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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    I must introduce you to yer oppo.






    A fine lad,as is yersel.



    I’d pay to watch that,how about Wimbledon-I’ll get his pal Doc down to adjudicate.





  2. As Paul says above a coach needs short and long term planning.


    Armstrong contract is a good solution for us.


    It is not a long career and the bhoy is absolutely right to maximize his value.


    Brendan has decided we need him now and we will receive a very good fee when he leaves.


    In the short term Brendan has deemed him necessary and i agree as he is a game changer.


    The games present economics means we will often have to deal with similar circumstances for the immediate future.


    A situation created by tv revenue and also to a degree by guys like Ewan Murray and the churnalists of the mssm.


    They have so demeaned the league since their club died that outsiders see Scottish football as only a place of last resort making it hard for even young Scots to believe in the league.


    Celtic have scouted wisely and have the financial clout to pay young potential stars.


    Most come with the attitude of Moussa and agents that we are an excellent club to develop young players in a league that is physically tough and coaches who can technically improve them.


    Celtic may enhance our attraction to young talent with good European performances


    The other teams need to be at least competitive in qualifying rounds to have a chance of emulating our strategy in some way.


    Aberdeen and Hibs seem to be our best chance of improving the standard of league.




    I’ll bring all of the West Suffolk Callum McGregor No. 1 CSC.



    (that’s me and a miniature schnauzer)



    I’ve met Doc before at WCSC – a fine man although he refused to buy me a shandy…



    In hindsight, he was right to.

  4. weebobbycollins on

    BMCUW…thankfully, knob cqners are few in number…occasional troll but mainly good Celtic men and women…one for all-all for one…



    Dug duties…domineering mutts-but I love them…







    Doc is a grand fella. It’s his greatest strength.

  6. FAN-A-TIC



    Good post mate..



    CL is important for us to continue to attract players to the club.



    Let’s hope for a decent run this season:))








    A miniature Schnauzer?



    Is that where you walk on-stage wi the dug,and the audience go…



    “Aw,thank f..k! There’s only wannythum!”

  8. traditionalist88 on

    Alison McConnell‏







    EXCLUSIVE: Patrick Roberts will be back at Celtic this season. One year loan. More to follow.

  9. Breithla Shona Lennybhoy and belatedly to Tohg.


    May Johnny rest in peace.


    Stuart’s extension (Not his hair ones) suits Stuarty more than the Celtic but we tend to view these things from a supporters perspective and that’s not where the players ( possible exception of KT and Broonie) are coming from.


    We have more than enough mid field cover with Benyu and Kouassie. I don’t think this deal is Stuart saying that he really wants to be part of Brendans project.


    So with the extension, the warm glow of his performances for us and his International debut STILL fresh in peoples (and EPL) minds I would punt him to the highest bidder. It’s business Stuart, nothing personal, his contract extension reflects that fact.


    No player was scapegoated in the framing of this post.






    Re your commentb in only the Pope being infallible….



    Think you’re forgetting Bill Nimmo Smith; he of the decision which is so perfect it’s impossible to appeal

  11. MiT



    You have stated quite clearly the equivalent rank of the positions of Pontiff and the Celtic manager.



    But, will your next scriptural study be an exercise to prove how insignificant these are in relation to that of a lawyer?



    Looking forward to seeing you in Glasgow. Let me know your schedule and i will organise dinner or whatever suits you.

  12. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on

    I dont get what Manc City are all about. They dont want Paddy but still want to impose conditions. Why?


    If he is surplus to requirements, let him go ffs.







  13. Gearoid, you are wise. CELTIC will indeed make from this deal, although it is not Ideal.



    I Loved Belfast. Yer Food was just superb. Thank You Great Celt.

  14. Not a bad result for Brendan and the team for the Teuchter’s quaff.



    Extending his presence at Paradise for a year essentially puts the pressure on him to produce the goods in order to get the minted Sassenach move he’s obviously holding out for.

  15. Interesting to look at last night’s BBC Sportsound podcast David Currie standing in for the presumably sick and hurting hun Kenny McIntyre.




    Sportsound Podcast : 17 Aug 17


    Scottish Football


    David Currie, Aberdeen assistant Tony Docherty, Morton boss Jim Duffy & BBC Scotland’s Chris McLaughlin discuss Celtic’s win, Champions League cash, Lennon, Hearts, and the Dons.



    Everyone bar one has a Christian name apart from the Hibs manager. An utter disgrace but so in keeping with BBC Scotland Sports department.

  16. Traditionalist 88 & Starry Plough



    I did welcome the deal. Just don’t sound the fanfare. I don’t believe it’s the deal we offered or wanted but I’ll take it. My point was that Paul 67 would have me believe it’s a “great deal”.



    Now that he’s into the penultimate year of his contract, do fresh negotiations start next week or next month?



    Even Brendan is now talking about another 2 years which is codswallop as he won’t be allowed to run down this contract. We have him for one more season but that’s better than nothing.

  17. TGM,






    A very good sign.



    The wee Laddie is as Brave as a Lion.



    MC want Money for a quality fitba player.



    They recognise his Worth.

  18. BMCUWP



    I’ll have you know I have a very successful ‘One Man and His Dog’ act at my local park. It’s where I let the dug off the leash, he runs away and everyone else laughs at me.



    I’m thinking of touring next year…

  19. TGM


    The more paddy gets game time and success with Celtic his sales value will go up. The EPLis mad – quoting £18m for johnny evans

  20. Did David Currie refer to Neil only by his surname? I did not see the broadcast , but if he did let me know and the next time I speak to his mother-in-law, I ‘ll tell her to sort him out.

  21. mike in toronto on

    JIMMCI … that only applies in certain parts of Scotland, evidently …



    Hrvatski … Matthew 22:35, Luke 10; 25-37 .. I’m no Biblical Scholar, but even I know we lawyers dont come out of that Book looking good! And, I think we made the 9th level for Dante, so I know where I am likely going … (although I have it on good authority that St. Peter (named after Lawwell, apparently) is a tim, so I may have a chance!






    Looking forward to catching up pal!

  22. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on




    Its Manc City greed that is the problem. Its because of the transfer behaviour of English clubs that the system is a joke. They want it all ways.


    Id like to see us try to buy Paddy, but it will be a loan again.


    Coutinho of Liverpool, valued at 120 Million, that is just ridiculous.


    The English clubs are ruining football for everybody, their greed is horrible.




  23. mike in toronto on

    Davidopoulos …. wasn’t it W.cC. Fields who said ‘never work with children or animals’? I bet Mr. Caixinha wishes someone had told him that a few months ago!

  24. ACGR


    Reinstalled Zadok the Priest ringtone on the Arbroath Emerald CSC bus home from the game on Wed. Set at max Hun factor 5. Nearly spilled coffee when it went off this morning – happy hoopy days!



  25. traditionalist88 on

    Paddy back on a 1 year loan deal then.



    Contracted to Man City until 2020, theres the problem right there and reason for Man C playing hardball.



    Value could go through the roof if he plays well this season(in CL), pricing us out next summer.



    So you’d assume then that the only way to get him back is a 1 year loan and hope no English clubs start a bidding war next summer.



    Great to get him back all the same!




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