European qualification, chaotic ownership, Armstrong great deal


Ajax; ooft! If there’s an AQN out there, you can imagine what it’s looking like this morning. Europa League finalists in May, bumped out of the Champions League qualifiers in August and now a goal down to Rosenborg after the first leg at home.

What does this tell us?

The crux of this problem for better funded clubs like Ajax, or Celtic, isn’t that Rosenborg have a better development model, or that they are, in any objective sense, better at their jobs.

It’s that with any random distribution of talent, mid-season preparedness, and simple good fortune, a Rosenborg, Malmo, Molde or Maribor (unfortunately, the list goes on) will be able to bridge the gap between them, and a Europa League finalist from three months earlier.

Rosenborg have an excellent opportunity to progress to the group stage, but over any period you care to mention beyond this, they are highly unlikely to match Ajax’ record in Europe, because that random distribution of attributes will revert to the mean.

For Ajax, and Celtic, this is a problem. Not so for perennial achievers at this level, such as Arsenal. Arsenal are masters of Champions League qualifiers, persistently finding themselves there (until this season) and always progressing. So the problem is not totally down to randomness.

Arsenal, however, do not need to cope with the inevitable rebuilding after they assemble a successful team. Ajax lost their manager, captain and, clearly, a whole lot more, this summer. A new coach must now plan long-term but act short-term. And that’s never easy.

Celtic have one benefit over Ajax, Copenhagen and other dominant clubs from small northern-European leagues: we have no well-run opponents of comparable stature who could force us into ripping up our plans, due to a the loss of the domestic league.

Ajax had a memorable season in Europe, but lost the domestic crown to Feyenoord. Copenhagen have won two of the last four Danish titles. These losses make that long-term planning we discussed more difficult.

What Ajax need, more than managerial stability, is what Celtic have, chaotic ownership at their nearest economic equivalents.

Stuart Armstrong

I don’t know exactly what wages Stuart Armstrong will get under his new deal, announced this morning, but if he was sold, or left next summer under freedom of contract, he would be able to earn more than twice what we’re now paying him.

Extending his contract until 2019 gives the player the opportunity to solidify his performances from the second half of last season. If he’s worth the £50k per week he could pick up elsewhere, he’ll earn it two years from now, or sooner, if Celtic agree to sell him next summer.

This deal sorts the player’s immediate future out, without costing him significant time on a comparatively unrewarding contract. It also allows Celtic the opportunity to pay the going rate for his next deal, or prepare to sell him at the right time, for the right price. It’s a win for all sides.


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    Aw hell,no I didn’t.



    Any idea of a rough time you posted it and I’ll go find it?



    Star man,bud. It’s fascinated me since I saw that documentary,especially the filth they trawled to extract them.

  2. It tells us this game is of fine margins. The defenders poking big Tam’s effort into the net instead of missing it.

  3. Glad to see Stuart Armstrong has signed a new contract (which must mean he is getting paid more so has to be new) and that increase probably reflects the value to Celtic of having him in the squad for CL/SPFL games and that decision will be Brendan Roger’s and so far he has not put a football foot wrong.



    It also reflects the value SA places on himself now and as Celt in the next two years, as much as the value other clubs with a less constrained budget are able to offer him.



    He will be getting paid more because BR thinks not only is he worth it, but that BR cannot guarantee that any replacement will fit seamlessly into his plans for this season. Never underestimate the effect of churn on sustainable success.



    The days of playing for the jersey are all but gone (if it had not been for KT I would have said gone). The fact is supporters via their clubs hire employees to satisfy supporters needs to watch attractive/winning football.



    Clubs act as a buffer against supporter fickleness where any player is only as good as up to about 5 of his last games. eg.



    Broonie could have 5 stinkers and not be put on the get rid of him list. He has built up that credit to draw on.



    Lustig probably 3 stinkers.



    McGregor 2 stinkers



    Forrest 45 minutes



    You get my drift. So how can we blame players for wanting contracts that shelter them from the fickle fans and clubs that recognise their buffer role and try to achieve a balance between the football and financial realities?



    It is a balancing act that change according to circumstances. Petrov was in a position to create a win win situation and credit to him that he did.



    McGeady as a young guy went to Russia and the £9m he brought in helped offset the loss or European revenue that season and I’ll always be grateful he played his part in not letting standards drop further than they might have without that £9m, even although the money he would have been on would be good.



    So different folks, different strokes.



    Its too early to say if NtCham will be first choice and then there are injuries to cover, so keeping SA makes lots of sense from a footballing perspective.



    I don’t want footballers to commit to two or three year contracts, I want them to commit to doing their level best ever 90 minutes or less they are on the park.



    They are not supporters, they are guys we supporters hire to please us from one game to the next and I’m quite happy to watch SA, a guy whom I think is a great footballer, turn out for Celtic for as long as suits the player and the club.

  4. Ajax missed a hilarious number of chances last night. I think they will win in Rosenborg. However, that is now two years in a row that they failed in the UCL qualifiers.



    Still, not all bad….they are about to sell a centre back for €45m…

  5. Garngad to Croy on

    The higher you build your barriers


    The taller he becomes


    The further you take the ball away


    The faster he will run


    You can deny him, you can decide


    To turn your face away



    No matter ’cause there’s


    Something inside Armstrong


    I know that he can make it


    Though you’re doing him wrong, so wrong


    You thought that his pride was gone, oh no


    There’s something inside Armstrong


    Oh, something inside Armstrong



    The more you refuse to hear our voice (ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh)


    The louder we will sing


    You hide behind walls of Sevco (ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh)


    Your lies will come tumbling


    Deny our place in time, you squander wealth that’s mine


    His light will shine so brightly it will blind you


    Because there’s



    May Johnny RIP.




    Happy birthday LENNYBHOY and many hoopy returns.




    Stuart signing a new deal can only be good news,at the very least it means we’ll get a decent fee if/when he leaves.In the meantime our squad gets to keep a happier player who already knows how everything works under Brendan.Win win.



    Hope Rosenberg finish the job.

  7. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    Just watched one hour highlights of the game again. The first four goals were all struck from virtually the same spot. The Griffs fifth same area, but a few yards further out.



    We should cut out that bit of turf, and save it for our most important games. It is obviously blessed.

  8. I am a happy clapper….normally. Read Stuart Armstrongs statement. I like the lad but he just said he is moving elsewhere. He will need to be twice as good as the other players in midfield if he wants to get the chance to continue to prove he has it. We have enough cover without him and lots of talent will be lining up to take his place. Can’t help thinking that he has screwed up here. looks like we are paying wages for cover. Why not just punt him now. If we get some dosh for him I will be saying thanks Stuart Armstrong ex Celt, if it get messy he will just be another mercenary. Hail Hail.

  9. Pleased that the Armstrong situation is sorted. Another positive. Let’s have the mercurial Paddy next…then a Van Dijk clone please…:)



    Our games are 14 men strong now….domestically playing a team to a standstill for the board to come up and see 30 more minutes of a bench containing Stuart, Callum, Paddy, James, Moussa, Eboue, etc coming on must be soul destroying for the opposition.



    We’ve got a quadruple to win as well…

  10. The Spirit of Arthur Lee on

    After the start Ntcham has made i can’t see Armstrong taking his place. His wavy hair can keep the dugout roof cleaned.



    And Happy 70th Birthday to auldlennybhoy




  11. Armstrong is a matter of a short term fix. We get paid and so does he. He has not played well of late, distracted and we will see how he settles now. Ntcham looks ready made to play in there and I wonder if Brendan was thinking long term that stu was for the off.



    Weird one. Stu has played well for 6 months and thinks he’s a superstar. Pretty surprised at such a grounded guy.




  12. Phyllis Dietrichson on

    BMCUWP – I posted that one of the leading authorities in the world on phage technology is one of our own – Professor John McCafferty. Ex St Francis in the Gorbals and then St. Mungo’s – if you can make sense of his Wikipedia page you’re a better man than me.




  13. Regarding Armstrong’s chances of being a first pick player now that Big Ollie is strutting his stuff, I think Stu’s best chance is to wait for Tom Rogic’s next injury which is currently scheduled for the last week of September…

  14. Armstrong deal shows a lack of commitment from the player IMO. We’ll need him as back up to our first choice midfield over the next 4 busy months but once January window opens punt him to whichever struggling EPL team want to pay him silly money.


    Hopefully he gets back to the form of last season for the remainder of his time with us, starting tomorrow where I’m sure he’ll start.

  15. Stuart will do Ok Coral.



    Broonie needs a rest sometimes. Oli is a Passing Master.



    Absolutely deeeelighted Stuart has stayed @ CELTIC.

  16. Benyu could come on in attacking central midfield this season, he needs some upper body strength but he has style. It will be interesting to see what BR can do with this young bhoy.

  17. Paul67



    Cl qualifying is a lottery but the more tickets you can buy the greater the chance of a win.



    An earlier season start to help match fitness is worth a few tickets but are they for sale?



    A manager and team who ended the previous season is also worth a good few tickets but are they always for sale?



    Player/manager churn is the biggest factor affecting qualifying chances,. How BR did it last season is testimony to his abilities. The only way to combat that is proper succession planning both manager and players. Since a manager is probably the most pivotal of all factors getting one tied down for as long as say Wenger should be top of the list, especially if he can turn £1m players into £5m or more players in any season.



    It is an uphill task for clubs on the Celtic/Ajax level and hopefully at some point some levelling off will occur either via European leagues or redistribution of CL money with less to the clubs and more to solidarity payments.



    I don’t know what percentage of CL income goes on solidarity but if it was say 2% would it make much difference to the clubs at the top of the pile if it became say 4% to the clubs without whom there would be no pile to top?



    Far from fostering football in Europe UEFA, like our SFA, are killing it with to much commercial emphasis.





    Philvis-style Thumbs Up!!! for that,bud.



    I’ll get the dictionary out…

  19. Good afternoon Ghuys…good to see Stuart a Contract but given that is two years I guess he sees his long term future elsewhere. Perhaps he’s staying a bit longer to prove he ain’t a seven month wonder.


    Thanks to all of you who have text, send me a message on FB and on here. Too many to mention but I’ll mention one…TSOAL, arithmetic not your strongest point but I have 15 to go reach 70…:)


    No. 7 not open but booked on 13:45 tour.


    Perhaps Coia’s after that.


    Keep the Faith!


    Hail Hail!





    I read the article,and aye yer right-too many big words!



    (And all in the wrong order too,I reckon…)



    So I clicked on the references,server not found,or “Eff off,ya freeloader. Science journal,pay to display.”



    It’s a Horizon documentary-if you can find it,it’s well worth a watch.

  21. 1. HUNDERBIRDS ARE GONE on 18TH AUGUST 2017 12:28 PM


    Just watched one hour highlights of the game again. The first four goals were all struck from virtually the same spot. The Griffs fifth same area, but a few yards further out.


    We should cut out that bit of turf, and save it for our most important games. It is obviously blessed.




    I have just watched the first half again. I agreed with the general consensus after the game that prior to Celtic scoring the teams were 50/50 but then I was a nervous wreck. Having just watched the first half again Celtic were comfortable before we scored and other than a couple of misplaced passes, especially by Simunovic we were definitely the better team even prior to scoring.

  22. Whilst Stuart Armstrong’s contract is to be welcomed, it is hardly to be heralded. He stays for another year on (deservedly) improved wages. Brendan can now plan for this season in the knowledge that he is a part of the group, but not for any longer than that. The players performances this season will determine whether he stays or goes next summer. If he does well, then he will attract further interest and I would expect him to head south for some extra Mula. I’ll be surprised if he remains a Celtic player after this season, which is a pity, but at least he is sticking around for now.



    I’m not buying the notion that this is a win win. I am quite sure Celtic have compromised to get a signature. For Stuart, it’s a pay rise and Champions League football without the long term commitment that Celtic would surely have preferred.

  23. Based on what I have seen Stuart Armstrong is at least the equal of both Rogic and NtCham when all are playing well.



    I have seen Armstrong play consistently well more than either and I love watching Tom Rogic and NtCham looks like a player.



    For my sins I thought Leigh Griffiths was at least Dembele’s equal and unlucky not to start last season but we all look for different things in players. I’m sure BR is delighted to have the choice.



    Last word. What if Ntcham has a season like Armstrong had last, followed by a close season where he is being sought after and his commitment is tested?



    In short don’t depend on anything other than that things always change, appreciate what is and accept that what isn’t, isn’t.

  24. BR has told the Board what Stuart is worth to him and they have paid it.This is Brendans decision.He obviously thinks he needs Stuart to play in his midfield this season.Not good enough it seems for the would be managers.The phrase”In Brendan we trust”rings very hollow on here sometimes.


    Well done Stuart.Give us your best.That will be a massive bonus to the team.



    Now back to Paddy.

  25. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Sorry Paul, but I’m not seeing the Armstrong deal as positively as you. Looks like he will be off either in two years for nothing or – more likely – next year for maybe 3-4m?


    Surely a three or four year contract with a buyout clause would have been better?

  26. Players come, players go. I was devastated when king Kenny left all those years ago, however it was right for him as we were on a downward spiral and Liverpool gave him the platform to succeed in Europe.



    The only player that I’d be really upset about losing is KT. Oh for a few more like him. He is the next Celtic captain not Stuart Armstrong, who many thought would succeed Brown (mainly because he is a good speaker).



    Would change the whole team for the Killie game and go for victory against Astana.

  27. Absolutely delighted that Stuart Armstrong has signed a new deal.


    He is a magnificent footballer and gives the team an added dimension in his running power and goal scoring from midfield.


    I cannot understand the detractors.


    Stuart says he wants to play for us; Brendan says he loves it here and he wants Stu to play for us.


    Stu was immense last season and he has signed a new deal, for US!


    It is terrific news.


    And he has lovely hair. Have you noticed how wee Jamesie’s form has improved since he started copying the Stu hairstyle?



    Happy Birthday Lennybhoy. August 18, a good day for Tims!











    Reckon we just got what you had. About thirty minutes of sleet-in our case-then torrential rain.



    If Newbury,25 miles away,gets it,I’m changing my bets tomorrow.

  29. Would beating Astana next Wed have a big impact on our co-efficient or is it getting through that provides the points?

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