Implicit backing for Neil after a long 48 hours


It was a long 48 hours before yesterday’s statement from chief exec, Peter Lawwell.  He explicitly acknowledged “hurt, disappointment and frustration following the team’s recent results”, but the implicit backing was there for “Neil, the players and the backroom staff”.

I have been critical of Neil’s decision in recent weeks, team plans change every hour but we do not appear to know how fix the fundamental problem.  What actually is wrong? is a harder question to answer than it appears.  It was not playing three at the back (or four), nor was choosing one player over another.  If only it was as simple as a solitary scapegoat in the team.  There is bigger question: Is the problem actually the manager?

It could be.  Responsibility to fix team structure certainly lies with Neil, but there are doubtlessly other things going on that few of us are aware of.  Neil carries the can, but he would be gone if the board thought that was all there is to the story.

Winning the league is going to take a huge effort this month and successful recruitment next month.  Having been denied the opportunity to scout players during the spring and summer, a great deal of work has gone into preparing for January.  Do the club have faith in this work?  Would another manager ‘put his name’ to those targets blind?

Your recruitment strategy goes out the door with the manager.  My suspicion is the club weigh the need for squad additions higher than changing the manager.  These are the questions that separate those who are paid the big bucks from those who write blogs.  Thankfully……

Celtic: Fifty Flags Plus One, an anthology of how Celtic won each of their league titles, is available now.  Starting with our first title in 1893, it details how Willie Maley brought consistent glory, then the sparse successes over four decades before Jock Stein arrived in 1965 and the more contemporary wins since.

It will rekindle memories you had forgotten and give insight into how the leagues were won.

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  1. MATT STEWART on 2ND DECEMBER 2020 2:54 PM






    Backwards how?



    On second thoughts, you’re OK, I don’t really need to know this.

  2. One of our challenges as fans is ‘projection’. We can’t fathom why the players don’t care like we do.



    The welcome, but all too brief, reappearance of Livibhoy the other day momentarily brought the blog’s average age down to under what? 60? 70?



    Can any of us imagine what it’s like to be a Celtic player in the present squad?



    You’re early 20s. French or French-speaking from Africa. You arrive in a land where few locals speak English as you understand it. It rains. A lot. The football standard is below European average and opponents kick the merd out of you, without a free kick, let alone a card.



    You’re set for life. But you want to ensure that your extended family is too. England is the holy grail in that respect. France, Germany, Spain or Italy too. Russia if you can withstand the racism.



    European nights under the lights are legendary. You’ve been sent a link from YouTube by an enthusiastic fan. But you’ve not bothered looking at it. And recently Celtic are out of Europe so early, the lights have barely been needed.



    You draw comfort and company hanging out with your fellow Frenchies. Going to the mosque together and chilling. But the main man left a while back. And most of the feel good factor left with him.



    The manager left too. The guy who replaced him doesn’t do coaching. And all the precision and data that was at your coaching centre is a distant memory, stored in an empty room.



    You’ve been stuck indoors during lockdown. You’ve kinda had enough of being here. Time for a new challenge.



    My fear is that the only lessons learned from the Stan Petrov experience by Celtic in terms of settling in and supporting young foreign players is to try to source a chippy van with Bulgarians in it!



    HH jg




    I wonder when the suspicious activity took place.

  4. JAMESGANG on 2ND DECEMBER 2020 2:03 PM



    Post of the week. Your analysis of our lesser spotted recruits made me laugh out loud. Klimala’s was particularly funny. Excellent stuff. :-))




    It’s a pointless protest mate, which is why I don’t bang on about it. Self imposed exile to no benefit. One man standing alone in Hyde Park with a sign still protesting Brexit; man, I want to say to that guy “Go home and start blogging mate. It’ll be more theraputic.”



    The folk I dislike are still at Parkhead and some of them will be for yonks to come. One of the worst is a guy so irrelevant that we don’t even talk about him in the context of wanting change. I’d wonder what the point is if my lonely act of defiance was all I actually did.



    And in the meantime, I miss things. I miss title parties, I miss opening days, I miss those OMFG moments that make football the best game in the world. I sweat every last minute when we need a goal or don’t want to concede one. I still get euphoric when we hit the heights and sad and fed up when we’re in the dolldrums like now.



    The irony is, I never missed a minute during the hun 9 in a row. I never missed a frigigng game. Home and away, I was at them all, which makes my one man show of disdain even more ridiculous. It’s pointless and stupid to me. It’s like being a glory hunter in reverse; nobody can accuse me of that at least.



    Stubborness for its own sake now. But there are days, there are times – like right now – where it feels like the most natural thing in the world, perfectly right, perfectly valid and wholly justified.

  6. One source of hope is open to me about Celtic’s prospects this season.



    We were continally assured last year that our ability to win 9 titles in a row had no bearing on our ability to win a 10th and the fact that we bounced back in early 2020 is no guarantee that we can do the same in 2021.



    Therefore, it must follow, equally logically, that because we have started badly in late 2020, that does not have any predictive bearing on how we are going to do in December, January and February- to May.



    Or does it not work like that?

  7. ERNIE LYNCH on 2ND DECEMBER 2020 2:54 PM



    Of course players would know.



    Incredible to think a professional football player would sign for a club with zero interaction on with the manager.

  8. Watching the press conference.



    Duffy and Julian both NIr and Kriss at the heart of the defence…gulp

  9. MATT STEWART on 2ND DECEMBER 2020 2:54 PM







    Had to look that up. Never did fully trust they hippos, alway portrayed in cartoons and the likes as happy go lucky sorta things, almost cuddly. Turns out they kill more folk in Africa than any other animal and they pee backwards into the bargain. Disgusted but not surprised!




  10. The Battered Bunnet on




    Vaccine news is nothing but positive, although we’ll all have to kick our heels for a wee while. It’s remarkable what they’ve managed to do in the blink of an R&D eye.



    Hopefully a couple more will get the nod this month, and help reduce the immense pressure on supply. The UK needs 20 million doses to cover everyone over the age of 60, and another 9 million for each decade band below that. Multiply by 100 for the world to get an idea of the scale of the manufacturing and distribution challenge.



    With a fair wind, the over 60s in the UK could be sorted by springtime, leading to a conversation about how to go about living again while the working age population wait for supplies over the remainder of the year.



    All assuming a) the government can actually manage the logistics, b) the vaccines work and c) the pharmacos can produce enough.

  11. Bhoy From The Boyne on

    Paul67 gets a lot of stick and personal abuse of his own blog. I have been lurking & occasionally posting for about 15 years going back to WGS’s first season in charge.



    I haven’t always enjoyed or agreed with his articles but I appreciate them as mostly portrays the inner club or specifically the board’s view on matters. I don’t always agree like I said, but I would rather know PL/boards thinking, than not know at all. McGowan and others get scoops but for most part we don’t get such insight from anyway else.



    Whether I agree with the message or not, is another matter.


    Just saying.

  12. Re-reading the article, and from a few previous



    Is Neil Francis Lennon, being lined up for a similar campaign as to that which Brendan got on leaving


    Blame the Manager


    Not them above and the conditions they must work under ????




    I think that’s a fair assesment of what the strategy will be / should be.



    It will take more than one vaccine of course, but the signs are promising there.



    We’re edging towards it slowly but surely. it would be nice to see some new treatments come online at the same time; that’s been a real disappointment so far.

  14. garygillespieshamstring on

    James Forrest



    My view is that I support Celtic by attending games and buying a season ticket and buying merchandise from Celtic.


    My being a Celtic supporter over almost 60 has never depended upon results, managers, board or players.


    My da watched Celtic from the 20s till he died in the 2000s through times and bad on that basis.


    It was good enough for him so it is good enough for me



    We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.




  15. NOTTHEBUS on 2ND DECEMBER 2020 3:06 PM



    Hope you don’t mind me butting in. Ramos at Spurs said in an interview he didn’t know anything about Hutton who at the time was just signed from Rangers, curiously as it happened were in dire need of some income to keep the lights on but that’s another story.



    Mourinho refused to play Shevchenko at Chelsea despite previously being one of the best strikers in Europe, apparently signed at the behest of Abramovich.



    Just a couple off the top of my head.







    That’s my point fella; my one man protest doesn’t depend on results.



    I was there through the worst of times, and have missed some of the best of them.



    Because I fundamentally disagree with key elements of how we’re run … and who runs us.



    Nothing whatsoever to do with results!

  17. DBHOY on 2ND DECEMBER 2020 3:18 PM



    I don’t doubt it happens. A much closer example would be Herts under the Romanov years



    My point is there isn’t a shred of direct evidence at happens at our club

  18. JAMES FORREST @2:23pm



    ‘Hard of thinking’? 🤔 You don’t know me and that is water off a duck’s back. (Or were you referring to everyone on here? 🤔)



    ‘Traffic’. Point made; I apologise if I overstepped the mark.



    ‘Insulting’. I think you’ve done enough, don’t you? 🤔



    ‘Opinion’. Everyone on here is entitled to voice their own, a freedom you and I are enjoying. Just don’t expect everyone to agree with you, listen to you, respond to you or not, or even exercise their freedom on here to just scroll-on-by.



    ‘Agendas’. I never mentioned ‘Agendas’, but you are clearly agitated by your own and what you consider other’s ‘Agendas’ to be.



    ‘Hands’. You are the puppet-master of your own opinions; you might try re-reading these and looking in the mirror to see in what light these are currently viewed… (I say ‘currently’ because I, and as I’ve read, a few others, detect a shift here, and you might want to have a think about that…)



    ‘Ar**s’. My opinion; you are clearly up your own.



    Take Care, Keep Safe, God Bless and Hail Hail,



    Yours in Celtic, 😊 🧣 🍀



    TB&F. 😊 🍀




    Here’s Brendan on Shevd prior to his signing…



    We’ve got about a million wingers and don’t need another one but he’s a talent and in the summer we’ll probably lose wingers and he’ll look to come in. It’s an opportunity for the club to sign a young, talented player but not one that will probably help us now.




    It didn’t sound like he was involved in this signing at all and certainly didn’t approve of it.




  20. James Gang



    In football blogs all over the world, whenever your team has a bad run of form, the supporters reach for the same two (non) explanations:-



    1) The players don’t care – get rid


    2) The manager is rubbish- get rid



    It’s as reliable a riff as the 12 bar blues.



    But, when you speak to the players, such as Stan Petrov, not one will admit to “not caring” or sensing that other players did not care either. (Roy Keane may be an exception in being willing to say this but he regulary overuses it).



    Stan will tell you that, when form goes, or you are in a run of bad results, you can go into your shell, you can go through the motions of playing without being an effective player. You play safety first as you don’t want to be seen to make a mistake or you avoid where the ball is likely to be in case you fluff your next pass or shot.



    It is not a lack of effort, it’s being low, depressed and scared. So you look to your coach and captain and team mates to lift you up, to grab a game by the scruff, and to impose your will on the others- to make the opposition doubt themselves, rather than you doubting yourself.



    Most of the guys who have battled through the ranks to reach the level of first team, top tier in their country have already demonstrated that they have more talent, more determination and a more resilient persona, than their peers, certainly than the average punter who comments on them. They will have no harsher critic than themselves but……



    When things go bad, even the best can go under. Scott Brown used to be able to make things happen; he can do this less often and less efectively these days. It has not left him but his powers are waning. Other guys try to step up but they are not doing it as consistently as he did..



    I go back to the Pukki criticism where a lot of people watching him (apart from those who said he was never a striker or had been told so by German friends) thought he was not trying. I pulled up his stats after a UEFA game which showed he had run farther than all other attacking players. Yes- he had a bad game but- No- he was not guilty of not trying. A lazy player does not keep making runs.



    It should be obvious to everyone that there is no direct correlation between a player wanting to leave Celtic and the amount of effort being put into matches. Nobody runs harder and longer than Ryan Christie, Callum McGregor and Kris Ajer. Nobody shows more bravery on the ball in resisting tackles and waiting to make a telling pass than Ntcham or ELyounoussi (they do have other faults though). Eddies’s dribbles have not stopped working for him because he no longer tries but they are certainly not working for him with the same frequency as before.



    I am deeply, deeply, deeply unconvinced by the non-trier non-explanation.



    You get yourself out of a slump , inch by inch, by encouraging positivity and bravery on the ball, by not getting on player’s backs for trying (and risking failing) but for being too cautious and too safe. We need more James Forrests who will risk attacks and go again even when he has been booed for his last 3 failures to beat a man.



    In the absence of crowd backing, which probably would not be given even if we were allowed to be there, the players have to generate this for themselves and the coaches and squad players have to be encouraging from the sidelines.I’d be giving them a singing/chanting bonus depending on the quality of team positivity.



    These are basics in Sporting Psychology.



    I have long passed the time where i hoped to influence my felow fans away from the futile “”they don’t care” analysis but I will hold on to it as a lived fact.



    Just ask yourself, how many times, as a lesser performer, in your own sport, did you lose because you did not care enough. Personaly, having played for 25 years at a senior level in my sport, over 600 games, I cannot think of one. And yet, I often played crap.

  21. DBHOY



    Proof. Direct evidence



    I could argue BR is mischief making on his way out the door.



    If this has been going on for years and there are hundreds involved in this (players, agents, scouts, managers)., why not even a slither of direct proof.



    The only conclusion I can draw , indeed the only logical conclusion is that it doesn’t happen.

  22. i see Rod Stewart has blamed the Green Brigade for the ned behaviour the other day. No evidence of that, he will get an online broadside for that

  23. No Bobby Does It Petta on

    Chris Julien with the latest PR push.



    “The dressing room is unified like never before. We are strong together and the players are behind the staff.”



    Can’t be long now till we hear the dreaded: “Every game is a cup final now.”




    Aww you’ve made a friend. Must be nice for you.



    Let’s try one last time to take this in a sensible direction.



    What are YOU personally doing on this site?



    What’s the purpose of your visits? Your posts? What does it do for you? What does it give you?



    Why are you part of this community? What’s its function in your life?



    I’ve made mine clear; I come here because this, a few exceptions notwithstanding, is STILL the best place to talk Celtic. By far. With the smartest comments, the best posters, the most intelligent debate.



    So I ask you, what are YOU doing here?



    Honest question, genuine.




    I’m sure it does happen. The quote from Brendan is proof enough for me.



    As to how long it’s been happening or how often, I’m not sure.



    You see it one way and I another, no biggie.




  26. JAMES FORREST on 2ND DECEMBER 2020 3:30 PM





    I see there’s not any point in continuing THIS conversation, as you’ve made your mind up.





    I’ve made my mind up to.

  27. DBHOY



    Agreed, I am not trying to change minds, the opposite in fact. Be quite happy to be educated on these things



    Just trying t take a non emotional logical look at the “Urban myths” that are now taken as facts. I don’t believe that does anyone any good,




    There we are then. You and your pal take all the shots you want.



    I’m not even going to respond to a single one. Let that be the final word on who the yahoo here is.



    Everybody can see that I’ve tried to move this off the argument.



    You are sniping at yourself from here on in.

  29. Let’s get real. The current Celtic squad is stronger than the current league leader’ s squad. We are not managing our resources. However our resources are depleted because we were in an even stronger position a couple of seasons ago. We had Fraser Forster in goals. Although we lost Boyata, we had Jozo, then Ajer showed what a great player he was then after that Julianne became a star ( for me anyway ) . Even the perennial full back problem got better, Frimpong was a brilliant talent and brought some much needed skill to the SPL. Greg Taylor or Boli at left back was a lot better than Lee Naylor or even Lee Wallace and we won leagues with players like that latter pair. Midfield was bursting with good players ;the scottish internationalists, Rogic and the experienced Brown. Admittedly, the front line depended on one man, with Griff only having a side role in the last couple of seasons, the one and only Fast Eddie. Around that group have been a few loan deal players, none of whom is making a lasting effect. Timothy Weah made a much bigger impact. Lennon is probably not the most subtle of managers so hearing that he is “angry” can only mean that tempers are frayed. When he didn’t get the ok to get Forster I think that has snookered him.



    Great goalies don’t come along that often at Celtic!!!!



    Somebody at Celtic didn’t do the math! The points FF wins you in Europe wins you UEFA money. Maybe this lack of ambition at board level is the underlying reason that our confidence has gone. Celtic have been in the headlines a lot these months, for Covid. The football results, obviously, were devalued. Lastly, let’s not underestimate the Celtic support at home and away. The umbilical chord which connects the team to the supporters is missing and again the Celtic board is plodding along on this issue instead of helping the fans.