No trophy left behind


Sunday’s trip to Perth is the only away game Celtic have this month. With three home points from Livingston in the bag, we have home games against both St Mirren in the Scottish Cup and  Aberdeen – who are going through one of their more interesting periods, before the Hampden League Cup Final against our new adversaries.

By winning on Wednesday St Johnstone avoided defeat for the first time in eight games; this does not make a summer. St Mirren have everything going for them, although they will not look forward to returning to Celtic Park, the venue of their worst result of the season only two weeks ago.

One of the truisms in football is ‘it’s all about the next game’. I know this and so it’s with a bit of trepidation that I suggest we might want to plan for the three fixtures before Hampden as a group. We have a new striker, defensive mid and central defender all needing game time to get up to full fitness. I’m also sure Sead Haksabanovic could do with 60 minutes playing time. Use these games to make sure we arrive at Hampden with as strong a squad as possible.  The bitter anquish at only winning five of the last six League Cups cannot be smoothed over.  There should be no trophy left behind.

Playing in such a weak league has few advantages, but being able to build an early lead and then develop players is surely one of them.

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  1. Spot on Paul67. We have now built a 16 man match day team with the ability to keep performances very high to the end. Massive structural advantage and a long time since we had the kids comng on to make up the numbers.



    Hart, Johnston, CCV, Starfelt & Taylor want to continue to soldify and maintain clean sheets. Kobyashi & Bernabei need minutes from the bench.



    Midfield balance is fine for the rest of season (worry is Europe) with Callum & Reo shoe-ins, O’Riley needs minutes (and goals), Iwata minutes and Mooy & Turnbull great for keeping us fresh.



    Top 3 retains Kyogo as in form striker, Oh needs more minutes and then on wings it’s Haksa & Abada needing time over Jota and Maeda.



    No big changes but mix it up to balance out minutes and freshness.







    I cannot remember in my 5 decades on this dear green planet having such strength on the bench week in and out. It’s almost like we know what we are doing and have a great gaffer.

  3. Guys,



    I agree, I have never seen such strength in depth. I look at the bench nowadays and think; wow, our bench is stronger than the team picked.



    Never before have I witnessed that.



    HH, our journey continues.

  4. We have an exceptionally strong squad in an exceptionally weak league which is not a great scenario for keeping good mngmt and players motivated in the long term.



    We have been drunk on success for most of this century but will we eventually get tired of the lack of competition? Young fans have nothing to compare this conveyor belt of titles and trophies against. Doubles and trebles have become the norm. WIll they drift away due to the predictability of it all?


    All of us are all well accustomed to a two-horse title race but the gap to the other teams is now an unbridgeable chasm. Aberdeen, Dundee Utd, Hearts and Hibs are shadows of the clubs they used to be. They are not likely to be much better in any given season than St Johnstone, Motherwell, Ross County, Kilmarnock etc. Absolutely none of them are capable of mounting anything remotely like a title challenge.



    European participation beyond January is absolutely essential if we have to have any chance of keeping the Ange revolution moving forward. A European league guaranteeing 20 games or so a season would be the holy grail. I wonder if any of us will live to see it?



    The current set up and level of success is an absolute joy to behold. I fear it will be short lived without radical change from UEFA.

  5. Agree 100% Paul.



    It i a eak league and that affords us the opportunity to use the squad especially with such a commanding lead.



    I’d be disappointed if we weren’t now actively putting plans together with Hampden in mind.

  6. From previous blog:







    It’s not often I disagree with you but I do on the Ref and Livi goalkeeper on Sunday. The guy sitting next to me and I observed this closely throughout the first half. Whenever the goalie had a goal kick to take, Walsh studiously marched up the pitch making sure he was facing away from the goalie. After the fourth bout of time wasting with the crowd reacting noisily, Walsh went up to the goalie and warned him. Walsh and the goalie then returned to their previous behaviour. Walsh never went near the goalie again and no yellow card was issued. Walsh merely went through the motions.




    Ange talked about this in December and said that if the refs were to actually issue a few Yellow Cards early in a game to goalies then the time wasting would stop immediately. Walsh had lots of chances to book the goalie but clearly didn’t want to.

  7. DeniaBhoy


    Agree with all of that.


    Strangely, I think the best thing that could happen would be to increase the league size to 16 teams.


    The league is far too cuthroat for the lesser teams. A bad run and you are relegated. They can’t risk


    bringing on young players, they just all buy lunks from the lower English leagues.

  8. bournesouprecipe on

    What’s that Skip………………..then Minty sold them for a pound and they all fell down the well



  9. !!BADA BING!! on 3RD FEBRUARY 2023 1:15 PM



    AT- hearing live VAR conversations, will be coming to Scotland in season 2053-54



    Your in the ground your the last to know!!


    I seen the Var update in Aldi there 24.99,just along from Scuba suits.:-)



    Its just going to get a bigger problem BB until it is openly and transparently discussed and went thro.


    Alas the evidence of our own eyes deceives us.


    Why this cant be done at mo is beyond me.The tech is there,its a matter of how to relay it to us the growling masses.




  10. Live VAR commentary




    Linesman – willie, that looked like a handball



    Ref – aye, but its Goldson, i think his hands are in a natural position in front of his face



    var – willie, you might have made a clear and obvious error



    ref – do i need to come to the screen



    var – yes



    linesman – willie, take yir time, its not going anywhere



    ref – andra, in the var room, i cant see an obvious error



    ref – points for a corner kick

  11. Guys,



    I echo everything that has been said about the quality of the SPL and the necessity of European football.


    European football is not a nice to have, its a must.



    One thing if I may add. I feel we are not introducing enough youngsters. The EPL regularly features 16, 17 and 18 year old. Arsenal recently brought on a 15 year old.



    If that can be done in the richest league, arguably the best league in the world then we should be doing likewise. We must use our youth academy, or lose it.



    HH.,the journey throughout Europe continues.

  12. Weebobbycollins on

    Aipple…I know it’s Aipple and not Apple but I was taught always to speak properly…

  13. Celtic cannot gamble because that is what it would be to play academy graduates in a competitive league situation until the league is won, too much riding on it with CL entry next year’s league will be very important with the changes coming and increased prize money so with regards to cheating refs you it will continue.


    It would be a brave manager to play graduates in cup matches as well as the fans want Celtic to win these as well.


    No idea what the answers other than joking areserve league somewhere that is competitive but develops the academy players.


    Mccoist has been very vocal about 5 subs saying it favours better squads of course he wouldn’t say a word if they had a squad as good as ours.

  14. My friends in Celtic,



    Ange gets us,. We have the biggest budget in Scotland because fans make it so. People pay to see us and every other club in Scotland have similar opportunities at far less cost.



    “OK. I actually don’t mind people saying we have the biggest budget because we have the biggest fan base and we are the biggest club. People forget that that money is on the back of hard-earned supporters who don’t have a lot of money and choose to spend a significant portion of it on this football club.



    “My role is not to get their money and stick it in the bank. It’s to get their money and reinvest it in the thing they love. That’s my responsibility and why we do what we do”




  15. For once there was a really good discussion on talk sport the other day about the relevance of football academies to the pyramid structure of football in England, and why it continues to have a societal need.



    Stuart Pearce discussed how as Man City manager (who even remembers that) he got a roasting from the head of the youths department about his lack of interest in watching them play or being part of the football structure in as much as how do you want them to play, same a first team or not.



    Pearce said his thought were if the kid is not first team ready then why should i bother with any of it, just go sign someone who is.



    The coach said but your missing the greater good. We are here to get boys playing to the highest level they can, if it is not forest its any other lesser team, but if they get a career we have done a job and that is what is good. The coach called them the life-blood of the game. Every success at any level to be enjoyed not scorned as failures because they did not play for forrest.



    He said it shaped his thinking for ever after and had him dwelling on would he himself had made it better and smarter if not rejected by QPR, not going to Hull and then playing only lower league football for 5 seasons.



    He candidly admitted his brothers involvement with right wing politics could have ended up badly for him if he didnt have football to concentrate on. For once he came across as quite alturistic.



    A secondary point, I watched the Tommy Tiernan Roy Keane interview again utterly fascinating. With Roy citing Pearce as one of those pro’s who were a total inspiration in his time at forest, and his encouragemnt of Roy to be the best in everything.



    So, what is benefit to celtic of not having an academy ?

  16. boondock saint on

    Morning all,


    Sorry Aipple but a very warm 31 degrees down here in Bama:)))


    I just have to add about our bench and how the play never seems to drop. We are in fortunate times watching our manager and his vision. I also have to say that, as a former center mid/ converted to a winger at Celtic/ back to Center mid in Merica:))) Callum McGregor is one of the best and most consistent players I have ever seen in the hoops. I can’t remember who it was a wee while ago that said we were a better team without him in it!!!!!! What a great captain he has turned out to be.


    Hail Hail everyone and stay warm.



  17. If we produce a Callum (400 appearances) or a Keiran (£18m in) on a 5 year cycle for the academy I personally think that is an outstanding return.