Master-class in subversion, Very successful managers


Surprised at the success our former (very successful) managers, Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan, are having on the international stage?  Perhaps a bit surprised they’ve figures out how to collect points away from home in Europe.

Martin O’Neill will always be royalty at Celtic but after a couple of well-financed seasons at Aston Villa his star fell, eventually leading to an ignominious departure from Sunderland, who managed to replace him, and improve, under Paulo DiCanio.

A decade earlier Martin was the hottest property in management in the UK.  Campaigns were run by Liverpool fans to tempt him, he was tipped for the Manchester United job when Alex Ferguson retired, but the absurd reality that Di Canio was able to stop the decline of O’Neill’s Sunderland team damaged his brand considerablty.

Gordon Strachan had a claustrophobic four years at Celtic.  He became only the third manager in our history to win three consecutive league titles, and broke new ground in the Champions League, but Celtic’s commercial competitiveness declined during this era, making Gordon’s life harder than it would otherwise have been.

The Ireland and Scotland jobs both looked like poisoned chalices.  Ireland reached Euro 2012 but came home pointless, looking like a team in decline.  Scotland had fallen so low they were hardly in decline when Gordon Strachan took over from Craig Levein last year, but it seemed shifting demographics had consigned our interest to club football only.

Martin may have found his niche.  His teams have always known how to defend and how to score goals, issues like ball retention always appeared trivial to him.  Gordon is an example of a manager who is always learning.  He was an excellent Celtic manager but it should surprise no one that he is a better manager now than he was when he left five years ago.

I’ve absolutely no idea which side is going to win the bun fight for control over Newco Rangers, but, there is some interesting form to consider……

Just when people with money and a plan (on this occasion Ashley with the Easdales) look to have things sorted, the cabal, previously known as the Blue Knights, pitch up without the wherewithal to take control and drive a poisoned wedge between fans and club.

It’s a master-class in subversion.  Based on his previous exploits my money’s not on the tax crook (the one convicted in South Africa, that is) succeeding.

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  1. It’s over a month since my last podium topping performance, so I thought, why not have a go today? So I did.


    Nice start to lunchtime, and now to read.

  2. Phil wriggling on Twitter having told the world that King was not having any talks with the Rangers board only 1-2 days ago. Now suggesting it was a surprise meeting despite the media waiting outside the gates to record it. I think his trusty inhouse sources are taking the p**h (to use his own terminology).

  3. DeniaBhoy



    12:06 on 15 October, 2014





    Phil knows the huns will never be allowed to die as long as there is a compliant celtic ‘bored’ who will ‘secretly’ aid their return. imho


    Phil was canny enough to rush into print with his book, knowing deep down that, Celtic’s ‘bored’ were incapable of pulling the trigger and instead looked the other way while Walters huns were ‘stealing’ 3 in a row.



  4. Gordon Strachan will be enjoying his role currently.


    The players are responding to him.


    I loved the way he always said good players make good managers, brilliant, especially now that he has made the current Scotland squad challengers in this group, aye Gordon, it’s always the players, never the manager:-)

  5. Paul 67,



    Well balanced article about our former managers.



    For the Celtic fans who never fully accepted WGS the message ” Be careful what you wish for” seems very apt.



    Getting the most from ordinary players is indeed an art.




  6. Bloody Brilliant. Last post on old thread again. This time I copied & pasted it, so here it is, not that anyone gives a s**t anyway.



    Kev, If the Huns get investment and if they do get the upper hand, I will suffer like the rest of the Celtic family but I’ll still support the Celtic. There is absolutely nothing either you or I can do about it. The fact that you are constantly highlighting the problems and the dangers and others are more circumspect doesn’t make you any greater a Celt than any of the rest of us. I agree with a lot of what you say but equally you spoil it by going on with a fair amount of pish as well. A guy I trust implicitly knows Lawell and has sworn to me that Lawell is a genuine Celtic supporter and that he hates the Huns. He is indeed well paid but believe me if he left Celtic in the morning he would earn the same if not more with another Company. These CEO guys do rake it in, I don’t like it but that’s the world we live in.

  7. My friends in Celtic,



    Only an observation : International managers have virtually no control over fitness and diet of their players for the vast majority of the time.




  8. Greenpinata


    12:17 on


    15 October, 2014



    Yes but they also only have to deal with them for a week and a couple of games every few months. Maybe Stokes might have featured if he was slimmer and faster.

  9. weeminger,



    The pace of Usain Bolt is not enough if you lack the basic skills or football intelligence.




  10. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    How can King be “back” at Ibrox anyway? I thought he wasn’t leaving until he had control last time he turned up…???

  11. Paul



    Really nice to see WGS and MON have some success.



    ROI looked like Celtic under MON.



    Interestingly, Scotland seem to be closer to Ronny’s alleged plan for Celtic. Hope Ronny takes some encouragement from that.






    I often wonder if he tried to change the culture too, but encountered too much resistance, above and below him.



    Reminded of the quote from WGS (or was it NFL) that managing Celtic has a shelf life of about 4 years.




  12. Paul67



    Johan Mjallbys comment that he didnt know Lennon was going to leave when he announced he was a month earlier flies directly in the fact of your article a few days ago.



    Despite your assurances that certain suggestions were designed to simply undermine Celtic, would you accuse Mjallbys statement as being designed for the same intended purpose?



    Surely those few words confirm something more untoward happened?



    Those crying for Deila to be sacked need to get a grip on reality – the grass aint necessarily greener on the other side of the hill when the bus driver is still the same.

  13. Greenpinata


    12:23 on


    15 October, 2014



    Absolutely true. I get the impression though, that some think there’s no other training going on. Just fitness and diet.



    Do you think think if Stokes achieves the target of dropping a stone, it should improve his game overall. If not, why not?

  14. I think we should all give the Mogadon Twins a miss,we’ll feel all the better for it Hail Hail Hebcelt

  15. hebcelt – something similar happened a couple of weeks ago after the Hibs game. He suggested McCoist was walking after the next game. He wriggled out of that one by saying all he had done was pose the question to the Ibrox board, but if it had occurred he would have been crowing rather loudly that he had got the exclusive.


    His form was so good during their meltdown that he was rightly lauded but it always seemed to me that he was being cleverly used by people rather than by any brilliant investigative journalism. The “secretive” type of info he has often published does not come from asking the right questions, it comes from being handed the info on a plate in order to suit someone´s agenda.

  16. BCW’s, agreed, if, and I trust this won’t be needed, we need to replace Ronny, WGS a would be my first choice.



    Thing is, he has a bit of integrity and I don’t think he would, or should, walk out on his country mid way through a qualifying campaign, can’t imagine what sort of unscrupulous manager would.



    Richie, not worth reading, contributes nothing of value at all.

  17. prestonpans bhoys on



    12:24 on 15 October, 2014


    Interestingly, Scotland seem to be closer to Ronny’s alleged plan for Celtic. Hope Ronny takes some encouragement from that.



    I said that this morning, that’s how a “planned” formation looks like.

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