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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. Kit

     

     

    I have watched the video quite a few times and am inclined to agree with you, the motion of the ball caused elbows foot to go over and Kayal’s to go under.

     

     

    My point was if collum thought it was a free to us, and the way he was on the night anything resembling 50/50 would have gone to them.

     

     

    The healy decision reinforces my point.

     

     

    Stein

     

    :>)

  2. MWD,

     

     

    Danny, I’m sorry I missed you. One.

     

     

    .

     

    .

     

    .

     

    Ramie says:

     

    30 December, 2011 at 14:20

     

    Estadio

     

    Martin was asking about you on wednesday

     

    I told him you were all good…just a couple of years older since the last time he saw you!!

     

    he regularly asks what you are up to and where you are….I always let him know as much as I can from CQN

     

    can you drop him an email when you are able?….I know you are busy….but it might be worth a wee chat when you can

     

     

    mckane@iinet.net.au

     

     

    any other tims out there who know of KANO …and are wondering how he is going ……

     

    just drop him an email and I am sure you will get a reply…communication is GOD…..some thing we all may take for granted…

     

    just imagine never being able to tell someone that you think something ….without having to spell every letter, of every word , of every sentence

     

    be assured CQNers….you are a privileged lot and you should see your ability and right

     

    of communication as a blessing…..some are not as blessed as you

     

    i wish you all a peaceful time ….you all deserve it

     

     

    hail hail

     

     

    ramie

  3. Having watched the 2nd half again today, WHY was that thug not red carded for the assault on James Forrest, ask the question Celtic…. that could have wrecked his career, don’t be so soft as thats the reason they consistently get away with it. What were the improvements in the SFA/ Ref/ ludge….. I can’t see it, if James F was out for the season would we all still stick our head in the sand as if nowt happenned.

     

     

    I know theres a wee discussion going on re the Kayal assault/ tackle, but the JF taken out of the game/ park tackle, late and at thigh height was a 100% red card.

     

     

    ASK the question Celtic!

     

     

    Vinny

     

    HH

  4. I would be inclined to agree with that assertion but for a few things:

     

    – McCulloch’s foot should have been moving at a lateral, but somewhat downward vector

     

    – Such a vector, upon colliding with a round ball, should actually increase the downward movement if, and here is my clincher, if the collision with the ball is made anywhere below the middle of the tangent plane.

     

    – for an upward change in the ‘tackle vector’ to occur, the ball would need to be perfectly on the ground and the foot coming in at least 4 or 5 inches off the ground.

     

    – for every inch the ball was off the ground, the vector height of the tackle would increase by same.

     

    – the ball would not have been perfectly flat on the ground.

     

    – measure 4 to 6 inches up your leg: this is where McCulloch was tackling.

  5. Bankiebhoy

     

     

    I’m up for any kinda technology that takes decisions away from officials in Scotland.

     

     

    Remember Fir Park 2003 or when drawing a header from the hoops went about 2 clear feet over the line and was clawed out. That draw went towards us losing the title in what should have been our most successful season since way back when…

     

     

    If the Huns not getting a goal brings in tech that will likely help make the game fairer then I’m all for it.

     

     

    I’m also for giving both managers the opportunity to question 2 decisions per game. If you don’t use them fine. If you do and prove to be correct you still have 2 but if your proved wrong then you lose 1.

     

     

    MWD

  6. THE EXILED TIM says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 14:32

     

     

    Mate I think without their leader they are clueless. The world is watching them, they know the world is watching them, but if the world catches their grand master communicating with them, then it is all over.

     

     

    I think by the actions of one or two not too distant from this post, we might yet see a level playing field in our lifetime. After that… then that is a brand new journey, a journey of hope, drink, laugh, song and green and white fun. And Europe will thank the day that a certain couple of Tims were born. God if we have our next convention in Greece we might even save the whole world economy.

  7. Paddy Gallagher on

    dirtymac says:

     

     

    31 December, 2011 at 14:42

     

     

    Aye a durty barsteward right enough…

  8. Kitalba 13:30

     

     

    Exactly! When we allow our prejudjice to rule our judgement (and which Celtic supporter does not have a prejudice against McCulloch) we risk becoming everything we despise on the other side.

     

     

    Apart from that arguing poor cases undermines our credibility as fair judges and condemns us back to paranoialand where we can never win an argument no mattter how solid.

  9. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 14:04

     

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

     

    Good Awe Naw post, the part where it says FF “clawed it away” ……. probably not awe nawe’d.

     

     

    My gripe with this shenanigans is that FF made a world class save, one of his best as a Celt and he doesn’t get any credit for it…….. well done big FF you were awesome.

     

     

    Vinny

     

    HH

  10. DUSHANBE BHILLY BHOY on

    finbar42 is Neil Lennon says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 13:43

     

    Dushanbe BB

     

     

    Here’s one you can play at your Hogmanay Hoolie tonight.

     

     

    SFOTW

     

     

    Slan

     

     

    ================================================

     

     

    aargh ……. Try this one in retaliation from me….

     

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSuYUItahrE

     

     

    ….memories of our tour of Connemara, Co.Galway, circa 1989, when every pub we went in til had a prominent picture of the Waterboys on each of their respective walls, and you wondered why?. That’s cos I was using the sleeve of “Fisherman’s Blues” as a Waterboy’s “tourist guide book” of all the pubs they had frequented while making that magnificent album. Mind the pub , on Aranmore and the donkey ride back to the hostel after copius pints of the black stuff?…hup, hup.!

     

     

    As for Mrs Atilla in Budapest……..Change money?

     

     

    P*shed, rebel songs, losers curry & up the road…

     

     

    DBB

  11. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Vmhan, Kano 1000 – Supporting Lenny & the Green Brigada!: 31 December, 2011 at 14:37

     

     

    Unfortunately, Celtic can’t do anything about it. Colum made the baffling decision not to send Healy off – but as he did book the useless ticket there can be no retrospective review of the incident.

     

     

    The media have already opted to erase the incident from history. It was not discussed in the post-match analysis or included in the highlights package.

     

     

    It was a vindictive lunge from a nobody trying to (literally) make his mark on the game.

  12. dirtymac says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 14:44

     

     

    So did I mate but I’ve got one hundred pounds says I’m more gash than you.

  13. MWD

     

     

    Yep me too.

     

    I don’t know a single Tim who didn’t just want ‘fairness’ and reliable standards of competence.

     

     

    If my facetious suggestion delivers fairness and reliable competence without the need for us to navigate the proven prejudices of those in the game who Hate…….us for their own reasons, so be it.

     

     

    As a Tim, I’ve been brought up to appreciate that we’ve had to be so much better than the compeition to succeed.

     

     

     

    I do though like the idea of wee tubby mechanical gnomes, dressed like Andy Davis firin’ up and down the sidelines offering laser-driven accuracy…………I know, I know…….I’ve taken it too far again!

     

     

    :)

     

     

    HH

  14. A happy new year to everyone in the world.

     

     

    I see we are discussing the way the game should adopt new technology to resolve close decisions.

     

     

    Far be it from me to suggest that I have the final solution but some time ago I prepared my formal input to Henry McCleish’s report on the state of Scottish football. Sadly he didn’t see the benefit of my radical suggestions.

     

     

    The full (and very)lengthy submission can be found in all it’s stunning revolutionary progress at

     

     

    The SROSF report

     

     

    But with special regards to refereeing decisions just go to the section entitled The Role of the Referees.

     

     

    The world has only itself to blame if it continues to ignore such innovative thinking for too much longer.

     

     

    Hail Hail

     

     

    Estadio

  15. DUSHANBE BHILLY BHOY on

    Saltires,

     

     

    “clashcitybhoy”…..can’t reveal his identity here. Pal of someone who has contant “bad dreams” and Whitey, inter alia.

     

     

    I will tell Markusog when he’s over at ma hoose on Ne’r Day and he can tell you offline.

     

     

    Don’t ya just love all this clandestine single fish.

     

     

    Double shat!

     

     

    DBB

  16. Not posted for yonks, not sure how long a yonk is, need to look up on wiki. I no longer have a season ticket, due to my sons team, that i also coach, now playing at 2pm on a sat. So being old fashioned in my outlook on supporter credential, my opinion has lost validity.

     

     

    I`m glad I refrained from some of the debates, it is time to unite and kick on, though some meetings may be required to determine what we unite behind.

     

     

    I think our season started against Motherwell, but did nit expect the turn around to be as quick and possibly decisive.

     

     

    As Paul states above we have a young talented, yet reasonably experienced side. With modern churn of squads it may be difficult to see them all develop together, but we have so much competition for places the core of the side will likely come from this squad for a few years.

     

    My one concern about the transfer window is different from normal, rather than see new faces, I`d rather we didn`t disrupt things too much.I have long wanted a top ch at the club, yet Rogne and Mulgrew were outstanding on Wednesday. Charlie was my man of the match. Reinforcements should be top drawer, automatic first team choices.

     

     

    Anyway, enough of my random ramblings.

     

    a good 2012 to all, things Celtic are looking good.

  17. !!Bada Bing!! Kano 1000 on

    I read Newcastle are looking at another keeper,a deal for FF could well be on the cards.

  18. Som mes que un club on

    Sure we all remember how ‘the Scottish Wayne Rooney’ was being lauded as the next best thing a number of years back and was even being touted by Leckie to be unleashed on the Dutch during a Scotland qualifying campaign…

     

     

    fallfromgracecsc

     

     

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/16373693.stm

     

     

    p.s Ross Perry now takes on the mantle of the ugliest player at Ibrox.

     

     

    http://www.oufc.co.uk/page/ProfilesDetail/0,,10342~39105,00.html

  19. Steinreignedsupreme on

    !!Bada Bing!! Kano 1000: 31 December, 2011 at 15:02

     

     

    “I read Newcastle are looking at another keeper,a deal for FF could well be on the cards.”

     

     

    I think the current loan deal includes an option for us to sign the big fullah.

  20. West Wales Celt on

    “West Wales Celt says:

     

    15 October, 2011 at 13:21

     

    I think we are watching the end of Lenny’s term as manager.

     

    A clueless performance from the players and the management.”

     

     

    Mea culpa; I was wrong and very pleased to have been so…

     

    Happy new year to all Celts, especially Neil Lennon and his players.

  21. Don’t like Blackburn never have done.

     

    However, I do have a wee soft spot for Steve Keen. Well done that mhan.

  22. Come On You Bhoys In Green!!

     

     

    A Happy and Prosperous New Year to those in the Celtic Family.

     

     

    HH

  23. Ten Men Won The League on

    Auldheid@14:44

     

     

    Seeing as we won Wednesday’s match i sincerely hope the club have expressed disquiet about Collum’s handling of the game to the Referee’s Supervisor

     

     

    He is patently not up to taking charge of such an important fixture and should be removed from the list of referees who are deemed ‘suitable’ of handling such an occasion

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