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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    I’m confused as i thought that was the scouting department’s job?


    Should we not only pay to follow our team and support directors large bonuses but also do the clubs job for them with no remuneration?


    I could certainly fit the description of malcontent but have not posted about how we should spend large sums on players.

  2. Garry,



    NJOI that concert. I’d love to be there noo efter witnessing him live via the tubes. Magical stuff, your info just makes me even mair into everything he is doing.



    Thinking about it. That is Amazing by Gerry. Incredible.



    I might be going offline soon and I hope you Especially, and everyone on CQN, has a Wonderful New Year.



    Fools Gold

  3. Meant tae add the only time I can recall this happening in the British Isles was on Boxing Day 1948:at Celtic Park Belfast the hun hordes attacked the local players. The visiting side blamed the hosts for the trouble while Belfast Celtic blamed the polis who stood idly by, seems a pattern is now recurring.

  4. Rev IM Jolly’s State of the Club Report Dec. 2018





    Well I did ask.




    For many months I have asked what would we be like when we lost to Sevco?



    We have now found out.



    Amongst a lot of constructive points on how poor the players were, there was the usual slew of people claiming their pet thesis had just been proved, whether that was that Sevco are a better team than us or that the Masons-within-Celtic were channelling money, via the DUP, to pay for Stevie Gee. The internet is a wonderful, mad. place but should never be taken too seriously.




    A few myths , I would like to tilt my lance at:-



    1) We need to get rid of the passing out from the back.



    Unless you want rid of BR, then this is not going to happen. This is his style and he is the manager. He is a development coach asking players to be the best they can be. He is not a pragmatist or a safety first coach. If you want that, ask WGS to come back. If you want Tony Pulis type football, sign Tony Pulis; as a bonus you will get a big immobile centre forward like Jordan Rhodes, Alfred Finbogasson or Sam Cosgrove to look at and wonder why they aren’t playing their first choice sport of Rugby Union.



    2) We need to get shot of BR



    The true voice of the unrepentant over-reacted, Chief Chicken Little, General James Frazer, and the bedwetter that caused the Great Flood.



    7 trophies and titles in a row won and post-Xmas Euro competition 2 years running but Naw! We lost to Sevco and we have lost 4 league games. We’re only top of the league on goal difference, we’ve scored more and conceded fewer than any other team but, sorry, no good enough.



    We could not wait to tell WGS to sod off when he lost his first league. Martin was allowed to lose two and resign before our anger at his team’s stalling took over. Ronny Deila didn’t even have to lose a league.



    We have the patience and attention span of gnats when it comes to dropped points.



    That player had a bad game – we should drop him.


    That player had a bad game followed by an indifferent one- we should punt him.


    That player had 2 bad games in a row- hinging’s too good for him- he’ll have to sit in my taxi on the airport run as I list his many failings and tell him what a disgrace he is.



    3) If we keep on playing like this- we’ll lose the league.



    We lost to Hearts in August, to Killie in September, and to Rangers and Hibs in December. In between we have won big games against Aberdeen, Sevco, Hearts & Killie at home and we beat two top 6 teams , Aberdeen and St. Johnstone away from home.



    We know that it is not (yet) compelling league winning form but neither is it compelling league losing form.



    After a poor summer of recruitment, we get another chance to address positional weaknesses before we re-start our league campaign. As usual, we will declare this a failure in advance but I would be very surprised if, for example, we had to cope with Jack Aitchison or lightweight wingers as centre forwards, as the back up for French Eddy.



    We have problems to address but I’d prefer to leave it to the adults in the room to set the tone for our next 5 months.



    I still expect to win our 8th title but we could quite easily lose it.



    I think 10iar is possible but, if it is achieved, it will have been a remarkable feat, even with the advantages we have, to have been so good (and unappreciated) for so long.



    However, I think it is unlikely that BR will be here for 10iar. I think he will have been as pissed off by the entitlement of our support and the lack of gratitude we show for our team’s achievements when weighed against the interest we display in our team’s failings, as he was by the failure of the recruitment team last summer to land achievable targets.



    We are a fractured club at present, highly tense and still a bit paranoid. Winning this league will only reduce this mood for a brief period. No manager will survive the levels of anxiety that we are going to produce as we head for 8iar , then, hopefully, 9 and 10. Our need for new bling extends to managers too. We are not immune from the pressures that fans bring on all Boards and Chairmen, to constantly renew and do something different because we can no longer thole the guys we once worshipped. It used to be the preserve of Diddy clubs to change their manager 3 times a year as a Sun(the paper not the solar object)-worshipping practice to ward off bad luck and renew their interest. Now, it is the right of fans of big clubs too. There will be cases where the change works but there will be many more where it makes no difference or worsens a situation. Managers are influential and important but they cannot change your stars (the celestial objects as opposed to your current favourite players). A Brains trust of Mourinho, Sir Alex and the ghosts of Big Jock & Cloughie could not turn a current Celtic club in a current SPFL into meaningful European competitors. We can dream but at some stage we will wake up to our reality.




    Oh! and Happy New year when it comes!

  5. DELANEYS DUNKY only trying to tell people what was said against me and fellow tims so should I shut my mouth in future.

  6. GP @ 7.21



    There are opinions and there are “opinions”.


    I call it as I see it as do most on here.



    However there are others working an agenda in concert.


    P67 is part of the PL booster club and it dimishes his analysis.



    A question was asked regarding why — in my opinion — PL had to go.


    I offered as much detail as I could to back up my opinion.



    Not happy about where we are as a club.


    Not happy with our performance in the last week.


    Lots of things don’t seem to make sense at the moment.


    Consequently why don’t they make sense and that train of thought starts with PL.



    He is a parasite on the club and needs to go and go quickly.


    After that we can focus on the squad and the manager.

  7. BP


    Hate hearing that sentence sung towards me.


    Hate reading those words on this site, even more. No falling out wi you on Hogmanay. Only being honest in my thoughts pal.






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



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




    Equally don’t let our poor performance deflect from the fact that Beaton and his officials failed to even sanction the same player for FOUR offences that were yellow card at minimum and some (all?l red individually and accumlativley.



    No one making the point that I’ve read is using Beaton as an excuse. If those reading the posts think they are then that meaning lies with them, not the person saying Beaton has to be brought to account.



    Otherwise what’s to stop a repeat and how many points will it cost opposition clubs playing TRFC who are on their game sufficiently to take points if the rules are not applied by Beaton if he is referee?



    Doing or saying nothing is not an option for Celtic iro Beaton unless the SFA do their job and sanction Morellos and Beaton.



    If SFA don’t then what then?




    So you have no wishes about who we should sign and how much we should pay them? That’s for scouting etc. But if they get it wrong in your opinion?

  10. Fecked-up badly by leaving it too late to get Hogmanay tickets for me and the Bhoy for the two different bashes on in Forres. Might have to do what I did in the Eighties in Birmingham, put ma gatecrashing shoes on ?


    Served me well in those days, ended up with my Brummy Frau ?? who has messaged me from Brunei regarding dropping bottles of cider through toilet pans and dancing with floozies (my past misdemeanours obviously not forgotten).


    Anyhoos everybody enjoy themselves tonight and stay safe and have a great New Year when it comes, off to search for ma gatecrashing shoes ?



    Hail! Hail! PMTYH

  11. delaneys dunky, ok never fall out with a good tim, as I said to brrb next time im up home ill treat you and him to a few rounds ,hh.

  12. I have seen aa few Top Tims on here already wishing people ` A Happy New Year` WHEN IT COMES. Can`t everyone just wait until it does? It` s not too far away and, if you happen to be asleep or otherwise away from a Computer at midnight,, you can always wish people well tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.



  13. As long as we’re winning the MIB’s aren’t the focus of large scale complaints.


    Today’s blog is different. Some posters have warned us about complacency, whether that be from the board , manager or players.


    Mistakes were made on Saturday, by the manager. Some players were poor, others posted missing, others ineffective. Injuries also played a part.


    Beaton’s role was significant. The problem with complaining ( and we should ) is that we lost .



    The time for complaining is or was , when Beaton, Madden, etc have officiated in a victory where the first kick /foul is a freebie. The 2nd gets a look, the 3rd a warning. The 4th might get a booking.


    Spread this around a whole defence/ midfield then you have a problem.


    This problem is balanced out by any physical contact from our players then results in a foul against us .


    In many a game, at Celtic Park, the final foul stats are close to equal, yet we always dominate possession.


    The game in Scotland is officiated like no other in Europe. The referees, reflect the association they represent.


    As a support we’ve been to busy celebrating trebles to bother. The board are happy where the balance sheet shows a positive outcome.


    Meanwhile Res 12 is kicked into long grass.



    A guy that works for the lawyers that represent the SFA assured me , that we wouldn’t win 10 titles in a row. I’m starting to realise where his confidence came from.


    We need to start being smarter. In every department.


    Happy & healthy new year to all posters , lurckers , moderators and host . HH

  14. SFTB


    If we want to get rid of passing the ball out from the back we would have to get rid of Brendan?




    Is he the only coach using this approach?


    No-one would be discussing this if it was implemented in a proper form.


    It works if the passing and movement of the team doing so is functioning.


    Ours sadly is poor.


    It is one dimensional and easy to read.


    In the StJohnstone 6-0 we were excellent at because Nt’cham and McGregor both showed for outball and the front 3 of JF,Ed and Griff were in constant motion so opponents found it harder to remain in position and block channels.


    We normally just look for Brown who usually returns ball as he is double teamed and our defenders set out on a sequence of square balls before giving to Gordon for a hopeful upfield punt.

  15. Auldheid – thanks for the reply.



    They really are 2 separate issues – Morelos’s misdemeanours and our poor performance.



    SFTB made lots of good posts earlier but without being a malcontent, things are not ok atm.



    We could pass Ibrox off as one bad game but unfortunately there have been quite a few of them.



    The other teams, to be fair, seemed to have upped their game.

  16. The Clumpany


    Thanks, and all the best for 2019



    Bada – just thought I’d give the glass half empty, response to Paul glass full ?


    Thanks and enjoy 2019



    To alł others on CQN, here’s to a brilliant 2019



  17. Hot Smoked— Gonnae no dae that. Just Gonnae no.



    Think that’s what you wanted to say.



    D. :)

  18. Jobo, thanks for that. Enjoy your latest Party ?


    The 9 months and 1 day makes sense, since i had to empty my wallet for the taxman today ( and I paid, every last penny that i was due to. On time. )


    Looks like we have another reason to go big in the winter windae’ then ?

  19. Go tell the Spartim on

    Ron Bacardi



    As it’s a night for ridiculous questions I’ll bite



    As a Celtic supporter how should I act and what should I write on a blog



    I await your full and enlihhtening response



    Shouldn’t you be sweeping the heated driveway ?



    Of course i have opinions on players wearing a Celtic shirt but i am certainly not foolish enough to think i can influence Celtic’s choice of player in any way.


    People need to remember this is a blog that give Celtic fans a platform to post their differing opinions


    There used to be a guy on here who published scouting reports on here of players from all over Europe and he was ridiculed and hounded and eventually disappeared from this forum.


    It was an ugly episode and deeply unfair as he was only indulging his hobby or passion and I’m sure he knew his reports were informative but had no influence on Celtic’s transfer business.

  21. Angelgabriel


    Was that `we`re`a deliberate attempt to encourage grumpiness on my part??




    What red shoes???




  22. Guys no fighting tonight. Come on.



    We are all Tims after all.



    Peace and love to all……. Well nearly all mankind???????????????






    D. :)

  23. GreeninbingleyinOslo on

    AULDHEID on 31ST DECEMBER 2018 7:39 PM



    The extraordinary decision by the SFA to rescind Morelos’s red card for kicking someone thigh-high off the ball against Aberdeen set the precedent for the season, and it’s why he continues to do it.



    Three, perhaps four, assaults on Saturday, each of which was a straight red card.



    He knows that he has carte blanche to operate outside the rules, thanks to supine referees, so he does so.



    It’s up to us – Celtic – to raise this, and to stop it happening.



    High time to cut the Corinthian stuff and demand a level playing field.

  24. DD


    We just had one, wee Eden Mill dram. Very, very nice IMO.



    OK all, I am off out with Sweet Caroline to celebrate the not too distant arrival of the New Year with my team at the top of the table, still in Europe and having won the only trophy available so far.


    Cheerio to all,



  25. Intelligent posters missing the point totally.


    The referee should have sent Morelos off for his kick out at Broonie, that is a given, had he done his job according to the rule book, who’s to say we wouldn’t have gone on to win the game, I would wager we would have, everything else is irrelevant imo, we have to play to a different set of rules and our players are not strong enough to cope with this every game we play, I doubt many players are capable of doing what our have to do most games so kudos to them, aye they will have a bad day now and again and the entitled on the blogs canny handle it.


    ThomTheThim made a very good post earlier today and not a single reply he got, all the whining about the cheating and the corruption and yet folks continue to prop up the charade by financing it, crazy, it’s the sort of things huns do.

  26. Fan-A-Tic



    “If we want to get rid of passing the ball out from the back we would have to get rid of Brendan?






    Is he the only coach using this approach?”





    I can’t see how you’ve managed to rebut anything here.



    Your question is a strange one but I will answer.



    He is, of course, not the only coach using this tactic, but, like the other coaches that are using this approach, they do it for a reason. Pep has not changed his mind on it neither have the other coaches who use it including a few whose teams perform it better.



    So, my point remains.



    Don’t employ BR and ask him to use the methods of WGS or Pulis or Warnock. And don’t employ Pulis and ask him to deliver a team with flair. These guys have earned the right to do it their way.



    Of course our players can do it better but, tbh, this approach has not been responsible for a flurry of conceded goals since Ronny Deila first introduced it. On the contrary, we are invariably the tightest defence in the SPFL.



    Maybe, we have achieved this despite this approach, but certainly it has not been a direct cause of an increase in the goals against column. And, we have lost goals from lumped clearances before too.



    I must re-visit my dictionary’s definition of nonsense.

  27. AG @ 7.49



    Regarding the growing agenda against the club — should we have expected any other?



    That highlights the folly that we currently have where the club is divided.


    We are doing the SPFL / SFA / MIB / Media Ludge work for them.



    I have no desire to win “10IAR” — I still have nightmares about 1975.


    All I want to do is win the league this season, next season and the one following that.



    Things have only got started.


    It will get worse between now and next May.


    We need to wise up and act accordingly.



    That means improve the squad in the next few weeks.


    No games getting played internally and no experimental team selections away from home.

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