Dr Jo’s season against £32m financially doped opponent


History records that Celtic won nothing in season 1998-99 as Rangers, their former rivals, won the domestic treble, but the record books never tell the whole story.  Jozef Venglos, Dr Jo, was appointed Celtic manager on 17 July 1998, five days before our first (ever) Champions League qualification game.  He had little time get to know the players, never mind prepare for the challenges ahead.

Having lost the title the previous season for the first time in a decade, Rangers reacted by spending £32m in the transfer market, and kids, that was a time when £32m was a LOT of money.  Into an already talented Ibrox dressing room arrived two who won the World Cup that summer: Guivarc’h and Charbonnier, the German national team keeper, Klos, Numan, van Bronckhorst, Hendry, Kanchelskis, Amato and the legendary Daniel Prodan.

As a consequence, Dr Jo was never going to win the league that season, however, the talent he added on a £7m budget was significant: Lubo Moravcik, ‘Marko’ Viduka, Johan Mjallby and a loaner keeper, Tony Warner, who played a memorable cameo.

14 matches into the league campaign, Celtic had yet to win successive games when Rangers came to Celtic Park.  Mjallby made his debut with Moravcik playing his third game.  Lubo and Henrik Larsson destroyed Rangers as Celtic ran out 5-1 winners.  It was a tough season to be a Celtic supporter, but not totally joyless.  We finished the season playing brilliant, attacking, football.

Fergus McCann later noted that he wished he met Dr Jo earlier in his time in charge of Celtic.  The Slovak brought a knowledge of scouting, sports science (mocked by Craig Burley) and tactical awareness not seen, even under the more-feted Wim Jansen season.  Despite winning nothing, the fans also knew how Dr Jo upped our game against a financially doped opponent.

In the summer of 1999, new major shareholder, Dermot Desmond, appointed Kenny Dalglish director of football.  On paper the Dalglish appointment looked wise.  Kenny had won the English Premiership with two different clubs, repeatedly getting the better of Alex Ferguson.  It was not wise, not in the slightest.  Kenny wanted rookie John Barnes as manager, a mistake that cost Dermot a substantial sum to put right in a subsequent £25m share issue.  Oh how we missed Dr Jo, may he rest in peace.

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  1. jimbob71 & little Miss jimbob on

    Keeper changed yet again.


    Has there ever been such indecision over the goalkeeper position in a season?




    That is my belief too!



    So we canny really complain!



    Hope the big fella is better than good!

  3. So Bain won rock paper scissors tonight



    Moi in no10 role with Turnbull on the right? or vice versa



    Don’t understand why Taylor has taken Laxalt’s place or why Barkas has been dropped again; he had no chance at the goals last week



    Might take my headache pills now

  4. I hope Bain plays great!



    In fact I hope he disney have te play great.



    C’MON THE CELTS!!!!!!!!!!

  5. jimbob71 & little Miss jimbob on




    Bain to have nothing to do and we can say he would have been as well sitting on the bench….with Barkas and Hazard!!!




  6. Westcraigs.



    Gene’s answer covers it for me my friend.


    Fergus was worth every penny.Priceless imo


    You have a true sentiment of our clubs history and one carried on by fans and foundation.it went out the door when kellys grants etc took over in 1890s.Brendan Sweeneys book covers that.anyway a victory hopefully tonight.:-)



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