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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. Ten Men Won The League on

    Yakubu skins Carrick + Jones to make it 2-0 Blackburn

     

     

    Berbatove pulls one back within a minute

     

     

    Game on

  2. Summa of Sammi…. says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 13:44

     

    .

     

     

    Happy New Year Bhoys..

     

     

    Had to Come back from the Beach unwell..Drinking Ginger Beer..:O((((

     

     

    G’Night..Off to Bed..

     

     

    #AuldCodger..

     

     

    Summa

     

    ************************

     

    aaaaaaaaah ………. yir drunk, yir drunk ya silly auld fool and still ye cannae see!

     

     

    Happy New Year 001 bhoy, SoS ……

     

     

    Vinny

     

    HH

  3. Paul67 – 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.

     

     

    Can you imagine what Scotland will be like if the Wee Free SNP succeed in breaking up the UK?

     

     

    Happy New Year everybody. (thumbsup)

  4. row z \o/ (O) Mississippi Burnin Nearer Home on

    BRTH

     

     

    Only the naive would think that the Wolftones selection of Graffiti was anything other than deliberate. As openly Irish Republicans, would you expect anything else?

     

     

    Why would they go for ‘Tongs Ya Bass’?

     

     

    Suppose they could have gone for Oo AAh FTP, OO AAH FTP, but they have little interest in religion or Glasgow Gangs.

     

     

    Just because their selection had deliberation doesn’t mean it is not valid or accurate of the time.

  5. PFayr:

     

     

    and if the roles were reversed and it was McCulloch that went of injured. Hurray! Another Robson moment. Perfectly legit of course. Perogative is subjective.

  6. SPL stake claim to be goal-line technology guinea pigs

     

    By Iain Jardine

     

    Last updated at 9:54 AM on 30th December 2011

     

    Comments (4)

     

    Share

     

     

    New technology: The SPL have offered to trial goal-line technology

     

     

    The Scottish Premier League have offered to trial goal-line technology.

     

     

    World football’s governing body have been testing camera systems and will decide in July whether to go ahead with full-scale tests.

     

    SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster has offered to pilot any such scheme in Scotland next season, believing it can end controversy over decisions such as the one that saw Rangers’ Lee Wallace denied what looked like a goal in the Old Firm game on Wednesday night.

     

    Neither referee Willie Collum nor his assistant was able to tell whether the whole of the ball had crossed the line from the defender’s header before Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster clawed it away.

     

    Doncaster told the Daily Record: ‘I’m in favour of goal-line technology and telephoned FIFA this morning immediately and offered the SPL for any pilot scheme that might be approved by FIFA.’

     

    Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan said: ‘The test results will be discussed in March after the financial tax tribunal. The Old Firm game was another example where the technology could have proved very useful indeed.’

  7. row z \o/ (O) Mississippi Burnin Nearer Home on

    Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 13:57

     

    row z

     

     

    how very dare you !

     

     

    Aw Naw

     

     

    I only dare on this timternet thingy since in real life you’d probably bop me! ;-)

     

     

    HH

  8. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Kano 1000 says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 13:31

     

    ‘Ernie

     

     

    where in the accounts does it refer tp a lease?’

     

     

     

     

    Page 21

     

     

    http://www.rangers.co.uk/staticFiles/f6/56/0,,5~153334,00.pdf

     

     

     

    Tangible Fixed Assets—Long Leasehold Properties——— £3,976,000

  9. Good news on Commons.

     

    We have missed his ability to play early ball not to mention his shooting.

     

    Hope Ledley goes into the middle with Vic and Broony.His ability to pass and move should create more from middle and we should be able to get forward more in support of strikers.

  10. Much inconclusive debate over the Elbows-Kayal tackle.

     

     

    I saw it, in replay, as two committed players going for a loose ball.

     

     

    Beram’s foot made contact with the bottom half of the ball, Elbow’s, the top half.

     

     

    The rotation that followed, took Kayal’s foot into the ground and Elbow’s onto Beram’s shin.

     

     

    Both men played the ball.

     

     

    Interestingly, Collum restarted the game with a free kick to Celtic,rather than a dropped ball ( or stoat up in football parlance).

     

     

    However, for me, the main point is that Elbow’s should not have been on the park in the first place.

     

     

     

    Off out soon to scrounge a pint from Árd Macha.

  11. kit

     

     

    my response would have been

     

     

    well done kayal you did that thug barsteward

     

     

    and you were lucky not to get carded

  12. philvisreturns says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 14:00

     

     

     

    ‘Can you imagine what Scotland will be like if the Wee Free SNP succeed in breaking up the UK?’

     

     

     

    Scotland would be a blacker country and its heart would be colder.

  13. Opps! past midnight now here, so to every single Tim wherever you are in this world, whatever your timezone, from one isolated Tim to every Tim, I wish you well in the year to come.

     

     

    If nobody minds there are a few Tims that I would like to send my best regards to… Ol’Tim, Ramie, Dick Byrne, Paul67, Kano. We’ve all walked the one road together, all of us, and it is a never ending road; as we die, others will take our place; will take up our fight. I hope our generations to come are as good as the best of our generation.

     

     

    Reamonn says goodbye to the Thai Tims. Good Child Foundation.

     

     

     

    Our mate Kano

     

  14. Kitalba

     

     

    I have viewed the challenge a few times since Thursday night when I disagreed with Hamiltontim when he was of the same opinion as you. At that time I hadnt seen the challenge on TV and was still going with my initial impression from game. Anyway, although I can see we’re both Hamiltontim and your good self are coming from I still feel it was more deserving of a red card than it was a yellow due to the fact that McCulloch came in with a straight leg showing his studs. Yes on hitting the ball the angle and trajectory changed bringing contact below Kayal’s knee but if it wasnt for that I imagine Kayal would bee looking at 6 months out with a broken/shattered ankle.

     

     

    MWD

  15. Goal line technology is interesting. Wonder will the SPL trial linesmen who can keep up with speedy forwards so they don’t wrongly flag for offside time and again.

     

     

    Mort

  16. kitalba says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 13:54

     

     

    Playing the ball does not a good (or fair) tackle make.

     

     

    The laws of the game are quite explicit on this point. Winning the ball first does not mean that it (the tackle) was ok.

  17. PFayr

     

    Would have been hard for Kayal to hit the coward as he would have been already doing the Naisy triplle salko.

     

    He is the epitomy of one who gives but cannot take

  18. nothing without fans says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 13:53

     

     

    I already pointed out my mistake in attributing my response to you; it was for Kitalba.

     

     

    Mea culpa.

  19. dirtymac says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 14:19

     

     

    Fair enough by me as longas it is consistent, but if we employ such a distinction were we wrong to contest that penalty that saw the end of dougie dougie?

  20. Re the goal line technology brouhaha……and thinking of the fallibility of linesmen…..

     

     

    I’ve an image of those wee mechanical ‘hares’ that race up alongside the doggies at the track………bear with me…..

     

     

    Couldn’t we kit out wee gnomes in refs clobber, with an articulated ‘arm’ holding a fluorescent flag to belt up either side of the ground? Naw!

     

    Lasers could make the call whether or not the palyer is offside and not some out of shape, asthmatic “Friend of Hugh “………….

     

     

     

    I can see it clearly in my mind’s eye…..

  21. Steinreignedsupreme on

    THE EXILED TIM: 31 December, 2011 at 14:21

     

    “Re the tackle.

     

     

    “If it was a fair 50/50 challenge, why did collum give the free to us ?”

     

     

    He made stranger decisions on the night – blowing for half-time when Samaras was about to sprint through on goal and refused to send off Healy for a shocking lunge at Forrest.

     

     

    Anyone would think Colum was a competent official judging by your comment…

  22. kitalba says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 14:23

     

     

    Not sure why we’d be wrong as Pernis grabbed Hooper’s ankle and despite this, Kenneth had already fouled Hooper immediately prior to the Pernis incident.

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