Saturday & AGM afterblow


I remember getting annoyed at the grief Gordon Strachan took after David Fernandez inspired Dundee United to a draw at Celtic Park. It was disproportionate, despite the poor performance, and ignored the sporting reality that weaker teams can get it right and leave Celtic Park with a point. As well as a lot of credit for their efforts.

Positives first. Many things didn’t work for Celtic yesterday but James Forrest looked to be back to his best. There was only one occasion he didn’t get past the Killie fullback all day, and he recovered to dispossess two opponents and win the ball back.

For James, it’s all about fitness and confidence. Right now, he has both.

I looked at the clock: 3 minutes had gone, Jozo Simunovic was still on his feet. ‘We’re breaking new ground’, I thought. Kilmarnock defended their penalty area all day, so we were seldom troubled, but you and I have seen enough football to know that’s not the whole story. Jozo was immaculate, didn’t put a foot wrong, covered ground with pace and precision. Threw himself into tackles and won the ball.

The contrast with recent defensive performances could have scarcely been more marked.

Elsewhere it didn’t go so well. Tom Rogic and Nir Bitton were both inhibited. Stuart Armstrong prodded but seemed out of sync with his team-mates. Passes regularly found an opponent. From my seat, it looked like our movement and use of space was inefficient.

The last 30 minutes of the game saw Kilmarnock clear their lines and regroup under sustained pressure. During this period, I was confident the goal would come, it usually does. Maybe the extra dimension we hoped we’ve recruited in Carlton Cole, out ill yesterday, would have given our wing play more of a target.

Since writing on the subject on Friday night I’ve seen some of the sectarian abuse left on Facebook about our director, Ian Livingston, amid a diatribe against refugees and all sorts of people who are minorities in the UK.

Years ago I wrote that there are few values we can anchor the club to. Scotland is changing, as are peoples’ sense of identity, no more so than when it comes to religious identity. We can’t, nor should we, impose restrictions on who becomes a Celtic fan. Our demographic is largely left of centre, but a Lisbon Lion went on to become a Tory councillor, so there’s no political bar to supporting Celtic.

I also know an Ulster unionist, who for several years joined his family and friends as a Celtic season ticket holder. He was always made welcome, and didn’t find the celebration of Irish heritage at Celtic incompatible with his identity. As the generations pass, we’ll see more of this. People will care less about 20th century politics (not to mention 17th century) and your view on transubstantiation.

Our founding value is that we are open to all. You will find a welcome at Celtic irrespective of colour, race or religion, you don’t need to care about Scotland or Ireland, we have Poles, English, Norwegians, Americans, Aussies and many more. Few of them had an Irish grannie.

These values are under threat across Europe. We should take every opportunity to reinforce them.

I took some advice on whether to out those behind the racist abuse yesterday, but I’m glad Ian Livingston did so direct on the Affiliation site (and apologies for the direct quote appearing on a CQN article, I pulled it as soon as I saw it).

I was also challenged over the weekend for criticising the chairman’s right to use any available platform to call out racism.  I don’t feel qualified to say that’s not allowed.

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  1. Any news on Broonies fitness? I thought it looked like a groin injury at the game which I assume would mean he misses Thursday.

  2. PAUL67



    Eh, big Elephant in the room here.


    Why comment on a few vile racist and sectarian tweets or posts online, and totally bodyswerve the history of institutionalised racism and sectarianism in Scotland.




    But what do I know about anything eh.





  3. TONYDONNELLY67 on 23RD NOVEMBER 2015 12:32 PM






    “Sarcasm is the last refuge of the imaginatively bankrupt”








    who typed that up for you ?


    and what does it mean ?

  4. Sevcomedians of the Inner Temple discourse upon “How Players Can Help Us Re Ebts”:



    “Many of our players are supporters who benefitted in the EBT years are supporters of our club I have no doubt. EBTs are loans without a fixed repayment date but are laons nonetheless.


    BDO are now appealing HMRCs judgement I understand with the support of David Murray.




    If a couple of high profile EBT recipients or indeed DAavid Murray Himself were to write to [Sevco]… the dialoge might be as follows



    1. Dear Mr King,


    I wish re repay some of my EBT now. I wish to pay £100 per month for the next year and will then revisit the situation.


    Yours Sincerely,


    David Murray or Barry Ferguson or etc…



    2. Dear Barry,


    Many thanks for your offer and your captaincy of our great club. EBTs are now no longer the responsibility of our club but you may wish to communicate with BDO


    Yours Sincerely


    Dave King



    3. Dear BDO


    I wish re repay some of my EBT now. I wish to pay £100 per month for the next year and will then revisit the situation.


    Yours Sincerely,


    David Murray or Barry Ferguson or etc…



    4. Dear Barry,


    Many thanks for your repayment Barry. Please make a monthly cheque payable to BDO. This may help us establish that the EBTs were in fact Loans.


    Unfortunately when all this is settled there will be no one else to pay but your repayment for the next year is valued.


    Yours Sincerely,






    “No idea if this will work, but sounds a brilliant idea. Well done”




    “And, when you think about it, as the biggest recipient, receiving approximately £6m, David Murray could have saved his own neck and the Club from administration, had he thought about it.”




    “I would like to see them form a group and investigate the possibility of taking legal action against individuals like Spiers and organisations like the BBC for defamation. If these c[haps] accuse us of winning titles by cheating then it stands to reason they are accusing the players who won those titles as not having done so fairly and squarely.


    Any damages to be awarded to the club.”




    “The point is that as soon as any one individual repays a portion of EBT then that establishes defacto that it was a loan. HMRCs whole argument stands and falls by them asserting that it was wages and not a loan. Interesting for example when some players including Ally took a wages drop for a while… might have been cleverer to take full wages and repay portion of EBT ( Can remember if Ally had EBT)


    So… a single repayment of a part of an EBT adds credence to our assertion that was a loan and weakens HMRC case. This is a means of negotiating and outflanking HMRC and others who assert they are not loans.”

  5. So – we’ll market ourselves on being founded to help the poor but will happily welcome directors who are shafting them? I’m sorry but you can’t have it both ways.

  6. Like Ian Livingston I am a Celtic fan of Jewish Ashkenazi descent. My great grandfather was a refugee from persecution and danger. For fifty years I have loved and followed Celtic. This is not the time or place to detail my Celtic credentials, but I believe they are solid. The question his comment raises in my mind is a question that has lurked at the back of my mind for many years and I thank him for expressing it. The question is, in the minds of Celtic Supporters, am I any less of a true Celtic supporter than if my great grandfather had hailed from Donegal ? Is Celtic truly a club like no other, or are those just words from a PR man that do not live in the hearts and minds of the clubs supporters. And yes, did Brother Walfrid create a club for all immigrants, or just for some? I have read the virulent hatred posts that Mr.Livingston quotes and many others over the years that are intended to hurt, not because they are the rants of a few unhinged individuals, but because they so often go unchallenged, leading me to believe they might be more widely held. This time in the world is not the time for the silent majority to remain silent. We either offer our condemnation, or by our silence, acquiesce.

  7. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    We told them when their team died that their children and grandchildren would be Celtic fans



    Are we no longer accepting fans if their forefathers are/where anti Celtic?

  8. The Green Man on 23rd November 2015 12:33 pm



    One’s got nothing to do with the other. That’s why.

  9. williamf



    I am 100% with you on that.



    The Green Man



    What do you expect the Celtic board to do about institutionalized racism in Scotland? Genuine question.

  10. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Come one come all Glasgow Celtic are a football club open to one and all. That is my view we are not a political party or a religious organisation. There is no room for hatred or bigotry or racism we are a very broad church. H.H.

  11. Someone, Coolemore mafia I think, posted a link to a piece Lenny said during the week.


    It basicly said that the racism he encountered while at the club was over the top, and he felt that the suits let him down in tackling it.


    Seen very little comment about it, but when our last manager is calling them out……

  12. Interesting comment on Keane and Gordon






    Does Keane have that acute understanding of what makes a man tick? Keane was so irritated by a 30-yard free-kick that Craig Gordon let in during a pre-season tournament for Sunderland in Portugal he put on some goalkeeping gloves in the next training session and challenged the players to get the ball past him from the same distance. If they scored, he would give them £1,000 but if they missed they had to give him £100. It was meant to be light-hearted but he realised later that all it did was belittle and embarrass his actual goalkeeper. Keane knocked a few round the post, tipped one on to the bar, kept a clean sheet and made £800 but suspects he lost Gordon for a few weeks, and possibly longer. It isn’t straightforward, this man-management lark.

  13. Hail Hail williamf



    ‘We either offer our condemnation, or by our silence, acquiesce’



    Let’s see if the Celtic Trust are now big enough to release a statement in unequivocally condemning the repugnant comments directed towards Mr Livingston.



    He has also stated his position of not being in favour of the governments tax credits policy. Though his position on this either way should have no bearing on him being a director of Celtic. However, seeing as this was the basis of the petition for his removal then I suggest it’s no longer relevant. Therefore the trust or any other collective voice should be now calling for it to be imediately retracted.

  14. Williamf



    Disappointed to think you feel that way



    All welcome in my book – that’s what differentiated (or at least I thought so) us from them.



    Anything else is Green Hun-nery.

  15. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    Rangers boss Mark Warburton faces dilemma over whether to keep faith with youth or splash the cash in January


    06:00, 23 NOV 2015




    WITH Rangers and Hibs tied at the top of the Championship table as the transfer window approaches, will Dave King be tempted to inject some cash into their title bid?




    THE arrival of Rangers chairman Dave King from Johannesburg this week is to oversee an AGM rather than respond to an SOS.



    Rangers shareholders will gather at the Clyde Auditorium on Friday morning the day before Diversity play at the venue undoubtedly in a more civilised and dignified manner, on the floor as well as at the top table than the scenes we witnessed last week



    A song and dance may well be made before the street artists from Britain’s Got Talent take to the stage as the Light Blue legions show serious signs of fretting for the first time this season.



    Gers boss Mark Warburton enjoys a stat and he will have cause to reflect that in the last two months Rangers have gone from averaging almost four goals a game to just two point two one..



    Before their League Cup defeat by St Johnstone in September, they had hit 40 goals in 11 games and since then it’s down to 17 in eight. That’s still a handsome return but as Hibs joined them at the top of the table, the Ibrox boss must be wrestling with a quandary.



    The issue in the short term will not be so much discovering if his young side can cope with the more stubborn resistance of rival clubs, aided and abetted by the fact several of his stars appear to have gone on a go slow. Which has nothing to do with late salary payments and everything to do with the state of Scottish football



    The issue will be if he can afford to give them time to learn from their mistakes in the five-week period leading to the January window or to spend a few mill.



    At what point does pragmatism collide with his admirable philosophy on how the game should be played if his young side suddenly become cowed by the pressure of delivering promotion and cold showers and lack of shower gel ?



    There were signs in their pedestrian display at Livi that they are beginning to toil for inspiration as they struggled to break down a defence that was hardly anchored by Franco Baresi.



    Livi were brave and well organised. Mark Burchill does not have the best side in the league but he might just boast the hardest working. Still, Rangers made it easier for them to drop deep into two banks of four by playing passes that were hurting no one when they needed to be incisive.



    Arsenal kid Gedion Zelalem and Spurs youngster Nathan Oduwa have all the assets needed to make it to the top but they are not yet the finished article. Too often they were left isolated and forced to knock 20-yard passes inside that Livi picked off easily.



    Nathan Oduwa is a very close friend of Harry Kane and calls him H.



    A few weeks ago James Tavernier was raiding down the right and playing in devastating, tight little triangles but this time he knocked over increasingly desperate crosses that were a gift to the home defence.



    Goodness, we even had the rare sight of Rangers flinging corners into the box in the hope something would bounce off Rob Kiernan and Dominic Ball.



    If it wasn’t a sign of panic, it was certainly a hint they had lost the discipline of patience Warburton has long preached and were concerned about yet another cold shower.



    All of which throws pressure on King, who will not countenance another season at this level and will probably release some of his serious funds previously promised to rebuild if the right quality signing can fit the profile.



    Warburton has spoken about adding “one or two” in January but if they continue to toil, the pressure will grow to sign three or four or five experienced international players, particularly in defence, midfield and attack.



    The time for project players will be over and Warburton may have to modify his approach and use the type of quality who can get his team to the top flight.



    This result was not disastrous but it might just prove a wake-up call to those who hope to be part of Warburton’s longer term plan.



    He said: “We had 70 per cent possession but lacked guile in the final third. We huffed and puffed but lacked class in key areas.



    “We’re not feeling any extra pressure because of Hibs but we have to learn from today.



    “Teams are putting men behind the ball. It is hard to break them down and we have to show that quality in the final third try and get in the box and help the referee with his decisions” Rangers started well enough, particularly down the left and it was a raid by Lee Wallace that saw the ball eventually break to Jason Holt in 22 minutes and he slotted in his fifth of the season.



    But Rangers were stunned when Ben Gordon broke in 51 minutes and set up Myles Hippolyte to easily plant a low shot into the corner of the net.



    Although Marc McCallum made a couple of decent stops after the equaliser, an onslaught of chances didn’t materialise.



    Livi boss Mark Burchill said: “We had to sit in and break. It was about having a belief when we had the ball to do something. Getting pay cheques punctually we have found to be a great incentive here at Livingston”

  16. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    I would imagine we have had a few tories in our supporters’ ranks over the years….. Pity the Celtic Trust took the opportunity to promote THEIR pathetic political agenda at the AGM ……. Doooohhhh !!!!! Anyway, the social media contributors were probably mostly mischievous bhuns promoting their agenda against all-things-Celtic, and Ian Bankier should have adopted a more measured approach to defending Ian Livingston….although I’m confident Ian, who has always been a fanatical Celtic supporter, is more than capable of defending himself …… faux pas, Mr. Bankier, but it doesn’t make you a bad person …..

  17. TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels on

    Open to all



    What does that really mean – we let “anyone” in ?

  18. Well said WilliamF,


    Keep supporting, if you listen to some you would need to be a mix of catalan/basque/palestinian/irish and have marxist tendencies before you can yourself a Celtic man.




    Josep Andoni Hassan Kerins

  19. I am glad you have at least seen it this time rather than formulating opinion on hearsay Paul67. Anything said about Livingston’s religion (sectarian seems a stretch as I imagine another Jewish person of a different Jewish sect wouldn’t comment on livingston and his Jewish sect) is unforgivable.



    Questioning his position with regards his role in further pushing the poorest of our society towards the foodbank queus, the like of which a collection (non political at that tony Dickonolly) was held outside our ground, because it is diameterically opposite to the ethos of our clubs foundation is not something any Celtic supporter should be ashamed of. Only the so called Lord of Parkhead should be ashamed of his political role in this while standing as a director of our football club. he should resign as should Bankier for his generalistion and misplaced statement. it was unfrogiveable.



    I seriously am beginning to wonder what our club is turning into as well as what what type of selfish, self serving excuses of human beings are now being attracted to support the same club our forefathers and we have for all these years. Evidently it is not the club we believed we supported and were brought up to support.



    I think I may soon leave it to the self believers, the Tony Donkilly’s to destroy from here on in.



    BTW have you come across evidence prior to bankier’s statement re. his religion that afforded our chairman is podium on Friday or is that still hearsay? I have looked and seen nothing on social media I can get my hands on.




    Moving on.



    I would like to nominate Tony Robinson (EDL), Nick Griffin (BNP) and Nigel Fararge to our PLC.



    No political bars eh?



    Seriously? have we as a support fallen that low that we will accept anyone no matter?



    If so it is not the club for me anymore. Be as well just calling us Rangers!



    MWD said Eff that!

  20. Timaloy29



    I expect them to speak out about it….apart from rightly condemning the vile abuse received from idiots, they should point out the reality of sectarianism in Scotland.


    The majority of people who disagree with the politics of Bankier and Livingston, do not use vile sectarianism to challenge their beliefs.


    Because some halfwits racially abused Mr Livingston, doesn’t mean we are all racists.




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