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. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Afternoon to the Celtic family from a dry Central Scotland. Bhoys I noticed some of you are unhappy about the rumour that the orcs might sign two of IZZIs Honduron team mates after we had first look at them.We cant rush around buying players because the poundland mob might sign them Celtic must sign players because they will be good for Celtic and they are within our price bracket.Up to now Lennie has been doing a fine job with his signings and we should trust him to continue to do that, other wise we will be chaseing Nacho Novos signature just to stop the orcs signing him my goodness it doesnt bear thinking about.H.H.

  2. googybhoy



    Cheers chum,



    …actually it’s the journalists present and the shared understanding that give Ally the easy ride. It is entirely within their gift to alter the conduct of these proceedings, should they wish to.


    Neither Ally or Walter have a secret machiavelian control over the thoughts of sentient professionals.


    While Walter had more experience he laso had more ‘contacts’ who valued being in his circle of pals.



    Mourinho on the other hand was/ is eminently quotable with a pedigree for success, good-copy-arrogance and a bit of charm….



    Put Mourinho in the hot seat at Celtic Park and watch how the temperature around him would be changed.





  3. Bump



    theweegreenman says:



    2 January, 2012 at 00:22



    They could be refused a licence on any of the grounds under the various ariticles.



    A 47


    Audited Accounts and



    A 47


    Audited Accounts and Minimum Disclosures (If they have no audited accounts of any description ready by 8th April)



    A 48


    Reviewed Interim Financial Statements (the ones at A47 are the unaudited accounts currently overdue. The ones at A48 are those that will be required (audited) for licensing purposes in the coming round and so are dependent on getting the current set audited and themselves being audited by 8th April.



    A 50


    No Payables Overdue Towards Employees and Social/ Tax Authorities.


    This is the one that covers unapaid tax. There are of course two tax bills. The wee tax bill is clearly overdue and could only be considered as OK by the rules if there is an appeal against it. There was not at the time the licencing was done last spring, but it has been reported on the RTC blog that Rangers put in a late appeal at end of November(?). Since then nothing, although RTC suggests the fog arou7nd this one will clear this month. Given that porkies were probably told to the SFA to get it exemption last time, and given CW’s reluctance to answer SFA questions, it is unlikely the wee bill will continue to be viewed as exempt at 31 March 2012. If so Rangers either pay it or are denied a licence. This gives the SFA considerable leverage in getting answers from CW.



    HOWEVER. The big bill might not crystalise until after the 31 March when the FTT gives its ruling, so it is likely to be viewed as exempt from being treated as unpaid under Article 50 and so will not be a reason of itself to refuse a licence.





    A 51 Written Representations Prior to the Licensing Decision requires that written representation be provided of information to the Licensing Committee on any events or conditions of major economic importance that have occurred and that may have an adverse impact on the licence applicant’s financial position since the balance sheet date of the preceding audited annual financial statements or reviewed interim financial statements (if applicable )



    AND A 52


    Future Financial Information


    Refers to information in respect of the financial performance and position of the club in the reporting periods ending in the years following commencement of the UEFA club competitions, i.e in this case up to the end of season 2012/13.



    The last two are to protect UEFA from a club going belly up in the middle of a CL or EL tournament next season and the UEFA by now are very much aware of Rangers situation and what a risk they represent. On top of all that qualified audited accounts that might express “going concern” reservations either bring in other UEFA hurdles or make it difficult to pretend there is no problem under the ones quoted. The term gets 14 mentions in the UEFA FFP rules that the latest SFA ones incorporate.



    I do not fancy Rangers chances of getting a licence for any UEFA competition in the circumstances they find themsleves. I’m not even sure the have the administrative dexterity/experience to even supply or adhere to the rules which the SFA will have to apply with rigor to satisfy UEFA. That has never been the case before.

  4. I must’ve dreamed a thousand dreams


    Been haunted by a million screams


    But I can hear the marching feet


    They’re now beating a retreat



    Now did you read the news today


    They say the danger’s gone away


    But I can see the fire’s still alight


    There burning into the night.



    There’s too many hacks


    Too many people


    telling too many lies


    And not much truth to go round


    Can’t you see


    This is a foregone conclusion



    This is the league we live in


    And these are the MIBS we’re given


    Use them and let’s start winning


    To make it a place worth living in.



    Ooh Superman where are you now


    When everything’s gone wrong somehow


    The men of steel, the men of power


    Are losing control by the hour.



    This is the time


    This is the place


    So we look for a future


    But there’s not much truth to go round


    Tell me why this is a foregone conclusion ?



    This is the league we live in


    And these are the MIBS we’re given


    Use them and let’s start winning


    To make it a place worth living in.



    I remember long ago –


    Ooh when the sun was shining


    Yes and the stars were bright


    All through the night


    And the sound of your laughter


    As I held you tight


    So long ago –



    I won’t be coming home tonight


    My generation will put it right


    We’re not just making promises


    That we know, we’ll never keep.



    Too many hacks


    There’s too many peeple


    telling too many lies


    And not much truth to go round


    Can’t you see


    This is a foregone conclusion



    Now this is the league we live in


    And these are the MIBS we’re given


    Use them and let’s start winning


    To make it a place worth fighting for.



    This is the league we live in


    And these are the MIBS we’re given


    Stand up and let’s start winning


    Just when our bills are over due

  5. If I can add a point about the SFA’s readiness/willingness to apply the rules.



    Organisations, like all living creatures, have an inbuilt survival gene, they will do what is necessary to protect themselves.



    Thus UEFA, to protect themselves, will not want a club going belly up during their competition.



    The SFA, to protect themselves, will not want UEFA asking them how a licence was granted to a club facing serious financial difficulties and will not want to face the consequences if they have not met their responsibility to UEFA.



    Thus, whilst the well being of Rangers in the past and that of the SFA were closely linked, those conditions are now changing.



    Survival of the fittest always rules and Rangers are anything but fit.

  6. The Honest Cover-up on

    Jim Traynor really is a disgrace. Sounds as if his brown paper bag from Mr Whyte hasn’t arrived this month, or maybe it was just stuffed with Monopoly money.


    The comments on Jelavic’s worth will be particuarly frustrating for Jack Irvine and Whyte. “£10m boys…not a penny less…keep repeating it…£10m…”



    His treatment of Chic Young was absolutely disgusting. Personal attacks, vindictive bullying of a man for reporting the truth about “that nod”. Say what you like about Young, but he is a concerned Rangers fan who has given an honest account of the developments off the park at Ibrox over the last year or so. At the end of all of this he can hold his head high when Rangers are extinct and say to fellow Rangers fans “I tried to tell you”.


    Traynor has profited by lying to them about the Whyte Knight and is now trying to jump ship before it’s too late. Hell mend him. Hope the bears adapt a “BBC boycott” of the Record and they sink.



    A wee look on Rangersmedia is hilarious right now. Maybe, just maybe they are waking up to the truth about Whyte. He has been incredibly lucky that results in the league have kept the fans content so far but a few more poor results and Whyte will be seeking cover. Seems like he might not even have the Record to do some PR if the January sales commence. With the Tax case crystallising in a couple of months, their loss of league form and imminent player sales their implosion in 2012 could be a thing of utter beauty.

  7. Moonbeams WD. Kano 1000 \o/ Supporting Neil Lennon 100%. says:


    2 January, 2012 at 12:44



    Just seen it myself this morning never seen referee officials being greeted with that kind of love in before

  8. Moonbeams



    he is only greeted by ludge members … and Gold Coast Tom´s reputable buddy Murray is standing in the shadows.



    And you know what the Rolling stones say about standing in the shadows



    Murray can go home and tell the wife that fine upstanding peeple like Elbows & egg face shook him by the hand.



    Hail Hail

  9. The more the Scottish Hacks try to inflate the price for Jelavic the better as far as I’m concerned, because it’s never worked before, and certainly can’t work now that they are dire straits, and every potential buyer knows it.



    If anything repeating embarrassing claims of a £10 million value, would be more likely to scare off any bidders, they are actually again likely to be complicit in Ragers eventual downfall.



    Keep up the good work, I see Neil Warnock of QPR has taken Macheda from Man U – on loan.

  10. Awe Naw….



    Are you still on that expensive bubbly?







    I thought perhaps Spiersy was still penning his love letter to the immortal memory of “Sir Walter”?


    We could do with hearing some ‘friendly fire’ from bona fide orcs………the boul’ AJ…….Greigy et al





  11. BSR



    West Bromwich Albion was the team that media house decided upon using to sell jelly legs ….. why ???



    I honestly believe that they hoped to exchange him for money plus a player (Morrison or Dorrans)



    If they done any research they would see that the WBA chairman Jeremy Pearce has not signed a transfer fee cheque since January 2005.



    7 YEARS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    It is a bunch of simpletons that are running Scotland. School kids could do better



    Hail Hail

  12. Neil Lennon says NO to BESNA!! on

    blantyretim 2 January, 2012 at 12:52


    good to see the Hibees getting stuck into that little runt Black.



    A workmate from ayrshire knows a few huns who play with Auchinlock Talbot and its going to be competition next week to injure Black.They are out for revenge after his tackle on jellylegs last season.




  13. lionroars /MWD



    astonishing ……………..warming greeted by uebr Huns Elbows and Bentfoot



    Murray for the next Hun match ….by any chance



    btw the Edinburgh derby is completely devoid of football …the only highlights being Black getting booted and then missing a pen …wee turd

  14. Are there other SPL games kicking off at 3 o’clock today?



    If so, why are the SPL allowing our game to be televised?

  15. bankiebhoy



    Speirs isnae stupid …i believe that he knows fine well what is going on and is simply refusing to comment

  16. Imatim and so is Neil Lennon on

    2010 Never Again



    Heard a wee whisper there’s money going down on the huns winning by 3 goals or more….them getting a penalty or 2….and a red card for the mothers thrown in for good measure.

  17. thomthethim –



    I think the only rule that comes into play here is the “Saturday 3.00 – 5.00” slot. It might feel like Saturday but it’s Monday! There are often occasions where there’s a game live on TV and other league games on at the same time (midweek fixture cards usually). But never on a Saturday afternoon.



    I think…




  18. Anyone know a safe place to watch game near St Enoch centre while better looking half continues her shopping expedition?

  19. Imatim



    given Motherwell`s recent performances against the Hun …i cannae imagine you`d get a big price