Hammond, DoF, Strategy is everything


With all senior positions at the club up for grabs at the same time, Nick Hammond, Celtic’s Head of Football Operations, failed to get the Director of Football position, so left the club yesterday.  We are yet to appoint a Director of Football, but with Hammond’s departure, it is likely a candidate has been identified and at least informally confirmed.

The Head of Football Operation’s principle role is to identify signing prospects for the club.  Since Hammond joined in October 2019, Celtic have performed particularly poorly in this respect, as a consequence, his reputation among the support suffered.  Unfairly.

As in any operation, it is easy to scapegoat and easier still to blame the guy who is no longer in the building, but Hammond was only in position four months before travel restrictions stopped him travelling internationally to watch players.  It is not a period many would want to be judged on.

Furthermore, the poster boy signing mistakes of this season were nothing (or practically nothing) to do with Hammond.  He did not suggest Vasilis Barkas as a target or put his name to the goalkeeper.  Similarly, the blame for Shane Duffy cannot be laid at his door.  It is also easy for the guy no longer in the building to blame others.  When Nick sits in his next job interview, he will tell the story of what might have been, had Celtic signed his personal targets.

Given what I know about the merits of Hammond and Lee Congerton, the chief scout who proceeded Hammond at the club and shared most responsibilities, I would take Hammond all summer long.

The revamp of football operations, scouting and player development has been long in the planning, Hammond played his role here well.  Getting the right person as Director of Football is critically important, but I do not subscribe to the guru theory of management.  Getting strategy right is everything, the names on the doors, less so.

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  1. The Star above The Crest on

    Who signed them then?



    Also “Getting the strategy right is everything, the names on the door less so” sounds like we’re being prepared for a name that none of us will be getting excited by.



    I hope I’m wrong.

  2. Son of Gabriel on

    Michael Cox wrote an excellent article on the Athletic many months ago about how scouting departments often only look as good as the coaching allows them to.



    No matter how we structure the club going forward; both the scouting department and the coaching staff must be in lock-step on what traits and values they covet in potential targets and share the same vision for how the team is to operate or it won’t matter who we put in charge.




  3. Honest to God, Paul67, do you really believe that nonsense? That the manager’s name doesn’t count? So if we went out and hired some McCoist type dud with a blank CV or worse, one dripping with disaster, you’d be perfectly alright with it?



    Oh wait, yeah, you were. What was the mantra then? “Neil is here to spend your money.”



    Good job he did of it too.



    Honestly, if your articles reflect the internal logic of the club then we aren’t even close to being out of trouble yet and it’s going to take another series of shockwaves before anything really changes.

  4. onenightinlisbon on

    Wonder who signed these guys then? What was Hammond collecting his huge pay check for?



    I wonder if, as well as a new DoF, we might get Roy Keane as a No. 2 to help the new Manager (Howe?).



    That might make more sense than Keane as #1. 😊




    Why not let the new manager pick his own back room staff instead of imposing Roy Keane or anyone else on him. I thought we might have learned a recent lesson here.

  6. So if jack ross has his name on the door tomorrow.youl be happy way that.what alot of nonsense you spout!!!!

  7. GO TELL THE SPARTIM on 1ST APRIL 2021 12:22 PM


    Culture beats strategy every single time









    And where does culture emanate from?



    People. Personalities. Names. Characters.



    Strategy is vital. But only to underpin the above.



    HH jg

  8. In London today and Kieran Tierney’s impact last night reinforced long held views down here that Celtic and most of its playing staff need to be at a bigger club and in a more competitive environment to improve. Discuss!

  9. Surely as a new structure is being implemented it requires a top class manager/coach to introduce the initial strategy that the club wants to identify with for the future. Once that’s in place it can then be argued how important future managers/coaches are to the club’s success if the strategy has been put in place by someone of quality.



    Incidentally, I disagree with Paul’s premise. The manager should always be the most important person at the club and needs to have quality. Big games are often won and lost by tactical decisions such as substitutions during the 90 minutes play. We beat Rangers at Ibrox when the score was tied at 2-2 and Jodi had just been red carded. Instead of bringing on a defender, Brendan brought on Eddy and we scored almost immediately and went on to win the game. Only genius can make such decisions.

  10. fergusslayedtheblues on

    I see the mob over at the Govan toilet block have been issuing more bog roll share confetti


    Another 11 million yesterday


    That takes it to over 1/4 OF A BILLION new shares issued in 6 yrs


    Jan 2115 issued shares 81,041,872


    March 2021 issued shares 341,041,872



  11. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Aaahhh yes, the guy that with Lennon was going to rescue us from the disastrous (ahem) Rodgers era and his inability to spot a player.


    Barkas, Duffy, Klimala and Ajeti or Tielemans, Soyuncu, Fofana and Castagne? Hmmmm, tough call…..


    Really enjoyed that first Scotland goal last night. Very similar to one we scored at Dundee late 2018 (McGregor, Tierney, Forrest), back in the days when we were a properly coached team. Sigh…….


    Incredible how we ended up in this mess from there.

  12. Paul67


    ‘ but I do not subscribe to the guru theory of management. Getting strategy right is everything, the names on the doors, less so’


    Fair play Paul, you had me going there, then I remembered todays date.

  13. GuyFawkesaforeverhero on

    Dermot made earnest efforts to keep Peter onboard. Peter really worked to maintain Neil’s position. Callum tried his best to have Scott in the squad for next season. JK says, nobody’s asked me to stay?



    Roll on Saturday. C’mon the hoops.

  14. Surely the manager has to develop that strategy and then implement it.



    The manager is also the most important person at the club and his remuneration should show that

  15. Go Tell @1.06



    Gaslighting the supporters’ expectations has a long history.


    It’s even (inadvertently? accidentally?) in the song we hear as we leave the stadium,



    ‘And THEY gave us James McGrory and Paul McStay…..”



    No they didn’t. We, the fans, gave them the board every single great who’s name-checked in that song.



    HH jg

  16. quadrophenian on

    Another teasing “I know stuff but can’t tell you…” enigmatic piece from you, Paul.


    So: “He did not suggest Vasilis Barkas as a target or put his name to the goalkeeper. Similarly, the blame for Shane Duffy cannot be laid at his door…” so some other force or personality shoe-horned these two through?


    Good journalism – even on a fanblog – would give us a hint at the culprit(s). Why the protection racket?



    IMO, our problem was not the signings/investments – it was those players lack of belief, knowledge of faith in the team and system they were set out to play in. That and a big dose of ‘this is all too unsettling for my liking’.


    GARCIA LORCA – as Celtic’s current setup is def not currently improving players – we’re stunting too many and actually regressing with others – most would quickly prove their worth within a better environment.

  17. The Battered Bunnet on

    It’s all about performers, imo Paul.



    The only strategy you need is the one that delivers performers.



    Strategy is what you’re left with in the absence of performance. “We had a great strategy, we just needed the right people to implement it” isn’t the world’s greatest explanation for failure.



    I’m afraid Nick Hammond, like Lenny and others at the club, failed to perform despite the strategy, not the absence of it. They simply weren’t able to perform at the level Celtic needs.



    Get the names of Performers on the doors. They know what to do. You just need to give them an environment in which to do it. There’s your strategy.

  18. The Battered Bunnet on

    Don’t know if emdy’s seen it, but Nicola Sturgeon has promised to double the Scottish Child Payment from £20 to £40 for the children of Rangers supporters.



    Aaahhh yes, the guy that with Lennon was going to rescue us from the disastrous (ahem) Rodgers era and his inability to spot a player



    This season it went wrong for Neil i dont debate GTTF, However he took on the BR team and excelled in all stats goin for 9 i believe which denotes our selective memory.



    interesting Castagne is in your comparison as it apoeared to also show rift with BR & PL i believe when we chased him.



    hope your good



  20. Go tell the Spartim on

    Son of Gabriel



    😂 I remember when I worked at Clyde Action and we were gearing up for cash for kids and we wrote to the NY Jets, Ken O’Brien, QB at the time wrote back with some stuff for auction, so always been a fan, the fact they wear green is purely coincidental 😉



    Jamesgang 👍🏻 Spot on

  21. Twitter all a buzz . . . Howe ready to take over, meeting with DM today as a last check. Will be offered job this week. Has said no to Sheffield.


    Richard McGinley of Etims claims Mark Burchill coming with him (says that is not an April Fool).

  22. timmy7_noted on

    So if I’m reading this correctly P67 reckons we are letting the wrong guy go.


    Who made the call? Why the mystery every time?



    And more importantly if you know who was to blame for Shane Duffy why is it a secret? They should be named and shamed, or could it be they are still at the club and a friend?



    Must be April 1st surely?

  23. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Without hopefully feeding the politics analogies, a bit like Johnson’s Cabinet on the pandemic, nobody is to blame for anything?

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