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State of the Club Report, December 2020

434

My friends in Celtic, this is not a happy read.  Not since Tony Mowbray was in charge 11 years ago have we been under pressure like this at the end of the year; second favourites for the title by a significant margin.

A 12 game period saw us eliminated from the Europa League at the group stage with only one win and one draw to our credit, our first defeat in the League Cup in almost five years and a number of grim performances in the league that sees us 16 points adrift with three games in hand.

Unaccustomed as we are to defeat, the shock drew protests against the manager and board and worse for players leaving Celtic Park after the Ross County defeat.  Neil Lennon looked beleaguered as the board came under pressure to sack him but that campaign was itself undermined by an unexpected win against Lille, helped in no small way by the arrival of David Turnbull and Ismaila Soro in the starting line-up.

Crisis on the park added to pressures off it as the club had to cope without fans at Celtic Park since March.  Whatever sporting advantage was lost due to this is nothing to the commercial consequences, that will see the club plunge into debt.  Chasing their own Holy Grail, Celtic declined to sell their most saleable assets and pressed ahead with purchases in the summer.  It was a gambler’s play we have not often seen from Celtic.

Champions League income was a potential salvation that Ferencvaros extinguished in a pitiful manner.  Early season league form gave an indication of what was to come, then the music stopped with the visit of Newco.  Celtic did not record an attempt on target and were relieved of the points by a superior opponent.

2020 was the year Celtic won 9-in-a-row for the second time.  They started the year smarting from a home defeat to Newco but form after the break was imperious, while Newco did not have the legs for the race, or as their manager put it, did not have the “bottle”.  The Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen was held over until November, the final, 11 days ago against Hearts, will live long in the memory.

It was a classic Celtic performance this season.  Two goals ahead at halftime, Hearts bossed the second period and took the game to extra time.  Again we took the lead, again Hearts levelled, but as Tommy Burns once said, “there is something about this club”.  The Scottish Cup was won for the fourth consecutive time, a new record, also securing the fourth consecutive treble and Celtic’s seventh overall.  We celebrated history in our homes.

That defeat to Ross County means another club will lift a trophy in 2021, the first apart from Celtic since 2016.  More importantly, the record we have tracked for nine years is in trouble.  Celtic’s form has improved significantly since that win over Lille, we are now back to playing the way we were early this year, but the gap at the top of the table is significant and we are up against an opponent that has lost only one game in all competitions this season.

You and I have seen Celtic come back from more difficult positions than this against original Rangers in 2007-8 and form at the corresponding stage of season 1978-9 gave no indication of how that title would be decided.  But having read the story of each of our 51 league title wins, I don’t think any would match a league win in 2021 – and I include 1998 and 1966.

We are only here because we know there is something special about this club, so ‘hope in our hearts’ is not easy to extinguish, but we will find out more about our chances on Saturday.

I hope you each have a safe New Year and a healthy 2021.  Take care, Paul67.

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  1. I did not say Biton should play,only that Lenny has problems.How he sorts them ,I will go with,because I have no clue.To those who have taken a bit of umbrage about Jeremy.I love the guy,he can be a Superstar,but to try and brush over his great weakness,is shoving your head in the sand.He is far too good to have 5 assists in 26 games.Look at the top players,not even wingers picking out the pass.Sometimes not possible,we know,due to marking,but so many times he takes the wrong option.I hope we are drumming this into him at training.

     

    If we play him at Ibrox,and give him his head,he could cause havoc .Again ,down to Lennys selection.

     

    We do have a problem.

  2. NEIL LENNON And MCCARTNEY

     

     

    “Wee Jeremy still frustrates the hell out of me. If he had the nous to finish off all his brilliant turbo charged, build up play, he would be right up there. Instead he has me screaming at him, far too often.”

     

     

     

     

     

     

    My dear old dad used to the say exactly that about Jinky!

     

     

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

     

     

    I too used to say that regularly about Jinky ( and,trust me, I was not alone at the time!)

     

    Could we be related?

     

    Hail! Hail!

  3. Bitons slight push would be laughed of in the EPL.Same as the “Alleged”penal.ty claims.Arms down by your side.On what planet.

  4. glendalystonsils on

    GLENDALYSTONSILS on 31ST DECEMBER 2020 2:52 PM

     

    NEIL LENNON & MCCARTNEY on 31ST DECEMBER 2020 11:16 AM

     

     

     

     

     

     

    From this morning

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Got what you meant . My response was tongue in cheek , hence the -))

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I’m fortunate enough to have watched Jinky in the flesh many times (I’m an old git) and can confirm

     

     

     

     

    that your Dad was quite correct , Jinky got plenty of moans despite his brilliance!

  5. Neil Lennon after Brown HIbs push.

     

     

    “You don’t expect it from Scott. I don’t know what he’s thinking of. The ball is going nowhere and he’s got no chance of winning the ball. He was actually playing quite well up until then,”

  6. Bitton penalty shout was indeed soft. Fact of the matter is we should be able to rely on experienced players that know what we face here to not give the ref the chance to make the call.

  7. Brown at Easter Road Ntcham at Aberdeen,Jullien at Kilmarnock, yesterday could easily have been a penalty unnecessary and stupid, please no Bitton in the back 4 he goes to sleep and way too casual, I also didnt like his reaction to getting away with that yesterday, he will do it again as he didnt think he did anything wrong.

  8. I think we have a chance to win on Saturday but our achilles is a lack of pace at the centre of the defence, very lacking, I dont know how we solve this other than sitting deep but that creates other issues, from what we have available player wise it could be Duffy and Welsh, Ayer right back and Taylor or Laxalt at left back, please no half fit players and midfielders out of position.

  9. I know this’ll sound negative but I’ve not seen or can think of one defensive combination that will make me rest easy before Sevco.

     

     

    We need to get the midfield selection right and protect the defence as much as possible. Midfield is usually where they have dominated. That needs to change.

  10. We are a poorer team at the end of 2020 than we were at the start.

     

     

    We need to quickly understand why and take corrective action.

     

     

    We should be thinking about the next 3 seasons.

     

     

    2nd Jan really could be pivotal.

  11. BB

     

    I heard that we turned him down as we had enough cf.

     

     

    Players getting it today no football brain etc but the same guy and ElHamid in a back three controlled the game against Scotland.

     

     

    If we had a midfield that could defend i think we would be just fine and that includes the gk.

  12. Chill Bhoys, it’s written in the stars that we will beat sevco on Saturday.

     

     

    I have seen it in a vision.👍

     

     

    3-1 To the Leather Belts.

     

     

    D :)

  13. glendalystonsils on

    GEEBEE1978 on 31ST DECEMBER 2020 3:33 PM

     

     

    Midfield is usually where they have dominated. That needs to change.

     

    ———————————————————————————————————-

     

    Turnbull will give them plenty to think about and Soro won’t give them a minute’s peace . They have completely transformed our midfield since we last played Sevco .

     

     

    As they are about to find out .

  14. The Battered Bunnet on

    Bhoys, Ghirls, I wish you all a safe and healthy new year.

     

     

    New cases of Covid-19 are accelerating at a rate we have not seen before. In Scotland, we’ve gone from 900 cases per day little more than a week ago to 2907 people testing positive on Tuesday. The secondary infections caused by Christmas socialising with family and friends has yet to have any impact on these figures.

     

     

    The same pattern is repeating in Ireland.

     

     

    Down south, esp London area, things are worse again. I described the outlook there a couple of days ago as somewhere between March in Bergamo and winter in Hell. Scotland and Ireland are at the gates.

     

     

    Short term, the number of new cases will continue to rise in the coming days, while the availability of critical beds in the NHS will continue to fall. You do not want to find yourself or a loved one in need of hospital care in the coming days and weeks.

     

     

    Back to my warm wishes for the coming year. The new year will happen without further action, but you need to take some responsibility for the safe and healthy bit.

     

     

    Stay Safe. Please.

  15. Big Jimmy – Good to see you on.

     

     

    I forgot my mates nephew is a mechanic and he ran diagnostic on it and the fault is now cleared but my battery is fecked as well.

     

     

    It will be fixed next week once my own mechanic gets me a cheaper battery. £340 for a new one feck that.

     

     

    I have another set of wheels to get about in anyway.

     

     

    Anyway big man I hope you are well.

     

     

    D :)

  16. TBB

     

     

    Same here in Ontario this will go on for a couple of weeks for sure then hopefully get some kind of control it’s up to us.

     

    We have to many Beaurocrats(SP) do as i say not as i do.

  17. RIP

     

    The Doc

     

     

    Met him once about 20yrs ago at a sportsman dinner at Stoke City ground. Lovely guy

  18. Turkeybhoy

     

     

    He has just turned 20 and still developing, if he had a great delivery he wouldn’t be at Celtic.

     

     

    I for one are so glad he is at Celtic, it’s a combination of Frimpong and Celtics job to turn this boy into a star, im excited to see this come to fruition.

  19. some picture, generational legends all in the one picture, how many medals collected (jinky missing due to injury)

     

     

    1969 treble winners after 4-0 pump the huns cup final 1923 to 1980

     

     

    Mister McGrory Debut: Third Lanark 1-0 Celtic, League, 20 Jan 1923

     

     

    “Shoulders like a young Clydesdale, neck like a prime Aberdeen Angus and a head the nightmare of every goalkeeper. He had the knack of connecting with his napper and directing the leather netwards with greater velocity and judgement than many a counterpart could accomplish with his feet.”

     

    (Bill Paterson, ex-Arsenal May 23 1953)

     

     

     

    Mister Fallon Debut: Clyde 2-2 Clyde, League, 15 April 1950

     

     

    Within a year of his debut he had helped the team win the Scottish Cup, beating Motherwell, 1-0. Fallon said later: “As I walked off Hampden Park I felt I had got everything out of life I had ever wanted. I had become a member of the famous Celtic F.C. and holder of a Scottish Cup badge all in one year.”

     

     

    Mr Lennox – Last game : Rangers Hampden 1-0 10 May 1980 Scottish Cup final

     

     

    ”But the Scotsman who gave me the most trouble was Bobby Lennox of Celtic. My testimonial at the Bernabeu was against Celtic as, of course, they were the champions of Europe in 1967 and, although I remember the Bernabeu rising to Jimmy Johnstone, I admired Lennox greatly.”

     

    Legendary Di Stefano on Lennox

     

     

     

    Four leaf cloverThe Retro CelticFour leaf clover

     

    @RetroCeltic

     

    Celtic FC (Treble Winner) 1969Four leaf clover

     

    11:40 PM · Dec 19, 2020·Twitter for iPad

     

     

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Epo0z5uXYAMQjhG?format=jpg&name=900×900

  20. itscalledthemalvinas on

    Not a dreary New Years Eve here in free Largs but Sean South and comrades,we salute you.

     

    The shots that put an Empire on the run !

  21. glendalystonsils on

    ADI_DASSLER NOT FOR 2ND BEST on 31ST DECEMBER 2020 4:52 PM

     

     

    If Turnbull and Soro had been introduced into the team a bit sooner. That reluctance may have cost us a few points .

  22. ST TAMS

     

     

    Now that’s a totally different debate altogether.

     

     

    I’m on record shouting for at the very minimum a highly regarded coach with a good track record sourced after the Ferencvaros game.

     

     

    The evidence suggests the answer to your question is No.

     

     

    Is Christie, McGregor, Julien, Edouard regressing or progressing?

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