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State of the Club Report, December 2018

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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. A happy New Year to all CQN’rs and fellow Celtic fans everywhere ! Let the People Sing !!

  2. Happy New Year to you all in 2019, wishing each and everyone of you and yours a successful 2019…

     

    Treble Treble…

     

    Glasgow’s green and white…

  3. Happy New Year to all of you and remembering all those we lost from the blog and from the planet.

  4. Delaneys Dunky on

    Hoped you saw posts and trapped in the Dumbarton Harp Celtic Social Club on Friday.

     

    Aye Eddie, I miss you pal.

     

    YNWA

  5. Happy new year fae a bucketting doon Halton Hills. It’s like a hauf day Wednesday in Helensburgh lol.

  6. Right CQN just back from the Karaoke in my local, and if I must say so I rocked the feckin house with a few tunes, like Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker…. Boom…Rock me mama, like a south bound train…

     

     

    Anyway A Big Happy Hoopy New Year to all you dear people?????????.. This place is like a family as is the good ship Celtica…⚽️⚽️??????????

     

     

    To the Australian bhoys and all overseas supporters keep Spreading the good name of The Famous Glasgow Celtic….. You are all an Inspiration ?????

     

     

    Hail Hail

     

     

    D. :)

  7. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    DAVID66 on 1ST JANUARY 2019 1:47 AM

     

     

    Darius Rucker Good `ol Boy.

     

    And African American :-)

     

     

    Magic song.

     

    If you can do it proud , you must be a bit of a chanter.

  8. Macjay1 I tried, let’s be honest they were all pashed…. But they seemed to like the upbeat tune.

     

    That and Another was, Fat Bottemed Girls… ?

     

     

    D. :)

  9. Oh and a couple a wee Bruce Springstein numbers .. Born to Run. And the River

     

     

    ??? killed them all

     

     

    D. :)

  10. HNY – Happy New Year to all Tims on Celtic Quick News………..

     

     

    Here’s what I think…………

     

     

    The CQN posters called for example SparkleBhoyBoy must in fact be a boy / bhoy.

     

    Why because thuv said so. ( when it turns oooot thur a fifty year auld sleekit bigot , who’d be surprised?

     

     

    GlitterGhirl / Girl…………….. must deffo be a Lady / Lassie/ Ghirl / Girl…Aye?

     

     

    Jock Stein Upper Stand Bhoy, must be a Tim, Bhoy regardless of what “he” says….repeatedly. Just must be…..

     

     

    Oh aye, eh.

     

     

    HH

  11. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    DAVID66 on 1ST JANUARY 2019 2:30 AM

     

     

    They all joined in , mate.

     

    THAT`S what you want.

     

     

    A come all ye.

     

    Keltic genes or whit .

  12. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    BANKIEBHOY1 on 1ST JANUARY 2019 2:29 AM

     

     

    Do I detect a note of scepticism ?

  13. Just home from a New Year party so all the best to all CQNers Posters and Lurkers and here’s to a successful Treble Treble 2019.

     

     

    HH

  14. Happy new year

     

    To the big cqn family

     

    And the bigger Celtic family

     

    Salt of the earth

     

    HH

  15. A Guid New Year to One n’ Aw on CQN and All Celtic Minded Lhads and Lhassies. Stay Well, Everyone.

  16. Morning all.

     

    I wish you all a happy and healthy 2019.

     

    Happy New Year.

     

    Hail Hail

  17. I see Samir Nasri has signed for West Ham after his doping ban has ended. What about signing more or less, getting him drug tested and thrown out of football for good. There are worse ways of spending our considerable wealth.

  18. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    Glad to see the back of 2018 on a personal view

     

    ( many thanks for the messages prayers and thoughts over the last few weeks, my dad and family really appreciate all the kind wishes)

     

    Special thanks to those who attended the rosary/ funeral of my beloved mother Esther

     

     

     

    I wish all on CQN a prosperous and happy new year

     

    KTF, god bless

  19. Good morning all and HOOPY New Year to yiz. Still haven’t gone to bed here yet. Enjoying a few Jameson’s with my youngest son who lives in TO.

     

     

    Heavy rain dampened spirits here but still enjoyed the festivities and fireworks at the City Hall.

     

     

    Head back across the pond tomorrow evening.

     

     

    New Year’s resolution, Paul67?

     

     

    Get the bhlog back to ease of posting. Took me 15 minutes and multiple attempts to post this……… on Adblockerplus

     

     

    Head back

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