Priorities for next season


Of course, the priority is nine-in-a-row, even more than Champions League lucre, but I see a bit of chat about prioritising the league and player development, at the potential cost of the domestic cups.

I don’t think this will work.  Along with Queens Park, Vale of Leven, Rangers and Aberdeen, Celtic have now won the Scottish Cup three successive seasons.  None of the other did four-in-a-row.  Celtic fans, if nothing else, cherish making history, we cannot just shrug at the opportunity to set a new Scottish Cup record.

The League Cup is the only trophy we do not have a historical precedent to chase or eclipse next season.  Jock Stein won his first five League Cups as Celtic manager (although went spectacularly off plan in subsequent finals).

For teams competing in Europe, the League Cup is a four game competition.  A home or away match in August and September, a November semi-final and December final.  Games take place between European qualifiers or group stage games, when demands on the players will be greatest.

Last season, Brendan Rodgers prioritised the Heats semi-final at Murrayfield over Leipzig away, three days earlier.  Had the Leipzig game been at home, it would almost certainly have been the priority.  Squad management worked well.

If we do our job right in strengthening the squad, there will be plenty of opportunity to rest players during the league campaign, but I suspect we will feel precious about the domestic cups.

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  1. traditionalist88 on




    I keep hearing about a ‘large spectrum of managers’ and a ‘huge chasm’ between Rodgers and Lennon etc. etc.



    The truth is that , even in the cash rich EPL where the club who comes bottom gets £100m, journeyman managers like Allardyce, Pardew, Redknapp, Moyes, Pulis make up a large part of this ‘chasm’.



    Look at the list of clubs currently or recently recruiting from the big leagues and it shows what we’re up against trying to get one of the promising ones. Even if those vacancies didnt exist you’re fighting a battle to try and get one to leave a big league to come to Scotland.



    Always open to suggestions though. But simply looking for a bit of acknowledgement of the difficulty in luring top managers to Scotland, and when they go unnamed its all a bit idealistic and wishful thinking as far as I can see,















  2. traditionalist88 on

    If we do our job right in strengthening the squad, there will be plenty of opportunity to rest players during the league campaign, but I suspect we will feel precious about the domestic cups.





    We rested players at Fir Park on 5th December and dropped points. A few weeks later the huns were top of the league.



    Lets not give them any encouragement. Plenty of opportunity to rest players in league games comes when we are mathematically out of sight.




  3. Anyone that thinks Celtic can pick and choose which matches to “prioritise” doesn’t know how professional football works. The margins are small. Celtic have sufficient resources to go into every game putting out a team to win, whilst keeping key personnel rested when necessary. It just takes good squad management.


    I know, I’ve played Football Manager and it’s a doddle ?

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

    @ TRADITIONALIST88 on 30TH MAY 2019 12:21 PM



    Did you know of Larsson, VVD or Wanyama prior to them coming to Scotland? What about Edouard or even Dembele? Most people on here (myself included) know Scottish and EPL players predominantly. The knowledge is very much limited to our geographical location. Because we cannot readily name an individual does not mean that there is not quality in the market (especially outside the confines of our knowledge).



    On the journeymen managers, Allardyce, Redknapp and Moyes are pretty good managers (although maybe past their sell-by date now). Moyes was chosen by Fergie as his successor and had a very successful period at Everton. Certainly their careers have all been more successful than Lenny’s when looked at objectively.

  5. Our main aim should be renewing and improving the squad.


    The coaching staff at the moment looks very thin and lacking in expertise.


    And then there is the youth set up that is under-performing on a number of levels.



    Then comes the CL campaign — two months to sort out our season.


    We do not have long to wait to find out if the exec level are delivering.


    History does not offer much comfort but you never know.



    Huge levels of risk going into next season.


    Manager / coaching staff / captain / dressing room culture / senior players coasting.


    Loads to do — and then we have the drain that is CEO remuneration.



    Plus a main stand that needs to be rebuilt and the lack of facilities in general.


    A disco light mentality will not cut it and neither will be a mindset that couldn’t cut it in property.



    Interesting 3 months / 3 years coming up.

  6. The last article looked at where we are in the context of EU football.


    A number of parameters were highlighted and discussed to find out where we are.



    One thing missing was CEO remuneration …



    The club is seemingly Top 30 — He is Top 10.


    Why the gap?

  7. fieldofdrams on

    Celticbynumbers at 12.26



    The echoes of Lisbon indeed. Driving down to Glasgow for the Cup Final, my son asked for my score prediction.



    ‘Son’, I said, ‘it’s the 25th of May, the anniversary of Lisbon. Jozo scored for Big Billy the other week; whoever plays centre forward today will score for Stevie. I hope it’s Odsonne. Hearts will score first, like Inter scored first; we’ll win 2-1, with the winner scored late. It’s in the stars.’



    ‘Dad’, he said, ‘you’re a dreamer.’

  8. traditionalist88 on




    I knew of Larsson from the 94 World Cup. But then we weren’t entrusting him to manage the club and spend our transfer budget.



    Each club has one manager and now, we have access to data worldwide at the click of a button, allowing us to extend the confines of our knowledge, which doesn’t have to be a constant. We can see how a manager is performing and his history with a couple of clicks of a mouse.



    Certainly, European leagues are well within our knowledge range, even for you and I. Getafe were a big story, nearly getting a CL place, but was it a flash in the pan? Whos their boss? Does he speak English? Would he want to leave Spain for Scotland and miss his summer and Xmas hols, not to mention his family?!



    Say it turns out we’re talking to him…then, out of nowhere, vacancies appear at Sevilla and Betis. Suddenly, he’s not so interested. He’d like to stay in Spain. Maybe he’ll just stay at Getafe. They’ve just qualified for Europa League so can offer him a better contract.



    So many hurdles.



    On the journeyman managers, there aren’t many you’d trust throwing in instead of Neil Lennon, and certainly none that tick the ‘innovative’ or ‘progressive’ boxes that many were looking for.




  9. Hugh Bonkle fae Dallas on

    Phil’s latest piece is hinting at a period of austerity for Celtic and a possible exit for Dermot. If this is true it will be a stunning betrayal of the 10 in a row dream and more importantly the fans.

  10. CBN @ video by candlelight



    Interesting analysis — you provide some numbers to back up my hunches.


    Overall it was a very poor game with two poorly performing teams struggling to get to the end of a very long season.



    However they might have had sweat / MIB support but we had the class.



    Regarding the Hertz left as their focus — JF was not at the races either going forward or supporting ML. TR looked off the pace but JF was even worse with no engagement, no focus and no desire. He has the talent but his form and effort have been poor for a while now.



    Also you got the KA situation spot on — he needs a lot of specialised coaching to take him to the next level as a complete CB — I fear we will benefit from his development but leave him with basic flaws in his technique.



    Probably our most important player in the medium term given his talent and capacity to lead the team and take the game to the opposition. He is both a leader and fighter in a way that leaves the rest of the squad behind but he needs specific coaching to bring him up to speed with CB detail. We need to put in the effort to match the effort he has put in over the past 6 months.

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

    @ HUGH BONKLE FAE DALLAS on 30TH MAY 2019 12:47 PM



    It is only based on an opinion from someone familiar with football financing. Having said that, PL said the team didn’t need a big overhaul, so hardly encouraging.

  12. Hugh Bonkle



    Clearly not as poisonous as JJ, I think Phil hasn’t a clue what’s going on and is speculating.



    The ITK blogger brigade, hoping to get relevance, where recently shown up by Neil’s appointment and I’d take it with a pinch of salt but like a broken watch and all that, sometimes assumptions look prescient….

  13. Silver City 1888 on

    I don’t think that we can set Europe to one side. We need the income and prestige to draw players that Scottish football alone just couldn’t.

  14. PMacG has put a pretty big pebble into a very turbulent pond.



    DD / Irish Raj / Value investor / Arbitrage fiend = When to call it quits?



    He held onto LCY for 11 years before letting go at pretty close to the top of the market.


    He has been the big cheese at CP for 20 years now and we seem no closer to an EPL gig.


    He is more into the horses and golf than CP and has been happy to be seen as absentee landlord.



    The drive to hoard cash is something that is probably unique in the Top 30 of EU teams / the world of football so you can only speculate as to the plan for the short and medium term. We seem to be going against the football grain and this attitude seems to be hardening with the new manager.



    We are hoarding cash for a reason … Not sure exactly why?



    Is it to tide us over a period in the EFL boondocks to allow us to make it to the EPL proper?


    Is it to rebuild the Main Stand and put new facilities at CP or L/town?


    Is it to provide some cash for a rainy day?


    Is it to provide a special dividend?


    Is it to make share price more appealing?


    Is it to make DD’s “controlling” stake more appealing to an outside investor?



    We definitely can say that we are not hoarding cash to entice a big name manager to Cp and provide him with the funds to make his mark in the CL / EuL no matter how much this plan makes sense.



    If we are now DD’s cash cow — no growth strategy needed to fill CP — then we get what we deserve. A rich man’s plaything / retirement fund.



    You have to wonder — the 2003 stagnation / the 2009 complacency / the 2019 uncertainty.


    We know how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  15. The priorities -no matter how it is achieved or by which personnel, – is to win the league. Winning the league achieves two objectives. One, it gets us to 9 and second it denies Newco a shot at the CL qulaification. -which is a crucial. Without one we cannot ensure the other.



    With regards to the other cups, whilst the LC is low priority it does represent to do a 10 in a row trophy wise. There’s something nice about that I think.

  16. SL @ 1.14



    Very negative attitude.


    It is not about them it should be about us.


    we have targets in stages throughout next seaon.



    The first in CL qualification — all sorted by the 31st August.


    If we make that happen then the rest of the season becomes so much easier.


    That has to be our target for today.

  17. MadMitch



    For me CL is always a bonus, we plan without it and if it happens then great. In any other juncture of our History I would say ‘all in’, but at the moment 10 remains the goal and everything is becomes less of a priority- not a non proiority- just less.

  18. The Onlooker on

    I have been ahead of the curve by moaning about our throw-in since taking up my seat in South Stand FS1 in 1995.


    Our throws are shocking, the decision making by players shows little awareness of the potential to take advantage. I think our players see the throw-in as an opportunity for a breather as the time taken to get the ball back in play is often an age.



    When it is taken , we lose possession, or are pressed into a back pass.



    Liverpool created a few raised eyebrows when they appointed a throw-in coach.


    Rather than speculate on which players we can attract, how about getting someone who can teach basics……



    An extract from BBC article last September



    ” Thomas Gronnemark estimates there are 40-50 throw-ins in a game and in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Leicester, Liverpool had 54 – their role and importance, he says, are “underestimated” unlike other set-pieces.



    “If you are expecting professional footballers to be world-class throwers without coaching then you are pretty optimistic,” he continues. “Generally the standard is quite poor.



    “A focus on throw-ins can save the life of small clubs, as a technique to survive.



    “But at the top of the league, it can help with a more fluent style of play. No matter what position in the league, throw-ins are an advantage.”



    Gronnemark teaches three types of throw-in – the long throw-in, the fast throw-in – which can launch counter-attacks – and the clever throw-in, which is about keeping possession under pressure.



    “I focus on everything you can imagine,” adds Gronnemark, a former international sprinter who was in the Danish athletics and bobsleigh teams. “It is not just the technique of the throw, but how to receive it, how to make the right runs, the positioning, creating space.”




    Once we sort throw-ins we can then get a coach for corners.



    The Onlooker.

  19. If, as Phil`s Sqaure Mile chao opines, DD does sell up, would all his share be bought by one, new, majority shareholder ?

  20. SL @ 1.31



    One game at a time / one season at a time.


    Our first challenge is CL qualification — that should be our focus and our target.


    We need to develop as a football team / squad and that means becoming credible in europe.



    Regarding these two targets — how does the CL affect the SPL?

  21. For the past couple of season’s I’ve done my best never to sing along with the ‘here we go…..10 in a row’ chant, advocating that we should live in the moment and just enjoy the 7, the 8, etc. But as San Luis just mentioned, as we’ve now won the last 9 domestic trophies then, in relation to next season’s league cup we are in fact going for 10 in a row. So, get the singing started!

  22. MadMitch on 30th May 2019 1:14 pm



    In these situations I always think of SH



    “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”

  23. HS @ 1.36



    DD’s shares are worth more as a block than as individual shares to the market.


    The current share price is based on a fairly stable share register.



    If DD was to unload his 38% — bit of a guess — either whole or in stages would depress the share price through increased liquidity / availability.



    If he sell the shares as a single block then he should capture a “control” premium.


    He is no fan of CP — or at least his actions suggest he is no fan — just a value investor taking a punt.


    The only love seems to come from his son — but that appears to be gossip and hope.

  24. TO @ 1.34



    A throw in coach plus a corner coach plus a free kick coach.



    Plus a very simple rule — if the FK is in the opposition half then we should not pass it back and definitely not pass it back to the GK without the opposition touching it.



    If this is based on some form of stats then shoot the statistician.


    Deflates the whole support and provides relief to the opposition.

  25. The Token Tim on

    Hot Smoked at 1:36pm.




    Maybe Nick Train would be interested in some of them, although Id doubt he’d want them all due to share percentage.







  26. HJ @ 1.42



    The CL gig is getting harder but we should be big enough and ugly enough to take up the challenge. Unfortunately the Scottish / SPL Cringe appears and then the self doubt grows.



    During August we have a habit of making journeymen look like world beaters.

  27. Hrvatski Jim on




    Agreed that August is critical to define our season and avoid losing a big name who wants to leave if we are out of the CL or to shear up the income stream



    I go against the grain a bit re having to negotiate through the qualifiers. Round 1 should be straightforward but we can build up our sharpness from Round 2 onwards rather than go in at a later stage having only played friendlies or maybe one SPL game or spent hours flying to pre-season tournaments in the USA or similar.



    Especially, it is a chance to introduce new players before we meet teams with co-efficients not much below ours and who could be in their mid-season so sharper than us.



    Lenny must get what he needs early this close season to eliminate doubts/excuses for the campaign.

  28. Paul67 et al



    Next season we will try and equal Big Jock/Big Billy’s record of 9 in a row. (nota bene, Our Record)


    That is motivation enough for every Celtic player and supporter, in every League game.


    Progress in Europe will not hurt the cause, it will help it. Will help the players too.


    We have just won the Scottish Cup, and unless I am mistaken we will not play another SC tie until January of next year. Until that comes around we concentrate on the first half of the season, beginning with Europe.

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

    MADMITCH on 30TH MAY 2019 12:38 PM


    The last article looked at where we are in the context of EU football.


    A number of parameters were highlighted and discussed to find out where we are.


    One thing missing was CEO remuneration …


    The club is seemingly Top 30 — He is Top 10.


    Why the gap?






    Given the various influencing factors – e.g., league we play in, TV revenues, adjacency to vastly financially overheated EPL, it is difficult to draw a conclusion based on selecting one comparative factor (position vs CEO salary).



    One hypothesis, for instance, might be that, without a top 10 CEO but given our other characteristics, our position would be no-where near top 30 – that is a plausable argument if you look at the CEO and respective team positions in our country (which is possibly the best comparison as it removes some of the other confounding factors) – all are vastly lower in the CEO payment stakes, and the teams are commensurately lower in the positioning within that EU ranking.



    You could throw in football management salary / spend versus success using BR as an example – paid extremely high salary (for Scotland) and although had extremely ‘high’ results domestically, was relatively poor domestically.



    I’m not saying I would necessarily agree with the above – the point I’m making is that the model for calculating position in the EU table will depend on a number of factors.



    Statistically, some form of multiple logistic regression would be required to see what factors explained most of the variability in the positioning of any team within that ranking. That would identify the extent to which the CEO salary of clubs is a determinant of positioning in the table.



    You can see that I’m having an exiting day at work.






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

    “relatively poor domestically” should have been “relatively poor in Europe”, of course!

  31. MadMitch on 30th May 2019 1:42 pm



    One of the Irish traders I worked with at Barclays told me he knew DD’s children and confirmed that the drive to purchase Celtic came from his son(s).



    DD might have gained some affection towards Celtic over the years but I doubt it’s anything like a supporters affection.



    Hail hail

  32. BGFC @ Techno-babble Central



    Sorry that is frontier gibberish nonsense of the highest order.


    You do not need to be an expert in multi-variate analysis to see that PL is vastly overpaid.


    Anyone can generate a self serving analysis to justify just about anything.



    We have been suffering from a bout of “willy-waving” with DD wanting to prove a point with our cash.


    Consequently cut the chatter and get back to work.


    I am sure there is an oxygen thief somewhere needing an e-mail.

  33. According to Barry Bannon on the latest Si Ferry podcast his ma and da are best mates with Lenny



    Bannon also touting himself



    Think he might be a decent signin

  34. The Onlooker on

    I mentioned on here a few weeks ago that i received a cold call asking about my Celtic shares. New York company “acting on behalf of a hostile takeover”.


    My shares are not for sale, will never be sold, however i was intrigued.


    They sent me a non disclosure form ( which will not be actioned).



    Anyone else had any approaches?


    Is it a scam , or is there something afoot?



    The Onlooker

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