Season will be decided on the field, not in the courts


I received a text early evening on 18th August last year: “Gongalves starts”.  Former Hearts player, Jose Gongalves, was one of a handful of players FC Sion signed illegally in the summer 2011 transfer window and he had been named to start against Celtic in the Europa League qualifier, first leg.

As a contest, the tie was over.  There followed two matches with considerable effort and drama from both teams but the eventual outcome was, literally, never in doubt, the courts would have their way.  Sion would be expelled from the competition and Celtic would progress to the group stage.

Today Celtic’s only remaining competitor from the chasing pack for the SPL title is up in court to face the HM Revenue and Customs.  The courts will have their way again but although you may feel the outcome of Rangers tax case is inevitable (I do), the impact on this season’s league championship is less assured.  Should they lose, Rangers have the option to appeal, postponing any negative impact on the company until next season at the earliest.

If Rangers have, or can generate, enough cash to keep the lights on this season the league will be nip and tuck until the end of the season. The tax case will attract most attention but if you are looking for indications of how the season is likely to go, keep an eye open for cash related incidents.

Well done to Rangers’ broadcast partner, STV, for their story this morning on SPL discipline.  They report the Ibrox club have the worst disciplinary record in the league, having accumulated a total of 41 bookings, contrasting starkly with the cool class at Celtic Park who are best behaved in the league with only 20 bookings.

With Beram Kayal out for the season Ki Sung-Yeung is the Celtic player closest to a suspension, a further three yellow cards would put the Korean over the threshold.  Rangers have Lafferty one booking, Edu and Bocanegra two, with Goian, Broadfoot, Bartley and Whittaker all three away from a suspension.  Lee McCulloch has only been booked twice this season but shows enormous potential.

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  1. Summa of Sammi…. says:


    16 January, 2012 at 13:42




    Cos they can’t spell ‘cheating hun thug’?

  2. Blindlemonchitlin says:


    16 January, 2012 at 13:40



    In both Juventus (two titles) and Marseilles’ (one title), it was their Association* that pursued the stripping of titles. Whether this was at the behest of another club/someone else, I do not know.



    *I think they had/have jurisdiction over the top leagues in their respective countries, whereas the SPL have in ours. Ultimately though, the SFA have a large amount of power over teh SPL and could compel (read: force) the SPL to strip the orcs of all titles won during the alleged EBT misuse period.

  3. Summa – a quick google suggests that:



    “Lee McCulloch has been known as “Big Jig” since his Motherwell days for a so- called propensity for going to pieces in the box”




  4. enmac75 stands shoulder to shoulder with Neil Lennon on

    louder and louder goes the tick tock of the dignity clock TICK…….TOCK

  5. Just heard from a normally reliable source, that he among others are currently trying to source a source for kitabla.



    Sources close to the source are indicating high chance of source being sourced in time that kitalba will be able to give us advanced notice of prospective players ahead of the January window closing.



    Just a source mind.

  6. Summa of Sammi…. says:



    16 January, 2012 at 13:42


    .Serious Question..


    While trawling a Orc site Last Week l noticed they Call..Lee mcCulloch..JIG..Embdy Know Why..?




    Maybe to be with his raising his elbows and hands above his head as he does a two footed jig on opponents shin.

  7. Remember….



    As part of the January rigmarole, those who actively spread disharmony, dissatisfaction and encourage dissent within the ranks of the Celtic Support will also manufacture stories of us being apparently in for this and that Big Name player…………this allows for the sensational headline stories and also for the more important perennial favourite……..



    ” *insert name here* snubs, rejects Celtic in favour of……..”



    Old Media, same old, same old……..




  8. Crawford Allan will referee Saturday’s match between St Mirren and Celtic. It’s the first time that the 44-year-old has been appointed for a Celtic match although he was in charge for St Mirren’s 1-1 draw with Rangers at Ibrox in October.



    Iain Brines will referee the Rangers v Aberdeen match with Tom Murphy one of his assistants at Ibrox.

  9. Kittoch says:


    16 January, 2012 at 13:56



    Somehow I don’t see Crawford’s ancestors hailing from one of the 32 counties :-))

  10. I’d put money on the boul’ “Crawford” trying an audacious heidy into Celtic’s net if things don’t go to plan……





  11. Kittoch says:


    16 January, 2012 at 13:52


    Just heard from a normally reliable source, that he among others are currently trying to source a source for kitabla.



    Sources close to the source are indicating high chance of source being sourced in time that kitalba will be able to give us advanced notice of prospective players ahead of the January window closing.



    Just a source mind.







    Sitting here lol matey with that one.

  12. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    Re The amounts of cash that rangers have being cheating with, if the FTT rule against them (over £100 million, alledged tax evasion, awards and CL income for the past ten years).


    Has the world ever witnessed a case of cheating of the same magnitude?


    At least they’ll be first at something.

  13. mearns 2 milton on

    Out of interest, before this Saturday’s set of fixtures – When was the last time that Celtic kicked off before pawnbrokers fc this season?

  14. GARY Hooper has reiterated his desire to remain at Celtic and help deliver the club success over the remainder of the campaign. Speculation has mounted of big-money bids being tabled for the prolific striker during the January transfer window.



    But the Englishman, who made a goalscoring return to the team on Saturday following a groin injury, insists he’s happy in Paradise and firmly focused on football matters.



    Speaking exclusively the official Celtic website, Hooper said: “I’m very happy. I’m back playing now and scored at the weekend. It was good to be back in the team.



    “I don’t want to go anywhere. I’m a Celtic player and very happy here, winning games for Celtic and we’re two points clear at the top of the league just now. I’m just focusing on football – training, playing and scoring goals – that’s my job.



    Celtic’s 2-1 victory over Dundee United at the weekend was their 11th successive SPL win, preserving their position at the league summit.



    However, the 23-year-old stressed that no-one among the squad was looking further ahead than their next fixture. 



    “We have to take it game by game,” he said. “Our aim is to win every game and perform like we did in the first half and parts of the second half on Saturday. I think we’re performing well and scoring goals, so it’s looking good.”



    Hooper plundered his 16th goal of the season against the Terrors with a typical clinical finish following good supply work from Anthony Stokes. That strike put him one ahead of the Irishman in their duel to finish top of the goalscoring charts.



    Although that raised a smile from Hooper, collective success remains his overriding priority.



    “I’m back in front by one, but we’re both here to score goals, and the main thing is winning games,” said the Hoops hitman. “I’m enjoying my football,” he added. “I had a little groin strain, but I’m back playing and Stokesy and I are linking up well.



    “He set me up at the weekend, and Victor had a great header as well, and we got the three points which is always the main thing.”

  15. mearns 2 milton says:


    16 January, 2012 at 14:04




    Possibly 19th Nov. We played Inverness away in the Saturday early kick off and I think they played at home at 3pm. They drew but can’t remember against who.



    16 January, 2012 at 11:00



    cheers mate -looks like I missed the beat ..again ;-)



    you are out m4 way? …we are almost neighbours



    thinking of going up to the smoke to try and catch the game this weekend -do you watch at home or a local Celtic bar? I know of CSC in Reading and Newbury area








  17. Evening Times holding back their on-line sports page.



    Maybe they think they will have a major announcement…

  18. Good afternoon fellow tims! Out of work early today, whatever higher power there may be or whatever natural force that brought the universe into existence could it please be that the Huns lose this case! My week couldn’t start any better! PLEASE it’s the least they deserve!

  19. Ten Men Won The League at 12:40



    Yellow cards which lead to a red card do not count towards the six yellows for a suspension – think that’s why your and Paul’s figures don’t match up as both Edu and Goian received red cards for second yellows. The BBC site still includes these yellows in its stats, STV, correctly in terms of suspensions, doesn’t.

  20. mearns 2 milton on

    hamiltontim says:


    16 January, 2012 at 14:11



    Cheers. Lenny has previously mentioned this

  21. dirtymac says:


    16 January, 2012 at 13:49


    Blindlemonchitlin says:


    16 January, 2012 at 13:40



    My post from: 4 October, 2011 at 20:41



    TITLE STRIPPING and the Tax case – long post :



    As far as I am aware there is no precedent for their situation in Scottish football (or UK) – no stripping of titles – no radical examples of expulsion.



    In terms of corruption there are few examples out with Italy (see wiki):



    2001 heralded major changes for Fiorentina, as the terrible state of the club’s finances was revealed: they were unable to pay wages and had debts of around USD 50 million. The club’s owner, Vittorio Cecchi Gori, was able to raise some more money, but even this soon proved to be insufficient resources to sustain the club. Fiorentina were relegated at the end of the 2001–02 season and went into judicially controlled administration in June 2002. This form of bankruptcy (sports companies cannot exactly fail in this way in Italy, but they can suffer a similar procedure) meant that the club was refused a place in Serie B for the 2002–03 season, and as a result effectively ceased to exist.



    The other Italian examples involved referee corruption (see wiki):



    The 2006 Italian football scandal (Italian: Calciopoli or Moggiopoli, sometimes referred to as Calciocaos involved Italy’s top professional football leagues, Serie A and Serie B. The scandal was uncovered in May 2006 by Italian police, implicating league champions Juventus, and other major teams including Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio, and Reggina when a number of telephone interceptions showed a thick network of relations between team managers and referee organisations. Juventus were the champions of Serie A at the time. The teams have been accused of rigging games by selecting favourable referees.



    On 4 July 2006, the Italian Football Federation’s prosecutor, Stefano Palazzi, called for all four clubs at the centre of the match-fixing scandal to be thrown out of Serie A. Palazzi called for Juventus to drop to at least Serie C1 (his statement read that Juventus should be sent “lower than Serie B,” without a specific division stated) and for Fiorentina and Lazio to at least Serie B. He also asked for points penalties to be imposed (six for Juventus, three for Milan, and 15 for both Fiorentina and Lazio). The prosecutor also called for Juventus to be stripped of its 2005 and 2006 titles.



    In the case against Reggina on 13 August, the prosecutor called for Reggina to be demoted to Serie B with a 15-point penalty. On 17 August, Reggina’s punishment was handed down: a 15-point penalty, but no relegation from Serie A. Furthermore, the club was fined the equivalent of £68,000, whilst the club president Pasquale “Lillo” Foti was fined £20,000 and banned from the game for two-and-a-half years.



    Example: Serie A stats show: Juventus as the most successful team with 27 titles!


    The orcs punishment will be in line with/ no worse than Gretna’s – unless UEFA decree otherwise their titles will remain intact.



    I have posted before – and I repeat – League reconstruction will be dependent on the outcome of their tax case. The format will be engineered to ensure a minimum time out of the top-flight (if at all).



    The turkeys will not vote for Christmas!

  22. Who does the picture editor at Shortbread want us to think “Ally-as-businessman” is actually on the blower to?



    My money is still on Mr Woo……..



    HeyShortbreadWitTeamdaeyeSupport? CSC

  23. I was clearing out my email sent box and discovered this obituary by Mr McIlvanney. I’m sure most have seen it but it’s worth a second read. It’s up there with the one he wrote for Jock Stein.



    “Solemnity was always handed its coat early in Jimmy Johnstone’s company and something as ordinary as death had no chance of altering that. What else but laughter could be the predominant sound when the wee man was buried in his native Lanarkshire on Friday? The shadow cast by the horrors of diminishment that punctuated his improbably long struggle against the implacable ravages of motor neurone disease, and by knowing he was only 61 when his resistance was finally exhausted, was a darkness bound to yield to a thousand memories of somebody driven — sometimes destructively, often hilariously — by an instinctive conviction that life was meant to be lively. His own recollections in latter years were shot through with much remorse for the suffering his alcoholic excesses had inflicted on his wife Agnes and their children, and with appreciation of the saintly tolerance he had been shown. But his family’s devotion to him never wavered, which was the strongest of all testaments to his essential lovability.



    Jinky was a one-man archive of outrageous escapades and incredible-but-true anecdotes, most of them woven around the mixture of breathtakingly mischievous audacity and incorrigible naivete which, on his drinking expeditions, made trouble and himself mutually magnetic. The most celebrated tale records how he was set drifting alone in a rowing boat with oars but no rowlocks out towards the dawn horizon on the Firth of Clyde, while inebriated Scotland teammates on the Ayrshire shoreline belatedly ceased catcalling and began a panicky and nearly disastrous attempt at rescue as a blurred version of his tuneful singing voice seeped faintly across the water like that of a ghostly gondolier.



    Other stories, however, accumulated in remarkable volume and variety. A favourite that surfaced last week deals with the time he turned up at a friend’s door close to midnight with three Harlem Globetrotters in tow (presumably if one of them had turned rowdy Jimmy could have butted him in the kneecap). And, of course, there was the running theme of a perennially fraught relationship with his incomparable Celtic manager, Jock Stein, which had all the volatility and theatrical intensity of the tempestuous love affair it undoubtedly was.



    Stein’s innumerable abilities included an exceptional talent for frightening, cajoling or outsmarting difficult players into line. But Johnstone’s repertoire of waywardness was so outlandish and inexhaustible that Jock once assured me soberly that anybody assessing his achievements in football shouldn’t focus on the cabinet-load of trophies his management brought, though they included the European Cup captured in 1967 when Celtic defeated Internazionale of Milan in Lisbon to become Britain’s first continental champions and, miraculously, did so with an entire team of players born within a short drive of their stadium. No, Jock said, the outstanding feat of his career was keeping Jinky at the top of the game five years longer than might have been expected. It involved endless variations on the good-cop-bad-cop routine and, occasionally, a bit of both in the same ploy, as when an ostensibly innocent telephone call to a pub that was going like a fair would bring Johnstone cheerily to the receiver, only to find his ear being blasted by a rage with the explosive effect of an ejector seat.



    All of which guarantees that Johnstone will not be remembered simply as a footballer of electrifying virtuosity, though he was certainly that, with a genius for surreally intricate dribbling so extraordinary it is impossible for me to believe any other player before or since quite matched his mastery of tormenting, hypnotic ball control at the closest of quarters.



    As I have acknowledged in the past, other wingers might fairly be rated more reliably devastating (Garrincha, George Best, Tom Finney, Stanley Matthews are obvious candidates) but none of them besieged opponents with such a complex, concentrated swirl of deceptive manoeuvres or ever conveyed a more exhilarating sense of joy in working wonders with the ball.



    That last characteristic gave an extra dimension to the impact of watching him play for Celtic and Scotland. It went beyond excitement or aesthetics or entertainment. When he was at his best, the performance was so extravagant and idiosyncratic, so full of wildly imaginative impertinences and a small (5ft 4in) man’s defiance of the odds that it touched us profoundly but lightly, as sport should. The natural reaction was not to gasp in awe, which would have been in order, but to smile or even to laugh out loud.



    Since the majority of football followers are too young to have witnessed his prime, it must be regarded as a blessing that there exists enough video evidence to provide at least a powerful flavour of his spellbinding uniqueness. The screen can show sufficient examples of his capacity to mesmerise and ample proof of the productivity of a magic reinforced by fearlessness, spurting pace, athletic strength and acrobatic elasticity of movement, excellent striking of the ball and an alert eye for releasing a telling pass just when it appeared that the personal demoralisation of opponents was his sole concern.



    To run the tapes is to ask sadly why his astonishing arsenal of gifts was so shamefully under-recognised at international level by the awarding of a mere 23 Scotland caps. But that thought won’t keep the smiles from coming, and probably a laugh or two. Watching Jinky on the park reminds us that being human can be pretty good fun.”

  24. CQN Saturday Naps Competition – Week 23 Results



    Superb napping from Cathal (Hey Big Spender @ 14/1) fires him to the top of the CQN naps table… and Raymac was the only other winner (Swincombe Flame @ 9/2)



    +£12.50 Cathal (6)


    +£10.00 voguepunter (3)


    +£ 9.08 bobbymurdoch’s winklepickers (6)


    +£ 8.83 fleagle1888 (5)


    +£ 0.63 Rockon (5)


    -£ 0.50 twists n turns (3)


    -£ 2.75 Eurochamps67 (5)


    -£ 4.50 wolfetonebhoy (3)


    -£ 5.75 What is the Stars (3)


    -£ 6.70 Som mes que un club (2)


    -£ 10.00 Che (2)


    -£10.50 Raymac (2)


    -£13.50 hunza rugli (2)


    -£14.50 PFayr (2)


    -£23.00 BULL67


    -£23.00 oldtim


    -£23.00 The Token Tim


    -£23.00 tommytwisttommyturns



    Cheers, fleagle1888

  25. Ten Men Won The League on

    nothing without fans@14:34



    Cheers for that



    I have stopped going into any STV link since they announced their partnership with Rangers, hence why i hadn’t seen their info

  26. …..and here’s another one (morbid sod that I am). Back to work



    Driving heart of the Lions


    Hugh McIlvanney



    Celtic’s pride: Bobby Murdoch was at home whether a game was physical or


    cerebral in nature, but it was his fluent passing that marked him out from


    his contemporaries



    THOSE OF US with fresh memories of Bobby Murdoch’s career feel a duty to


    celebrate his greatness as a football player. Sport rarely gives posterity


    much of a basis for sound judgments. An artist or a bricklayer leaves


    lasting, assessable evidence of his abilities but expressing high talent


    through the playing of games can be like trying to carve a mark on running




    That is particularly true of football, where even the most ordinary match


    amounts to a complex ebb and flow of influences, and a permanent record of a


    performer’s effectiveness is obviously far more elusive than it is, say,


    amid the teeming statistics of track and field or cricket or golf. Clearly,


    technical advances in camerawork make the growing film archive increasingly


    helpful in preserving a sense of how special footballers of earlier eras


    were. Diego Maradona’s surge through the England defence for the goal of


    goals at the 1986 World Cup finals is nearly as breathtaking for a


    television audience now as it was for all of us who were in the Aztec


    Stadium on the day – nearly but not quite.



    The game is live theatre and, grateful though we are for television’s


    admirable substitute, much is lost when we have to settle for images on a


    screen. To be fully savoured, football’s supreme moments must be first-hand


    experiences, and its greatest players can be truly understood and


    appreciated only as flesh-and-blood presences. They are best appreciated, of


    course, by the men who were closest to them while they were operating at the


    height of their powers, by their fellow players and the managers who sent


    them onto the field.



    To gauge Bobby Murdoch’s status in the crowded ranks of the outstanding


    midfielders Scotland has produced in the century and more since football


    became professional, don’t look at the insulting total of 12 caps gained.


    Listen, instead, to the voices of those who were his comrades, and his


    opponents, in his prime. Jock Stein’s opinion of him would be enough on its


    own to remove any doubt about his right to be considered genuinely great.


    Whenever the Big Man, as inspired a manager as ever worked in the game,


    talked to me about Celtic’s historic success in the European Cup of 1967, he


    was eager to acknowledge that Murdoch was the most comprehensively gifted


    player in the lavishly talented team assembled from Glasgow and its environs


    (Bobby Lennox came from Saltcoats, 30 miles away on the Ayrshire coast,


    which hardly rendered the overall proximity of origins less miraculous).



    Stein did not dispense such distinctions lightly and the tribute retained


    all of its significance after his death in 1985 at the age of 62, six years


    older than Murdoch was when he succumbed last Tuesday to the effects of a


    massive stroke. There was an impressive range of qualities to justify the


    praise. Most of the strengths had been sufficiently discernible at Our


    Lady’s High School in Motherwell (also responsible for nurturing Billy


    McNeill, the inspirational captain of the European Cup-winners who went into


    legend as the Lisbon Lions) to persuade Celtic to sign Murdoch almost as


    soon as he turned 15. He confirmed his promise with a scoring debut in the


    first team six days short of his 18th birthday in August 1962, but it was


    when Stein launched his unparalleled reign as manager in March 1965 that the


    young prospect raised in Rutherglen, a few miles from Parkhead, began to


    accelerate towards the standards which contributed so much to the glories of


    1967 and beyond.



    Crucial to that swift development was Stein’s characteristically astute


    decision to alter Murdoch’s function, switching him, in the terminology of


    the day, from inside-right to right-half. Having withdrawn Bertie Auld from


    outside-left to a deeper role in midfield, the manager was doubly


    guaranteeing himself verve, combativeness and rich creativity in the vital


    central areas of the pitch. There was balance, too, with Auld’s inventive


    and precise application of a marvellous left foot frequently prompting


    Celtic’s most dazzling attackers, Jimmy Johnstone and Lennox, to torture the


    opposition. But Murdoch was the driving heart of a magnificent team.



    Everybody around him recognised that reality, and thrived on it. The warmth


    and profound modesty of his nature made it easy for his teammates to accept


    him wholeheartedly as first among equals, the best footballer in their


    midst. Jim Craig, right-back of the Lions, spoke for all of them when he


    said last week: “When Bobby Murdoch played the whole Celtic team played.”



    Murdoch had all the equipment needed to exert such an influence. Broad and


    powerful in build, he was unfazed by any physical confrontation. Whether


    relying on jarringly effective tackles or deft dispossessing techniques


    based on his alert, intelligent reading of the play, he was a prodigious


    winner of the ball. But it was his use of it that set him apart. Assured


    control, superb passing and fierce shooting were attributes he had in


    abundance. He was wonderfully two-footed, and what he did with either weapon


    had the stamp of class. That versatility was a godsend throughout a career


    complicated by the chronic problems inflicted on his right ankle by a


    serious injury suffered in his teens. The depth of his unostentatious


    courage is demonstrated by the story of how he made his heroic contribution


    against Internazionale of Milan in Lisbon while nursing the ravaged ankle


    and depending almost entirely on his left foot – and even more by the fact


    that he didn’t bother to mention his adversity in public until years later,


    and then only in casual conversation.



    Of all the formidable components of his game, however, the most telling, and


    certainly the one Stein cherished above all others, was his capacity to


    deliver the ball over long or short distances, with speed and accuracy and


    unfailing economy, into the places where it could do maximum damage to the


    opposition. It is hard to think of a midfielder who identified the points of


    vulnerability more perceptively or exploited them more ruthlessly than he


    did. In football terms, he was the delivery-man from heaven.



    His haul of trophies – with Celtic he figured in the winning of eight


    Scottish League championships, four Scottish Cups, five League cups and the


    European Cup, and in his twilight phase at Middlesbrough he helped the


    Teesside club to the English Second Division title – is all the more


    extraordinary when we remember that, in addition to his injuries, he was


    constantly plagued by weight troubles associated with a slow metabolic rate.


    It was a dire affliction for a professional sportsman but, like everything


    connected with Stein’s Celtic, it could be material for banter. “We send


    Murdoch down to the health farm at Tring to lose some weight,” the manager


    once said to me, “and the main result is that we are polluted with bad tips


    from the wee jockeys he meets there.”



    As Bobby Murdoch was buried on Friday, the grieving of the wife, children


    and grand-children with whom he was so lovingly close was respectfully


    echoed by the mourning of a football club who still like to think of


    themselves as an extended family. Celtic never lost a more distinguished



  27. Anyone in the Lennotown area?


    Loads of rumours that Salihi has arrived for talks. Rumours started on some blogs earlier but was txt by one of my mates so just wondered if it were true.





    /Bishop B

  28. mearns 2 milton says:


    16 January, 2012 at 14:39



    Is it Milton or the Mearns yoy’re from?

  29. Ten Men Won The League at 14:47



    I’ve stopped using the STV site now too. You can get the stats from the BBC site but it means checking individual match reports to see whether red cards were straight reds or second yellows.

  30. cadizzy says:


    16 January, 2012 at 14:52


    Thanks for posting those two obits.


    I hadn’t read them before. I have always been a fan of Hugh McIllvaney writing, which puts to shame the current crop of sports journalist in Scotland who would not be fit to sharpen his pencils.



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