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. IN MANY respects Jock Weir could scarcely be considered a major Celtic player. He spent only some four years with the club and was a regular rather than a prolific goalscorer. Yet on April 17, 1948, he held the fortunes of the club in the palm of his hand.



    Those immediate post-war days were grim. Relief that the war was over was tempered by the almost universal shortages of food and other essentials. Petrol was rationed, football teams travelled by coach if they could get one and by train if they could not. It therefore gladdened the hearts of Celtic supporters to see that apparently their club had realised the error of its ways in its attitude to war-time football. Celtic had at last entered the transfer market in a pretty big way. They had signed Jock Weir from Blackburn Rovers for the


    highly respectable sum of (pounds) 7000.



    This was taken by the supporters to indicate that their team had decided to rejoin the ranks of serious football clubs. This had certainly not been the case in the previous 10 years. Under Willy Maley and Jimmy McStay Celtic had treated war-time football with contempt and in pursuance of this policy players such as Matt Busby, Willy Buchan, and the brothers O’Donnell, Frank and Hugh, all of international calibre, all of them with the exception of Busby ex-Celts on offering their services, were turned down with scarce a word of thanks.



    The one player of undoubted international class that Celtic’s war years produced was goal-keeper Willy Miller, who significantly was considering his options. He would be the one player who would not be going full time on the arrival at Parkhead of Jock Weir.



    The latter could not halt Celtic’s dramatic slump immediately and by the end of April relegation stared Celtic in the face. Well perhaps not so much stared in the face as peeped shyly round the corner. For relegation to happen some 20 results had to work out in a particular way. There were those of us who thought it unlikely that things would be allowed to work out in that particular way. Nevertheless, a crowd of 31,000 was


    sufficiently trusting to turn up at Dens Park and with half an hour to go Dundee were 2-1 up and visits to Alloa and Cowdenbeath were a distinct possibility for Celtic.



    Oddly enough, Celtic used the dapper Weir better on that day than at any time afterwards. He was not a very thoughtful leader of a forward line, such as John McPhail. But Mcphail suffered from a fatal lack of pace. Weir was uncomplicated, very speedy, and possessed of a good shot but Celtic always vacillated between playing him on the right wing and turning him loose through the middle.



    That spring day at Dens Park he scored two late goals to complete his hat-trick and restore the cynical smile to the faces of those who had always doubted the relegation scenario.



    In football, however, there are certain transfers which are more important than their mere statistics. Such was the transfer of Pat Stanton from Hibernian to Celtic, a path also trodden by Jock Weir though indirectly. Celtic began to realise the potential of their support. Jock Weir scored two goals in the Glasgow Cup final against Third Lanark in 1948 and if that seems small potatoes let me give you the attendance. Eighty seven thousand, yes, you read it correctly, 87,000.



    The adjective most frequently applied to Weir was ‘dashing’;. He was not a heady


    player and this was the exact opposite of John McPhail. But his signing was influential. Suddenly Tully, Collins, Fernie, and Mochan were in the side. The team was still a collection of talented individuals who essentially played off the top of their heads.



    A player can be unlucky and it is my contention that Jock Weir was so during his time at Parkhead. By a matter of weeks he missed Jock Stein who was to transform everything. By an even unkinder cut, he was on his way, via Falkirk to that part of south Wales which Jock Stein had briefly made his own.



    Just more than 100 matches played for Celtic, 38 goals scored and no caps at a time when the direct opposition for the job included Willy Thornton, Willy Bauld, and Lawrie Reilly and we have not begun to mention the Anglos. Yet in a way he was one of the most important post-war signings. If you could get 87,000 to Hampden to watch an indifferent side, what might a good team not attract?



    Football fans are fuelled by hope and the hope with Jock Weir was that an end was in sight to the policy of signing young and basically untalented players. In Jock Weir’s exuberance the fans saw the possibility of a better future.



    -lifted from the Herald, via the ole internet.



    -it maybe a cut and paste from Messrs Campbell and Woods, anyways it makes the point that ‘Celtic’s relegation’ was more complicated in life than in legend.

  2. TBB @ 16.08 – bestest post ever on CQN.



    They can bend steel with their heads!



    Are you reading that, Mr Lawell?



    Get them signed for the Seive.



    Ole Jig will be fillin’ his pants.

  3. If the tax case won’t be sorted till April what’s to stop them lot from waiting till the league is lost and the filing for administration and taking the 10-25 point penalty when it matters not a jot?



    Surely not?

  4. So rangers pushing Fleck and Weir out the door to clear up £15000 in wages and yet FPLG sat there last week saying they did not have to get rid of anyone to bring someone in.



    He is an absolute NUGGET!!



    If Lennon had came out with that p1sh the Laptop Loyal would have hounded him.




  5. Shieldmuir Celtic on

    We have had some great posts to-day, reminding us of what Celtic is all about;


    – James Forrest – Jock Weir’s goals at Dundee in 1948 saved us from relegation;


    – Caddizzy’s trio of Hugh McIlvanney’s brilliant obituaries to 3 Celtic greats – Jock Stein; Bobby Murdoch and Jimmy Johnstone; this deserves much wider circulation – perhaps a ‘Collected Memoir of Celtic Greats’ by the author;



  6. ASonOfDan says:


    16 January, 2012 at 16:24



    They’re conference level mate.


    I had a wee post the other day regarding us buying them and filling them with our reserves/youth team, gain promotion into league 2 and then move them up here.



    Think it’s too late now thouigh.





    /Bishop B

  7. johann murdoch on

    Darlington is 175 miles from Glasgow..a car journey takes 3hrs 15mins



    Inverness is 170 miles from Glasgow..a car journey takes 3hrs 41 mins [lack of motorways]



    How many men are in the bath?

  8. Latest James Vardy.. Stats.



    Played.. Eighteen League Games.. Scored… SEVENTEEN GOALS.



    Played.. Four Cup Games……….. Scored… THREE GOALS.



    He has Scored .. TWENTY GOALS



    Whilst Making… TWENTY TWO APPEARANCES…in Toto.




    Whit’s No tae Like?



    Lenny,if ye dinna Grab this Laddie..



    Ah’ll tell yer Mammy..






    Ye’re Mammy wull gie ye a Skelpin’!






  9. West Ham have been unable to agree terms with Japan Striker Ryiochi Maeda’s.



    The 30 year old, who scored 14 goals in 28 League appearances last season had been training with the Championship side.



    2009 24 Goals in 42 Appearnaces


    2010 20 Goals in 44 Appearances


    2011 15 Goals in 31 Appearances



    14 Appearnces for Japan with 5 Goals scored.



    I would take him…




  10. DubaiBhoy (nee LondonBhoy) says:



    16 January, 2012 at 16:22



    If the tax case won’t be sorted till April what’s to stop them lot from waiting till the league is lost and the filing for administration and taking the 10-25 point penalty when it matters not a jot?



    Surely not?




    If they lose the case points deductions will be the least of their worries for next season.

  11. !!Bada Bing!! Kano 1000 on

    cadizzy says 16 January, 2012 at 15:41 praecepta says 16 January, 2012 at 15:35 Thanks for that. I’ll save that to my home computer when I get home I think I have that on a VHS tape up the loft somewhere (but I no longer have a VCR)


    My good friend Kittoch may be able to transfer to DVD.He is very reasonable to CQN’rs.

  12. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    I see the papers saying Lennie is interested in Kevin Davis from Bolton now in my opinion he would be a great signing.He is hard as nails and likes to unsettle defenders and is not short of skill.I hope there is some truth in this.H.H.

  13. !!Bada Bing!! Kano 1000 on

    More lies from dignity,TFPLG said they offered a pre-contract to Sandancer at the weekend,his agent has said no such offer has been made.

  14. My dear,dear,dear,friend… ASonofDan




    Ye wid take the Japanaes Lad?



    So wid Ah..






    He wid demand Too High a Signin Oan Fee.. plus.. His Wages wid


    no Fit ..oor Budget’s Template..and He Is Thirty Years Auld..






    James Vardy..has jis Turned… Twenty Five…only Five Days Ago..





    His Transfer Fee and His Wage Structure.. wid Fit.. Nicely intae our


    Miniature Budget’s Template.



    We canny afford Much tae Spend this Windae..unless, we Sell.





    Yer pal..who likes ye aloater

  15. I see the great Hugh McIlvanney is being mentioned in dispatches today. My auld Dad’s (and mine) favourite writer. It would be doing him a misservice to say he was a sports journalism. Thanks be to God he was at his zenith when we were great too. Is he still writing?

  16. James Forrest is Lennon on

    Hugh McIlvanney …. aaaah now those were the days when journalism was a profession worth aspiring to in this pathetic little nation. Men like this made it everything that the likes of Traynor and Keevins have devalued.



    This morning, Michael Grant, in the Herald, gave us another sterling example of what the profession has become. Note, that I am not half as angry at Grant as I am at the editor who allows him to get away with writing guff such as this:



    “There are a couple of enormous questions which could be put to Ally McCoist, but there really wouldn’t be much point in asking them.”



    And there, in a line, is how far standards have fallen. Shameful.

  17. !!Bada Bing!! Kano 1000 on

    I read a McIlvanny piece recently,in a Saturday sports supplement,might have been The Times?

  18. Son of Gabriel says:


    16 January, 2012 at 17:03



    They should invite them along to Lennoxtown for a bounce game.


    Give us a look at the boy and get our bounce game specialist out for his brace. ;o)





    /Bishop B

  19. Kojo



    Fleetwood are at Motherwell I think training for 3 days.



    Auld Neil Lennon heid says:


    16 January, 2012 at 16:17



    Totally agree. Plenty moaning on this site at times. This survey gives people a chance to have their say.




  20. !!Bada Bing!! Kano 1000 says:


    16 January, 2012 at 16:46




    Thanks for that. I think I’d have a job finding it up that loft of mine but I will bear it in mind.

  21. My dear,dear,dear,friend..SonofGabriel



    Why,isnae that a Coincidink?



    Ye..know..or mebbe ye dinna..fur Ah jist Fun this oot..



    collie,told me.






    Wan o’ Celtic’s Young Guns..fae Last season… Matty Hughes.. a Center Back ,he


    is..and he Played Many Games fur us,in the Youth Set-Up..



    Well.. Matty, wiz let go by us.. at the Beginnin’ o’ this Season


    and the Team that He signed Fur wiz…









    Matty, is still very much a Celtic Laddie, in his Hert.. and .. well..


    Ah am sure that .. He wid Be happy tae Fill Lenny in .. oan


    whit He thinks Aboot his.. Current Team Mate..



    And if Matty Disnae dae that…



    Ah wid Be surprised..



    Nice Chatting,pally.





    yer pal.. who likes ye, already.

  22. As we are on the Hugh McIlvanny theme


    When he wrote in The Observer he once started an article (about Celtic) back in the 80’s with the following line



    ” It’s hot , it’s dark , it’s noisy, it’s green, they call it the JUNGLE”



    13 words to paint the entire picture…



    I was gutted when he left The Observer to go to,( somewhere that my conscience would not allow me to follow) Murdoch’s Sunday Times .



    The Onlooker

  23. James Forrest is Lennon says:



    16 January, 2012 at 12:56



    On top of that CW is not footing the bill for the case, MIH are as they have EBTs to defend.



    If the Rangers EBTs are out of order then any appeal will need to be funded by CW for, as you say, no apparrent benefit to CW.



    Nae chance.

  24. My dear,dear,dear,friend..Livibhoy



    Hiya, Palomine..How’s Tricks?



    Thanks fur the Info.



    Fleetwood, are Second in the Blue Square League.


    so Ah wid Think ,because o’ that.. They wid Be no Mugs.



    Noo,whit their connection wi’ be wi’,Motherwell,or awe Teams,


    is a Bit o’ a Mystery.











    yer pal..who likes ye aloater

  25. Son of Gabriel on

    My dear,dear,dear friend…Kojo



    You may well be right, and time will tell.


    How well does the gaffer know the youth we let go though? And I haven’t seen the player; so dnt wanna give an opinion on the signing.



    I do like the rumours about the big Albanian Hamdi Salihi tho.


    27, 6ft 1


    Hit the onion bag 42 times in 67 for Rapid, and 32 internation games (return of 9)



    The son.


    Hail hail!

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