State of the Club Report, Summer 2019


My friends in Celtic, here we go, for nine-in-a-row!  The consequences of what lies ahead are almost unbearable to contemplate.  Win, and we match the proud record of Jock Stein’s team from the 60s and 70s and equalled by Rangers in the 90s.  Lose, and until the end of time, Celtic fans will point to this season and wonder what went wrong.

In the mid-90s I attended a function with Billy McNeill and Tommy Burns the guest speakers.  Billy looked at Tommy, who was then manager, and implored him to stop Rangers taking the record he and his team-mates won.  It was an era with indignity piled on indignity.  We were able to endure many setbacks – SIX YEARS without a trophy, but it was the feeling that our historical record could be violated that concerned us most.

History matters, records matter and in Scotland, no record matters as much as this one.

If it was all about the desire and money, SPFL chief exec. Neil Doncaster would be as well bringing the trophy along with him tomorrow, but football does not work like that and we have an example from relatively recent history to give cause for concern.

Having watched Rangers win nine-in-a-row, Fergus McCann sacked Tommy Burns, but he had not reckoned on spending two months trying to recruit a replacement.  The players were back training two weeks before Wim Jansen, “the second worst thing to hit Japan” was unveiled.

Wim was a gift from God, but if he walked through Glasgow Airport on the morning of 3 July 1997 wearing a “New Celtic Manager” T-shirt, no one would have paid him any attention.

Rangers had every reason to expect the Holy Grail, 10-in-a-row, would be theirs, but in true David Murray style, they spent a fortune in an attempt to leave nothing to chance.  Amoruso, Gattuso, Vidmar, Johansson, Porrini, Thern and, of course, Marco Negri, arrived in a show of financial muscle Scotland had not previously witnessed.

We took a first half lead in our opening league game of the season against Hibs, then lost.  We held a halftime lead at home to Dunfermline in our next league game, but lost that one too.  What had Fergus done?  Meanwhile, inspired by Marco Negri, who was breaking scoring records, Rangers swept all before them.

It took a while, but Wim slowly steadied the ship, aided by a certain Swede and a large number of players recruited on the say of Jock Brown.  David Murray, Walter Smith and all the filthy lucre they could put their hands on, could not stop Celtic winning the most cherished title in Scottish football history.  Not only did we win the league after a decade, we preserved our name on the record books.

Why should we remember this today?  Apart from the fact that any excuse is a good excuse to recall that season, we need to know that we have no divine right to win the league this or any season.  Rangers spent lots of money, signed several excellent players, but things happened at Celtic which we had no right to expect.  In the summer of ’97 we lost Pierre van Hooijdonk, Jorge Cadete and Paolo Di Canio.  What happened made no sense, even today, I cannot explain how it happened, but Rangers would be stopped.

You and I have become immune to “The Rangers (sic.) are coming” mantra every summer.  We know corporate Newco don’t really believe it, but it serves to put bums on seats better than “Come along and watch Celtic win xxx-in-a-row, we’ll try to keep Leigh Griffiths away from the goalposts.”  It is pantomime, and we are right to not take it seriously, but there is an existential threat.

It goes like this.  Steven Gerrard did better than expected in his first season in management and will do even better with the experience in his locker.  They retained the bulk of their squad and spent a year scouting players who have arrived this summer.

By contrast, Celtic lost their managerial totem and appointed Neil Lennon, who has to deal with the pressure of sky-high expectation.  We lost Boyata and Benkovic.  The shadow of Moussa Dembele is still evident, with Arsenal sniffing around our prized prodigy.  Scott Brown is a year older and all of our new arrivals are as-yet untested.  Lose at Ibrox on 1 September, and the weight of the world will descent on the Comments pages here, as well as at Celtic Park.

There is a key difference between the Celtic of 2019 and the Rangers of 1997.  Celtic are a thoroughly professional operation, with skilled operators at every level.  The board know there is a chance, however slim, that Newco could turn up their own version of Larsson, Jansen and, erm, Blinker.  They know that this cannot be a ‘Best endeavours’ season.  Neil Lennon is planning for the unlikely, in order to prevent the unthinkable.

The cold facts are, we have better players than anyone else in the country.  We have a manager who knows how to win leagues, “has an eye for a player”, and who slipped back into successful ways better than many expected.

We have already spent £12m this summer and will continue to spend, without the need to bring money in, or qualify for the Champions League.  The manager will also have funds to fill gaps which emerge in January.

Celtic  are as dominant as they have been in their 131 years.  The stadium is sold out for most games and you have been unable to buy a season ticket for weeks (availability remains at ALL other grounds in Scotland, if you are looking for options).  Our commercial deals are competitive with any similar club in Europe.  Wages escalated alarmingly under Brendan but we are not over paying or at risk, there is money in the bank and talent on the field.

Having got into this position, we need to deliver this season and next, then build a monument to 10.  Something big, that will serve as a tourist attraction for decades to come.  And when we’re all in our old age, we can point to it and say to the kids, “I was there!”

Enjoy the season!

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  1. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on




    I didn’t see a question about China, was there one?




    My shifting ground was simply to demonstrate your double standards on what democracy means.




    Unfortunately ‘my truths’ are all backed by evidence.



    Election rigging in the USA is well documented.



    Senate and House of Representatives revolving doors between lobbying and government appointments.



    Venezualan constitution and electoral process were agreed on by all internal parties, only the US objected.

  2. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on



    I doubt any Celtic fans will be wondering what went wrong if we don’t do nine.


    Plain as the nose on your face, the executive failed to back the manager and implement a comprehensive succession strategy.

  3. Celtic going for NIAR with Lenny in charge must be akin to armageddon for most of the huns. I fully expect mibbery to reach unprecedented levels in order to stop the hoops where the season of honest mistakes will seem timid in comparison. Don’t fret I have a plan.




    Here’s an idea. Why don’t we use the considerable cash reserves we have to buy a replacement for Moussa and PC Lustig. Two good quality first team ready players to bolster what we have and give Lenny the tools to finish what he started.




    I know the window is still open but why the delay ( in getting replacements ) when our season started a few weeks ago.




    Would like to see them in soon, far too much at stake this season to take unnecessary risks.





  4. Would have liked a bit more perspective,on the Gavin Masterton/Murray tainted 9IAR…..

  5. The thing is, you could argue, the only reason they got anywhere close to us last season was due to the terrible start we had.



    Otherwise it we would have won the league quite comfortably.



    If we get off to a good start this season we should be ok

  6. Setting free the Bears


    eateries in Donegal



    The Lemon Tree Courtyard Shopping Centre Letterkenny



    Olde Glen Bar and Restaurant( locally known as McLaughlins (as in Brian of our very own quality street.RIP)



    The Restaurant on Harveys point at Lough Eske(if yir really steppin oot:-)



    An Chuirt Gweedore court Hotel



    i would suggest me Aunt Annies for tea and scone :-) but by appointment only lol



    Enjoy T, its one thing Donegal has came on leaps and bounds in is Food and the eating experience


    There are some quality places youll come across just driving bout


    did smile at the Tayto crisps(saxaheartburn flavour)







  7. Coupla things……………..



    1) Thems never did Nine, theirs were tainted by chicanery, cheatin’ and dodgyfinancial dealings



    2) No matter how good we are on the field of play as long as there are Brown Brogued Rogues strutting the korridors of Hampden and their acolytes with Flegs an’ whistles across scoddish stadia we’ll never have an equal footing in the game.



    This is Scotland’s fault. Not Celtics.



    Fix Fitba’. Empty Hampden.




  8. bhoylo83



    True, but don’t forget the contribution made by Neil Lennon and Steve Clarke. Think the new manager at Hibs might do well but not so sure about Kilmarnock though, then again if they crash and burn we’ll take more points off them throughout the season.

  9. traditionalist88 on

    What happened made no sense, even today, I cannot explain how it happened, but Rangers would be stopped.





    We only got 74 points the season we stopped the 10, only 5pts more than we got in the infamous Barnes/Dalglish season.



    Talk about a world of difference between a win and two draws!



    Also, 32 points less than we got in our Invincibles season.



    We need to be on the ball and not rely on the huns being rotten – they have the potential to beat all the other teams as well.




  10. An Tearmann



    I was working with an Irish firm in London a while back and some of the guys were actually from that part of Donegal, the Gallaghers, big family, Roger, Rocky et al. Good Celtic man. Now they knew the McLaughlins who ran the pub at the time, might have been John then not so sure. They also knew Brian from way back, since he used spend some time there in the summer back in the day.

  11. Trad,



    Your last point is well put – chances are thems’ll beat a’bdy else especially with the customary assistance from thur freens.

  12. Paul67.



    Not quite a like for like comparison. You describe Celtic stopping Rangers (v1) from getting 10 in a row. Whereas this season it’s about us getting our second 9 in a row.



    However, the warning is well noted.

  13. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    “History matters, records matter and in Scotland, no record matters as much as this one.”




    Depends how old firmy you are I guess. We should be looking to win the league every year – to show we are the strongest team and to get the opportunity of Champions League football.


    We should be targeting 100 points and should be capable of achieving that with the squad we have. If we get that (or even close to it) we will win the league comfortably.


    If we allow ourselves to get sucked into a 1 v 1 get the nine/stop the nine dogfight with some supposed “rival” then there will be more pressure and more dropped points.


    The lower the winning points total, the worse for us and the better for the other teams.


    It’s in our own hands.

  14. Great read Paul67…



    I think I’ll explode if we spend on a good right back and Moussa replacement.



    A week of KT pantomine coming up too before the English window slams shut….

  15. glendalystonsils on

    Two predictions;



    Sevco will miraculously and mysteriously survive all of their financial problems.







    Sevco will finish a comfortable second in the league .



    We can’t do much about the first but we can do something to ensure the second.



    Provided , of course that we fill the remaining problem positions with genuine quality.

  16. What a fabulous read, thank you.It invoked all my memories & terror of that season, Marco Negri was running riot and we had signed some dud called Larsson, the manager did not know his erchie from his elbow, I was in a state of nervous despair.The joy of Henrik emerging as a world superstar at Parkhead really was a joy to behold, the rest is a fabulous history.For what it’s worth I consider David Murray’s tenure at Ibrox to be null & void from the day he signed Judas who explained that he joined them because Murray had paid him offshore, so in my own wee world they never ever did 9 in a row.

  17. We will win the League this season, accruing a high number of points en route. Sadly Kieran will depart next week on the last day of the English transfer window. Arsenal will have to cough up the full £25m or face the wrath of their own fans who are desperate to see our Bhoy at the Emirates. Celtic will then buy a right back (Akersen), a centre half and a striker. Having read Celtic NewsNow this morning, I think Ollie Burke will also return as a buy or on a loan deal.




  18. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Arsenal pulled in decent money today from Derby, might get things concluded with KT…

  19. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on




    I trust you , Sadie.



    Thousands would also .

  20. Go tell the Spartim on

    So do we need to sell before we can buy, as has been alluded to in Celtic cyberspace, and taking into account TheOriginalSadiesBhoy’s suggestion, if so thats taking the p*ss to stratospheric levels?



    This is merely a question

  21. For all the bed wetters concerned about the lack of players coming in, remember that the best players usually have choices, and Celtic with Champions League qualification is a much better proposition than Celtic without. So calm down, trust in Lenny, support your team, and we’ll be just fine.

  22. Melbourne Mick on

    Hello again all you young rebels.



    Some great posts today or tonight if you’re in Oz.




    That Larsson what a fud as some thought then, surely,


    shirley, that will make some of our negs take the time


    to just wait and see what a player can give, one or two


    games doesn’t cut it.


    H.H Mick

  23. Melbourne Mick on

    Can’t understand the constant need to punt KT .


    Is it a board bashing exorcise? a look at me i mentioned


    it first?


    As far as i can see and thats a long way, KT is going nowhere


    he’s our poster bhoy, megaphone and all.


    Leave him be.


    H.H Mick

  24. Melbourne Mick



    Don’t understand that post. It’s an open secret and has been for a while. We’re clearly in some kind of negotiations.



    I think Arsenal will trigger a deal suitable for the club’s valuation of £25m then it’s down to KT himself.



    I suspect he’ll go.

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