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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    At some point soon we’ll start hearing the term “mathematically possible”. That’ll be the death knell

  2. My friends in Celtic,



    Are we all aware that MON is a pensioner.



    His legacy is intact at Paradise, let’s leave it that way.




  3. James Forrest…



    Glad to see you still posting on here. More power to you.



    It’s interesting that there are a few people who use ad hominem attacks to defend someone, but can’t actually find the rationale or logic to defend the content that P67 produces. I find fan on fan attacks particularly sad. We all want the same thing – the best for Celtic. Equally, those with a vested interest, such as Paul67 (and he’s admitted as much himself) must be open to scrutiny.



    That Paul won’t actually defend some of the propaganda posted here is nothing short of tragic. The posters on here are the gatekeepers of the quality of the blog. Paul abandoned that aim a long time ago.



    Maybe as far back as 10 years ago I predicted Paul67’s shift into punditry and with it the drip drip erosion of principle that comes with getting access to the Celtic hierarchy in return for softball articles and toeing the line.



    The volte face of this article from the ‘There’s worse to come’ would be amusing if it didn’t affect our club.


    Still, Paul has what he wants. Fame (of a sort), access to the ‘high fliers’ and a site so stuffed with adverts it no longer works properly on iOS and frequently is unusable on MacOS safari with redirects to advertisers from the site. If any of that sounds brutal – I welcome other posters telling me where I’m wrong. And the ‘If you don’t like it, leave’ approach is the same as the Ibrox mobs racist ‘the famine is over’ garbage.



    Please, keep posting. Not because I agree with all your views (I disagree on yesterdays article for example. I think P67 is right, there *are* more important things) but precisely because I *don’t* agree with all your views. We’re on the same side, shoulder to shoulder advocating for the best for Celtic.




  4. Sid, no offence intended but, you reckon there might a few players out there not happy with a Ceo of a club? That’s who agents negotiate with so yes there will be a few miffed- so their credibility might be lost somewhat. If everybody loved people in charge of business, then you’re probably doing it wrong, sadly.



    You reckon those who detailed the player purchase proposal know the full story of why player wasn’t signed other than their recommendation? Many hits and misses in transfer markets.




    Scott Brown said they need to work harder for the manager. By definition that means they’re not giving 100%.



    I agree that players don’t often deliberately go onto the pitch to play badly but I do believe in marginal gains and if a player is slightly off it or unhappy, he won’t perform to the best of his ability. We have too many of those right now.



    Lennon has already said that it’s best if some players leave – those players are still playing each week. Something clearly isn’t right and the only short-term way of fixing this unfortunately is by changing manager.




    And glad we all are to see you back. :)






    Thank you my brother, you have no idea how happy it made me a few months back, after a long spell away, to come back on and find you, still here, giving someone a “bolding.”



    I used to read those with the greatest of pleasure, even the ones I was on the bad side of!



    More power to you my friend, and I hope to grab that long postponed drink when life is normal once more.

  7. MADMITCH on 2ND DECEMBER 2020 5:20 PM


    Even the dogs in the street know that PL is useless on a grand scale



    Your posts are a scatter gun of populist rubbish.


    easy to fart thro your thumbs when you have no experience.


    if you were headhunting him and wanted to look at whether he was a success look at results and this last 10 years.whether you or i interpret this as anti or pro PL,just be neutral and look at the facts

  8. Paul67…



    Two day ago you identified several deficiencies with the manager and coaching. This is history repeating itself. When Rangers were in the Advocaat era, they had a choice, bin the manager or keep repeating the same mistakes and simply throwing money at the problem. Throwing money at the problem and buying player after player already *isn’t working for us*. Haven’t you been paying attention? We’ve tried that already – and bought failing player after failing player. The answer is simple. The manager has lost the dressing room, and the atmosphere is such that players coming into that environment will, more often than not, fail.



    38m thrown at the wall, and it’s not sticking. It’s time to stop making mistakes and do something proactive to fix the problem. Strachan and MON are *at best* sticking plasters. And I don’t think either will work – but they’re the cynical and clueless fixes available. I don’t believe that Lennon, Strachan or MON will deliver. Although, if forced to pick, I’d say MON is the best shot out of it.



    Time to decide Paul – are you part of the solution or part of the problem?




  9. James Forrest…



    More power to you my friend, and I hope to grab that long postponed drink when life is normal once more.



    That has to be plan! Will the world be able to cope with the level of malcontentedness of the two us in a room at the same time? Lets find out! :)




  10. NOTTHEBUS on 2ND DECEMBER 2020 5:26 PM



    We are all allowed our own opinions.. We are not allowed our own facts



    *I’m no disputing he said it, in fact I read it myself but the lousy sleekit bassa was on the way out the door when he did, just taking another opportunity tae put the boot in. As a well known financial consult tae the club said, there was lots of joy and celebration at the club when he left, he was seemingly poisonous and toxic.

  11. That awkard moment when writing styles, repeated laboured rhetoric look remarkably similar……..

  12. Off the subject ( a wee bit) did everyone see the stunningly brilliant ohotos of the Chinese Moon Lander approaching the Lunar surface…..Magic stuff…..although for some reason (according to my contacts in Shanghai)….They deleted this one…..






    Hail Hail




  13. SAINT STIVS on 2ND DECEMBER 2020 10:47 AM



    As advised on here, I took a moment to read John James. His own jump the shark moment, he quotes Charlie Nicholas regarding Neil Lennon. So it is not worth the pixels it takes up on the screen.



    *I read JJ on a regular basis but only for his anti sevco stance, he’s an old fashioned bluenose lamenting the bygone days of yore and has no time for clarence or fat boy, his term by the way.



    However let’s be under no illusions here, he does have a pathological hatred for PL and NFL, the former because he fears him and the latter well I’ll leave that up tae the blog tae fathom that out.



    As for “Gunner” nickerarse, he reminds me of a former journalist when approached by the “Celts for Change” pressure group, after some scathing reporting on the club he had did, and asked if he was a Celtic supporter, his response was “I used tae be”. How can you used tae be, once a Tim always a Tim as I was brought up tae believe. That’s how I view that thatcher supporter.



    Also let’s not forget his pathetic display celebrating a goal, conveniently caught on camera, after jim scheitd had said we were singing the tottie song he complimented that by saying while we were eating chips, surprised he didnae burst intae the famine song at the same time.



    His column for the tory rag express, quelle surprise there is full of holes tae.



    He states that Neil got the job on the back of Mogga being sacked after a Ross County defeat, naw he didnae it was St Mirren embarrassing us 4-0.



    Actually it was Lenny who should have been given the tin tack after losing the semi tae lower league RC, the day he called Football Development Manager John Park down fae the stand pointing tae players on the field possibly blaming him for recruiting them instead of himself for the players and tactics he chose.



    A team that contained Hinkel, Broonie, McGeady, Sammy, Robbie Keane and Costa Fortune while the Staggies had 3 players deemed surplus tae requirements at Lennoxtown, Michael Gardyne, former reserve team captain and Scotland under 21 regular Paul Lawson and Black North international goalie Michael McGovern.



    He also stated that our board let Mogga down by not coming through with the promises they had made. Horse manure he spent a huge bulk of the transfer budget on the hapless Costa Fortune, who managed tae score 12 goals.



    We also brought in Zaluska, N’Guémo,Thomson all 3 played against RC, Fox he widnae last long and at least we made money out of him, Spence, Zheng Zhi a player long admired by Mogga and Ki Sung-yueng, the latter was a good buy and not just financially.



    After it looked as if we were donald ducked even though he got us tae the Champions League Playoff and then the group stages of Europa the legendary “biscuit tin” was opened again in the January transfer market where we brought in:



    Hooiveld, Rogne, Rasmussen, Slane, Braafheid who would play in the WC Final that summer and the crème de la crème Robbie Keane.



    charlie nickerarse could have been a legend but is now a legned, a certain wee trackie seller whose name should never be mentioned where ever Celtic supporters convene, and scorer of one of the finest team goals in our clubs history, to this day it is alleged still regards himself as a Celtic supporter

  14. P8DDY



    …..and a site so stuffed with adverts it no longer works properly on iOS and frequently is unusable on MacOS safari with redirects to advertisers from the site. If any of that sounds brutal –





    Get some wee yin te show ye how te get rid of the ads!



    I can see your petted lip from here!

  15. Good documentary on BBC with Anton Ferdinand, will be on catch up,John Terry is a reptile…

  16. So … since I’ve been accused today (and every day) of “promoting the blog” instead of trying to discuss and analyse the club and the situation it’s in, let me change step a little here. This is the latest piece, with no link, a copy paste of it exactly – so there will be plenty of typos until Iv’e gone through it – for the purposes of tonight’s discussions, should anyone care:



    Nothing we heard today at Neil Lennon’s press conference offered us the slightest bit of re-assurance that anyone at Celtic Park knows how we’re going to get out of this mess we’re in. All involved offered us the same empty phrases they’ve been serving us for weeks now; platitudes and assurances that everyone was working together.



    All the crap you usually get from those in the bunker.



    How much of it can we believe?



    Well, we know the board won’t keep him in his job one second longer than they think they can get away with without affecting them. We know the players have done all this “pledge of allegiance” stuff before now, and are still turning in dire displays.



    We know the manager has used this “we’re all pulling in the same direction” argument several times already in the past ten weeks and that what we’ve seen is a deterioration in form instead.



    It doesn’t suggest that we’re looking at a positive outcome.



    The manager says he doesn’t believe we’re that far away. Two mauling’s from Prague and a shocking cup exit tell a different story and paint a different picture. This team is light years from where it ought to be, with the talent he has at his disposal. He thinks we played well at the weekend, in said cup defeat.



    He must have been watching a different game.



    He said it will only take “the flick of a switch” to get the team back on form. My question is, if it was that easy what has he been doing for the last three months? Is the impression growing on you yet that this guy doesn’t even know what the real issues are here?



    He’s talked about changes to the personnel. It’s too late in the day for that, by a long way, and it feels like groundwork being laid for excuses if tomorrow night is one of those matches where the highlights come with a “contains graphic content” warning.



    I’ll be honest; I fear the worst. The very, very worst. The kind of performance and result that leaves scars. The sort that makes you wish, momentarily, that your dad had taken you to the pictures instead of inflicting football on you all those many years ago.



    One of the great propaganda tricks is repetition. Says something enough times and eventually some people start to believe it, no matter how ridiculous, no matter how unsupported by the evidence or even by logic it might be.



    The manager keeps on telling us that he can still turn this around. He has convinced the board, or so it seems anyway. So let’s do this; let’s ask the question. Is he right?



    There two principle arguments in his favour; the first is that he has had some results in his time which should indicate that he’s not as a bad a manager as some say; Barcelona in his first term, Lazio home and away in this one. These are, by no means, mug teams.



    But for every one of them you can find two examples of dire performances against sides we shouldn’t be losing to in a hundred years.



    The embarrassments of Copenhagen, Ferencvaros and the twin Prague scandals are of far more recent vintage. We struggled in our two Europa League qualifiers; the only bright spot was taking a 2-0 lead against Lille, and we blew that.



    All the evidence – the evidence of results – points to a rapid, and steep decline.



    The second argument in the manager’s favour is that he has turned things around before, and in fact he’s done so twice, in his first tenure at the club and then again in his second. Forget even that we’ve got to take into account how the same manager has arrived at a crisis point three separate times with the same club in two spells of just over five years, there are circumstances which have to be considered on both those occasions which do not apply here.



    First, we clawed back an almighty gap to top the league by New Year in 2011-12, but what a lot of people don’t remember is that after drawing 3-3 at Rugby Park we won 2-1 against Aberdeen at home but then drew at home against Hibs; Lennon should have found himself under even more pressure after that result than he did that day at Kilmarnock.



    Still after that the team went on an astonishing of 17 wins in a row.



    Should Lennon be feted for that “turnaround?” The same year, we lost in the League Cup Final to Kilmarnock and the Scottish Cup semi-final to Hearts. The euphoria of winning the league and seeing Rangers vanish down the plughole covered a multitude of sins.



    In the following campaign – the Barcelona season where you might be mistaken for thinking we were absolutely brilliant – we lost seven league games and drew seven out of 38 without a team called Rangers in the league. We lost the League Cup semi-final to St Mirren.



    The following league season we lost just once … but drew six. Morton knocked us out of the League Cup and Aberdeen beat us in the Scottish Cup.



    We finished rock bottom of our Champions League group with a mere three points. Just getting there had proved a chore; we were very fortunate in the qualifier against Elfsborg and damned lucky to get past Shakhtar Karagandy.



    That campaign was awful in too many ways to count; I was glad to see Lennon go at the end of it. His win ratio, until this season, was outstanding … but there was a lot of dross served up along the way and you never did rule out shocking results in games we should have been comfortable in, such as those ridiculous cup defeats.



    Lennon’s second comeback is less scrutinised, although it’s of more recent vintage, but a clue can perhaps be found in the form of the team in Rodgers second season and in what he gave us in the third. We had become predictable and easy to counter.



    For all the euphoria about a Double Treble, we drew ten games and lost four in his second season at the club, in the league.



    Teams had started to figure us out and the manager wasn’t for changing any of it.



    Only in cup games – where teams couldn’t sit back and defend for 90 minutes – did we find it easier to open sides up and beat them with regularity.



    Between Rodgers and Lennon – and don’t forget, Lennon stuck to the same tactics as Rodgers for way too long – we lost five that season and drew six. Eleven games out of 38 where we dropped points. Four of those games – three draws and a loss – came after Lennon took over, and the uninspiring nature of some of the wins were part of the reason our supporters reacted so badly to his being given the job on a permanent basis.



    So why is this important to an understanding of Lennon’s second turnaround?



    It’s simply this; our form was already pretty decent last season before we got to December. There had been modest changes and the team was playing the ball forward with more energy and verve. But there were warning signs.



    The points we dropped at home to the Ibrox club were not a great shock, as Cluj had embarrassed us in the Champions League and Gerrard’s team had gave us an almighty fright in the League Cup final. Teams were starting to get in our faces, and we looked spooked.



    So what exactly happened from January onwards?



    Three things did; first, the Ibrox club collapsed. Completely. Which removed any pressure the manager might have felt under at that time. Our form in the league had been much better before the New Year game than many want to acknowledge for some reason, and we picked that back up. But lastly, we did something radical, which led to the improved performances and put us over the top. We made a major change to our tactics and our system.



    That was something nobody was prepared for. We started putting teams away comfortably; they had no idea how to counter this New Celtic at first … and it might be worth asking if perhaps they hadn’t started to by the time an Ajer goal with nine minutes to go won us the three points at Pittodrie in February, and before Livingston took two off us at home two games later … the second to last we were to play before everything got shut down.



    This season, there’s no mystery to how we play. Lennon has been well and truly sussed by nearly every manager in the league. We’ve changed the systems, to no avail.



    The same systemic problems – dead balls, counter attacks where our team is all at the other end of the pitch, insane team selections, an over-reliance on Scott Brown, weaknesses down either side of the pitch depending on who the personnel are on a given day, tactical inconsistency, an inflexible team shape which strangles creativity and leaves us exposed – repeat themselves over and over again and even guys like Stuart Kettlewell rub their hands together when their sides face us.



    We have to assume that Gerrard’s team will keep winning, that we’re not going to get lucky with an Ibrox collapse, because not to assume that is plain stupid.



    Even assuming we can win all our games – you would not bet on that with stolen money – we have to prepare for a scenario where the destination of this title might just come down to matches against them, where Gerrard right now looks to have completely dominion over Lennon and his coaches. And he can afford to lose one of them already.



    The team does not seem focussed.



    The manager has insulted their professionalism and commitment to the club, and has the temerity to accuse us of undermining them.



    His press statements are utterly inconsistent and sometimes frankly bonkers; if an Ibrox manager had said half of it we’d be writing about nothing else and rolling in the aisles.



    He is out of tactical moves. The statement, on Thursday, after the game, that we would have to focus some on corners was ludicrous … as if it just dawned on him, the manager of Celtic, that this might be something to take seriously? If he ever focusses on the number of goals we lose from counter attacks I will honestly rejoice, unless, as I suspect, it comes on the back of a serious and damaging defeat, in which case I’ll inquire, politely, why it wasn’t fixed sooner.



    The support is going to continue to pressure the club until radical steps are taken to fix this. Lennon has never been under scrutiny like it. For all their declarations of loyalty, who in this squad has proved that they will run through walls for this guy? Precious few.



    The selection policy is all over the map. He says this will change for tomorrow; I’ll believe it when I see it and then I’ll be afraid that it sets up an excuse for a heavy defeat, where he can lambast the “fringe players” for “not taking their chance” and avoid any questions as to his own performance.



    Which will segue nicely into the weekend and another must win game.



    They are all must win games now, of course … except if you’re in the boardroom where the view seems to be we can afford a little more pain, take a little more humiliation and endure a little more suffering before the next desperate plea for togetherness.



    I don’t know about you guys, but this evening, with the countdown clock still ticking, no nearer an answer to any of this, the question is; Can Lennon fix this?



    Well, to say the least, I am unconvinced.

  17. GENE on 2ND DECEMBER 2020 5:06 PM


    I said the other day I’d complained to the BBC about their article on ‘best start for 50 years’




    that is some amount of fake justifications and gymnastics to justify their reporting, quite unbelievable actually,



    truth and accuracy be damned.






    Dear Mr



    Thank you for contacting us regarding the BBC Weather website.



    We can confirm that while reporting on Mr Higgins snowman picture shared by Miss Ralston and the statement “his best snowman in 50 years” that was factually correct,



    We can also confirm while reporting it “as the same snowman” to keep his grandweans happy that the snowman never really melts, well it is the same snowman.



    We reserve the right to report nonsense to suit our story line and not upset any huns or granddweans.







  18. I too know some ex Celtic players, and I can confirm they tell me he-haw aboot what is going on at Celtic Park or Lennoxtown, or in the car park, or board room.

  19. SFTB



    On Marko Viduka.



    I had a conversation with a Leeds fan last week, he has supported them as long as I have Celtic.


    We were talking the great players with the celtic connections , the greys, bremner, lorimar, jordan, bobby collins even (his da told him he was better than them awe, so that is some compliment).



    He mentioned MV, I had forgot about him going there, i said he was “lazy” at celtic park and at a £6m fee we thought we won a watch, He in turn reminded me of 70 odd goals in the Premiership over 4 seasons, including 4 against Liverpool in a game, and a partnership with Alan Smith, and Robbie Keane. He said he actually puts the player right up there as one of his best picks.



    He also said to me, sure dont you think he played like an upfront Tom Rogic ?



    and on reflection aye, those tight turns,

  20. Hi Peter,



    The latest article didn’t land well with the natives. I am being ridiculed for the variety of articles yet not addressing the main problem —— which is similar to the approach of dare I say your man in the dug out. I feel the guys are on to me and my credibility is non existent.



    I just want to say that maybe they have a point. I have blamed everything for our malaise from covid to the snp, boli, no crowds, bad luck, manager, referees . Players, tactics, weather and when all else fails the fans.



    I am wondering if there is something else that needs to be considered—-higher up the tree so to speak. I am not sure what it could but imagine it was fixed. It’s probably the one issue under the clubs control.



    Can you maybe have a think about and I could start developing an article around the root cause as I have the feeling that the article prepared about the San Siro thrashing will be ridiculed.



    Your willing and humble servant,




  21. Now, it must be some kinda wurld record but…………normally everyone that pass thru the bowels of The Edwardian Toilet Block catches “rainjurzitis”…………..yet most still stubbornly have evaded the novel virus……..






    Have just seen this. Not only is it good but it’s the unvarnished truth. Roy Aitken’s analysis of collective failure was much the same as Stan’s.

  23. boondock saint on

    If we are calling these days dark and bleak, then we must have had our eyes closed during the late 80s and 90s!!! Yes things are shite right now, but it ‘s not going to make me stop watching Celtic, believing in Celtic, Loving Celtic, loving my kids, promoting my team in the face of others putting them down. We have lorded it over Scottish teams for the last 9 years. We don’t have any God-given right to win every game and win every trophy. Yes we know our players and management should be playing better and in a better position than where we are, but for god’s sake dont forget the Joy those same folks have given us. Im not about shouting at CEOs and Boards and Chairman. I was there when the 5 families where in charge along with Terry Cassidy. Things are worse right now because we catually have a challenger, real adversity. We will turn that corner. If it is not this season, then so be it. I am a Celtic supporter through good times and bad. I embrace the joys of the good, and don’t forget the humbling of the bad.


    Hail Hail.



  24. Philboy



    Why are you so defensive ? Can you take some time and reflect on what is going on. Seriously take a time out and think through what is happening ( it applies to life and work ).



    I am trying to help you in jumping to a knee jerk reaction when you see something that you don’t agree with ; why would someone hold such a view.



    My tongue in cheek note from Paul67 —is my way of saying Paul67 is on the same page of the thinking fraternity and it’s time he came clean.



    What is more important Celtic or Peter Lawwell ? Based on all the evidence it’s Peter Lawwell for Paul67. Maybe once he will take a stand and truly become a Celtic supporter.

  25. St Stivs



    The opposite for me, Vudka nd Larsson would have been the dream pairing if it would have been allowed to blossom over time.



    Mark (o) and Pierre are always viewed by me as the “ones that got away”.



    Straight out the top drawer

  26. The players we have. They ARE good enough to win the league. And to win nearly every domestic match. Football precludes any team from winning everything.



    So why are we not doing better that at present.



    Players not trying? I can’t get that. I know many on here have played football in their youth at varying levels. Can any of you remember a game where you didn’t try your best? You may not have got on with the manager or indeed some of your team mates. But I sure as heck never played badly because I didn’t try my best.



    Professional footballers get to that level because they are even more driven than amateurs like me. Can they really not try in a COMPETETIVE game?



    Are they really going to deliberately lower their standard because they don’t like the gaffer? Is it really as simple as passing a ball out of the park from 5 yard, or miscontrolling a pass, or decide to mess up at the back and concede a goal?



    No. No. And thrice no.



    My conclusion is that the players are confused. They have conflicting information from week to week. Different formations. Different team members.



    And possibly a training regime that doesn’t hone their skills (or fitness?)



    Choose a system, choose your best players. Stick with it unless injuries or suspensions force a change.



    The manager and coaches are responsible. And that’s my final answer.

  27. Bankiebhoy



    Thanks for reposting my earlier post.



    I think it is a bit of context and balance.

  28. TONTINE TIM on 2ND DECEMBER 2020 6:49 PM


    SAINT STIVS on 2ND DECEMBER 2020 10:47 AM







    As advised on here, I took a moment to read John James. His own jump the shark moment, he quotes Charlie Nicholas regarding Neil Lennon. So it is not worth the pixels it takes up on the screen.




    *I read JJ on a regular basis but only for his anti sevco stance, he’s an old fashioned bluenose lamenting the bygone days of yore and has no time for clarence or fat boy, his term by the way.






    I have an inkling of who JJ might be, he dropped some Morton, Greenock, Junior football, Boys brigade, Port Rangers, working in the city , working abroad, stuff that I think you might also know who he is, I wouldnt ever share it, the guy does seem to be in fear of everyone, and also on his uppers.