it does make sense to shop in a larger market for young players, especially if they are standing out already with poorer coaching than they’ll get here.

  8. Moderator1888 on

    I was talking about this the other day with someone. Why does Portugal, with a population twice the size of Scotland produce so many very good players and we don’t?



    Is it something to do with dual citizenship with south american countries/or ease of visas?

  9. bournesouprecipe on

    Sports coverage since 1888.



    Celtic supporters continuously short changed by SMSM as the summer signings rammed up to number eight. It’s a way of life but a biscuit tin now goes up and down a marble staircase, and It’s always a non sports news day when Celtic spend money. A record breaking £25M in , and ‘the alleged sell on fee’ was their only hope , they’ll always find a better story, any story other than Celtic Glasgow, and our domination Rainjurz always winners, so long as there is no football.



    Creating a climate where winning nothing is magic but it still amounts to nothing, Celtic go continental and from strength to strength without hesitation. Only six more weeks of signing players we can otherwise afford, the Celtic nemesis torments them and every one of their pyrrhic victories.



    This window till slam shut day, follows our rotation of top managers with a Brendan ‘marquee’ or two planned, quality scouting could consign Sevco to simply second best permanence. Barely suppressed rage was palpable on the Rodgers return, and Celtic now hold all the aces over the 2012 ‘cleaned up’ confetti shares version of Poundland.



    Glasgow for the fair high summer time and the living is peachy CSC

  10. kevinlasvegas on

    Bang on again Bourne.



    The negativity on our forums just now is crazy.



    Freebies are free for a reason, quality takes time.




  11. MODERATOR1888 on 17TH JULY 2023 1:21 PM



    That’ll help with the clubs signing young South Americans but it doesn’t explain why they consistently produce excellent Portuguse-born players.



    Portugal just lost in the final of the U19s euros to Italy, who they’d thumped in the Group stage. They have an excellent record in the tournament, abd it’s not like the national team doesn’t punch well above it weight in international competition for the population size

  12. quadrophenian on

    Hmmm Paul… so how does yer argument square against a country like Croatia, Denmark – both similar to Scotland yet continually produce smashing players. And dont get me started on Switzerland.


    You forgot to mention the national indolence and the apathy of many towards the game due to the SFA’s bungling mis-management and the eternal pochling of the huns.


    Still, it makes me wonder for the future of the club identity or soul if we become a truly cosmopolitan stepping stone for prospects far and wide… mibby Dermot will sell out before too long ??



    BTW, the Aussie lad Niuwenhof who seems to be signing for the Jambos is a very tidy player; real good pickup.



    GG – sending you the prayer of St Roch’s again:


    O most merciful God


    Who through an angel promised St. Roch


    That whoever should invoke his name


    Would be preserved from pestilence


    And contagious diseases.


    Grant that through his intercession we


    May be preserved from all dangers,


    Both of soul and body


    Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

  13. GG thinking about you.


    Scotland’s problem is too many leagues and not enough teams. Small cutthroat leagues are no place to develop players. It’s a sure fire way to get yourself relegated. 18 team leagues, back to 3pm kickoffs. I know it will never happen but it will never be any better until it does.

  14. QUADROPHENIAN on 17TH JULY 2023 1:30 PM



    I don’t think you can ignore economic factors.



    A lot of the Croatian team grew up during the war and in its aftermath. The GDP per capita there is about a third of the UKs, in Portugal its about a half



    Someone in Scottish football I spoke to said Scottish kids don’t have the same drive and hunger they used to. It’s what sets the kids who go on to have successful careers apart from the ones who fail.

  15. What you won’t see reported anywhere :



    Rangers are losing Morelos Kent Arfield Davis McGregor Tillman Collak All for nothing.



    This lot have, at varying times, been quoted as worth well over £50m by a fawning MSM.



    At to that the departure last season of Aribo Bassey and Ramsay from their European team.



    Yes they are replacing with an entire squad of free / out of contract options who will be hungry and they have a manager who understands the terrain up here but we are at another level.



    We have bought well ahead. Our Xmas window purchases have assimilated into the team replacing right back with right back and adding a back up striker to replace the same. We also bought Japans poty back then who will cover for the missing Mooy.



    The jury seems out on our centre back cover but he had several good games before being part of a weakened team which lost a meaningless match at our Glasgow rivals. Brendan may view this and our left backs as areas worth securing better reserve cover for if available.



    We have secured additional midfield project cover in the Norwegian and possibly also the South Korean. Many on here forget the role O Riley played when we were missing Cal last year. Hopefully his development along with siesta and Hatate plus the projects can continue. Maybe Turnbull will gain the 20% improvement Broony and Cal did under Brendan also.



    We have signed 2 wingers and maybe more to come. We have lost Jota but on balance we should have plenty to trouble our rivals.



    A full season of Oh is something I am excited about and also to see how Brendan evolves the playing style. Also how he evolves as a manager. Worth remembering he did get to a semi final in Europe with Leicester whilst also competing for CL place in EPL.



    There is a lovely symmetry about a season starting and finishing in Dublin for this particular supporter. That plus the 54th league title really would be enough for me. Although another treble has an appeal also just to balance the pre season cup going down govan way again.

  16. demographics.



    that historical note is fair, for 100 years the home nations had an advantage being the founders and custodians of the game, exporting it to the the rest of the world as represented in those huge britain v the rest matches at hampden and wembley.



    for me it really changed with the break up of USSR and the other communist states.



    Scotland becomes what it really is, a small population in number and size, competing with the new reestablished countries with huge numbers and now allowed to flourish.



    And yet, in this football obsessed contry, we do actually produce footballers, again.



    all those diet and cant be bothered comments are disingenuous. I have two family members in the performance schools, not from privelaged backgrounds at all, they eat, sleep, train, repeat every day of their young lifes.



    it is just the competition in now global.



    how did st mirren produce mcginn, hamilton ferguson, queens park for robertson.



    why talk us down.



    we have tierney, he will go on to something even better imho.

  17. Melvin Udall on

    QUADROPHENIAN on 17TH JULY 2023 1:30 PM




    Spot on! Was just about to post similar. Croatia have a population of just over 4m, yet produce world class players and compete in the later end of major tournaments.



    The whole demographics argument doesn’t hold up.

  18. SAINT STIVS on 17TH JULY 2023 2:07 PM



    I didn’t say they can’t be bothered, just that they don’t have the same hunger and drive as before. It’s not disingenuous to make a correlation between improved living standards and a decrease in the drive to make a better life for yourself.



    You can’t ignore a change in standards among young people in this country. They’re more entitled than they were even ten years ago, social media has changed society, adolescents and young adults are less motivated than they used to be.



    I think there’s an increased professionalism in Scottish football but I think it’s pretty telling that McGinn and Robertson became much better players after they left Scotland.

  19. offcourse they became better players, they got more experience in a better league,



    it is not telling it is what should hopefully happen.



    I can ignore “the changing standards” , certainly no one in my family gives up their football match to stay home in comfort and play games.



    scottish players, several from the celtic academy are away to bigger teams in better leagues,



    if they were shite they wuldnt be anywhere near it.

  20. Why are people calling our signings so far,as” Projects”.Odin,regarded as the best player in Norway.Tilio,regarded as the best of what Oz has this year.Our two Koreans up there at the top in their country.Because they


    Can we have a look first?. cost little ?.


    Short memories at work.Kyoto,Hatate,O,Riley,Maeda,cost £ 10 million,the lot.We are paying stupid fees,because everyone else thinks you have to.


    CCV on loan all over England,in a country where Man U paid £ 90 million for Mc Guire.


    Do we really know that our Korean winger won’t be as good as Jota ?Odin won’t be another Hatate?.

  21. Celtic’s record in building our brand and recruiting from foreign markets has never been consistent.


    I recall us linking up with a team in South America, possibly in Mexico .


    I recall a link up in the USA with the Boston Celtics for merchandising.


    I recall a link up with a Belgian side to sign players .



    Forgive me for being sceptical about our long term commitment to recruiting from South Korea and Japan .



    Now that we have lost Ange’s personal exposure and fading knowledge of the Japanese market .


    I don’t see Celtic commuting a full time recruiter to these markets.




  22. bigrailroadblues on

    Good afternoon all from Paddy Neesons. A fine fair Monday to the Celtic family. 👍

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