State of the Club Report, December 2018


Empires rise and fall but it is usually not until well after the event that the signs of decline or rise are appreciated.  In April 1970 Celtic players took a lap of honour after winning both legs of the European Cup semi-final against English champions, Leeds United, before a record European crowd.  They were in their second European Cup final in four and hot favourites to take the trophy again.  If ever Celtic looked imperious, this was the moment.

Few watching that lap of honour could have imagined 33 years would pass before Celtic next beat a side from one of Europe’s biggest five leagues.  Decline came slowly, a European Cup final loss in extra time, two more semi-final appearances and four more league titles, then decades as an irrelevance in Europe.

Today Celtic are nothing like that force in Europe, but 2018 saw the club secure the domestic treble for the second successive season, the first time this has been achieved in Scottish football.  They also retained the League Cup this month and are hot favourites for both league and Scottish Cup.  No team has ever been this imperious in Scottish football, not even the Lisbon Lions.

Celtic have lost four league games this season, four more than they lost in the whole of Brendan Rodgers’ first season.  They failed to reach the Champions League group stage, losing to what proved to be a poor AEK Athens.  This year has seen significant players lost: Dembele, Armstrong and Roberts.  Although the latter two were mostly squad players when by the time they left, they still made important contributions.

The club broke its transfer fee record for the first time in 17 years to secure the permanent signing of Odsonne Edouard, but the deadline day shenanigans of Dembele and absences of Leigh Griffiths placed a heavy burden on the 20-year-old.  Filip Benkovic was secured on loan from Leicester City but further attempts to reinforce central defence and the right back position have been ineffective, while the predicted signing of John McGinn from Hibs proved to be nothing more than a PR disaster.

Form during the early part of the season was well below standards of the previous two years.  It was not until two first half injuries in the League Cup semi-final at Murrayfield to Ebouie Kouassi and Olivier Ntcham allowed Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie to take up central midfield roles, that Celtic started to play with fluency.

Three wins were secured in a very difficult Europa League group, meaning we travel to Valencia in February with a fighting chance of progressing, but you could sense the air escaping from Celtic during December, as eight points were dropped on top of a home defeat to Salzburg.

The question is, was Saturday’s arresting defeat at Ibrox a sign of Decline of Empire, or another sign of retrenchment?  To answer that we need to look at the fundamentals.

Celtic are financially stronger than anyone else in Scottish football.  We spend significantly more, not just on transfers and wages, but on scouting, sports science, analysis and any other metric you care to mention.  We may only be top of the table on goal difference, with a game in hand, but the first leg of the treble is complete and we are the only Scottish team still in Europe.
This season, the rest of the league are getting closer, but if points earned is their measurement, they are not getting any better.  Celtic’s lead is small, not because we face better opposition, or because we have fewer resources, but because some in the squad have aged and declined, while attempts to strengthen have not been good enough.

If you are searching for signs of Decline of Empire, keep looking.  This is Celtic at the bottom of the curve – with back-to-back trebles, the League Cup secured and resources available to kick on.  We cannot win every game, or play well every month.  We can’t even win every trophy, but the fundamentals of Scottish football have not changed.  Use this week to get in touch with how it feels to be second best in a domestic game.  It could be a while before it happens again.

Have a great New Year.


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  1. JNP


    You are totally correct, forearm smash in front of Ross was worse than the Jozo red card red at the previous game at Ibrox, and probably the most serious of the 4 Morelos ‘incidents’. However, I think his kick on Broonie in the first few minutes was planned and sinister. I thought that was a straight red and game changer, had he been dismissed.



  2. 50 Shades my da used tae say when I was in despair after a loss “you cannae win them awe son”, at least back then we used tae show up.

  3. Corkcelt


    Your post saddened me oh wise one.


    Would hate to think I would never share some pre match craic with you again. Wait till the sun is shining and your health has improved, I will have a ticket to Paradise awaiting you this Spring.



  4. When Alan McGregor got away with blatant thuggery at Paradise it set future agendas and opened the floodgates.



    HH to all.

  5. I might be wrong here but I believe that DD wanted Joe Kinnear for the managers job at one time, the board overruled him.

  6. Greenpinata


    Similarly, Morelos rescinded red card at Pittodrie for kicking his opponent off the ball.


    Precedents set in those two incidents alone.



  7. lennon's passion hated by the clique on

    Umpteen players bought that have been a total failure. Not be long before or finical advantage is wasted on other donkeys.

  8. Garry,



    When the anger grows, remember the Incredible RIchard.



    I will go aff the English Language track. It annoys me text speech and that it is dumbing down a populace.



    truly Magical.



    Wonderful Friday Brother in Rhthym.



    Pray for Leaders. Pope Francis and the Queen,

  9. Pete


    Surprised by the joy of it.


    Surprised I am alive I guess.


    Say hello to the World again.


    Richard Ashcroft CSC

  10. Mibbees just mibbees we did threaten tae pull out of the game after our bus was attacked and the authorities demanded we play for fear of riot by their savage support.



    Also back in ‘74 we went tae Madrid after being assaulted at Parkheid by a bunch of animals. Our support was advised for their own safest no tae travel, only a few did, the wee mhan and big Jock were issued death threats, Jock and his staff were advised tae stay in the dugout the whole game while the home staff sat on a bench close tae the touch line, Kenny admitted they were terrified the whole game for fear of a sniper in the crowd.



    We, who were miles better than them in the first leg, lost 0-2 and left for the airport right after the final whistle, the thugs got a measly slap on the wrists and that was only for the first game. So much for UEFA justice, thanknthe Lord for Gerd Muller and co.



    Wonder how our players felt after having our bus attacked and then running out in front of that baying mob.

  11. i'vehadtochangemymind on

    I suppose the Dubai break’s well timed after that freak game. It’ll give BR some thinking time and limbs a warm rest; mind you he’ll probably be on the phone to PL etc all the time.

  12. I think by the way our players played they might have been terrified.. No joke..


    Especially when I heard today that the bus was attacked on entry to the bigot dome. It makes sense.



    Anyways as a new year approaches, we are still top o the league, cup in the bag, in Europe and the Scottish cup to play for.



    It is so good to be a TIM????. Love it. Love life.Love Celtic??????????


    Hail Hail



    D. :)

  13. Ahh, so that’s why a £2.29m bonus was paid out today Paul67 ?



    You could have added, as we move into 2019, the squad valuation has been depleted


    Our Captain is free to talk & sign to any interested party as of tomorrow ( Scott Brown)


    Our Vice Captain, is free to talk & sign to any interested party as of tomorrow ( Mikael Lustig)


    Our current 1st choice Centre Half, is free to talk & sign to any interested party as of tomorrow ( dedryck Boyata)


    Plus our back up right back and left back – free to talk & sign for any interested party as of tomorrow


    And I accept there needs to be a turnover and refreshing of squad, plus reduction



    Great Fiscal management?


    Or horrendous football planning ?



    Maybe just me, but I ain’t in a great frame of mind on where our club sits, with this great and strong position we finds ourselves



    PS – surprised no one has picked on Sleekit G, him of Dignity, totally blanking every Celtic player leaving the field of play on Saturday

  14. Pete


    Thanks pal. You were the perfect host in your home toon on Friday.


    Sons of the Rock are magic.



  15. WITS @ 2.03



    PL has to go — how would this improve the team?



    Better use of resources — his high wages and bonus structure wastes money.


    Much better use of resources — his ridiculous long term bonus of £2.3mill is both a waste of scarce resources but it is also a slap in the face of the ordinary fan who supports the club.



    He is a hopeless CEO — he emptied to top tier of the LL stand.


    He has brought in two dud managers and has not provided a supportive regime to the managers that have taken the club forward in spite of his machinations.



    He is a second rate property bean counter — he has no idea regarding a proper growth agenda so our revenues have not been maximised leading to less funds for the squad.



    His hotel idea is crap, really crap.



    He is hopeless at Moneyball — he doesn’t fully understand the concept and his crack handed attempts have unsettled the squad the squad throughout his time at the helm.



    He cannot negotiate for toffee.


    He actively and successfully sabotaged the transfer of JMcG to the club.


    He is a rich man’s bag carrier not a real leader of the club.



    Consequently he has to go.

  16. Transfer Window Scottish Style Guide 2019



    (1) During the January window Brendan Rodgers will be reported as continually at loggerheads with Celtic’s ‘bean counting directors’ who always ‘wear suits’! and continually deny him more Marvin Comppers in the perpetual Celtic biscuit tin mentality which antagonises their fans.



    (2) Sevco FC do not ‘buy’ or ‘sign’ players. They ‘swoop’ for players. The extraordinary nature of these swoops must be emphasised at all times by preceding the word “swoop” with at least one of the following choices – ‘sensational’ ‘stunning’ ‘exciting’ ‘audacious’ or ‘ambitious’.



    (3) Celtic FC do not ‘buy’ or ‘sign’ players. They ‘finally complete’ deals. The hugely dull nature of this event should be emphasised at all times by using at least one of the following terms – ‘protracted’ ‘long-running’ and ‘drawn out affair’.



    (4) Any transfer target of Sevco FC is, without fail, also ‘being pursued by a host of Europe’s top clubs’ but not Brighton or Wigan.



    (5) Sevco FC must then be referred to as ‘battling it out for the signature’ of this “well rated” ’hot property’ and ‘wanted man’.



    (6) The exact identity of these elite club’s will be selected on a random basis but must contain at least one of the current top 4 sides in Italy, Germany and Spain. One of these may be substituted by PSG but no other French club.



    (7) If the said player signs for Sevco FC then the club have ‘pulled off a sensational coup’. To avoid unnecessary confusion under no circumstances should the player be asked why he turned down these previously reported top clubs? Instead the player will ‘modestly refuse to comment on the speculation’.



    (8) Any overseas player purchased by Sevco FC under the age of 21 years is a ‘wonder kid’.



    (9) Any overseas player purchased by Celtic FC under the age of 21 years is an ‘unknown youngster’.



    (10) In recognition of the club’s international stature it is appropriate that the transfer fees received and paid by Sevco FC should initially be quoted in Euros. After this initial use the term of currency quoted should be dropped and thereafter, whenever possible, the figure referred to only by approximate amount.



    (11) Should Sevco FC obtain a Scottish player from a domestic rival then this story must be accompanied by a double page spread praising the club’s willingness to invest in home-grown talent and how this is of the benefit to the national side and indeed the country as a whole.*



    (12) Should Celtic FC purchase a Scottish player from a domestic rival then this story must be accompanied by a double page spread condemning the club’s willingness to raid rivals of home-grown talent and how this is to the detriment of the national side and indeed the country as a whole.



    (13) Any player linked with Sevco FC who has not made a strongly worded denial of the said move should be referred to issuing ‘a come and get me plea’



    (14) Clubs unwilling to lower their asking price to meet the perfectly acceptable bid placed by Sevco FC must be strongly condemned. All stories of this nature must include the words/terms ‘staggering asking price’ ‘inflated fee’ ‘outrageous demands’ and ‘holding to ransom’. The player involved in this deal must be referred to as ‘the want away star’ and it is imperative that any story fully informs the reader how the immoral stance of the selling club could ‘jeopardise a dream move to Ibrox’ for a player ‘whose heart is set on a switch to Glasgow’.



    (15) Clubs unwilling to up their bid to meet the perfectly reasonable fee placed on a player by Sevco FC must be strongly condemned. All stories of this nature must include the words/terms ‘insulting’ ‘laughably derisory bid’ ‘on the cheap’ ‘deliberate attempt to unsettle’ and ‘outrageously low offer’.



    (16 )The signing of an overseas player by Sevco FC must be accompanied by a two page spread stating how they will become as good as their nation’s most famous footballer. Mark Hateley is still willing to contribute to any article.



    (17) The signing of an overseas player by Celtic FC must be accompanied by a two page spread questioning whether they are good enough for the SPL. Kris Boyd is willing to contribute to this article.



    (18) If Sevco FC sign a player who has at any point of their career – been watched by any member of the Celtic Park staff (including Superstore employees, programme sellers and outsourced catering workers) then they will have ‘sensationally snatched’ the said player ‘ from under the nose of the Parkhead club’.



    (19) If Celtic FC signs a player who we previously linked with Sevco FC then it will be because ‘After initial tentative interest Sevco decided to pull out of the chase’ thus ‘leaving the road clear for Celtic’. The player in question ‘..represented poor value for money..’ and ‘was no better than the players already available to the Sevco gaffer’.



    (20)The fact that Dave King is a Billyionaire with wealth off the radar are integral elements of any Sevco transfer story and failure to recognise this will see copy spiked.



    (21) As in previous years our ‘colleagues’ at the Sunday Mail will again be organising ‘Operation Celtic Manager out ‘ which is as usual planned for the first weekend in February. Our duty is to ensure quality follow-up coverage.



    (22) ‘Sevco’ when trying to scrape every last halfpenny that Douglas Park can lend shall be reported as ‘Gers playing hard ball’



    (23) ‘Sevco’ on receiving a flat knockback with an inferior offer, will be congratulated for not breaking their strictly staunch wages cap.



    (24) Celtic will lure players on free transfers.



    (25) “Sevco” will sensationally snare multi million pound rated strikers via the staunch Bosman rule.



    (26) Any “Sevco” players moved on will be ‘unsettled’ or downright lost interest in playing football after fulfilling their lifetime ambition.



    (27) When referring to Seethen Gerrard “warchest” its value shouldn’t drop below Jim Traynor’s lifelong supportering guesstimate of £12,000, 000 net.



    (28) Alfredo Dimbilly’s true Chinese value will always be identical to Level 5’s.




    Hail Hail

  17. Mike in Toronto



    Fans will only forget if we are winning, which suggests that response to Res12 will be more player opium to aid forgetfulness.



    However if that does not occur folk won’t forget and there will be a reminder seeking answers that will be hard to ignore.

  18. Wee Griff sending a positive message out today,hope he gets well soon,hopefully see him before the end of the season, canny see him going to Dubai,be interesting to see who is left behind….

  19. The Morelos challenges were largely like the ones that Beckham got sent off for in WC 1998.



    Yes – he should have got sent off but don’t let it deflect from the fact that we were terrible.

  20. Note if you have JavaScript switched off you get [email protected] whenever anyone writes an email address or anything that looks like an email address – just another problem with this blog ?


    Switching JavaScript back on reveals the email address, simples.

  21. In addition to Pistol Pete’s bonus departing the Celtic savings account today, there will be another hefty chunk disappearing from the ‘plus’ column in the accounts.


    I think I’m right in saying that Corporation Tax payment is due to be paid on 1st January, and since this is a tax on profits, we’re sure to be hit hard for this because of our reluctance to spend money, so that it can sit and look pretty in the balance sheet.


    I’m sure some of the accountants or financial wizards will,be able to tell me if I’m wrong…..

  22. Norrie- a lot of home truths in your post,hope you and yours are well,will see if the better half can get a rate for WW….HH

  23. Delaneys Dunky on 31st December 2018 6:59 pm






    Thanks pal. You were the perfect host in your home toon on Friday.



    Sons of the Rock are magic.








    Not really…… I thought I got there early enough, the bus driver decided to go to Asda for a dump. Big detour Time wise as the traffic wiz mental as usual @ that Time



    Theres pubs in Dumbarton toon centre. You can never understand anything.



    I’ll take the imperfect host title howevaaaaah. ;))

  24. MiT



    I actually concur with you, albeit in a nuanced form.



    Complicit at a strategic level


    Complacent on the field.



    HH jg

  25. Pete


    Really looking forward to seeing the Wee Castlemilk Tim Gerry Cinnamon in Melk Weg Amsterdam in 3 weeks. Sold it out and he does not have a record contract. Unprecedented.


    Diamonds in the Mud



  26. Bournsouprecipe



    Did you get a hold of Traynors Spinography Intructions?



    Very funny but many a good word spoken in jest.



    Happy New Year to you and all CQN posters and lurkers, malcontents and contented. Theirs shall be the kingdom of heaven or Paradise in biblical and Calton terms. :)

  27. Calls for Pete to fund purchase of better players in the window.



    All well and good. But can the malcontents give us names and how much we should pay for them and how much we should pay them?

  28. MADMITCH on 31ST DECEMBER 2018 7:01 PM


    WITS @ 2.03





    Your opinion is as valuable as any on here, buts that’s all it is. Your opinion.



    HH to you.



    I introduced my wife to Gerry Cinnamon via his youtube Belter video.


    She was instantly hooked and says next time we go to Scotland should be to go see him live.


    She plays him online all the time.


    Hope he comes to the USA soon.

  30. BP


    Nobody on here wants to read what a bigoted hun’s words were. Highly inflammatory to read those words on a Celtic blog. No need pal. Correctly the moderator removed your post. Wish you never repeated it with feck.



  31. Bateen Bhoy at 7:09


    Although I am neither an accountant nor a financial wizard the due date for corporation tax in the UK is 9 months and 1 day after the end of the company’s accounting period. Our last accounts were o 30 June 2018 so any tax due on those profits is due to be paid on or before 1 April 2019. The amount of tax due is of course already known (as it relates to the profit for the year ended June 2018) so it will be due regardless of the amount, if any, that we spend in the January window.


    Aff oot for another party….

  32. We Scottish fitba supporters used tae stare aghast at the shenanigans that occurred in the likes of South America, Greece and Turkey where hooligans did indeed take over the asylum, let’s not forget we were subjected tae that kind of vitriol in Buenos Aries and Montivideo in1967.

  33. Fan a tic


    Bet yer wife is a Belter! ?


    If Gerry Cinnamon smashes Melk Weg like Jimi Hendrix did, he will be USA bound I’m sure.



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