State of the club report, year-end 2011


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. Good evening New Jersey! Alright you came out here to help us tear this old girl down? This is something we wrote for tonight…



    I was raised out of steel here in the swamps of Jersey, some misty years ago


    Through the mud and the beer, and the blood and the cheers, I’ve seen champions come and go


    So if you got the guts mister, yeah if you’ve got the balls


    If you think it’s your time, then step to the line, and bring on your wrecking ball



    Bring on your wrecking ball


    Bring on your wrecking ball


    Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you’ve got


    Bring on your wrecking ball


    Bring on your wrecking ball


    Bring on your wrecking ball


    Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you’ve got


    Bring on your wrecking ball



    Now my home was here in the Meadowlands, where mosquitoes grow big as airplanes


    Here where the blood is spilled, the arena’s filled, and Giants play the game


    So raise up your glasses and let me hear your voices call


    Come on!


    Because tonight all the dead are here, so bring on your wrecking ball



    Bring on your wrecking ball


    Bring on your wrecking ball


    Take your best shot, let me see what you’ve got


    Bring on your wrecking ball



    One, two, one two three four!



    [trumpet solo]



    Yeah we know that come tomorrow, none of this will be here


    So hold tight on your anger


    Hold tight on your anger


    Hold tight to your anger, and don’t fall to your fear



    Now when all this steel and these stories, they drift away to rust


    And all our youth and beauty, it’s been given to the dust


    And your game has been decided, and you’re burning the clock down


    And all our little victories and glories, have turned into parking lots


    When your best hopes and desires, are scattered through the wind


    And hard times come, hard times go


    Hard times come, hard times go


    And hard times come, hard times go


    Hard times come, hard times go


    Hard times come, hard times go


    Yeah just to come again



    Bring on your wrecking ball


    Bring on your wrecking ball


    Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you’ve got


    Bring on your wrecking ball


    Bring on your wrecking ball (bring on your wrecking ball)


    Bring on your wrecking ball (bring on your wrecking ball)


    Take your best shot, let me see what you’ve got, bring on your wrecking ball



    One, two, one two three four!



    [trumpet solo]














































    Bring it on!

  2. Parkheadcumsalford says:


    2 January, 2012 at 11:36





    Thanks for the support. I’ll do it.



    Hope you’re better now.







    Doing well,had my first pint since October on Boxing day,so back to watching the games in the pub..

  3. Imagine there’s no Rangers,


    It’s easy if you try,


    No Huns below us,


    Above us only sky.


    Imagine all the bigots,


    Living for today.



    Imagine there’s no Ibrox,


    It isn’t hard to do,


    Nothing to kill or die for,


    No Follow Follow too.


    Imagine all their rioters,


    Living life in peace.



    You may say I’m a dreamer,


    But I’m not the only one,


    I hope someday they’ll be bankrupt,


    And the Celts will be as one.



    Imagine no “we arra peepil”


    I wonder if you can,


    No need for UEFA charges,


    A brotherhood of man.


    Imagine David Murray,


    Signing on the burroo!



    You may say I’m a dreamer,


    But I’m not the only one,


    I hope one day they’ll leave us,


    And the Celts will live as one!

  4. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo says:


    2 January, 2012 at 11:29






    Welcome to the internet.




    What does that mean?



    BTW Not looking to fall out with you here.

  5. fergus slayed the blues on

    The piece from Jabba today made me think of the noddingate incident and Jabba and wee chico’s oh so public fall out .


    I wonder if Jabba will be trying to blot it out with a few bottles today



  6. Partizan says:


    2 January, 2012 at 11:46



    It means I heard you the first time. I understand where you are coming from legitimate criticisms etc.



    If you saw my email inbox and emails of support you might change your mind a wee bit.



    I am not looking to fall out either.



    What does “might” be satire mean ?



    Hail Hail

  7. Jul 17 2011



    James Traynor; Mark Guidi, Sunday Mail


    RANGERS owner Craig Whyte is ready to hand manager Ally McCoist an additional £15million transfer boost.


    The new Ibrox chief last night revealed he is willing to splash out much more than the £5m budget originally set when he took over.


    McCoist will use that financial muscle to push through deals – and Arsenal stopper Kyle Bartley could be the next arrival this week.


    The Rangers gaffer also hopes Aston Villa’s Carlos Cuellar will agree personal terms over a £2million return to his old club.


    Fans are frustrated that only Spaniard Juanma Ortiz has been brought in so far this summer.


    But Whyte reassured them and said: “I’m prepared to take our spending way above what was originally budgeted. The manager has to be sure he is getting the right people but the money is there for him to do that.”


    Bartley looks set to become McCoist’s second signing this week. The 20-year-old defender was on loan at Ibrox last term before suffering a knee injury.


    McCoist has held talks with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger and Gers are quietly confident of getting Bartley back.


    The SPL champions are willing to pay a substantial transfer fee but Wenger will only sanction another loan deal.


    Gers have also agreed a £2m fee with Villa over a return to Ibrox for Cuellar and McCoist is now praying the 29-year-old’s salary isn’t a stumbling block.


    He said: “I’ve spoken to Carlos and he seems keen to come. It’s up to us to thrash a deal out now. You’d have to ask Carlos if wages are going to be a problem. I can’t answer that.”


    McCoist was also thrilled to see skipper David Weir sign a new one-year deal yesterday.


    Now he hopes midfielder Steven Davis, 26, will join the 41-year-old stopper in agreeing an extension.


    He said: “Davie has signed. I thrust a pen in his hand at lunchtime today and we’re pleased that is done.


    “But getting Davis signed up is as important as anything.”

  8. Rangers Defender Darren Cole Joins Partick Thistle On Loan


    Jan 2 2012



    By Iain Jardine



    JACKIE McNAMARA has moved quickly to replace Conrad Balatoni in the Partick Thistle defence by signing Rangers youngster Darren Cole on loan until the end of the season.


    Cole, who turns 20 on Tuesday, has yet to make a first team appearance for Rangers this season but made his debut in last season’s Champions League draw away to Bursaspor after coming through the ranks at Ibrox.


    Jags boss McNamara was quick off the mark to snap up the Scotland under 21 player after losing Balatoni who has returned to Hearts following his six-month loan spell.


    And the Firhill gaffer, who has more loan deals in his sights, said: “Darren can play in a number of positions across the back.


    “He is quick and reads the game really well. Hopefully he can really kick-on now that he has joined us until the end of the season.”


    Cole will have to wait to make his Thistle debut after Monday’s clash with league leaders Ross County was postponed due to heavy snow in the Highlands.



    Ally Mc Coist wished Cole all the best for the future, “This will be a good move for Darren he needs games like we need the money, we wish him all the best”



    Meanwhile, Partick midfielder Jamie Campbell has moved out of Firhill on loan to Stenhousemuir until the end of the season.

  9. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo says:


    2 January, 2012 at 11:43



    I’m a dreamer tae, crash and burn hunnies, crash and burn, you can use jabba as your guy fawkes figure!!

  10. Awe Naw


    Ok fair enough.


    Spoke to someone on here the other night (HT maybe?) and he backed you up as well.



    Hail Hail

  11. “will finally be demanding answers to questions they should have been asking months ago. ”



    THEY should have been asking, is that not what your for jabba?, por cierto

  12. prestonpans bhoys on

    Right ,time for a sausage roll then off to the game. Need to google map this place because I can’t remember exactly where this stadium is in Dunfermline :-)

  13. The Battered Bunnet on

    A reminder to all those heading to East End Park today that the Fife Cops have needed no encouragement this season to arrest folk. Dunfermline has been the somewhat unlikely setting for a trial run of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act.

  14. Mc Coist signings fail to make the grade


    By Gareth Law 2nd Jan 2012



    Australia midfielder Matt McKay will have many reasons to feel embarrassed if he decides to quit Rangers and return home to Brisbane Roar.



    It is not the first time better players than McKay failed to nail down a regular spot at a new club and were forced to move on to get a game.



    After helping Brisbane win the A-League championship in 2011, McKay packed his bags for Scotland to join the Glaswegian giant.



    However McKay, who will be 29 next week, has been unable to break into manager Ally McCoist’s first team and has had only three substitue appearances for the Gers.



    He was not even on the bench for last week’s Old Firm derby with Celtic.



    This unfortunate state of affairs prompted serious speculation that he could be on his way back to Australia before the A-League season is over if his situation at Ibrox does not improve.



    Firstly to help out his home town club Brisbane that is having a battle on its hands to retain the title.



    And secondly to protect the Socceroos position he has worked so hard to earn.



    It is not uncommon for Australian players to feel they are seen as failures if they go to Europe and come back early.



    McKay might or might not be feeling this way but he need not worry because every fan knows that as a professional player you go where your career takes you and you do what’s best for yourself.



    As a former Australia star who played in Europe for many years told me: “McKay would have nothing to be embarrassed about if he came home, especially since he would come back a better player after his experience abroad.”



    If in doubt, McKay should look no further than at the extraordinary career of Italy’s Gennaro Gattuso.



    The defensive midfielder was on the books at Rangers between 1997 and 1998 but after impressing with Walter Smith in charge, he was played out of position as a right back by manager Dick Advocaat and after a frustrating and unrewarding season he moved to unfashionable Salernitana in Italy.



    Even allowing for the fact that Serie A is a grander and more glamorous stage than Scotland’s Premier League, Gattuso would have been justified in recognising that quitting a massive and famous club like Rangers for a small team from Salerno in Italy’s south was a step backwards.



    But football has a way of rewarding determination and humility.



    It is history now how Gattuso was signed by AC Milan a year later and went on to become a world champion at national and club level.



    Gattuso was the heart and soul of the Milan team that won two UEFA Champions League titles in 2003 and 2007, two Serie A championships in 2004 and 2011 and a FIFA Club World Cup in 2007.



    He also played a key role in the Azzurri’s FIFA World Cup win in 2006.



    So it is probably fair to suggest Gattuso would not have become such a star or come anywhere near his impressive trophy tally had he stayed at Ibrox.



    Instead he swallowed his pride and returned home to seek a better career path. Undoubtedly 29 year old McKay will follow a similar career path as the world cup winner.



    The moral of the story is that sometimes in football you need to take a step backwards to go forward because good opportunities can pop up in the unlikeliest of places.



    McKay will have been assured by his advisers that there is absolutely nothing wrong with facing up to reality and returning to a club where he knows he will be respected and appreciated.



    And no fair-minded fan in Australia would even remotely regard McKay as a failure, anyway.



    On the contrary, he always will be seen as a bloke who had the guts to have a go in order to better himself.



    It does not get any more Australian than that. He has been caught up in Rangers´s financial demise. Any player who is not a seen as a core element of the first team squad of 15 players is being moved on.



    That includes all trainees and under twenty one players and any reserve team players who´s contract has a financial stipulation with regards to first team appearances.



    McKay When pressed on his return home said that it was still in the balance ” Flying back home to Australia is very expensive and I haven´t had my last two salaries so unless i get some help from my relatives to pay for a ticket home. I might be in Scotland a bit longer until I can get a job and raise the necessary funds”

  15. Traynor is so typical of the Scottish media. They are bloated on spoon fed press releases. They copy and paste these without question. The extent of their powers is to insert a “Ally quipped”.



    Traynor continually throws in a sniper at the “single digit jabber on-line”. He fails to acknowledge that all the financial information he now spew out has come from the internet.


    He peddled todays line back in Oct in this article…


    Traynor in Oct.



    Meanwhile he let’s his other reporters spew the anti-Celtic stories. He avoids discussing on radio phone- ins. He is to journalism that the wedding DJ is to music.

  16. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo says:


    2 January, 2012 at 12:12




    You’re goimg to have to stop this.



    BUT – that last paragraph had me chuckling .



    Happy New Year t’you.




  17. Panic on the streets of Govan


    Panic on the streets of Edinburgh


    I wonder to myself


    Could life ever be sane again ?


    The Larkhall side-streets that you slip down


    I wonder to myself


    Hopes may rise on the


    But Honey Pie, you’re not safe here


    So you run down


    To the safety of the town


    But there’s Panic on the streets of Harthill


    Kilmarnock, Dalwhinnie, Kilwinning


    I wonder to myself



    Burn down the disco


    Hang the blessed DJ


    Because the music that they constantly play




    Hang the blessed DJ


    Because the music they constantly play




    On the Larkhall side-streets that you slip down


    Provincial towns you jog ’round


    Hang the DJ, Hang the DJ, Hang the DJ


    Hang the DJ, Hang the DJ, Hang the DJ








    Hang the DJ, Hang the DJ, Hang the DJ






    Hang the DJ, Hang the DJ, Hang the DJ






    Hang the DJ, Hang the DJ, Hang the DJ



  18. googbhoy….



    I think theres a mite more collaboration involved, in part because it’s a meeting of minds but moreso because it will make commercial sense.


    Goodnews stories on the Huns sells papers and attracts advertisers.



    Givin’ it tight to the Tims is just a by-product in general.




  19. fergus slayed the blues on

    Looks like the best Jabba can expect in the future is SUCCULENT SPAM …


    Maybe that is not his tastes .


    hail hail

  20. !!Bada Bing!! Kano 1000 on

    dirtymac- Hills mate, Calum Murray a well known Jambo is the ref.A Willie Collum moment awaits…..

  21. Awe_Naw



    Meant to save the full version the other day.



    Was Gary Hooper still onside?



    Why did the ball look the size of a medicine ball in the picture of Fraser’s great save?



    We should be told.

  22. Awe_Naw



    Keep up the good work sir. The Aluko X-factor bit earlier had me in stitches.




  23. Morning troops. Any news if registrations of our much needed striker or center half yet??



    Ps. Fat ally now has a worse record than Paul le guan


    We are only 2 points in front if that :(



    Time for board to get the finger out and sign


    Players. Window is open




  24. I’m off to the bus for Dunfermline.



    I don’t expect a big win today but a win will be needed because Well will fail, as usual, to land a blow. Lasley and Jennings will play like choirboys, if selected. Tom Hateley will score an og and McCall will berate his players if any of them set foot in the Rangers half against his tactical plan.



    Hope Bangura gets a goal today.

  25. bankiebhoy1 says:



    2 January, 2012 at 12:19




    Yes you are correct. Anti-Celtic stuff is just the fabric of the media.


    We would have been slaughtered over this.


    McCoist gives them easy jokey press conferences. They like him. They cannot be impartial when it comes to him.


    A bit like Mourinho and the London media.

  26. kitalba says:


    2 January, 2012 at 11:31


    jackie mac:






    As Rankers players come through the tunnel to start the second half astonishing scenes of camaraderie to 4th offficial Callum Murray by some of the players hugs and handshakes a plenty for Bougie & Dioufs mate Callum Murray

  27. Anyone looking for a New Year cheer-up should check out Glesga Nature on YouTube. The Rangers top makes it even funnier.

  28. Sandman Is Neil Lennon on

    Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo says:


    2 January, 2012 at 11:15






    Was thinking that yesterday, even read back through a few threads looking for the usual suspects. None.



    Then realised:



    We are all Neil Lennon.



    They are all now ‘Grant Fae Perth’…