State of the Club report, summer 2023


My friends in Celtic, tomorrow we raise the league championship flag, both domestic cups are in the Celtic Park boardroom and within six weeks, we will compete in the Champions League group stage.

This summer, so far, has seen the departure of one automatic first choice player and one occasional starter.  Five players arrived, while we extended the contracts of Callum McGregor, Kyogo and Daizen Maeda.  The most disruptive event of the year was the departure of manager Ange Postecoglou; replaced by the prodigal Brendan Rodgers.

We need to talk about the dirty little subject.  I usually have a good handle on what net cash figure to expect from the Celtic accounts.  They trend and vary based on previous cup runs and European progress.  Right now, it is difficult to know for sure.  Last term, Champions League income returned for the first time in five years, we ‘sold’ a manager and post-yearend sold Jota for £25m, although payments may be staggered and there will be a distribution to Benfica.

What we know for sure is that if you see a red haired man standing at an ATM, say “Hi, Michael”, as there is a good chance it will be Michael Nicholson, unable to suppress the urge to put his Celtic card into a cash machine every time he passes one, just to stare at the balance!

At the end of June 2022 we had just shy of £32m in the bank, up on the £26m when the interims were concluded six months earlier.  Our interims at 31 December 2022 showed a staggering net cash position of £59m, £33m up on a year earlier.

More than half of the net proceeds from Jota’s sale have gone out the door already to pay for the acquisition of five new players, but our position (after post-yearend transfer business) will be more than £40m better than it was last year, which itself was a healthy position.

What to do with that money?  The nouveau riche notoriously waste money, but it’s Michael, not Viv Nicholson, in charge at Celtic, so don’t expect us to spend, spend, spend on short-term hits.  We have continued to invest in strategy: buy players who can either immediately earn a spot in the first team, or who have the potential to get there.  More of the first team will earn improved contracts, hopefully allowing the manager a settled core to build on.

But we are not here for the money, we are here for the football, and on that front, there is a lot of work to do.  The champions of Scotland are on the cusp of being Champions League regulars.  To make that a reality, Celtic need to improve the rate they earn Uefa coefficient points.  Another season with only two draws among the defeats is not going to cut it, nor can we expect Newco to reach the latter stages of the Europa League so regularly.

This is the last season with Champions League groups as they currently are.  From next season, teams who qualify for the competition proper will play eight games, not six.  That raises TV appearances and all match related income by 33% over current group stage income, with a subsequent play-off tie up for grabs before the knockout rounds start.  It is a game changer for the new season’s Scottish champions, even at Celtic’s current income level.

As ever, everything comes down to who will win the most important league title in Europe – I am not exaggerating.  Nowhere can the title be so transformational, nowhere is interest in the game greater.  The Scottish population watch league football more than any other country by some margin.  It is not the most skilful, it just matters more than anywhere else – neither you nor I need attendance stats to know this is true, it’s why we spend so much time hoping, dreaming and reading stuff like this.  Massive clubs in England lose the league and their fans shrug, no one shugs in this town.

Newco lost several first team players without compensation, they took what resources they have, and assembled a squad who are at their peak.  None of them is likely to appreciate in value.  Instead of copying the Celtic strategy, they are living for today.  Sign experienced, physically stronger journeymen, and see if they can out-muscle Celtic’s shorter, younger players, with more potential.

Credit where it’s due, this is a coherent strategy.  It may even help them earn coefficient points in the Europa League, if that’s where they end up.  Lose the league, and they are right royally screwed, but that’s a worry for next year.  For now, it’s all about that most important league title in Europe.

Before a ball is kicked, no one would swap the Celtic squad for the Newco squad.  On paper, we win again.  But anyone who tells you Celtic winning the league this season is a certainty is unfamiliar with the vagaries of the game.  Should Newco qualify for the Champions League, their ‘live for today’ strategy will surely see them invoke the memory of the aforementioned Liv.

I expect a real challenge.  We lost managerial continuity, we have a new tactical plan, and I remain fearful that we will be bullied (euphemism) in the middle of the park in games that matter.

Our board’s mantra for many years was “We make decisions on what is best for Celtic without reference to what happens elsewhere.”  This worked across an era when Rangers went into liquidation, for the want of banking Champions League income to cover the possibility of an adverse court verdict.  We did not follow the lemming over the cliff, but in those difficult years, the pages of CQN were full of advocates to be as ‘ambitious’ as David Murray.  We lost several league titles doing the right thing, it was a bitter time best not relived.

I trust the manager, the scouts and the treble-winning players, but our chances of us winning the league this season is no more than 67%.  Celtic is our gift;  enjoy tomorrow, enjoy the season and let’ s hope for an era defining title win.

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  1. BURNLEY78 on 4TH AUGUST 2023 2:00 PM









    I loved Aaron Mooy but seriously how many games did he play for us and how many did he really influence and do what another might have done ?







    We signed. Japanese POTY in January who plays midfield and has had 6 months to bed in. We signed a Norwegian POTY who plays midfield. We signed a top rated SK midfielder who plays midfield. Surely between these guys we can make up for a chap who pre his 4 months in the sun at Celtic was at best regarded as a journeyman




    That journeyman was probably Australia’s best player at the world cup.


    The top rated Korean midfielder you mention played in their 2nd tier league, and on his showing on Tuesday played to that level.

  2. Apologies, the Ibrox team went out of shape(again)






















    Hail Hail

  3. LAMBERT14


    “Mooy started almost all the matches after the world cup and was MOTM in several.”



    SPFL is NOT the place to judge how well we will do in CL this season.



    As you say Europe is where it’s at.



    He played 1 CL game and was a sub in 4!



    por cierto

  4. Wouldn’t surprise me if there were 2 or 3 more incoming and even more outgoing before the end of the transfer window.


    Double figures for the Champions tomorrow, 10 – 0. Kilmarnock look good for a score draw against Sevco, 2 – 2.

  5. one mans “rag dolled at ibrox” is another mans “who cares league was won and we had a cup final coming up which was now more important”



    also, we will neve know for sure, but did ange allready know then he was going ?



    ibrox was a subdued dead rubber of a non eveny that really didnt seem to matter to anyone in our camp.



    supporters can hurt at the result, if they did i would suggest get some perspective on life.



    with no celtic fans there, and vice versa, i really do think we will enter a period of the home team wins them,

  6. A very difficult objective .



    I have mixed emotions about this summers recruitment strategy .



    Unlike many I think it is extremely difficult to get player recruitment right .



    It is not as simple as just spend more and you are guaranteed a better player .



    There are no guarantees in player recruitment .



    We do seem to increase our chances of a player being a success if our manager has previously managed a player or has seen them compete against his teams or in the flesh at a good level of competition .



    Brendan had made clear that this is no longer Celtic’s recruitment model and that he has conceded that the modern manager can no longer travel the country scouting players on none match days.



    The world is genuinely our marketplace .



    Japan , Australia, Argentina,South Korea , Poland are now viable markets for our scouts .



    Add to that that we are trying to find the players are ever younger stages of their development.



    We are also having to shop outwith the 5 big European leagues , and find the player before every other progressive club , and in galactico terms , with a limited budget .



    The chances of success with a player diminish again when you add in that the player should have the potential to be sold on for a profit .



    I believe that we need have a mix within our recruitment that allows for us to recruit 2 to 3 players , who are proven at a higher level , and are first team ready .



    To sign sign a couple of these players within our budget .


    It is most likely that they will be loan players or players in the Autumn of their careers .



    Yet again there is no guarantee of success.


    I personally was delighted when we signed Shane Duffy .


    Barkas on paper looked a good piece of business .


    Get them too late you end up with Freddy Lindberg, Iain Wright , James McCarthy , or Mulumbu.



    It’s just not easy .



    I look to our recruitment successes of players who have made it at a good level and our managers have previous knowledge of them .



    Strachan with Nakamurs.


    Rodgers with Sinclair.


    O’Neil with Lennon and Sutton .


    Jansen with Henrick .



    The one glaring failure of this stereotype that springs to mind is Mowbray with Marc Antoine Fortune.



    I dream of Celtic being able to fund a Tierney return on loan and the player desiring it .



    I hope Brendan has an eye on a couple of players that he wanted for Leicester and Celtic are now a better option .



    Brendan is correct .



    We need more power in certain areas .



    We only have a few short weeks to add what we need .



    As it stands .



    ON PAPER ( I know)



    I have it at no more than 50/50 at present .



    New club have built a squad that will be more than a match for our current squad .



    3 weeks to swing the scales more in our favour .



    Time to test your judgement of a player Brendan .


    It will be your most difficult task.




  7. SAINT STIVS @ 2:20 PM,



    Funny that.



    When I was kid the Manager used to say Celtic don’t play friendlies.



    Now we say, we lost three nil at Ibrox



    Like we care



    We have Inverness CT to beat



    Why are the reserves from two and a half months ago the Superstars of today?



    Hail Hail

  8. CHAIRBHOY on 4TH AUGUST 2023 2:13 PM



    When did last May’s reserves become this August’s megastar!?



    You’ll need to point out when anyone suggest that a defence of Ralston, Starfelt Yuki and Bernabei were a “megastar” defence.



    Our first choice defence is much better than that back 4.

  9. I’ll leave the finances to the custodians of the club. I don’t think we are worse off than last season but I think the Hun are. New players have to bed in and there are a lot of changes there. The Beast was worth 8 or 9 points a season to them and he may be the biggest change. The new boy has big gloves to fill. I don’t think we have finished in the transfer window, players will go in and out before the window closes. I just hope Brendan has a plan B for the Champions League matches, I couldn’t stand another gung ho outing. FFS get the tactics right.

  10. Before the rag dolling Celtic had lost 1 domestic game, and drawn 2. Winning 39 games.



    So we had dropped 7 points in the whole season to that point. Including a draw at Ibrox.



    We beat hearts won the league, and then lost 2 games and drew another in the LAST 4 GAMES.



    With Hibs beating us 4-2 in the 2nd last game should we worry that they will challenge us or that they are a new bogey team ?



    The placement of Rangers as being better just doesnt compute for me, maybe once I see them, but I doubt it.



    If they get pumped in europe watch for a change in the mood music.

  11. “Why are the reserves from two and a half months ago the Superstars of today?”



    Ralston, Yuki and Bernabei arent superstars. Nobody said that ever

  12. bournesouprecipe on




    Aaron Mooy’s spirit was willing but flesh week, he had one very brief Indian summer till injury finally finished him off. His claim to fame was in Huddersfield hardly a CL ‘ pure quality addition ‘ craved for on Celtic blogs. The longer he’s retired the better he gets on the internet. Bernabei cost £4M much more like CL money, and it’s make or break time for him, he’ll play a much more prominent role backing up Greg Taylor.



    I’ll judge the window at the end not on the eve of Ross County .

  13. I actually , seriously, and totally, did not care that we got beat at Ibrox, I really didnt, it hurt me when they scored the second and i went out and cut the grass. I was over it by tea time.



    Sure it would have been nice to win, to rub it in a bit, but in the grand context of things they didnt get a “winner of the last old-firm trophy” to add to their upcoming “close season shield”.



    Some nugget hun was on radio other night






    As if being 3 point ahead after 4 games gives you the title.



    it is the hope that kills them.

  14. TINYTIM on 4TH AUGUST 2023 2:30 PM



    your i-phone wears glasses ? see the things they come up with nowadays,



    technolgoy eh

  15. Johnston, Starfelt, CCV and Taylor. Not superstars but definitely better than Ralston, Starfelt, Yuki and Bernabei



    Thing is, we lost at Ibrox because of our superstar reserves in defence, not because Mooy wasn’t fit. Or because we were bullied in midfield

  16. CELTIC40ME @ 2:28 PM,



    So you agree we need better….



    Yuki has been replaced by Nawrocki, so as long as Starfelt stays we don’t need another CH



    Just the two fullbacks?



    And of course the defensive central midfielder



    And the replacement for Jota



    Any more?



    Hail Hail

  17. MARKIEBHOY on 4TH AUGUST 2023 2:28 PM



    good points well made



    I would however say, the beast stayed 2 seasons too long, he made mistakes often in these last two years, many of them against us, and exspecially to our fast forwards pleasure.



    Jota skiping round him twice will live long in the memory banks for me.

  18. LAMBERT14 on 4TH AUGUST 2023 2:09 PM


    BURNLEY78 on 4TH AUGUST 2023 2:00 PM



    Mooy started almost all the matches after the world cup and was MOTM in several.



    From January to his injury he started half in the league, 6, Hatate started 9

  19. From Paul`s Leader:



    “The Scottish population watch league football more than any other country by some margin. It is not the most skilful, it just matters more than anywhere else – neither you nor I need attendance stats to know this is true, it’s why we spend so much time hoping, dreaming and reading stuff like this. Massive clubs in England lose the league and their fans shrug, no one shugs in this town.”



    Any views on why this is so ( if, indeed , it is) ?


    Does it suggest such a disconnect between ourselves and society`s mores that we replace them with a very real connect to our team?

  20. CELTIC40ME @ 2:35 PM,



    You do know Johnston is out, CCV has played half a game since a knee operation and will probably need a fitness test.



    Starfelt might well be for the off and not play tomorrow



    And Greg was the weak link in that defence.



    Hail Hail

  21. CHAIRBHOY on 4TH AUGUST 2023 2:35 PM



    So you agree we need better….



    No, thats not what I said.



    We already had better at Celtic than the defence who lost 3-0 at ibrox. We had it at the time and we’ve improved on it since.

  22. SAINT STIVS on 4TH AUGUST 2023 1:03 PM









    a different but good version –







    Coro Nacional de Cuba: “Guantanamera”










    Lovely version ST STIVS, but the version by ” The SANDPIPERS” is the one that I remember from my childhood radio days.


    HH Mate.

  23. CHAIRBHOY on 4TH AUGUST 2023 2:43 PM



    If the season lasted 2 weeks I’d be worried

  24. Actually, I wouldn’t be. We’ve got more than enough to win every game until every one is fully fit

  25. kevinlasvegas on

    Mooy was good for 2 months. Cult status.



    We have some cracking potential in the new signings.



    We won’t know we are weaker until the season gets going.



    Very happy with the recruitment. Starfelt goes We will recruit again.



    VAR team is stronger but not in our favour.




  26. Celtic go 12 points clear after FIVE-GOAL THRILLER! 🔥 | Celtic 3-2 Rangers | Highlights







    Jota skips.



    As a buy the way, Kyogo disallowed goal under the new offside rules being tested would probably stand,



    in the future the attacker has to be clear daylight ahead of the defender for it to be offside.


    His heel plays him on, imho.


    1,,,the top 3 teams in order please?



    2,,,Scottish Cup winners?



    3,,,the League Cup winners?



    4,,,Celtics top scorer?



    5,,,the SPL’s top scorer?



    6,,,The SPL Player of the Year winner?



    7,,,How many Champions League points shall we win?



    8,,,How many red cards shall be given to Celtic players in all competitions?



    9,,,which player will win Jobo’s Player of the Year competition?



    10,,,How many players will be added to the squad in January?





    CHAIRBOY would you like to give us your answers to these questions.




  28. Saint Stivs


    Agree re the Beast, 2 seasons too long but still a total pest.


    Jotas skips around the keeper were things of beauty, they will be missed and he will be missed.:(

  29. Saint Stivs



    You should see my iPad .


    It wears Victorias Secret underwear.




  30. FAVOURITE UNCLE @ 3:10 PM,



    Thanks – how remiss of me…




    1,,,Celtic – Sevco – Aberdeen







































    Hail Hail

  31. CELTIC40ME @ 2:54 PM,



    Let’s hope we have our very best team for all the important games.



    BR is very good at that, he will also strengthen the team before September, so no worries



    Hail Hail

  32. My UNBIASED! Opinion



    1,,,the top 3 teams in order please? Celtic – Aberdeen – Hibs



    2,,,Scottish Cup winners? Celtic



    3,,,the League Cup winners? Celtic



    4,,,Celtics top scorer? Kyogo



    5,,,the SPL’s top scorer? Kyogo



    6,,,The SPL Player of the Year winner? Yang



    7,,,How many Champions League points shall we win? 18



    8,,,How many red cards shall be given to Celtic players in all competitions? 140



    9,,,which player will win Jobo’s Player of the Year competition? Greg Taylor



    10,,,How many players will be added to the squad in January? 11



    por cierto

  33. TINYTIM @ 2:25 PM,



    Yes, good post, recruitment certainly has changed.



    BTW: You forgot MO’N brought Wycombe legend Steve Guppy to Celtic Park;)



    Hail Hail

  34. Celtic are likely to name a starting 11 without any of our new signings. Maybe Scales owing to fitness issues with CCV/Starfelt.





    Ralston, CCV, Starfelt, Taylor


    O’Reilly, McGregor, Hatate


    Abada, Kyogo, Maeda



    Team has not been improved. 5 backups or projects signed.

  35. paulsthroughball88 on

    I’dve been more upset at losing 3-0 at Ibrox if we’d been playing Rangers.

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