State of the Club, December 2022


My friends in Celtic, 2022 was not the transformational year 2021 was, but the heavy lifting on that front had already been done.  We saw the return of the league title, the League Cup and Champions League group stage football.  Of the main annual objectives, only the Scottish Cup escaped.

The summer’s transfer business was limited to securing loan signings who were already at the club and enhancing the squad.  None of the newly recruited players in the last window have made it to regular starter status.  Sead Haksabanovic (23) looks very much at home in a Celtic strip, while Alexandro Bernabei (21) will continue to improve.

Michael Nicholson continues his habit of signing players early in the transfer window, or in the case of Alasdair Johnston, Yuki Kobayashi and Tomoki Iwata, before the window opens on 1 January.  It is a great help to get them in early but know it will not always be possible.

We have gorged on the Japanese market.  The player count now stands at six, with a Greek-Australian manager recruited from Yokohama.  The return on investment from Japan has been significantly higher than what would be possible in the UK, or perhaps anywhere in Europe.  The Law of Diminishing Returns has to kick in eventually.  Can Ange’s sixth signing from Japan be as effective as his first?  When will a flood of others see what we are doing in Japan and close the value gap?

Football is never stable.  What works today will not work the same in future, we need to continue to learn about new value markets.  For now, we need to exploit the commercial opportunities available from having so many Japanese players on the books.  Get to Japan in the summer, Celtic.

Some years ago you and I discussed how little Big Club experience our backroom team had.  For most, Celtic was by some way their biggest club.  This meant our learning was from less-resourced places.  That changed when Brendan Rodgers arrived in 2016.  It was as though the lights were switched on.  Training and preparations were upgraded.  I heard the returning Neil Lennon was so impressed he pretty-much kept the same tune playing.

While Brendan did great things here, he never got recruitment right.  At significant expense, he appointed a head of recruitment who had bombed elsewhere and did no better at Celtic.  Brendan made players better, but his signings success or fail metric was unflattering.  As when at Liverpool, he played the fans and media to his own benefit at Celtic.  As at Liverpool, he was soon found out by both here too.

Our head of recruitment, Mark Lawwell, came from a similar role at City Group, where he worked with Ange at their Japanese stable club, Yokohama.  City Group are the best-resourced football operation on the planet.  Their knowledge led to Ange being appointed at Celtic and the subsequent flow of players from Japan.  We recruited a whole lot of corporate learning when Mark (formally) joined this year, his influence has already been transformational.

2022 did not see significant funds come in from player sales, a revenue stream that has kept the ship sailing in previous years.  This has to change going forward.  If we are to make genuine steps to improve, we have to recruit well and sell at a large profit.  Anything else is like playing Abide with Me on the deck.  Should one or two leave in January, it will be interesting to see what they go for.  This will tell you as much about our forward prospects as the league table at that time.

You can never master everything in sport.  Newco’s run to the Europa League Final (even typing this, I still cannot believe it) demonstrated what can be achieved by a club with smaller resources that we have.  Reading the reviews of their recruitment head, you would think he has failed, which is not true.  His recruits delivered a European final and some left for huge money.  Still, while we have to be respectful of what this opponent can do (including on Monday), I don’t think we should be spooked by them.

They lost tens of millions for years to keep a team together, while some players got old, some lost form and others ran down their contracts.  That model was low on short-term risk, delivering two domestic trophies and several good European runs, but left them with a squad with reduced resale value and under Uefa financial monitoring.

We will never win everything but getting the strategic direction of the club right – as I believe we have – will ensure we win more than most, perhaps more than everyone else put together.  There remains a lot of work to do to win the league and earn the lucrative Champions League qualification prize.  This cannot be taken for granted, not for a couple of days anyway, at least.  A few bad decisions, or poor form, and all could be lost, impinging on our structural dominance.

Celtic are focused on being in the right place when the Champions League restructures in 18 months.  Being there will be crucial on our prospects for the next decade.  The next step on that journey is on Monday.  Enjoy it.

Take care and have a great 2023.

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  1. Happy New Year to P67 and all on CQN, yes, even you!



    Sad to wake to the Frank McGarvey news.



    Wish I could make the game or Kitty O’Shea’s TOM MCLAUGHLIN. Seems I have missed the last flight from the US and my Looval lover says we cannot afford to charter a jet. Seems the attic with my dog will be my viewing arena again and with the game being on CBS I will no doubt have to listen to Andy Walker who contradicts himself 2 or 3 times in every sentence uttered.



    On episode 4 of a Columbo marathon. Inside No.9 series downloaded from my new found VPN friend courtesy of my email provider Protonmail.



    To those 700 going tomorrow can’t wait to hear you sing.






    Ps Special mention to MARSPAPA, SIPSINI, An Tearmann and others that I had the pleasure of meeting with this year, albeit it briefly. I was giddy to get to CQN corner after all these years. The chance of meeting MNCelt who was around the corner from me and my family on Skye this year was particularly sweet as well. What a small big world.



    Pps A musician thinks he has just committed the perfect murder but Lt Columbo has been assigned to the case.

  2. Frank McGarvey, one of my heroes.



    Rest in Peace Francis, your place in scottish football history is assured. God bless your soul.

  3. Happy New Year ,



    I am more than conifedent Ange and his bhoys will do the business tomorrow.



    Another good year ahead also.



    I doubt there will be a minutes silence tomorrow and we all all know why.

  4. For all you weather watchers ;) it was a sticky 25 Cels overnight. The bay beckons for a dip later this morning.



    Re Frank, I always loved the playful Dave Narey quote about our dear departed bhoy being one of the most difficult players he’d ever played against:


    ‘You don’t know which way he’s going to turn next…and neither does he.’



    May Frank rest in peace, Amen.

  5. Happy New Year Celtic Quick News…………….




    Thanks to our genial host Paul67 for THIS Dear Green Place..



    God Bless All Celtic Supporters here.





  6. hello, ive tried the celtic website, but can anyone tell me the best way to rigister for 2 season tickets, for the furure. even if its a slot on


    the waiting list.

  7. Melbourne Mick on

    Hello again all you young rebels.



    Happy New Year to all.


    Just back home now from a few whisky fuelled days down at


    my bhoy’s house.


    Phew! need to try and dry out today, especially if I want to


    see the gemme tonight, a decent time for us here.


    Can’t see anything other than a win for the Celts, but…but


    yes you know what I mean, the Mibs.


    Even with the wonderful lions team, you could never be


    certain when those cretins had the run of the game.


    Sad to read of the passing of Frank McGarvey.


    A great player who made other players look good.


    RIP Frank.


    H H. Mick

  8. Celtic announce the minutes silence tomorrow will be for Pope Benedict and Frank Mc Garvey,and Pele.


    Can you imagine the Gun rage?.

  9. Melbourne Mick on




    Hun rage, gun rage, same type of people 😡


    What time do you bhoys hope to see the game in your


    Timezone ?


    H H. Mick

  10. If we turn up tomorrow we win , if we are prepared to battle we win , if we dont let the vile hatred from the terrace spook us we win . to the troops attending tomorrow be on your guard at all times and stay safe . HH

  11. The returnof weeron on




    7:30am at the Ottawa CSC tomorrow…12 hours from now.



    I have no nerves about this one.

  12. Happy New Year to all Celtic supporters everywhere.



    Never got to see the bhoys live in 2022, but will hopefully put that right is ’23. Brilliant to meet up with Aipple and Trish in the Summer. The bhoy’s clearly punching above his weight there. :)



    Good luck to the bhoys tomorrow. I’ll be lagging 30 mins or so behind live as I need to drop a friend at the airport. Won’t be able to read the live comments which is always part of the fun but will catch up later. Going for a solid 3-0 win.

  13. RIP Frank McGarvey – saw Frank many times home and away and he never left anything out on the pitch.

  14. MNCELT



    Currently fiddling with Apple TV and MacBook to stream stuff from laptop. 60 minutes in now. Rearranging furniture while I wait for software updates.



    Promised her I would stream her shows. to quitting now.



    HH good sir.

  15. GuyFawkesaforeverhero on

    Celtic Dawn on 1st January 2023 10:17PM



    It’s not clear from your post if navigating the club site has you stymied. At face value, it seems to be straight forward to do what you want to progress.



    From the homepage, click TICKETS among the white on black headings.


    From tickets, scroll down and click SEASON TICKET HUB.


    From season ticket hub, scroll down and click NOT A SEASON TICKET HOLDER?


    From not a season ticket holder?, click the green hyperlink SIGN UP HERE TO JOIN THE WAITING LIST



    The indication is a refundable ten pounds is charged when joining the waiting list and if any of the above lets you down then email our SLO.



    Best of luck to you.






    7:30am at the Ottawa CSC tomorrow…12 hours from now, I have no nerves about this one.



    *Me neither Ronnie but the last time I was at that venue we were sitting at the top of the League played them off the park and yet finished losing 0-3, it was a dreich day, heard later on from one of the workers on their newly renovated stand, the oul hay shed, that they had been watering the pitch all week yet our goalie left the field with his shorts as white as when he went on, which is a reflection of our possession and his poor performance, I believe he also played in a 2-3 loss to Motherwell at home and subsequent games including draws to Arbroath and Dumbarton before Graeme Barclay was preferred against the Bankies in the SC prior to us signing Peter Latchford.



    So no talk of cricket score etc the morra 1-0 will do me just fine., as the song says “I’ve passed this way before”.

  17. Pressure is firmly on The Rangers tomorrow. A loss and they can hand us the league.


    So in typical Hun fashion I expect them to come out all fired up and kicking everyone in green to the acclaim of all their fans from match officials to the baying horde in the stands.


    Beale is the type who will encourage his players to “mix it” knowing full well Beaton will turn a blind eye where needed.


    Survive the blind passion and naked aggression of the first 20 minutes and our superior skills, organization and fitness will lead to the inevitable conclusion.


    A 12 point lead in the league.


    Looking forward to the following headline.


    Rangers fans complain about VAR decision.


    Want Celtic’s 5th goal disallowed.

  18. BRRB…



    Well done to BRIAN M and his Winning Bet(s) . I can imagine you Bhoys having a great New Years Day in the Boozer.


    Hopefully YOUR Days will be even BETTER IF Celtic can beat the Hun Mob on January 2nd….Which is Today ?


    My Bets are all ON.


    I hope yer heid isnt too sore this morning after yer Beer Session yesterday.


    Ive NOT had any Drink since last Wednesday….but Ive got a sore Heid…worrying about what Brother Beaton and the VAR Hun Assistant will get up to during the game ?



    See you on Friday mate, hopefully BRIAN M and BIG LEGGY will be with you ?




  19. Frank McGarvey COULD have played in Big ANGE’s Team.


    Frank didnt KNOW… to STOP !


    On so many occasions he left the Huns Defence in TATTERS. He was a Managers DREAM.


    Every time any defence BOOTED him all over the Park, he would dust himself doon, and go at them once again…he was FEARLESS.



    I am STILL TRYING to work out how Frank scored with THAT Header in the 1985 Cup Final…..He just LAUNCHED Himself….Ive ONLY had 37 years to try and work it oot !




    Gone but NEVER forgotten Frank McGarvey R.I.P…..The Huns HATED him…and for good reason…as Frank was a HUN SKELPER !




  20. Melbourne Mick on

    Hello again all you young rebels.



    Good morning Big Jimmy and Sin City Bhoy, looks like


    youse are the early birds this fine morn.


    No drink today for me Jimmy, I’m trying so hard not to


    look at the fridge, really have to get a day off it, but don’t


    think I can watch the gemme without a rid biddy, just to


    calm my nerves you understand 🍷


    H H. Mick

  21. Melbourne Mick on

    Just noticed you are up early Bada Bing, or have


    you been up all night ?


    H H. Mick

  22. Melbourne Mick on

    Morning BRRB



    Think the princess is tormenting me, she keeps opening


    that fridge and leaving the door open..beep..beep ..beep




    H H Mick

  23. Tom McLaughlin on

    Good morning from a cold and frosty Village.



    Been awake since 5am on a typical Glasgow derby day. Nerves a bit on edge. Nervous excitement rather than fear. Quietly confident of victory and a 12-point lead.



    Leaving for Kitty O’Shea’s at 10:45am.



    3-1 Celtic.



    Hail Hail the Celts are here.




  24. Morning folks. I’ve been mostly in my bed since Friday evening, picking up something dreadful flu-like symptoms, not the dreaded lurgy, I’m glad to say, but it has floored me. I am feeling slightly better today so looking forward to the game and the victory. Keep on keeping on Celtic! por cierto





    Morning Mick.


    A Happy Hoopy New Year to you and the Family….and to ALL you Bhoys and Ghirls in OZ.


    Here’s hoping for a Celtic win Today and for Celtic to give the World a SHOW !



    HH Mate.