The tried and tested, ‘Callum McGregor at left back, strategy’ proved predictably reliable last night.  Callum is not a left back and throughout the game had no instincts for the position, lacking muscle memory and positional awareness.

His absence from the middle of the park, where he exerts a metronomic control over Celtic, had a greater impact.  Neither Scott Brown nor Olivier Ntcham can do this.  Two successive managers have now tried this strategy.  The outcome is so clear, it is inconceivable that Neil Lennon will contemplate doing so again against moderately difficult opponents.  Last night, he learned what you knew.

After the game, Neil said, “In the first-half we were so passive. No tempo, I don’t know where that came from.”  I know where it came from: play without your metronome and you lose tempo.

I am sure Scott Brown would have apologised to his teammates after the game.  The ‘Forrest, Christie, Johnston and Edouard Show’ got Celtic out of trouble.  Cluj looked like conceding every time they were under pressure, but Scott’s handball to concede a penalty fortified the Romanians, who were never again subdued.  Scott was also on his heels at the start of the move that led to the first goal, did not stop the cross and did not close his man at the third goal.

With his injury profile, I have been anticipating signs of Scott slowing down for years, but let’s be clear – this is NOT that sign, he still has plenty in the tank.  This was no more than a bad day, however, it is time we accepted the fact that the only man in the squad that can dictate tempo from the middle of the park is Callum McGregor.

Callum played more minutes than anyone did in world football last season.  For the player, this is a heroic achievement, but it is an awful indictment of Celtic.  It means we are too dependent on him, we ask too much of him and we risk ruining him.

Buy someone who can share the burden, or watch Callum and Celtic deteriorate in tandem.  And please, learn that having a man play more minutes than anyone else is the world is not a boast, it is a problem.

Going 3-2 ahead, with 14 minutes on the clock, game management should have kicked in.  Boli Bolingo should have come on (for Mikey Johnston, if he was tiring), McGregor moved to the middle and Cluj would not have been allowed possession beyond the halfway line.  Instead, nothing happened until we conceded again, when an unedifying two substitutes finally broke whatever shape we had.  Bayo must be wondering what he has got into.

Last season’s failure at the same stage to AEK Athens was mitigated by our main central defender being on strike and our manager playing games while saying who-knows-what to Moussa Dembele.   This time, there is no mitigation

Those who said we were going backwards with Neil are justifiably pointing to this and saying “Told you so”, and that decision sits with our board.  Unlike some, I will tell you when they do well, and they often do, a historic treble, treble, is proof, but we were knocked out of the Champions League by a team with a tiny fraction of our budget, due to a strategic planning failure to be ready for this day.  After last night, I have no counter argument.

This feels as low a point as Bratislava.  It cannot be acceptable.

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    Nice to hear from you.



    Likwise. :) I wish it were under happier circumstance though.



    In general – I think we *all* want Celtic to succeed, there are just many ways of expressing it, and a lot of different opinions (although ours are clearly right!)



    I do worry that our fan base is increasingly seduced by money and feel entitled to success though. I’m not sure how that conundrum is solved though. I’d love for the long term interests of the club to trump the short-termism. And the ‘speculate to accumulate’ stuff scares the hell out of me – it’s the surefire way into penury.




  2. Macjay/p8ddy



    Big big difference with us now and the old rangers in the 90,s are


    1. They were spending money they did not have All loans and fake share issues


    2. We are totally the opposite. We have money but are not spending it to invest in future income

  3. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    P8DDY on 15TH AUGUST 2019 1:13 AM



    I`ll gie ye penury.


    Viz. Wall St.



    The consolation is the Europa. Our standard.



    I , perhaps we , survived the early `60s .


    By comparison , this is merely a wee reversal .



    Onward and upward with the Timaloys.




    Let’s get one thing straight as you try backtrack over der hun lording it over you,



    I’m not backtracking. You’ve simply misunderstood my point. I’m sure I mentioned that before. You’re not psychic, and I’m not looking for your approval, so you can accept my correction or be wrong. Either way, the matter is closed.



    I’m a supporter not a fan.



    You’re staunch, I’ll give you that.



    Your disposition for insulting people you don’t know based on a throwaway line isn’t a good look, nor is your preening and vying for position as an uber-fan (sorry, supporter. Because semantics are important amongst friends).



    Are we done? If it makes you feel better – You’re a better support than me. The best, in fact. And I’m a weak willed part timer struggling under the insults and brickbats of “Rangers”, sorry, der Hun (sic). Does that tie things up nicely for you?




  5. MacJay – seriously … please wake up and look around you.



    “Do Lenny , his dugout team and the players carry more of a responsibility than P.L.?





    Surely the answer is yes.”



    OK….. but who appointed “Lenny”???



    The same person who appointed the utterly ridiculous Ronny Deila. When he was replaced, it was by someone who we had to pay 20 TIMES as much!!!


    Can you imagine that in ANY iother field? Putting someone in place who costs 1/20th the salary of his eventual successor.



    This same person appointed Neil Lennon in the showers. He did not even interview anyone else for a role managing a club with a global brand, and a turnover of approx 100M.



    Basic due diligence is simply not being performed. So yes… It is “Lenny and the team’s” fault, but who oversaw the recruitment of these people? Who refused to sanction the signing of a right back for months on enbd? Who permitted SEVEN defenders to leave as we came into Champions League qualifying, while bringing in 3 replacements, 2 of whom Neil considers unfit for starting roles????



    “Lenny” should be nowhere near the job. That he is, is absolutely not his fault, and I will continue to support him. But this whole thing stinks of mismanagement from the top down.



    Lawwell is literally killing us with his ‘profit before performance’ appoach, and if you honestly believe what you wrote about ‘cash is king’ and a recession, you really must be delusional.



    Sorry if this comes across as an attack, but reading such apologist (for the board) posts really angers me.

  6. SYDNEYTIM on 15TH AUGUST 2019 1:14 AM






    Not only that, but we (the fans) are not advocating chequebook football, we just want to improve in line with our success in the markets. For years we bought 1M players and looked to develop them and move them on for profit. We should still be doing the same, but targetting6,7,8M players now (in the way that Porto do, for example).



    When you are pulling in 20M for Dembélé and replace him with Bayo…. something is clearly wrong. In case it was a fluke, we now pull in 25M for Tierney. 900K for Greg Taylor would mean we are “reinvesting” about 3.7% of the transfer fee. “Taking the p!5s” is what springs to mind.




    I`ll gie ye penury.



    :D You know me, always archly-dramatic!



    The consolation is the Europa. Our standard.



    Oddly, my coping mechanism last night was to think that this is the opportunity to go one better than Seville and win the thing!



    I , perhaps we , survived the early `60s .



    That predates me a bit, however, Biggins, Muggleton, McGuigan and, dare I say it, Anton serve as a reminder of the flip side to this debate. Even if that comes with happy memories of ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ and Fergus referring to Macari disdainfully as ‘Luigi’. (And no, I still don’t forgive Macari for letting Shay Given leave the club – an act of vandalism)



    By comparison , this is merely a wee reversal .



    It is, but the defeat is fresh in the mind, and rationale always defers to anger in the circumstances. That said, there’s a legitimate concern about the direction our club is headed.



    Onward and upward with the Timaloys.



    Quote of the night. Thank you. It’s always refreshing to have that reminder and to let optimism wash over us.




  8. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    LUXCELT on 15TH AUGUST 2019 1:29 AM



    Your basic premise.



    P.L. appointed Lenny.


    P.L. appointed Deila.


    The Board had nothing to do with those appointments.


    Celtic have a one man band executive who has the power to act and make decisions without consultation with anybody.



    The Board. Cigars and port from the left ?


    ” Carry on , Pedro, old boy” .



    Let me put this kindly.


    I disagree.




    Delusional ?



    Check the latest on Wall St.


    Thank you , Wall St.


    Right on cue.



    Incidentally , I did say that a reassessment should be made at Board level.




    A lot of what you say makes perfect sense. However, why does the buck stop with Lawwell and not with Dermot Desmond? Why doesn’t Lawwell get the credit for Rodgers, for 8 in a row and for the rude health of the PLC? Surely those things cannot simply be discarded?



    Disclaimer – I’d happily see the back of the whole lot of them. It’s an insult to the name of Celtic that these vulture capitalists are ‘owners’ of our club, and that Lawwell delivers on the instructions of his paymasters. However, i’d like us to be consistent in our critique and logic when identifying issues – rather than picking a scapegoat, I’d like to identify the disease, not the symptom and get rid of it.




  10. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    P8DDY on 15TH AUGUST 2019 1:37 AM



    My ” take ” is , of course related to my early days as a Tim.


    My first hun game was the 7-1 game.


    Followed by 8 years in the wilderness , listening to


    ” Celtic Ha Ha Ha “, a parody of cha cha cha , from the hun end.


    Or ” Haffey, Haffey , Haffey ” about the 9-3 reversal to brother Pom.


    Perhaps the worst I experienced was the Cup Final loss to Jock Stein`s Dunfermline.





    Always great to disagree amicably when we share the one road.


    Maybe the wrong road.





    By comparison , this is a mere blip.




    Big big difference with us now and the old rangers in the 90,s are



    1. They were spending money they did not have All loans and fake share issues



    2. We are totally the opposite. We have money but are not spending it to invest in future income



    Currently, we need Champions league football to turn a profit – we’re not qualifying for that tournament with any regularity anymore, so we are already in an unsustainable cycle, and on the path to spending money we don’t have. To break even we need to sell players like Tierney. In that regard, Lawwell is carrying out the strategy of his paymasters – but he’s the water carrier, not the strategist.



    ‘Speculate to accumulate’ will end in disaster. It always does.







    Always great to disagree amicably when we share the one road.



    This is exactly my core philosophy on Celtic and discussing things. We can be robust, obstinate, passionate, but we should always be mindful that we’re amongst our own, and most unites us than divides us. If we’re mindful of that we’ll not go far wrong.




  13. *more unites us than divides us.



    My typing skills have not improved in the time since I last posted with regularity. ;)




  14. P8DDY on 15TH AUGUST 2019 1:44 AM



    well… the plc board are always likely to appoint an ‘appropriate’ Chief Exec, whom they see as as Subject Matter Expert, given they know very little about football. In Celtic’s case, Lawwell is ‘The Board’ really, as all day to day operations are delegated to him and the FD (david taylor i think?). These 2 are the Executive Board, both are on the board of directors themselves, and both hold executive positions. “Dermot Desmond” does not own the club (although many fans seem to think he does). He is simply the biggest shareholder with 34.9%



    Regarding credit for 8 in a row, is it really an achievement? I reckon we should be on about 11 in a row now. MON said “Welcome to life in the slow lane” and seasons like the ‘Willo Flood Window’ etc were simply throwing away titles from a position of strength.



    We are basically BATE Borisov – until this season we have faced zero opposition domestically. We have had an operating budget of approx 10x our competitors (less so last season, but still a huge advantage). So for me, we could not really lose. The Champions League is the benchmark for me, and its revenues could have catapulted us towards genuine domestic invincibility. I reckon that 2 years out of 3 should see us qualify, sometimes more, with the occasional defeat. We have had (until now) no real competiton domestically, so could have played a reserve team the week before qualifying ties (for example) if we needed to rest the team etc. Instead, we have been knocked out an astonishing 5 times in 6 years. (Deila was knocked out twice in a year). We have qualified for 2 champions leagues in that time, both of which were under a manager who Peter Lawwell clearly did not want.



    So quite honestly, given our massive resource advantage, 8 in a row is not really an achievement I feel. The failure to be financially out of sight due to CL revenues however, is a huge failure of governance IMO.

  15. P8ddy



    I have never said speculate to accumulate with money we don’t have or we might earn



    We all agree that’s a disaster



    We have been very lucky with player sales over last 3 years


    We had approx 30-40m cash in the bank and beginning of the transfer window



    Never in the history of our club have we had the opportunity to speculate to accumulate with so much actual class to try and improve our team in CL



    We could have done that with zero risk to the finances. Along came the 25m from KT which boosted our speculate cash



    All gone now as no plan. No strategy Rumours coming out that it was PL who actually deciding on players



    We fail again and again. PL been at Celtic park for 16 years. 1st 6 he turned us into a business last ten he has leeched from that business with zero plans how to improve team




  16. p8ddy on 15th August 2019 1:28 am




    Put your money where your mouth is and support Celtic instead of cowering on bended knee to der Hun.

  17. Haven’t recovered yet. One more day I’ll be good.



    Macjay – keep it lit pal – there’s only a few of us left in here

  18. MNcelt. Interested in your views



    Do you agree that Peter lawwell should not plan for CL and keep the money in the bank to ensure his bonus is Met ?



    Just asking ?

  19. SydneyTim on 15th August 2019 3:38 am




    Celtic are a PLC. If Lawwell doesn’t put dividends first, he’ll be sued.

  20. Henry joy. My understanding was the prospectus at the time of Fergus waved the right of dividends

  21. SydneyTim on 15th August 2019 3:49 am




    PLC. Fiscal responsibility.




    fiscal responsibility means creating a plan with liquid assets( cash) that will increase the income of the PLC



    what is not fiscal responsibility is leaving that cash in the bank at very low interest rates then having to use the cash as there was no plan



    that is fiscal/corporate incompetence

  23. SydneyTim on 15th August 2019 5:36 am




    You have demonstrated one thing, clearly you know nothing.

  24. Good morning CQN from a dry at the moment Garngad



    I heard Lenny on radio yesterday saying that he had to fit Ntcham and Cal Mac in team.


    WTF….. Did big Pedro tell him to get Ntcham in the shop window, funny how Ntcham starts playing when the transfer windy is open..



    Lenny you also said that McGregor in that wide left (left back as far as I could see) had no bearings on the result…. Feck right off.



    McGregor did not have a clue what he was doing. Such what’s the point.



    We are our own worst enemies.



    D. :)

  25. Delaneys Dunky on

    Good morning all.


    Still feeling shell shock from Tuesday night.


    Wish it was merely a bad night at the office, but fear our problems run much deeper. Hope I am wrong, and we go on a long winning run, starting Saturday against the Pars.

  26. Delaneys Dunky on



    Petrescu attacked Calum constantly and we did nothing to sort it. Our captain was badly at fault for their first 3 goals I felt also. Our goalie did not cover himself in glory either. Change is needed in order to improve. Still scunnered.

  27. Henry Joy the original prospectus gave investors/the fans the opportunity to wave their dividend




    do you remember it I do dick

  28. DD – totally agree, I wasn’t criticising Cal Mac, whom I think is a fantastic football player, I was being critical of Lenny.


    He would not have been my first choice of manager after BR left, but he got my support, but not admitting that he got things wrong the other night is a worry.


    I also think our squad is still lacking a bit of experience, when you look at the bench the other night.






    D. :)

  29. I would also give Bain a wee break, get CG back in and create competition.



    Keep a settled back 4, —- of defenders please, 4-5-1 the other night, with the right personnel and we would not be having this post mortem. By the way in the Euro squad I believe we had the right personnel to beat Cluj, Lenny just picked wrong squad, team, tactics and substitutions.



    D. :)

  30. Delaneys Dunky on



    I agree with you. Calum not playing beside our captain, left Broonie exposed, which in turn, left our defence vulnerable. His subs involved the wrong personnel at the wrong times too, I thought. We do not seem to play as a team, and seem to be reliant on individual brilliance from our front 6 for goals. They do not look like a well coached team with an obvious game plan. Lots of work needed.

  31. Good Morning.



    Good points made overnight by LuxCelt, SydneyTim and others.



    All of us want to see Celtic successful but just what counts as success these days and where do you want to see Celtic in the future?



    At one point many, including the biggest shareholder, wanted to see us leave the Scottish League System and play in England where the riches and the competition are far higher.



    There was also the notion that perhaps we and clubs of our size and standing could join forces and form some kind of North Atlantic League which would attract bigger TV and media money which would allow the participating clubs to compete financially and otherwise with the teams from England, Italy, Spain, France and Germany etc.



    The response to that from UEFA has in part been to change the entry system into the champion’s league to create the series of qualifiers, and so give lower rated teams a taste of European Football with a chance to enter the Champion’s League, mixed with a parachute drop into the group stages of the Europa League for those teams who fail to make the Champion’s League group stages.



    I am no great fan of UEFA but recognise that for European Football there does have to be a governing body who organises competition one way or another whether I like it or not, and it has also got to be accepted that if you want real sponsorship money and income then progress on the European stage is what attracts that sponsorship and players and the accompanying agents.



    Modern football club management is all about marketing and the generation of revenue, and no matter what country you may play in domestically it is the European income and the accompanying media exposure which generates the income that makes a difference domestically.



    It was only a few years ago that names like Valencia, Celta Vigo, Parma, Fiorentina etc were big names throughout Europe. A combination of bad management and lack of European football has resulted in those clubs losing their position both domestically and in Europe and they all find that it is a long road back.



    For Celtic, while there is always a domestic challenge to be met, each year we face a different challenge and it comes from teams like Cluj, Rosenberg, AEK Athens, or whoever it is we are going to meet in the later stages in the play offs for the Champion’s League play offs – and it is against those teams that, at least in part, success has to be measured.



    Yesterday, I posed the question do we still want to qualify for the Champion’s League 3 years out of 5?



    The answer to that question must be a resounding yes because, as mentioned above, being absent from the big boys table for a prolonged period of time simply sees your business value diminish both on a European wide scale and reduces your muscle domestically from the acknowledged reduction in income that results.



    As many will know, I personally never ever agreed with Fergus McCann’a much lauded statement about fans being in control of the PLC and his “guarantee” that fans would always own the club. With respect to Fergus, who in other ways I admire greatly, that was always going to be nonsense and anyone with knowledge of how a PLC works in practical terms knew this.



    Anyone attending the AGM’s over the years will have seen how the votes are counted and that the majority of the fans and shareholders in the room have extremely little influence over the direction of the club/company.



    So, given all of the above, the ordinary shareholders/fans/fans plus/ season ticket holders/customers (call them what you will) have to rely upon the board of directors/management of the club to take the club forward – and there is no doubt that the way forward must involve improved and increased European Competition.



    To achieve that, Celtic, whether any of us like it or not, whether we think it is fair or not, need to be able to beat teams like Cluj, who have a fraction of our budget, each August.



    We can talk about changing leagues, summer football, transfer window deadlines, players who might come IF we get into this competition or that, but all of that is truly irrelevant.



    Boards of Directors and Management must deal in the real world, face the real, actual and known challenges in front of them and prepare and plan accordingly.



    Celtic have known that the Cluj’s and the AIK’s of this world are on their horizon and will come around in August and they have quite simply not been able to match those clubs on the field of play — under different managers and coaching set ups.



    That then means that the PLC is forced – it doesn’t choose to – takle a different routre to achieve income, and so it forces or at least accelerates the need for high value player sales.



    The Lesson to be learned is that if you want to keep the Wanyamas, Van Dyck’s Dembele’s and Tierney’s in a green and white strip for longer, and want to attract more of their ilk on a regular basis — then beat Cluj, AIK and so on every time – or at least give yourself the very best chance of doing so.



    I am not saying for a moment that this is an easy task or that we should diminish the importance of domestic competition – after all winning the league is the key to even the possibility of Champion’s league participation. In Scotland, coming second guarantees no Champion’s League money.



    In summary, a mini North Atlantic League style competition has de facto been delivered by UEFA each August, and it is about time we stopped moaning and groaning about it and how or why it is unfair etc.



    The fact is we are not ready for it, haven’t prepared for it, don’t give it enough importance and are generally failing at this level let alone any type of Champion’s League level.



    And sadly that is a fact.



    It can be remedied but it takes a whole new level of thinking and preparation.



    The old ways don’t work and won’t work.




  32. The No.13 Shorts on

    A major problem for Celtic is being in a league which is poor by the standard of european football, then having to up your game when you’re only a few weeks into the season with new players who haven’t bedded in properly yet. THE most important run of games in the season in fact. Either the trying to have your cake and eat it strategy is failing, Or, the strategy is to take the guaranteed money in transfers, and cross your fingers and hope to hell you fluke a champions league group entry.



    Based on the evidence, It has to be the latter or you’d invest in a top coach to give you the best possible chance against teams from leagues with a superior basic standard of football and tactics.



    That’s a PLC fault.

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