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. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Kano 1000 on




    Thanks for the link to the accounts and I note the entry.



    Clause 29 also states that all long term lease committments and payments are related to land and buildings.






    If it is not Murray Park that is leased– then– eh– what is?



    Yet the hat says that Murray park is freehold?



    Curiouser and curiouser????

  2. the hyping up of Fleck and his dismal progression as a footballer



    another embarrassment for the LL



    they really are a collection of clueless hun chuckle monkeys

  3. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Vmhan, Kano 1000 – Supporting Lenny & the Green Brigada!: 31 December, 2011 at 15:03



    Aye. It reminded me of the Riseth challenge on that Team USA Hun (Rayner?). He was rightly sent-off on a bad day for the club.



    I remember at the time saying to someone; “What is that guy doing wearing a Celtic shirt?”

  4. hamiltontim



    seems i was wrong about Collum and his solidarity towards his brother refs



    the guy is spineless and terrified about making a decision against the huns …………….reptile

  5. BRTH


    re Murray Park


    surely if RFC is their club, then Murray Park for free is not a problem ? – i.e. no money would change hands where the use of Murray Park is concerned – just pay whenever, IF ever and if not, don’t worry about – we are the people, type of thing ?

  6. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan



    Is the position not that David Murray owns the heritable interest in the Auchenhowie Folly and leases it to Rangers? If so, I don’t understand the fact that it is listed as an asset in the accounts – the value is surely speculative given that I can’t see anyone wanting to buy the lease?

  7. Well as the elixir of Sharkeys takes its heady effect, for those who can’t be bothered wading through my dribble, here is a wee excerpt of originality which may see our game saved from the despond of banality.






    The Role of the Referees



    With immediate effect all referees and linesman will be dispensed with. The laws of the game, the conduct of the match, stoppages, additional time, everything including penalties and all that stuff will be controlled by the commentators and pundits in the media box, or if they can’t make the game, by satellite link from their hotel bedroom while they enjoy a late breakfast or an early livener.


    By using current technology, decisions will be flashed up on the electronic scoreboard thus keeping the fans involved and informed of the whys and wherefores of decisions. This should lead to an even greater empathy between expert and supporter; more even than exists now.



    To ensure that players do not take unfair advantage of this seemingly “at arms’ length” arbitration, they (the players) will be fitted with two small electrical terminals. In the event of any ‘law’ transgression the media observer(s) will transmit a short sharp shock as a quick reminder of the ethos within which the game should be played. Yellow and red cards will no longer be needed as additional transgressions will see the current increased accordingly. We feel that this will bring a degree of fit between punishment and crime that is all too sadly lacking in today’s game. We also feel that due to the high regard in which both commentators and expert interjectors are held, arguments by supporters over the correctness of the decisions are unlikely to arise.



    As a minor but important aside, in order to minimise the dilution of the game’s roots and keep it cosy within the Scottish family, ALL commentators and contributors to things like papers and blogs will hereby refrain from using the terms goal-kicks, free-kicks, bounce balls and throw-ins. These events will WITHOUT EXCEPTION be given their true and historic descriptive of ‘Bye-kicks, fouls, stoat-ups and Shies.





    Some cutting edge thinking to follow!



    Hail Hail




  8. Som mes que un club on

    Fleck Nephew Set To Play For Rangers At 16



    Jan 11 2008 By David Mccarthy



    JOHN FLECK could become the first 16-year-old in almost a quarter of a century to take part in a competitive match for Rangers this weekend.



    The talented teenager has been named in Walter Smith’s squad for Sunday’s visit of East Stirling in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.



    He is tipped to play at least some part in the game and if that happens, the midfielder – a regular in Rangers reserves – will follow in the footsteps of Derek Ferguson who featured in a league match at 16 back in 1984.



    Fleck, nephew of former Rangers striker Robert Fleck, has been fast-tracked through the youth ranks and is regarded as a potential superstar of the future.



    Smith has put him on the bench for a couple of league games this term but the visit of the Third Division outfit could give Fleck the chance to show the Rangers fans his ability for the first time.

  9. TMWTL



    it depends on what perspective you have on his performance




    some may think he has done a sterling job in his last two derby matches

  10. Watch Alujo on the post at the celtic goal..a chicken hearted nobody who has just placed the worst wager of the year

  11. PF



    Re Fleck.


    The guy clearly has some talent, and perhaps potential….



    The real tragedy tho’ is the burden put on the lad himself.


    I understand the lad isn’t exactly short on natural confidence……but he will have to live with the legacy of unfulfilled expectation forever more.



    As you say, the LL were clearly doing a PR job on the ‘price’of an RFC asset.



    Same job they are still doing, just insert any name of a first team player….



    Hell mend them.




  12. Fleck has not been signed by Man utd yet?


    Fergie will probably gazump Sheffield utd by at least 20million for this creative genius.

  13. Steinreignedsupreme on

    TopCorner: 31 December, 2011 at 15:21



    “will not be surprised to see swallex take mcg off fplg



    “de Gea a shambles”



    That wouldn’t be an improvement. I thought he was all over the place the other night – not that anyone highlighted it.



    God knows what the reaction would have been on here if Fraser Forster had allowed a corner to come through his six-yard box and end up in the back of our net while staying on his line.

  14. Ten Men Won The League on




    That is 2 derby games in succession he has handled and in both matches he has made catastrophic errors



    I seem to remember Steve Conroy not getting another derby after his faux pas in disallowing Fortune’s goal + failing to send of Laughatme?



    The fact that Collum got the game tells you everything you need to know about the SFA’s referee committee, but seeing as the Huns lost i wonder if he will get another?

  15. PFayr



    Yep agreed re golum. Although without wishing to continue the debate, I happen to think the challenge on Kayal was fair.


    However, how Healy stayed on the park is another matter.



    Have a good New Year mate.

  16. glendalystonsils on




    Big Fraser would not have lost that goal that De Gea lost. Fraser punches a bit too often for my liking (when he could catch the ball) but when he punches , it stays punched.

  17. Bankiebhoy.


    Can see no evidence for your assertion that Fleck has talent and potential.


    As a hun player he is assisted by his brother in black and yet still fails to show any ability.


    A level playing field in England will not be an easier platform.

  18. bankiebhoy



    if he has talent he has done well to disguise it ….he can`t even get a sub appearance in a poor Hun team



    maybe he`ll be anothr C Adam and progress when he leaves bigotdome



    to think how they tried so hard to vilify McGeady

  19. STV understands that the puntin’ of John Fleck is as good as a new signing for Walter McCoist and Chairman Whyte.

  20. Steinreignedsupreme



    you really think mcg is that bad ?



    the usual hunguffery from state media ?



    i thought he was reasonable



    tho i’d go for the likes of Jaskelinen before him

  21. glendalystonsils



    Yes most Goalies punch now dont they. It must be a coaching thing por cierto.

  22. TopCorner



    He (McG), does seem to struggle with long range shots though, I wonder if he wears glasses and has contacts in when playing? por cierto.

  23. Paul,


    I am not a big fan of transfer windows….or any windows for that matter, just having moved to a Mac….:)



    At any rate, the January window seems to be something that we haven’t got right. Not recently, at least. By my calculation, in the last 3 January windows, we have only acquired ONE first team regular….and even at that, many would argue that Chris Commons has fallen out of that category. While Ki JOINED us in the 2010 January window, he had been signed much earlier and had the look of being the result of a more thoughtful strategy than the apparent panic of the January sales.



    For the record, here is how we have done in the last 3 winter windows:





    Willo Flood;





    Braafheid; (loan)




    Kamara; (loan)


    Keane; (loan)


















    Doesn’t make compelling reading, does it? I hope that we don’t sin players for the sake of it. We have a lot of CB’s of similar quality. The only intelligent thing to do is buy someone who is MUCH better than what we have.



    Likewise for a striker. Obviously, neither would come cheap.



    I’d hang on to whatever money we have. We’ll need it to sign big Fraser.

  24. Steinreignedsupreme on

    TopCorner: 31 December, 2011 at 15:33



    I think he is a great shot-stopper and has impressive reflexes.



    But he makes way too many basic mistakes. He is really dodgy with crosses (as you’d expect any Hun to be…) and his concentration levels are questionable.



    He regularly loses soft goals – at least three against us in the last year and a couple for Scotland that readily spring to mind, yet he has this mythical status as being almost invincible.



    I’m pretty sure English teams will have watched him – but the fact he has not had any offers to move (his own quote when he signed his new deal) tells its own story.

  25. A Happy New Year to you all when it arrives.



    Been a tough year for Celtic People. I hope we can look forward to happier times. It certainly looks that way and I fully intend to be at the title party if there is to be one this season.



    Whatever else 2012 brings you all my earnest hope is that it brings you Peace.



    Keep the Faith Comrades in Celtic.



    PS Any cigar afficianados out there recommend a good cigar that is not outrageously priced – the one stipulation I have is that it has to ‘look the part’ for a big celebration!



    PPS Glenmorangie for me tonight to see the New Year in quietly at home with the family. Anyone got anything interesting to imbibe as the bells strike midnight?

  26. Afternoon everyone,



    Just a quick look in to wish Paul67, all on here and your families wherever you/they are in the world this Hogmany/New Years Day, my very best wishes for a very healthy and Happy 2012!



    God bless the Celtic family!




  27. RobertTressell says:



    31 December, 2011 at 15:44



    A happy new year to you and fellow Celts. I agree entirely with the sentiments. Hopeful for next year. Me and Mrs F are tucking into some Bowle (punch) interspersed with some fine German beers. I’ll break into the Nordhausen Doppelkorm (Schnapps) later on. Ubiquitous on TV here is ‘Dinner for One’, which strangely few in the UK have ever seen. The drinking game that goes along with it is not to be recommended.



    In any case, Prost!



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