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State of the Club Report, end of 2019

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My friends in Celtic, 10 trophies in a row has been achieved, a level of dominance over Scottish football not known, even under Jock Stein.  With the League Cup secured, we have won 17 out of 20 league games, topped our Europa League group for the first time, but all of this will count for little if the league title is not won come May.

By any objective measure, Celtic have improved this season.  Had we started this season as we started last, the league title would already be beyond our reach.  However, marked improvement is not enough.  Newco have made even more significant gains.  They have won 16 of their 19 league games, came second in their Europa League group and reached their second major final.   A win in their game in hand would put them to of the table by one point.

December started with a comfortable 1-4 win at Ross County, but in the eight games since then we failed to score more than two goals.  A late rescue against Hamilton Accies painted over some cracks but the edifice came crashing down as Newco deservedly won 1-2 on Sunday.

We played terribly, lost the tactical battle, missed a penalty and invited crisis into our world.  It is likely to be several months before we get a chance to feel better about our league title chances.

Those objective measures of improvement are of no comfort, it is vastly more important how we are measure against domestic rivals than how we performed in previous seasons.  The objective State of the Club is impressive.  The trophy cabinet is full, most games are a sell-out, and finances are sustainable, despite no Champions League income.  We recruited well in the summer and continue to transform young players with potential into valued talent.

We are seeded and favourites to win our Europa League last 32 game, and based on our group stage, there is every reason to hope for a run deep into that competition.  Our perspective would look altogether different if only Newco were their usual shambolic selves.  But they are not.  They are a good team with a good manager who have many of us worried.

Celtic have been getting things strategically right for a long time.  The level of dominance we have, together with our financial strength, does not happen by accident.  We are a well-run club that has absolutely no intentions of letting this league title slip.

Newco are at their best.  They recruited well and have not endured the injury record we have this campaign.  They are financially below the water line and will find it difficult to recruit in order to improve their team next month.

Celtic, despite their high points total, have not been at their best.  They can and will spend.  Several areas of the team will improve.  The team that visits Ibrox on 15 March will be ready for the challenge.

Had we won on Sunday, the league title would be considered a given.  Much of our chat in the weeks ahead would be about the Scottish Cup and a fourth consecutive treble.  Instead, we need to quickly up our game.  Situations like this are why we run our business on a sustainable model, with flexibility available when required.

You could make the point that winning everything all of the time is not good for the long-term development of a football team.  Without a viable challenge, aspirations are not set as high as they otherwise would be.

It was different when we faced Oldco for the title.  Like now, they were forever spending more than they could afford or raise, but their budgets were similar to ours, which meant we had to walk a line between financial viability and being competitive.  If having little or no competition is not healthy, the scenario we faced with Oldco was a lot worse.

Celtic are now planning to form a team capable of winning pretty much every domestic game between now and the end of the season.  That is the bar required.  It will be difficult and there are no guarantees we will win the league, no matter how much money is spent.

The one thing you know about Celtic is that they know how to win trophies; in fact, they have forgotten how to lose them.  Enjoy the remainder of this season, it will hopefully deliver a cherished and historic title.

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  1. I’m surprised that so many are surprised by the way they celebrated on Sunday. The mocking and taunting they have had to put up with since they rose from the dead has been a joy to behold. The banter years will never be forgotten (we won’t allow it)…and during those years their despair and anger has grown to levels previously unknown. The recent ‘in your face orangeism’ is a consequence of this frustrating period. They have the momentum now and only we can challenge them. So, let’s regroup, get refreshed, get new faces in and get ready to go again. None of us want the banter years to end.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Anyway, happy new year to all Tims wherever you are…

  2. Watched Derby v Charlton . Saw how to take a penalty. Charlton sub Taylor walked up to the ball waited until keeper dived and slotted ball in other corner. Worth a wstch in Youtube. Commentator said before Taylor took it to watch for this man’ s techique!

     

    Happy New Yesr to all at CQN

  3. Regards recruitment in January. Some attributes I hope we’re scouting for are experience, dig and physicality. In comparison to Sevco these were missing from most of our team on Sunday.

     

     

     

    The blend of our team was too lightweight. Broony shouldered nearly all of that responsibility (physically competing for the ball) on his own at times.

     

     

     

    We don’t need to spend fortunes. Just get players in who are willing to graft and do some of the dirty stuff. Other than Broony we’re lacking in that department at the moment imo.

     

     

     

    As others have mentioned, Elhamed and Elyounoussi were missed, both fairly big imposing players. We need more of these types in for the second half of the season.

     

     

     

    I still trust Lenny to sort things out. He’s done it before and he’ll do it again.

     

     

     

    HH

  4. The way they celebrated Kent’s goal,full time celebrations and Morelos actions when sent off won’t be missed by anyone at CP.

     

     

     

    Crass, classless and inflammatory behaviour from their players and coaches at various times on Sunday ( imagine if we beat them) . Not completely unexpected but it was low even for them.

     

     

     

    I expect to see a supercharged, fully motivated Celtic team on their return from Dubai.

     

     

     

    KTF and HH

  5. Norriem

     

     

    Agree with a lot of your post on last blog about recruitment,except for the part about Elhammady being injury prone.Really? We all saw how this injury happened,no fault of the players but a nasty injury,overstretching.

     

    Seems to be a theme that anyone unlucky enough to get injured more than once fall into this category.

     

    Except of course for KT.Wonder what Arsenal fans are saying about him.

  6. *** CQN PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2019-20 ***

     

    RESULTS FROM GAME #27 – CELTIC 1 SEVCO 2 (McGREGOR)

     

     

    Since I stared this wee survey thing, Sevco have become the first opponent to have featured 3 times. The aggregate score is currently 4-2. And, yes indeed, I AM trying to present a glass half full slant on things! So, we finish a very demanding December with a domestic record of played 8, won 7, lost 1, scoring 16 and conceding 6. We are top of the league by 2 points. The title is in our own hands. Unfortunately, one other team can claim the same thing. Personally, I think the 3 week break has come at a very good time.

     

    After a defeat it can be difficult to motivate yourself to vote. But I am delighted that 39 of you still decided to do so. Within that, 4 folk decided that there was only 1 or 2 players who actually merited a vote! Another notable feature from this sound of voting was the fact that 4 of our outfield staring line up failed to receive a single vote.

     

    Anyway, the votes for the 14 players who featured on Sunday are as follows (with my own selections asterisked) –

     

    Forster: 2

     

    Frimpong*: 17

     

    Jullien: 21

     

    Ajer: 7

     

    Bolingoli: 0

     

    Brown*: 32

     

    McGregor*: 25

     

    Forrest: 0

     

    Christie: 0

     

    Johnston: 0

     

    Edouard: 6

     

    Ntcham: 1

     

    Bitton: 0

     

    Griffiths: 0

     

    Unused subs – Gordon, Bauer, Hayes, Rogic

     

     

    Therefore, the players receiving points for the Sevco game are –

     

    Brown – 5 points

     

    McGregor – 4 points

     

    Jullien – 3 points

     

    Frimpong – 2 points

     

    Ajer – 1 point

     

     

    That leaves the overall table reading as follows –

     

    Brown – 60 points

     

    Edouard – 40 points

     

    Christie – 38 points

     

    Jullien – 36 points

     

    Frimpong – 34 points

     

    McGregor – 33 points

     

    Forrest – 28 points

     

    Elyounoussi – 22 points

     

    Ajer – 22 points

     

    Forster – 20 points

     

    Ntcham – 20 points

     

    Bolingoli-Mbombo – 13 points

     

    Bauer – 11 points

     

    Hayes – 8 points

     

    Elhamed – 8 points

     

    Taylor – 5 points

     

    Griffiths – 4 points

     

    Bitton – 4 points

     

    Bayo – 3 points

     

    Johnston – 3 points

     

    Robertson – 2 points

     

    Morgan – 2 points

     

    Rogic – 1 point

     

     

    ***PLAYER OF THE MONTH – DECEMBER***

     

    The Player Of The Month award is based purely on the total votes given to each player during that month’s games. As a reminder, in September the award was won by JAMES FORREST with Jullien and Christie coming 2nd and 3rd. In October the winner was SCOTT BROWN with Edouard and Elyounoussi being close behind. In November, SCOTT BROWN won again, with Frimpong and Elyounoussi 2nd and 3rd. December featured 9 games. In 3rd place we have a tie on 136 votes between Christopher Jullien and Calum McGregor. The runner up with 138 votes is Kristoffer Ajer. And this month’s runaway winner on 174 votes, completing a treble of monthly successes is SCOTT BROWN.

     

     

    We now have our winter break. The competition will resume for our Scottish Cup tie away to Partick Thistle on Saturday 18 January. For now, have an absolutely fantastic Hogmanay and New Year and let’s look forward to dominating the decade to come!

     

    Hail Hail!

  7. Jimmynotpaul @ 7:22 am

     

     

     

    If that is the video on which they are basing their allegations then we have little to fear.

     

     

    The reason for my own hesitance on the matter was the Tweet I saw from Angela Haggerty who seemed convinced there was some merit in the Sevco claims. If they are just referring to Hun and Orange, they will get short shrift.

     

     

    I still have doubts that they would have made this claim without any clear evidence of a racial epithet. I think our club should be actively asking for the evidence to be forwarded to them. If it’s a bluff, we need to call it. If there is any truth in it, we have to act and identify the fan who did it.

     

     

    I notice the ambivalent words being used here. Sevco fans say the “slur” came from a group of Celtic fans, a clear implication that more than one was involved, but a mealy-mouthed enough phrase so that they can say, the individual, making the “slur” was within a group of fans

  8. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    Good article. Throwing money at the team will do no good if our manager is unable to outthink Gerrard. As things stand Gerrard believes he has Lenny’s number. On the evidence of the 5 derby games to date he is right in that belief.

     

     

    If it purely boiled down to money I wouldn’t be the worried man I am.

     

     

    The players have done us proud this season, except for the past two derbies where there was a discernible lack of courage. Some looked afraid of the hun on Sunday. Now us not the time for faint hearts.

     

     

    Boli has to go. He wasn’t he reason we lost on Sunday, but he certainly didn’t help. The huns sent a message by targeting him from the very kick off. They know he’s a poor football player and so do we. Do something about it Celtic.

  9. I’m amazed at the number of votes jullien has amassed over this period, I must be watching a different player to the big Jessie drama queen I thought I was watching, need to go to specsavers I think.

  10. Since when did one defeat leave so many doubting we will win this league.We knew the scum would throw everything at this season,aided by the SMSM,they are full of themselves.We cannot stop them improving ,even though they are spending millions they don’t have,we cannot stop the rest of the league getting weaker due to a number of reasons.We have got stronger,the points tally does not lie.Apart from the media hysteria about Sunday,we had more possession,more attempts at goal,equal on target,more corners two off the line,and missed penalty.Forster had nothing to do apart from their goals.Yes we were poor,so how come they have become a team to fear all of a sudden.Lets see what the window brings.We win this one,and it’s just how many.

  11. Lenny has to decide which of his players are really up for the fight in every game.On Sunday,Mikey,Just why Lenny thinks he is better than Taylor,God knows Jamesy were atrocious.Now I can put up with that,bad games ,but not lack of fight.They did absolutely nothing to alter the game.No use having players who have as many bad days as good.I like both players,but they are not the bravest I have ever watched.Boli,is just a poor LB.Lots of effort and running around but not much to show for it.

  12. Have to disagree Ron.

     

    Julien dealt with their main threat pretty well on Sunday, was also unlucky not to score and looked dangerous from our crosses. Second to Broony for our MOM on imo.

     

     

    HH

  13. Ron you have been havin a go at Jullien every week since he signed for the club despite him having a good season for us so far

     

     

    I agreed with u from day one about Boli not being up to it, but i dont know why u persist in slagging off Jullien when he has shown on numerous occcasions he’s a good player?

  14. Paul67 et al

     

     

    So, “Celtic are now planning to form a team capable of winning pretty much every domestic game between now and the end of the season…..”

     

    Not sure any coaching manual tells you how to do that Paul.

     

    Or we could adopt the mantra followed only by Jurgen Klupp, me and Lena Martell……

     

    One day and one game at a time

     

    Sweet Jesus

  15. Hi Paul67,

     

     

    A well laid out and argued address as usual.

     

     

    “….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.

     

     

    This is how you signed off last years State of The Club Report.

     

     

    It turns out we weren’t “bottom of the curve”, we had a ways to fall, we look far from being a Champions League side now and have gone from being imperious domesically to playing second fiddle to an eight year old club.

     

     

    Let’s face it, there was no Empire was there.!?

     

     

    Great to compare any Celtic side to the great Jock Stein’s but let’s face it, Jock’s team was the best in Britain and one of the best in the world. Lenny’s isn’t even the best in Scotland at the moment, when Scottish football is at a historic low.

     

     

    “You could make the point that winning everything all of the time is not good for the long-term development of a football team.  Without a viable challenge, aspirations are not set as high as they otherwise would be.

     

     

    It was different when we faced Oldco for the title.  Like now, they were forever spending more than they could afford or raise, but their budgets were similar to ours, which meant we had to walk a line between financial viability and being competitive.  If having little or no competition is not healthy, the scenario we faced with Oldco was a lot worse.

     

     

    Of course we didn’t win everything did we?

     

     

    European wise we were way short, investment in the team in June 2018 was called for and that was what was needed. It didn’t happen. The opposite happened, we had a 120M pound squad then, we have a 60M pound squad now.

     

     

    We could have had a team to be proud off, one of Celtic’s truly great sides.

     

     

    Dembele and Eddy up front 2018/2019 Season would have been a joy, a true mark of ambition.

     

     

    Still, we decided domestic competition was the way to go and if they can’t raise the bar to meet our challenge then downsizing to meet them was needed.

     

     

    The thing is, our trajectory is still downwards, spending now could be too little too late. Even if we get quality in, will they bed in quickly? Will they bed in at all?

     

     

    Their trajectory is upwards…

     

     

    The truth is the last time we had domestic competition was Walter Smith’s Rangers we were second best.

     

     

    Since then domestically we have been “shooting fish in a barrell” and then still missing…

     

     

    The fact we are even talking about loosing our 9iar title is farcical. IMO of course.

     

     

    Hail Hail

  16. Now imagine if Pedro and Co. had kept the boot on the neck, the tank on the marble staircase and fired a sot straight through lodge Ibrox towards UEFA with Res 12 enclosed.

     

     

    WELL RUN CLUB BUT WITH NO INTEREST IN PROTECTING THEIR SHAREHOLDERS FOR A WEE BIT OF OLD FIRM LOLLY.

     

     

    MWD

  17. BhoyLo83

     

    Indeed you are correct , I have been critical of both jullien and boli boli from the start of the season and this was based on my observations , and I was told to hang fire until both players settled in and played several games, we are now at half way and don’t see much or any improvement , others see it differently and if I’m wrong I will come back on and admit and apologise for my comments , but up until now I still believe my initial thoughts on both players are justified.

  18. MWD

     

    Great to see you back posting these past 2 days 👍

     

    Hope all is well

     

     

    Paul67

     

    See that effective business model, does it include signing numerous, and I mean numerous projects, therefore running with an excessive cost basis on the huge numbers,

     

    As opposed to a lower squad in numbers, but vastly improved quality

     

    For me time to re-evaluate this business model

     

    Brendan seen this as way ahead, PL didn’t, so we still have the old thinking business model – in my view

     

    I would be looking to try and remove much of the dead wood, and recruit better standard at higher cost, with a cost nuetral budget

     

    ( been saying this for about past 5 years though 🤔)

  19. On Sunday Scott Brown played like he knew his legacy was on the line

     

     

    Whether it’s too late now or not, in January Peter Lawwell has got to play like his is as well

  20. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ CHAIRBHOY on 31ST DECEMBER 2019 1:27 PM

     

     

    Great post.

     

     

    @ RON67 on 31ST DECEMBER 2019 1:33 PM

     

     

    Out of interest which Celtic CHs of the last 20 years would you place above Jullien? Bobo? VVD? It’s a small list in my head.

  21. So, we have improved in terms of points gained compared to the same time last year. We’ve lost one game to end a 13 game winning streak.

     

     

    But somehow we have problems all over the park according to some.

     

     

    Not me. I’ve been happy with the mix of tippy-taps stuff around the penalty area, long balls out from the back, balls played through midfield and even our keeper making save beyond expectations.

     

     

    Only thing missing is more of what Frimpong does from our designated wingers; getting to the bye line and setting up chances (even if we do miss them)

     

     

    If we do manage to offload some and bring in a couple of quality players, in any position, then great. If not, we have players who will get the job done.

     

     

    Some rotation of players required to prevent burn out.

     

     

    And time for Taylor, Shved, Rogic as well as some of the young guns to be given proper game time.

  22. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ SUPERSUTTON on 31ST DECEMBER 2019 2:02 PM

     

     

    Why do we have to offload players in order to bring players in? We have £40m in the bank.

     

     

    As for having the players to get the job done, I’m not sure about that. We are very reliant on certain individuals, Eddy particularly. If he were to get injured, I have zero faith in either Griff or Bayo providing adequate cover. Griff needs to go out on loan to save his career.

     

     

    As for burnout, it looks to me like that has already happened looking at some of the performance in December. I also don’t see much prospect of rotation because if we were going to rotate, Lenny would have done it already. He trusts a select few (including only three wingers) and I doubt he will deviate from his ways, unless we get new faces in.