Ivorian link at work again, this time in Athens


With three deals done, the pace of transfer activity at Celtic appears to be approaching relentless.  The Ivorian link will have been at work again, as news that we are interested in Olympiakos full back, Omar Elabdellaoui, testifies.  Celtic coach, Kolo Toure’s brother Yaya, spent half a season at the Greek club before leaving last month.

Signing players is always a risk, so getting a first-hand insight into how a player performs from someone who has worked with him daily for the last six months is a huge advantage.  Bear in mind, Elabdellaoui is just one of the right backs Celtic are considering.  This one could run a while.

Reports from the US that we have agreed a deal to sign 22-year-old left back Andrew Gutman are amusing, mostly as he was being trailed as a signing elsewhere in the city.  Great to see that as well as using our Ivorian links, we have plenty of connections at Scotland’s smaller clubs.  If he arrives, hopefully Callum McGregor will not see more action in that position.

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  1. Lustig has been a great servant to Celtic over his 7 years with us. However the last two years have been a bridge too far. I feel sorry for him as he should never have been put in the position he is in. I’m glad and reassured that we’re finally dealing with the glaring weakness in our team, it’s been a long overdue investment.

  2. D17-Lustig is my favourite current player(as my posts over the years will prove:).From the previous thread re chat about Andy Murray and KT,I’m pretty sure a lot of Mikael’s long running injuries, were hip injuries. I think if he could turn back time,he would maybe have retired from international football, and had a lot more rest.I would buy a new RB,but would be happy to give ML another year.Good back up,and is great in the dressing room/training pitch,and helps the young bhoys coming through.

  3. Fool Time Whistle on

    Losing Mikael Lustig positionally & tactically is probably right.



    Losing him in terms of morale & as a senior pro who gets Celtic is a loss that we aren’t ina position to lose.



    Basically, I agree with Bada Bing.





    He’s pretty good yeah. Done well in Olympiacos and should be good enough for a bigger league by now.



    Vennlig hilsen / Kind regards



    John-Kristian Dalseth



    GOOD news from my mate in NORWAY.

  5. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    Dinae know Big Kolo was Chief Scout (supported by brother Yaya out in the field).



    Oanywho – good to see the net being spread a bit wider this window, and I agree with Paul67 that having close knowledge of a player can only be a help in assessing their level.



    I don’t know enough about the scouting set-up at Celtic to comment with great confidence, but it does seem to be quite an inconsistent approach over the past few years. Hopefully this window will continue with what seems to be a positive change.






  6. Afternoon, CQN… soon be the weekend…



    Apologies for taking so long to get back…



    SFTB – 9TH JANUARY 2019 @ 11:03 AM,



    Chairbhoy[‘s comments in bold]



    “The point is you fail to mention the wonderful advantageous position Celtic found itself in when Rangers died.



     Celtic for five years after that event had almost guaranteed access to the UCL Qualifiers, we were put in the Champions route to the qualify for the group stages and were very unlikely to face a team with our resources, even if we failed to get to the league stage, we had an even easier route to the Euros.



    How many Clubs in Europe had that?? Not One But Us!!



     OK- What the death of Rangers did was give us an easier (never a guaranteed) run at the title and, therefore, an easier chance to qualify for the qualifiers ; it did not ease the qualifying route to the Group Stages.



    We won the 2012/13 league by 16 points and subsequent leagues by 29, 17, and 44 points until Sevco appeared in the top flight in 2016/17. We then won the league by 30 points with Sevco 9 behind our nearest challenger , Aberdeen. And last year’s league by 9 pts with the same top 3 teams.



    All these titles earned us direct entry into qualifying round 2 of the CL, except the last one where we had to start at round 1.



    The advantage thet the death of Rangers gave us, we took. We won each league and then 2 months later, often with a different squad, we faced our CL qualifiers. We had earned no advantage over our competitors that we met there; they were unaffected by the death of Sevco. Some of our competitors were “advantaged” by being in the midst of their next season by the time qualifiers came around but that is a “swings and roundabouts” type of advantage. Yes , we werre financially stronger than most of our competitors at that stage but, as we reached final qualifying stages we came across teams that were closer to us and close enough for an adverse result to occur.



    In 2012/13 we qualified with 100% record, made the Group Stages and lost in the round of 16. Next year, we made the grup stage also, finishing 4th behind Barca, AC and Ajax. In 2014/15, we messed up, scraping through against Legia and getting our just desserts vs Maribor and getting knocked into the Europa League where we again made post-Xmas and lost in the last 32 to Inter. In 2015/16, we had a disaster- knocked out at the play-off round by the smaller club, Malmo (still have a better TV deal) and a terrible Europa campaign vs Ajax, Fenerbache and Molde, where we , shamefully finished 4th- now that was a failing year. In 16/17, we made CL group stages, but finished in our seeding position 4th, behind Barca, Man City and Gladbach. Last year we qualified for CL and finished 3rd before losing to Zenit in post-Xmas Europa last 32 action. 3 times out of 5 we made the CL Group stage, once into last 16, and twice we were in the Europa (knocked out by Maribor and Malmo) but made last 32 of Europ on one of those 2. That leaves, in my mind, only one failing year (2015/16)



    We had an open goal an we failed to capitalise on that.



    Yes, for 2015/16. I cannot see any other open goals unless you are peddling the unprovable hypothesis that, if we spent a little more, Maribor and Molde can be guaranteed not to happen. Are you advancing that view, that you can remove or drastically reduce sporting risk?



    We have Billionaire shareholders, we have one of the greatest attendances in Europe, we have the greatest supporters in Europe. We represent the Geal, so not only our kinsfolk in Scotland, Ireland and the rest of the British Isles but a Global diaspora that we can mobilise. “



    Oh! I really don’t buy most of this. I don’t care about the wealth of our shareholders. If we start to develop a transfer policy or wage structure, based on “Sugar Daddy” financing, then that way lies Sevco 2012 outcomes. We should run on what we earn. We have a great attendance and support (“Greatest Supporters” is just bombast and self-praise) but unfortunately we do not earn as much from gate money as others get through TV money, which distorts our standing in the game, and affects other big proud clubs like Anderlecht, Legia, Ferencvaros, Slavia Prague etc to create barriers to clubs from peripheral leagues. Finally, I love our Irish support and marvel at the efforts they make but there are far more Man U, Liverpool and, god forbid, supporters of Chelsea in the Republic and, in some parts of the North, than there are for Celtic. We have been forgotten about entirely by the Welsh, the Breton and the Cornish. Thiugh, to be fair, the Manx have given us KT.



    “Why have you got a list of why Celtic should be allowed to fail



    Yet totally fail to highlight the huge advantages Celtic have had over their peers…”



    A “when did you stop beating your wife” type of question framing. I have outlined the reasons and barriers that exist to prevent us and clubs like us, from breaking into the Big 5 league monopoly that is CL riches. You describe this as “allowing us to fail”. If you want to avoid failure, don’t play sport or enter any competition because no matter how good you are, you will lose some and often to supposed “lesser” contenders. History is littered with examples.



    I agree that there have been many occasions where we could and should have done better but I don’t buy into the “specualte to accumulate” myth when you are in a monopoly market, nor into the “if it wisnae for the suits, we would be up there with the Barcas and Man U’s of this world.



    Let’s be real… Celtic Have had a huge opportunity in the last five seasons and through [throw] it away…”



    What should we have won that we didn’t and what were the reasons for it? I saw Celtic be perennial first and second round losers in Europe from 1975 to 2001. That is as big a part of our history as is the glorious period of 66 to 74. Since 2001 we have had around 17 years of relatively better Euro success. You are describing the last 5 years as a failure even though we have had a pretty consistent record of achieving our set ceiling as one of many cannon fodder 4th seed CL participants and have surpassed that setting on 1 occasions to reach last 16 of CL, an end feat that I regard as equivalent to our Seville year, though not with the associated emotions.



    If we are to “get real”, maybe you could provide the parameters of success we should have had as 5 league titles, 2 domestic trebles, 3 CL Group qualifying stages and one post Xmas Europa qualification in the past 5 years is being touted as failure. What does success look like?



    Thanks for the detailed reply, looking this is not me looking to get wise after the event, nor saying it was easy to qualify for the UCL. What I am saying was if you compare it to the Times when we had to beat Rangers to the league to even enter the qualifiers, then could draw teams like Arsenal in the qualifiers…



    …the almost guaranteed entry to the UCL qualifiers and the relative ease of the “champions route” gave us a huge opportunity.



    Now I stated this on here six seasons ago. I predicted something that should be easily achievable it went something like this over five years…



    UCL qualification 2 Seasons


    Europa qualification 2 Seasons


    Europa after New Year 2/3 Seasons


    Failure 1 Season



    Ok, now my point at the time was we should budget over a cycle to be a tier 3 UCL Club, that the money we would generate from Europe and player sales would allow us to achieve that…



    If we invested in the team in that way the chances are we would have, in reality done much better…



    Weeminger (another sorely missed poster) and I would oft cross swords on this. I believed I was right the, with the benefit of hindsight I’m even more convinced.



    You refer to the above as speculating to accumulate, that would not be my take at all, this is investing in the best team we can reasonably afford and maximising potential…



    …what I do call speculating to accumulate is the dozens and dozens of players we brought in (avg: £2M a pop) that failed to make a contribution to the first team (or the development squad in most cases) using precious Club resources for nought.



    Again, a point made at the time.



    As far as the Billionaire shareholders are concerned, I wasn’t suggesting that they put money into the Club, this was simply a foil Against those who perpetrate rich corporate, Arab or Oligarch ownership leads to success. It’s also worth pointing out the financial stability and opportunities they bring.



    Instead of the PLC hording money to spend awaiting the invitation to a “better” league, we could spend that money on the football club, there by enhancing our chances of an invite and when it comes utilise this skill set and financial muscle to do a bit of financial engineering to get us competitive and reap the rewards when that time arrives, we would need to restructure our finances anyway.



    The failure of TV money and quality in Scottish Football is down to…



    …Scottish Football, Celtic are a key element in that, in their own right and as part of the old firm.



    Hail Hail

  7. Paul67



    Whilst I agree with your desire never to waste McGregor at left back again. If we think Gutman is the stand in for injured Tierney then we need to catch ourselves on a bit. Although 22 he has played 13 games for Chicago Fire reserves and 90 NCAA games.



    I could not claim to place the relative strength of these competitions in context. But the vast majority of guys playing NCAA will not be going on to be professionals. At best it would be Scottish 4th tier would be my (uneducated) guess.



    So pitching Gutman in at Tynecastle or any other arena is likely not realistic in the short term. I imagine a 6 month initial loan to get him used to pro football would be wise.



    If Tierney is out long term with a hip injury then we still have a gap.

  8. Delaneys Dunky on



    For a few seasons Mik Lustig was our best player I thought. Close to world class for us and Sweden. Celtic hero on the slide.



  9. No reason celtic should not bring in guys like gutman, free transfer on low wages, same with the other american fullback. They may just prove valuable additions and kick on. just like signing up the boy amstrong from arsenal. Its important to look at tomorrow as will as today.



    Its the millions of pounds we spend on guys like malumba, gamboa and hayes etc… That annoy me becuase they have lots of football with no proof they are able to step up. we should never signing anyone over 24 That is not an automatic starter.



    We have 30 plus players at celtic and 15 could leave tomorrow without effecting the team or results.



    We should have a core of 18 first teamers They the projects and youths.

  10. If we are using Kolo Toure as a scout then what is our scouting Department doing. We have now signed 5 players and not one is a first 11 starter.



    Our recruitment set up seems to be not fit for purpose

  11. Delaneys Dunky on



    My ideal Celtic squad would be 23 players.


    Two quality players fighting for every position then joker 23.



  12. Stephbhoy



    Not 30 but 38 first team players plus 1 on loan. 16 in the Development squad and 7 on loan.



    I know that we are suggesting some more will go on loan.



    Our wage bill is as high as it ever has been and we are in danger of spending our transfer surplus on wages.



    You are right that we could lose up to 15 without affecting our results. We could safe up to a million pounds per annum

  13. !!BADA BING!! on 11TH JANUARY 2019 12:38 PM



    Take your point but i think it’s the right time for Mik to go at the end of this season. He’s still playing for Sweden so will probably want regular football back for a Club back in Sweden. Craig Gordon, Griffiths, Mcgregor and Forrest are now senior players whether they like it or not.

  14. mike in toronto on

    Bigbhoy ….



    it is even worse than that …. P67 seems to be saying that we are using Sevco as part of our scouting system, and that is how we ended up with Gutman?!






    (before some of on here have a conniption, I would post the little emoticon with the person laughing so hard he is crying to show I am joking… but I dont know how to do that from my work computer)

  15. Delaneys Dunky on



    Check out Geordie lass Jade Bird. My tip for the top in music 2019. Love her.



  16. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ BIGBHOY on 11TH JANUARY 2019 2:06 PM



    I agree that our wage bill is too large and is larger than it has ever been.



    However, as a percentage of income our wage bill has decreased each year under Rodgers- this year I expect will be different.



    So, the transfer funds should still be there (notwithstanding the large wage bill).

  17. mike in toronto on




    I dont know her, but I will give her a listen and let you know what I think. Thanks.

  18. Delaneys Dunky



    Yes, I am a doubting Thomas.



    With 11 players and 3 subs we have 24 players who are not involved. It appears to me that Celtic are signing players and then signing more players and just ignoring the cast offs.



    There has been 25 players now signed by Brendan and only 4 were used at ibrox.



    I hope I am wrong but the 5 recent signings appear to be squad players and none will be in the starting team.

  19. TEUCHTER ÁR LÁ on 11TH JANUARY 2019 11:00 AM



    Good morning from a wind chilled frigid – 24° Toronto, but I’m warm in my heart as I have Celtic



    *having spent all of my working life over here in construction related employment and only missed one winter I love this retirement game. Sitting here with a hot coffee reading CQN whats not tae like. nae snow makes it better lol

  20. GuyFawkesaforeverhero on

    I think we should be supplanting any of our current international standard players only with players of that same standard, not teenagers and prospects, so the Olympiakos fullback is a good target.



    Mikael can be a two season centre-back option for us provided a reliable internationalist is here to bring the power and energy we require on the right flank.

  21. Delaneys Dunky on



    I appreciate your concerns.


    We have way too much deadwood in our squad.



  22. !!BADA BING!! on 11TH JANUARY 2019 12:38 PM


    D17-Lustig is my favourite current player(as my posts over the years will prove:).From the previous thread re chat about Andy Murray and KT,I’m pretty sure a lot of Mikael’s long running injuries, were hip injuries. I think if he could turn back time,he would maybe have retired from international football, and had a lot more rest.I would buy a new RB,but would be happy to give ML another year.Good back up,and is great in the dressing room/training pitch,and helps the young bhoys coming through.










    May be coming to the end of his effectiveness as a playing force – despite having been written off about four years ago by many experts… – but his influence in the dressing room alone is absolutely VITAL, as anyone ever involved in football will tell you; a team who can bond off the park will enhance performances on it.


    As far as I can tell, Mick Lustig is a major bonding agent and worth another year for that a lone as we rebuild a winning side, introducing new players into what it means to play for the Hoops.

  23. MARADOMINIC on 11TH JANUARY 2019 1:29 PM



    if I was manager I would assume we have lost KT for season And LG for good. each game with a neutral ref



    *Fully concur with Leigh, if and/or when he returns I reckon he’ll be punted good goalscorer or not.



    MARADOMINIC on 11TH JANUARY 2019 1:37 PM



    and don’t let Hendry go until we have signed 2 CHs and not squad players. I would keep lewis morgan too. but if he goes then do not send him to hibs. Do not help them. St Mirren would take him back for a few months



    *I was led tae believe about 30 or so year ago from someone with a presence in the boardroom that the only 2 clubs apart fae deidco that wouldn’t deal with us in the transfer market were Dundee and St Mirren, the former refused tae sell us WGS and Stevie Murray preferring tae sell both tae the sheep which is where we got Stevie fae and the buddies had a close relationship with their neighbours along Paisley Road West. Two of our best strikers in the 80s were former saints but we got them fae Liverpool and the Hammers respectively.



    I know we deal with them now but that’s only because money is more important than principals, so I would lend St Mirren players well before that mob run by putrid and former hades season ticket holder dumpster. And as I’ve explained often the myth that they don’t like us because we stole half their squad in 1888 is just that a myth.



    Any club that can have the bigot swann and the drum hun miller, who changed their second strip and training tops tae purple, as well as fat boab williamson and mendacious mcpish urnae worth the colours that they wear.

  24. Delaneys Dunky on



    How good was Stevie Murray. Saw his debut. He was a Celtic type player. Tragic

  25. Sport & Leisure Swifts to change name to Belfast Celtic


    28 minutes ago From the sectionIrish


    Share this page


    S&L swifts


    Sport and Leisure Swifts finished ninth in the Premier Intermediate league last season


    The Irish FA has granted permission for West Belfast club Sport and Leisure Swifts to change their name to Belfast Celtic ahead of the 2019-20 season.



    The Premier Intermediate League outfit will retain their present name until the end of the current campaign before formally re-launching the club.



    The IFA consulted with the club, NIFL, the Co Antrim FA and the Belfast Celtic Society before approving the change.



    The views of all stakeholders were presented to the board.



    “The board of the Irish Football Association determined at its December meeting that it will approve an application by Sport and Leisure Swifts FC to change its name to Belfast Celtic if a request is submitted by the club ahead of affiliation for the 2019/20 season,” read an IFA statement.



    The IFA had ruled in August that the request for a name change had come too late to be considered for the 2018-19 season.



    This was because the plea came over a week after the club, who were founded in 1978, affiliated to the County Antrim FA for this season.



    Original Belfast Celtic folded in 1949


    Belfast Celtic were one of the biggest teams in Irish football before folding in 1949.



    Their annual Boxing Day meeting with rivals Linfield gained infamy in 1948 when the match ended with fans streaming onto the field and attacking players.



    Belfast Celtic striker Jimmy Jones was left unconscious with a broken leg and the club’s directors then took the decision to withdraw from the league upon conclusion of the season.



    Sport and Leisure Swifts, currently managed by Pat McAllister, indicated a desire to change their name citing a “desire to improve the club, to improve footballing prospects for young people in West Belfast and to promote a high level of sporting excellence”.



    West Belfast is the only area of the city to not currently have representation in the Irish Premiership.

  26. TT @ 2.59



    Slightly different issue but related to the social development of the country in the 60’s.



    The Muthers / sometime family club seemed to be operating a TFOD style recruitment policy in the early 60’s.



    Not sure the veracity of the statement but it came from an egg chasing coach who had a connection with the club — school friend was a youth GK in the 60’s.



    Sounded strange to my then young ears.


    However it was seemigly a not so secret situation at the time.



    Anyone know anymore?



    Regarding WGS — we were alerted to him when he was in the reserves / just out of the youths.



    TG should have helped us understand the situation?

  27. Now is the winter of our discount Tims.



    Two loans and a £2M striker in on top of a very unexpected mauling from Sevco was never going to make this an easy winter break, far from it, the team that wilted without the Celtic end could have been suspected long before the winter shut down.



    BR has shuffled his pack so many times he’s worn the spots off, and re-enforcements are overdue, especially in the rearguard.



    Some of our £1M market failed Celtic in the short and long term and its clear what has to been done in the next two windows, whats also clear is that if ‘hyper inflation’ was to blame then Celtic need to cough up for the £X M player, because if you’re selling in it ( Armstrong and Dembele ) you won’t get by with reciprocating, where any old or new Scottish club, can shop as well.



    Celtic are working on a list of possibles for the defence, and will not get by with excuses when the window closes this time, because we now know we’re in a masonic SFA led Sevco mud fight, with Dave King and his immunity from court order and £20M bills.



    Hard to believe we were top of the league when the winter break opened and still on top with four home games to play the Celtic way.

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