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State of the club report, year-end 2011

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My friends in Celtic, a year ago I signed off on 2010 by saying, “I have never spoken to less confident Celtic fans ahead of a game against Rangers than I have this week”.  Celtic had won only five of their previous 10 league games, seven of which were at home, but with a squad ravaged by injury, they found a formation which over several games dominated Rangers.

After three defeats and an Ibrox draw against 10-man Celtic, Walter Smith eventually got it right and beat Celtic at Hampden.  The league challenge floundered in a scrappy defeat at Inverness, the home team fought for everything and found some vulnerabilities in Celtic but the season ended on a high with the first trophy of the Neil Lennon era as the Scottish Cup was won at rain-soaked Hampden against Motherwell.

Neil Lennon, Paddy McCourt and Niall McGinn all had to deal with more serious events than football in the first half of the year.  Bombs and bullets were sent to Celtic’s three Irish stars, prosecutions are pending.  These events put Scotland on the international news circuit in a very unwelcome light.  First Minister, Alex Salmond, promised to take action but instead of tackling a century-old anti-Catholic, anti-Irish tradition, his government passed a law which criminalised all sorts of non-sectarian, non-racist activity.

Despite this initiative taking on flagship status for the Scottish Government, Salmond has steadfastly refused to re-gather and publish information on sectarian attacks in recent years.  Policy has been made without reference to facts.

The new season brought great promise.  Neil Lennon had a year under his belt and was no longer up against Rangers’ most successful manager, instead he would face rookie Ally McCoist, but a humbling by Sion, ultimately neutralised by Uefa, and poor early season league form saw the manager consider his position.

A home defeat to St Johnstone and an utter collapse at Ibrox set the tone, but it was Kilmarnock’s three goal lead which caused Neil Lennon most concern.  The story of the second half comeback at Rugby Park is likely to take on legendary status in years to come, but as with much in life, it contained prosaic events.  Celtic came out of the dressing room like a condemned team and failed to register a genuine attempt on the Kilmarnock goal for 25 minutes.  Anthony Stokes struck a free kick which would have been stopped by most defensive walls but the Kilmarnock version was made of butter and Celtic had a platform to stage a comeback.  Killie’s reserve keeper, Jaakkola, failed to reach Anthony’s shot a few minutes later and Celtic were level six minutes after they realised they had a game of football to play.

In their next game Celtic failed to score at home to then-bottom Hibernian, allowing Rangers to open up a 15 point gap over their rivals, who by then were in third place, although with two games in hand over Rangers.  Celtic then went to Motherwell and promptly fell behind, our season hung by a thread, but it was that guy Stokes who again had the stomach for the fight.  Anthony equalised within minutes and Gary Hooper scored a late winner.

Celtic have not dropped a point since, while Ally McCoist and his boss, Craig Whyte, now look like the rookies they are.  They have lost three of their last six games, completing a collapse at Celtic Park on Wednesday night.

A year ago I reflected on the 46 players who played for Celtic during 2010 and suggested we would be better starting with a blank sheet of paper.  The league challenge ended in failure but 2011 didn’t.  This year ends with a coherent team strategy which could deliver the first sustainable and successful Celtic team in 40 years.  We have a young squad, on wages the club can afford, with a scouting and management team that have delivered a clutch of players destined to achieve an enormous amount in the game.

Despite the energy and excitement around Celtic Park, attendances are down.  Football is not as fashionable as it was three or four years ago.  For much of the season, we play in a cold, wet, environment against well-organised but defensive teams; it’s a hard sell.  We all know fans who have drifted from the stands, large areas of the stadium are now scarcely populated unless Rangers are visiting, which will impact income and subsequent expenditure.

Still, the shambles of 2010 has gone, Celtic look like a club with purpose and the tools to move forward with confidence. A two point lead at this stage of the season is largely symbolic but it’s a deserved honour that your team deserves.

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  1. kitalba says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 13:03

     

    MadMitch says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 12:54

     

     

    I’ve looked at a lot of photo’s but photo’s are but a snap in time. Watch the video, it tells the whole story.

     

     

    MadMitch, you still have not answered me… why am I at it in your eyes and what possible agenda beyond the truth could I have?

     

     

    If we want to be treated fairly then surely it is a given that we must treat others fairly beyond the taint of prejudice. If no then we are as bad as any Edinburgh Jury. Watch the video mate, it tells the story that Beram Kayal DID HIMSELF. Without prejudice either.

  2. saltires en sevilla on

    Paul67

     

     

    “ravished by injury” …sounds like it might be interesting pastime for those so inclined ;-)

     

     

    HH

     

     

    M

  3. row z \o/ (O) Mississippi Burnin Nearer Home says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 12:01

     

     

    ‘Does RFC have heritable title to ‘Murray Park’.’

     

     

    The huns accounts mention leasehold property. Probably Murray Park.

     

     

    It could of course be (and probably is) a long term lease and they could sell their interest.

  4. Ten Men Won The League on

    We all have differing opinions of Elbows tackle. That is inevitable on a blog this popular, but not for a second do i believe that anyone has an agenda to favour the thug

     

     

    Fate has a nasty habit of coming back to bite you, as Elbows could well find out

  5. Gordon_j

     

     

    It is still 2011 in Brisbane but I don’t believe 2012 will mirror 2010. The year of the most ‘Honest Mistakes’ and oh! how some needed those mistakes. But now the focus is on, cheating is becoming a big no-no, and lawyers are polishing their shoes and sharpening their pencils.

  6. Happy New Year to all.

     

     

    Agree much more with this synopsis Paul that a previous one “This is where we are people, scrapping between Motherwell and St Johnstone. Get used to it.”

     

     

    Hail Hail

     

     

    Mort

  7. kitalba

     

     

    i have viewed that tackle in many ways ,,,real time, slo mo, stills and firsthand

     

     

    imo McC is a thug acting as he always does

     

     

    my opinion is different from yours

     

     

    anyway i don`t intend to discuss this reptile any further

     

     

    Happy New Year pal

     

     

    HH

  8. Great Article Paul

     

     

     

    “This year ends with a coherent team strategy which could deliver the first sustainable and successful Celtic team in 40 years”.

     

     

    Testament to the board and our much maligned CE who have kept a steady hand on the tiller whilst navigating the stormiest of waters.

  9. Afternoon bhoys and ghirls, the sun is out, quite warm and hun free as ever.

     

     

    Nuclear Bovril and a Half Munched Pie

     

    Enjoy your birthday mi amigo.

     

     

    …………………………….

  10. lennon's passion on

    Paul is this all still happening or not.

     

     

    Glasgow City Council’s Executive Committee is set to receive a report on Friday outlining Celtic’s Masterplan for redeveloping the area around Celtic Park. The Masterplan Statement encompasses plans for the “Celtic Triangle” between London Road, Janefield St and the proposed East End Regeneration Route (EERR), to the west of Celtic Park.

     

     

    Significant plans exist to develop the area ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2014. The London Road School, which Celtic purchased from the council, will be refurbished with a new restaurant, cafe and bar facilities, as well as a new Club Museum. The entire area will be landscaped consistent with the “public realm strategy” with a Plaza space at the front of the stadium.

     

     

    The key development will be where London Road meets the new EERR, where “a new landmark building [will be] developed at this junction to create an iconic gateway to the Stadium area”. Potential uses for this building include “a hotel, further restaurant and bar facilities [and] a casino”.

     

     

    The report adds, “It is recognised that the design of the new buildings at this location should be of the highest standard to reflect the importance of this corner of the triangle as a key gateway to the site”

     

     

    Plans are also noted to develop the peripheral areas of the site after the Commonwealth Games, with “the potential introduction of residential development to the west of the site”, as well as behind the existing tenements at the corner of Springfield Road and London Road.

     

     

    The plan, which will be recommended to the Committee, will do an enormous amount for one of the most deprived areas in Scotland and provide excellent facilities for visitors to Celtic Park for decades to come. It is also infused with practical and deliverable ideas, while being completely void of speculative bouts of vanity, which hindered earlier stadium-vicinity redevelopment projects in Glasgow.

     

     

    The Celtic Triangle will rise like a beacon, unlike the fantasy £700m redevelopment of Ibrox, which will never see ground broken.

  11. Afternoon Paul & all,

     

     

    I hope you have a fantastic new year, looking forward to all things Celtic in 2012.

     

     

    Remember at the bells, make yours a treble!!

  12. BT

     

     

    the credit is all lenny`s , the other memebers of the management team and the players

     

     

    what could the CEO have done to deserve such credit …..?

  13. nothing without fans on

    MadMitch at 12:54 / kitalba at 13:04

     

     

    There is one photo from Kenny Ramsay that shows McCulloch’s initial contact is with the ball, and that the height his boot is at in later photos is because of the impact with the ball.

     

     

    So on that, I’d say Kitalba has a valid point.

     

     

    However, McCulloch knew that after contact with the ball he was going to follow through, in all likelihood into Beram’s leg. I actually think the height of his boot at impact was accidental, but in my view the tackle was reckless and I suspect there was intent.

     

     

    While Beram’s studs were also showing and his leg was straight, his momentum was largely into the ground, not toward an opponent, big difference.

  14. saltires en sevilla on

    Paul67

     

     

    I like that – general feeling we are now geared to building teams and managing players in and out on our terms

     

     

    probably means we lose some stars at their peak – with replacments r4eady made to slot in

     

     

    feels a bit like what Ajax were so proficient at..once upon a time

     

     

    I like it and it feels like the Celtic Way

     

     

    HH

     

     

    M

  15. blantyretim

     

     

    I cant think of a better run team off the park in the UK.His only mistake..Tony Mowbray.

     

     

    Remember we needed twos 1-0 victories in our last 2 games to secure 4 in a row.We only needed a draw at Inverness to win the league last year

  16. DUSHANBE BHILLY BHOY on

    Saltires…..excellent post (very) earlier this morning. You seem to be at your loquacious best when it’s still dark. Ho!

     

     

    …..or maybe you have swapped places with me and are actually in Tajikistan, which is 5 hours ahead of the Scotchies. Ho!

     

     

    Shat!

     

     

    DBB

  17. watching the Man U game ..mince

     

     

    Waddell the co commie keeps going on about peLaNties …..eejjit

  18. Good afternoon everyone as this is the season of good will towards others I would like to send this seasonal greeting to our neighbours across the city.

     

     

    So this is for you – the huns, the currant buns, the William’s sons, the hate the nuns, the empty guns, the ain’t no funs, the imploding suns, the ugly ones:

     

     

    http://i42.tinypic.com/9zspvk.jpg

  19. Totally off-topic.

     

    Just been on news that there is lots of fake Glens Vodka with over 200x permitted amount of Methanol. Drinking a bottle could lead to blindness. I used to drink buckets of this stuff (not the fake stuff). Take care.

  20. As New Year looms into view, what Celtic have done, what Neil and the Bhoys have achieved reporesents progress, in my mind, a full year ahead of what might have been legitimately expected.

     

     

    In the year that’s been in it, it beggars belief what Neil has had thrown at him, and still even we react to it largely like it is to be accepted.

     

    I take my hat off to him and the other bhoys who have been criminally abused.

     

     

    The sleekit scumbags who thru various means have sought to undermine the Club, hate…….to see us in positions of success or strength. It’s the single thing that their actions if not their words betray.

     

     

    Well done Celtic, well done Neil, keep up the good work bhoys…….and thanks for everything that you have given this Tim, this year.

     

     

    HH.

  21. I could not give a monkeys for the validity of McCulloch’s tackle, what I do care about is the future worth of our concerns. If we cannot view incidentals without prejudice then how will we peform in the future and how can we possibly condemn others their prejudices when we harbour our own over all.

     

     

    Somebody near once advised us to box clever, to that I would add… box fairly. (without prejudice lest you be branded bigot and/or cheat)

  22. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Kano 1000 on

    Ernie

     

     

    where in the accounts does it refer tp a lease? The rates notice lists them as proprietor with the tenant section as empty– though that is not conclusive!!

     

     

    Row Z

     

     

    No problem with the lyrics of the symphony per se– but of all the grafitti pieces to refer to the Tones chose that one over a thousand others– I am sure that was to be commercially astute at the time and less to do with “The club”.

     

     

    Of course the song can be defended successfully in relation to the charge– easy peasy Lennox Squeasy– so why not be commercially astute now– make a point, raise some dough and give it to charity– whilst at the same time creating a little mischief?

     

     

    Ernie– Bowdler or no Bowdler— and I quite like the odd Bowdlerism lol

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