Recruitment at the heart of the inquest


Let’s get the result out of the way first.  We went out to a weaker team who were nonetheless very well-drilled in defence.  AEK scored with their only two attempts on goal last night and with one of their two at Celtic Park.  This contrasts greatly with our chance conversation rate.  It hurts and is money left on the table.

Recruitment is correctly at the heart of the inquest.  Not only did nine of last night’s starters play under Ronny Deila, seven of them were once the heart of Neil Lennon’s team.  Only Olivier Ntcham and Jack Hendry were brought to the club by Brendan Rodgers.  One of Moussa Dembele or Odsonne Eduard, both Brendan signings, would have started if fully fit, while the Belgian, a Ronny signing, would have started in other circumstances.

This is Brendan’s fifth transfer window, so why do so many remain from the Ronny/Neil eras?  There are  good reason and bad reasons.  McGregor, Rogic and Forrest have improved significantly under Brendan.  We want more like this.

We only have accounts for Brendan’s first year, which show a £13.8m spent on player registrations.  Since then we have bought big ticket players like Ntcham and Edouard, and more.  Total spend will not be a whisker below £30m.  Profit for Brendan’s first year was £6.9m.  We could spend more (always), but we are still in an expenditure territory that AEK could not dream about.

I wanted John McGinn, but he is irrelevant to last night.  He would not have displaced Ntcham or Brown.  Not only was John not a solution, he was yet another squad player!

I’m not saying it’s easy, in fact, it’s difficult.  We did not fall to a team who necessarily had a better plan for their recruitment budget, every season there is an AEK who hit the right numbers and over perform, before reverting to the mean.  These are the perils of qualification.

We do not have a viable plan to continually qualify for the Champions League, and failures like this hurt.  But we have been here before.

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  1. i have asked many times on here who is coaching the defence on how to set-up and defend because it aint working, get rid of who they are and get the best we can into our coaching staff, fed up continually hearing that we will learn from all the basic mistakes our defence makes repeatedly over and over again and that they will improve and be the better for it , bollocks.

  2. Completely agree with your last paragraph Paul67.


    So DD needs to bring someone in who will devise and deliver the plan.

  3. What does John Kennedy get paid for? If you are in charge of developing a department that is performing badly and constantly making mistakes and no improvements are made . . .


    We need much better coaching, not just better recruitment. Is Toure just there for the singing?

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

    Disappointing leader – ignores or downplays the manager’s crystal clear message that he has not been supported in THIS window.



    McGinn would have helped last night, both by being available to drive on in the second half as a replacement for the tiring Brown, and also by heling to have a better-rested squad through appearing against Hearts on Saturday.



    Complete nonsense to claim otherwise.



    Also ignores missing out on previously identified defensive players during this window too – rubbish.






  5. Scouting Scotland for centre backs? Hendry, McKenna…….if someone can name a good Scottish CB in last 15 years, i will give them a coconut.





    Quite incredible. Few people were too bothered pre-season about our midfield and our strikers. Pretty well served there,though maybe time to start looking at options shortly.



    That was pretty much the consensus,even from the depths of the mine.



    Yet,you have deliberately ignored the elephant in the room,Paul. And I might add that an elephant would likely have served us better in defence last night.



    That defence has been calling out for a clear-out for years. Done eff all,yet you don’t mention it.



    First time,I think,I’ve criticised an article,PAUL



    It deserves more dissent than I’m inclined to offer you.

  7. The problems were, of course, the lack of signings. This is, however where it all fell down re the CL. It’s not the running of the club, in a financial sense, there we have no equals. To suggest that Peter Lawell should consider his future is total nonsense. He does need to maybe excuse himself from certain inputs re transfers into the club, but in every other area his policies are reaping massive dividends, and 7 in a row! por cierto

  8. The Battered Bunnet on




    I doubt many will disagree with the basic facts, but the implosion within the leadership of the club over the past week or so is at the heart of results since.



    There is an unresolved debate as to how the shape of our business model ought to change given the extraordinary and unique financial position of the club.



    The conservatively-minded executive are concerned to avoid cost inflation.



    The football-minded management want better football players.



    The cash needs to be applied to best effect, or it’s squandered backfilling for results like last night’s.



    Until that debate is resolved, we can expect disharmony and underperformance.

  9. The problems were, of course, the lack of signings. This is, however, where it all fell down re the CL. It’s not the running of the club, in a financial sense, there we have no equals. To suggest that Peter Lawell should consider his future is total nonsense. He does need to maybe excuse himself from certain inputs re transfers into the club, but in every other area his policies are reaping massive dividends, and 7 in a row! por cierto

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

    Also – “…These are the perils of NOT SUPPORTING YOUR MANAGER IN HIS PREPARATIONS FOR qualification…”



    There Paul – fixed that for you.



    Rubbish leader – absolute tosh.






  11. mike in toronto on

    I’ll swim against the tide …our defenders are not the problem … it is that the team do not play with any recognizable system, or, really, as a team.



    Midfielders don’t track runners … forwards don’t make runs for each other … we standefenders pass it sideways because the mids don’t make runs and show for the ball..



    If strikers don’t create, or miss, chances, we say it will happen … but if a defender makes a mistake, it costs a goal, and people want young, inexperienced guys shot at dawn.



    Sure, the defenders made mistakes … but to single them out seems unfair to me….



    The strikers didn’t do their job, the midfielders didn’t do their job, and mostly the coaches didn’t do their job….

  12. Paul 67,


    Recruitment you say? Only part of it to me……



    Your article highlights that we were the better team, more chances,……..etc etc.



    Ok, if we indulge in that, then surely it also means there is a coaching and big game execution issue here too?


    You’ve seen the photos online this morning of our defence at their first goal last night (which incidentally is a carbon copy of the goal lost last week). It isn’t pretty, the 11 players on the pitch should be better drilled to cope.



    Recruitment as you say is part of it, but most definitely not all of it.

  13. The Battered Bunnet @ 9:50 am,



    ”Excluding the MoonhowlersCSC, I think most of us are sufficiently rational to recognise that qualifying for the Champions League is a fraught business.



    The Champion teams from 41 UEFA nations scrap it out over 4 rounds, at the conclusion of which just 4 teams are left standing.



    For Celtic, while there ought to be little risk in the first qualifying round, the subsequent three rounds represent our most difficult opponents of the season, and the luck of the draw plays a significant role in just how difficult they might be.



    Those who are apt to gamble can run the accumulator, but successive ties against the Champions of the likes of Norway, Poland, Greece, Croatia, Holland, Romania, Austria or Switzerland represent discouraging odds.



    In that light, our disappointment at a failure to qualify in a given season is tempered by the knowledge that it’s a longer shot than many recognise.



    And if that was the sum of this season’s qualifying experience, we’d all be a little less exercised this morning.



    There is though a tangible regret, a sense that our fate in being knocked out was more of our own making than that of the opposition.



    Our squad for qualifying this season is weaker than the squad which completed last season. We’ve sold Armstrong, Roberts has returned to Man City, Musonda – his replacement – didn’t work out and was promptly papped back to Chelsea.



    In parallel, two of our first choice defenders played at the World Cup and returned to preseason training weeks after the qualifying rounds had kicked off.



    All of this is simply a matter of facts. The squad which kicked off qualifying for the Champions League in June was weaker than that which had won the treble the previous month.



    But the lingering regret this morning goes beyond the inability to recruit new players thus far.



    At the very moment when the club has never been so well resourced, it’s the behaviour of the club at large and of influential individuals that causes me most concern.



    From the quite obvious friction between Manager and Board played out in public last week, to the toy-lobbing pram evacuation of Boyata, the behaviour of key individuals has served to undermine the collective.



    And frankly, that sucks.



    When the club needed to concentrate most keenly on the football, minds were distracted by tittle-tattle, one-upmanship and self-centrism.



    Yes, we need an upgrade at right back. Yes, we need capable central defenders. Yes, a dead ball expert would be welcome. Yes, we need alternatives in the wide areas. It’s like this every summer. What’s new?



    What’s new is the desertion of professionalism, the emergence of competing self-interests, and the subsequent and inevitable impact on performance.



    Embarrassing stuff.”



    As usual a very good post with some astute observation and analysis, I’m not going to dispute your opinions but there are few points worth mentioning.



    While I admit it is difficult to get through the four UCL qualification rounds and gain a berth in the UCL proper, it is far from improbable… you state only 4 teams from 41 go through. We are the 0ne in ten.



    Our resources, our co-efficient and our recent performance would make us one of the favourites. Of course we cannot plan on this being a dead-cert. Yet we should be prepared to maximize our chances.



    The way I see it, if that had been done then we would have beaten AEK over the two legs.



    There is also the fact that this point of greater risk is a goalpost move. The same move that was visited upon Lenny & Ronny Delia.



    We have been told that all the money that was earned would go back into the Team; during Lenny’s tenure we qualified for the UCL in subsequent seasons, we had European football after Christmas, we sold multi-million of playing talent and qualifying for the UCL was relatively straight forward compared to past where we had to beat the likes of Arsenal to qualify for the UCL.



    So every past excuse for not investing in strengthening the team to the point of having a “Pot 4” squad was gone. For reasons best known to himself and the Celtic Board Lennny left, he had not been backed. Ronny came in, he wasn’t backed. The reason the money wasn’t invested in the squad? We can’t invest until we qualify for the UCL… a nonsense: What Happened To The Previous Seasons UCL money? What Happened To The £20M+ Transfer Fees earned In Those Seasons?



    So, no matter what the current “risks” in qualifying for the UCL proper are, the fact is; if, as the Board would have us believe, we re-invest the money earned in the team, the money earned from the last two years UCL campaign and the considerable money received in transfer fees should have been reinvested.



    It’s not a matter of being profligate, it’s a matter of keeping the promises to the supporters, obviously without jeopardizing the financial position or stability of the Club.



    Now, there are many factors that made our pre-season squad weaker than last season, transfers and the end of loan deals as you say, the World Cup, player injuries etc. As the qualifiers progressed this was compounded by injuries and suspensions and huffs.



    My opinion is, if Edouard and Moussa had been fit for the four rounds we would have qualified despite what the risk analysis may say.



    Yet here we get to the cruix of the matter…



    …if Brendan Rodgers is to be believed and why wouldn’t he be? He asked for quality players to be brought in early in the transfer window, namely a centre half and John McGinn.



    This would have greatly enhanced our chances of qualifying for the UCL but more than that. We needed these players for the season ahead anyway. Armstrong and Boyata both needed replacing so what’s the issue with doing this early doors if it enhances our chances of UCL/Europa qualification, we should have done this, regardless of any risk analysis.



    There is obviously more to the “friction” between our Manager and the Board than we realize, it must have been simmering…



    The thing(s) that caused it to erupt was the failure to secure John McGinn from Hibs and the imminent transfer of Dedryk Boyata to Fulham. So enraged was our Manager that on the eve of our most important game of the season at Celtic Park the Manager made a public declaration that Boyata was going nowhere and expressed his disappointment in not securing McGinn.



    Susequently, embarrassingly, Celtic had to call off the Boyata transfer and put in a (too) late bid in for McGinn.



    ”What’s new is the desertion of professionalism, the emergence of competing self-interests, and the subsequent and inevitable impact on performance.”



    TBB. with all due respect this is not new, this is far from new, it has been going on for years and years…



    What is new is it being exposed, the omertà broken.



    What would have driven our Manager to take such action, to bite of his nose to spite his face regarding Boyata, to unsettle the Club on the eve of a huge match and to break a long held tradition, presenting a front of silence and unity.



    My suggestion was that our Manager and his team were at the end of their tether.



    Hail Hail

  14. Celtic Champs Elect on

    Paul the boards neganon will rip you apart with that header and I have to agree he has every right



    McGinn would walk into our team Scott Brown has been very poor so far IMO.

  15. There was some optimism about the Europa League on the last blog, I have no idea where it’s coming from, unless we sign some defenders we will get battered there as well.



    Boyata is finished and Jozo might as well be, leaving us without our two “first” choices.



    Whatever is between Brendan and Pedro has too be sorted right away and moves made before the season starts slipping and sliding..

  16. Whilst we all agree that Celtic need a RB and two CBs that is not the only problem.



    The lack of defensive coaching and dreadful setup for corners and set pieces at both ends must be addressed urgently. If this means a new experienced defensive coach so be it.



    Midfielders too were found wanting notably ON and CM for the first goal last night and others failing to track Lafferty for Hearts goal. All easily avoidable, self inflicted wounds.



    Incidentally, ML was pushed for the second goal and was unlucky not to get the free kick.



    A combination of sensible player recruitment and improved defensive coaching are urgently required.

  17. The transfer window opened on 9th June 2018.



    Fabian Schar – lost out



    Cristiano Piccini – lost out



    John McGinn – lost out



    Erm…I’ve got a suggestion that might form the basis of a better plan than the one currently in place…

  18. NL didn’t leave because of lack of fund for transfers. He left because of lack of funds for NL por cierto.

  19. Brush £40m and last night’s performance under the carpet?



    We got French Eddie on hire purchase!



    Mcginns no more a squad player than our back line last night .. excluding Tierney….



    Who will probably be punted to make up the shortfall in finance’s.

  20. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    Exactly. No more squad fillers or vanity projects. I don’t care about McGinn and even less about this Aussie ‘wonderkid’ we’ll develop for Man City. Middle-to-front is not a priority.



    We need at least 2 first choice defenders. Sell Boyata, sell Simonovic. Supplement the proceeds with some cash at bank and shore up that defence. Take Hendry and Ajer out of the limelight and develop them away from its glare.

  21. Lawwell escapes criticism.



    Who would have thunk it?



    Hope the Green Brigade don’t miss him and hit the wall.

  22. FRANNYB67 on 15TH AUGUST 2018 12:54 PM


    Asked on here before about JK was told he was not a defensive coach HH



    so what is his role and who are the defensive coaching staff that we need to get rid.

  23. If I’m right, didn’t PL state that we budget for EL participation every season. If that’s right, and we do qualify, then there should be no need to sell anyone or cut anything por cierto.

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