State of the Club Report, December 2021


My friends in Celtic, 2021 is the year Celtic lost its first domestic trophy since 2016, for the first time in over a decade, the trophy cabinet was bare.  We lost our manager in February, spent three months failing to land his chosen alternative, lost two chief executives, the captain retired and at the turn of the year we are six points behind in the league table.

So why are you all feeling so positive about things?  If was not obvious at the time, but Celtic have been on the slide since at least September 2017.  That month, we won our first European group game in 17, a 0-3 victory away to Anderlecht.  They were the only points collected in that campaign, as the Belgian side won the return leg in Glasgow and PSG scored 12 over two games.

Remarkably, the club won another three trebles, but by early in the following season the trajectory was clear, as was Brendan Rodgers’ commitment to the club.  Season 2020-21 was an unmitigated failure for Celtic, with the possible exception of the previous season’s Scottish Cup semi-final and final, played six months after they were first scheduled.

When Eddie Howe eventually got off the pot in May, Celtic moved swiftly onto Ange Postecoglou.  Like Ronny Deila before him, Ange was on the periphery of City Football Group, the investment company behind Manchester City.  Celtic’s links with City remain active and Ange came strongly recommended.  Those close to Celtic who knew him, thought he was a better manager and better prospect for Celtic than Howe.

Ange was appointed on 10 June and then had to go through a period of isolation in a hotel room before being able to travel to Scotland and meet club representatives in person for the first time.  Before he met the players, he was appraised that our top striker and top defender were both in the last season of their contracts and were not going to sign a renewal.

He had to rebuild a squad with scouts inhibited from travelling for the previous 15 months, while trying to qualify for European competitions and keeping want-away players interested.

Champions League qualification was never going to happen but the failure against Midtjylland highlighted how far Celtic had dropped.  The first three away games in the league were lost: at Tynecastle, Ibrox and at the Plastic Pasta, it was a gloomy start to the new era.  Newco were short odds to retain the league title, their only drawback was a remarkable 1-2 home defeat to Malmo, who came out for the second half losing 1-0 and down to 10 men.  The consequences of that second half will be felt for years.

Little did we know, but the best thing was to get rid of Odsonne Edouard and allow our new Japanese signing, Kyogo Furuhashi, to play through the middle.  With Kyogo as our focus, Celtic were transformed.

Domestic form has largely been excellent since those early away defeats.  We are back to our trophy winning ways, taking the League Cup in a thrilling final against Hibs, but the gap at the top of the table has not moved in our favour.  Newco continue to win most games, leaving Celtic to reflect on the cost of dropping points to Livingston, Dundee United and St Miren.

In any previous season, a six point gap at the top of the table would lead to insurrection, but there is a clear understanding of the direction of travel; Celtic are in recovery mode.  That does not mean we are going to win the league.  You can double your money in six months if you think we will be champions in May.

Newco remain in the driving seat, seem to be immune to isolating illness and domestic red cards and coped well with their managerial transition.  They will travel to Celtic Park after the break knowing they will leave top of the table whatever the result, they are in a great position.

Last season was all about history, this season is all about the future.  The Premiership winners will almost certainly automatically qualify for the Champions League group stage.  If Newco get there, the money will provide them with a temporary bandage and may allow them to make an operational profit for the first time in their history.  Failure would precipitate inevitable decline.

I worry the six point gap is too wide, that while we have delivered a high number of wins in recent months, we were vulnerable to Hibs and even made uncomfortable for a brief while against a truly awful St Johnstone.

The anticipated three new arrivals from Japan cannot have the impact of Kyogo.  I see a lot of faith riding on these players, football often disappoints such belief.  Whatever voodoo Newco have over the red cards domestic referees hold and Test and Trace procedures will doubtlessly continue.

In short, it will take a miraculous performance for the remainder of the season from Ange Postecoglou and new chief executive, Michael Nicholson, to delivery the title.  But this is Celtic, where miracles do happen, so strap in and enjoy the rest of the season.

Very best wishes to you all for 2022, continue to stay safe.

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  1. Lots of reasons to remain optimistic. We may or may not win the league but with Ange at the helm we will have a right good go at it playing football the way it is meant to be played. Hopefully the next few years see Celtic take the opportunity to modernise from top to bottom. The early signs are encouraging.

  2. Pingback: State of the Club Report, December 2021 | Celtic FC News Now

  3. THE EXILED TIM on 31ST DECEMBER 2021 3:27 PM


    ” Stolen from Twitter……”Land of the Crying Hun” ”



    Love it!! :)))))) Happy New Year ET, and good health to your better half in 2022! por cierto

  4. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    “Celtic have been on the slide since at least September 2017”




    Revisionism strikes again! Wasn’t everything going fantastically until autumn 2020 when we were hit by bad luck?

  5. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Just wondering, Paul – any insight on why the club didn’t sack Brendan Rodgers in 2017 or 2018 when he was so obviously doing such a terrible job?

  6. 4 trebles doesnt mean everything was going wrong , some people got lazy and complacent, important people, club and team leaders, 6 points can be overturned we need to beat them next time, 1.0 will do, get the heat on them, see how they react to pressure, we have by far the hardest schedule of away games in the next sequence a freak of the computer, but no violins, get it done, Big Ange wont be taking a backward step stand with him, for him and against all threats, the league can be won, no doubts in my mind at all.



    Happy New Year CQN when it arrives.

  7. Very decent summary about where we are Paul67 and as today shows, lots to be hopeful for going into 2022 but with an acceptance that we are also looking for the arses to collapse at der hun as well as us hitting the ground running in a flawless manner. Big ask imho.



    Happy new year to one and all on CQN….



    Never dull and always rewarding being a Celt.




  8. Paul 67



    There are enough points available to bring the second half of the season down to head to head with the 150 year olds.



    We also have better players as ever, a lot will depend on how many more dodgy SFA points they get gift wrapped and their journey in year two without a red card.



    It’s not a level playing field despite Celtic’s unmentionable comparative wealth.

  9. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    Ange and Nicholson carrying huge responsibility to repair the damage done by those in leadership who oversaw that decline. They’re doing a tremendous job. Hopefully 2022 will deliver a minor miracle.

  10. From end of last blog:







    Welcome to our three new Japanese Bhoys and May the be as good as and become as popular as Kyogo and Shunsuke before them.




    Let’s hope the Huns can say Sayonara to their title hopes.




    Having run out of Japanese film titles (Banzai was nicked earlier 🤣), I’d like to wish Paul and his family and each and every CQNer, wherever you may reside, a very Happy and healthy 2022. Happy New Year everyone!

  11. It’s new year somewhere. Good read before the start the celebrations.



    Have a great and safe time when it arrives wherever you are Paul67 et All @ CQN🕛🍀

  12. I’m not sure if this is some form of expectation management today but with two of the remaining three derbies at Celtic Park, we’ve every reason to believe we can deliver that league title.

  13. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Enjoyable read Pablo.



    A few other variables worth mentioning?



    1. Keeping the squad fit is vital



    2. If we are planning to push any transfer buttons this summer (e.g. out of contract player) might be worth rolling the dice and getting them now. Just one could make the difference.



    3. The extent to which Sevco’s financials drive player sales next month.



    IMHO, we are second favourites.



    Not rank outsiders – it can be done but will be tough.



    Ange remarkably got virtually a brand new squad up in running in no time at all.



    I’m fairly confident he can integrate 3-4 he already knows or are his type.



    But our current last 14 league games form of 11-3-0 (largely with a depleted squad) needs to translate to probably 13-1-0 in next 14.



    If we can do that (or close) and carry momentum into post split?



    We can win the league.



    All aboard !!!!!!!

  14. It’s all well and good having a manager who wants his team simply to score more goals than the opposition, but first and foremost the players must buy into that mantra. I’d think it’s obvious to most of us that last seasons team could not have pulled it off. Also, I think quite a few of them would have seen it as too much of an effort.


    NOW, I can’t think of any of our players who aren’t willing to run through a brick wall to get a victory, and our new recruits seem to be on the same wavelength. Even if we don’t win the league, things are definitely getting better. I’d bet everyone who posts on here can’t wait to see our new team in the coming months

  15. Roberttressell from last thread.



    I always enjoy your posts, but as a Marxist I have to point out that it was Chico who said, “There ain’t no Sanity Clause!”

  16. Jocks Immortal Lions on

    Welcome to our three new Japanese Bhoys, if you make even half the impact of Kyogo I will be happy. Remember YNWA.



    Very good summary Paul, for what it’s worth I still think we can win this league.



    A very happy & healthy new year to our host and all who post on here. Lang may yir lum reek.!



    HH JIL ☘️☘️☘️

  17. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    Way too pessimistic on our chances of winning the league. They play Aberdeen away in their first game back.



    Much will depend on getting the gap back to at most 3 come early February, but it’s very doable. We could even be top on GD by then.



    Wishing all health, wealth and happiness in 2022.

  18. Celtics biggest obstacle to winning the league in the New Year are


    the men in black who already this season have shown their colours


    on multiple occasions by awarding Sevco numerous penalties when


    needed plus several dubious red cards to the opposition when the huns


    are having difficulties.



    We can try to overcoming this by outscoring everyone but we need a


    ruthless streak very soon as although we dominate most games we


    are not converting enough of the chances created and several games


    the last 10 minutes have been a sweat due to only leading by a single goal


    when we should be 3 or 4 goals to the good



    Best of luck to the new guys and I am sure Ange has identified them as able


    to fit in his system

  19. Paul doing his best to throw cold water on our ( 3 new signings!) good mood,



    I’m not optimistic by nature but feel that we will win the league this season because we will have a much stronger squad than Newco, who may lose players in January but unlikely to sign any,



    even if they don’t lose any players our squad will still be much stronger than theirs,



    the biggest danger to us is hamstrings, we cant keep losing players to torn hamstrings indefinitely, if that were to happen all bets are off



    Happy New Year🍀🍀🍀🍀

  20. Blogger GM



    They will play Aberdeen with out their main man Aribo. A day after we play Hibs. Pressure all on them if we win.



    Focus then on tynecastle which for me will be a truly massive match for us.



    A win there and they are at the improving dingwall without Aribo again while we play Dundee U at home.



    It is not impossible for us to be within 2 points by the end of January.



    They won’t like the heat IMO



    I would be happy to delay the games with them until their Euro bubble was well burst by dortmund. Similar to 2008 when we had them twice at CP in 2 months in league games.

  21. Bada Bing………nice to see you have a sense of humour badly needed in these strange times and who better than Billy Connolly to cheer us up.


    Glad you got a laugh regarding my bit about the Celtic ham string quintet in yesterday’s blog.

  22. The Referees have been blatant, mair blatant this Season, and that suggests there is another extinction event happening again in the South Side of Glasgow.



    Sevco2 Celtic 6



    Put them right under pressure Celtic. No Mercy.

  23. We are very unlikely to win the league this season .



    The Darnel have a better squad and are better defensively.They will not sell anyone of significance this window.



    We need to win every league match .


    That won’t happen .



    We MUST qualify through the qualifying groups to the CL .



    That will allow us to challenge The Darnel in the coming years .

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