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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. Por Cierto says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 15:29

     

    ‘philvisreturns & ernie

     

     

    =Labour and Tory Unionist Coalition Party por cierto :)))’

     

     

     

     

    Unionist is a term of art in UK politics.

     

     

    It refers to the Union between Great Britain and Ireland.

     

     

    I know that SNP supporters/trolls/sock puppets like to play fast and lose with the word when posting on Celtic related websites in the hope of convincing the dimmer elements of the support that supprting Irish Republicanism/Nationalism requires support for Scottish Nationalism. It doesn’t, and anyone with even the bare minimum of understanding of the issues is aware that it doesn’t.

  2. Consternation in the Blue(s) Room!

     

    Official notification of Big Wattie’s New Year’s Honour fails to arrive.

  3. saltires en sevilla on

    Dushanbe

     

     

    Aye the oul’ clandestine jiggery pokery

     

     

    The pilot thickens…

     

    I blame too much hotel food, long-haul flights and not enough exercise…probably ;-)

     

     

    I think worked out who finbar is…fairly easy Ho!

     

     

    CCB ? I have one or two possibles if not the General-need to wait for Marcusog to update then. He was giving me all the news before the orc game on Wed

     

     

    Or…you could just email me from linked-in ya dancer!

     

     

    HH

     

     

    M

  4. Happy New year to the latest into 2012.

     

     

    Here is the next creative and progressive suggestion that will see Scotland and Celtic dominate the round ball game once again.

     

     

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

     

    The Laws of the Game

     

     

    Football has always evolved. Like Darwin and the natural selection of those organisms most suited to survival, it is clear that change and progress must go hand in hand if the new future is to be realised. So the following law changes must be implemented with immediate effect

     

     

    At first we considered outlawing the goalkeepers’ use of gloves. On reflection we felt such a proposal would prove no more than lip-service to our terms of reference. Therefore with immediate effect, goalkeepers will no longer be allowed to use their hands. In fact, to prevent transgression of this law, all goalkeepers will from now on have their hands cuffed behind their backs for the duration of the match. They will still be allowed to head the ball. There are already, as we know many clubs whose goaltenders find great difficulty in catching the ball anyway; this law change will lead to a levelling of the playing field, more goals and high scoring matches. (Should they have an uncontrollable itch, they can either use the goal post or get the trainer on for a quick scratch).

     

     

    The ball (see below for further change) – two options are being considered here.

     

     

    OPTION 1 -The ball’s dimensions will be altered with immediate effect to the size of a tennis-ball. For years we produced the best players who had been brought up playing with one of these. Continuity will thus be achieved all the way from weans’ street games to professional football.

     

     

    OR

     

     

    OPTION 2 – Re-introduction of the Mitre Mouldmaster. The English and Continental influence of breeding namby-pamby wimps who have never felt the smack of a stone cold frozen mitre cannonball on the inside of their thigh, or the permanent abrasion of lost scalp and hair from a mistimed sclaffed header has to come to an end. The Mitre mould-master would see the return of real men to the game.

     

     

    The above two options will now be opened to input from the general public who may wish to also consider the resurrection of razor sharp black ash, red blaze pitches and no showers or toilets as a further deterrent to those ‘big girl’s blouses’ to roll around in mock agony when they break a fingernail. Believe me the agony will not be ‘mock’!!

     

     

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

     

     

    Supporters responsibilities in the new world to follow after my next pint and 35 ml Glenlivet.

     

     

    Hail Hail

     

     

    Estadio

  5. Monaghan1900 says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 15:18

     

    ‘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?’

     

     

     

    No.

     

     

    The lease was granted by The Kelvinside Academy War Memorial Trust (the MBB’s alma mater).

     

     

    It seems they have two securities over the complex.

     

     

    http://www.companiesintheuk.co.uk/ltd/the-rangers-football-club-plc

  6. …ahm stickin’ wi the motorised gnomes……………..

     

    Ye know where ye are wi’ motorised gnomes!

  7. DUSHANBE BHILLY BHOY on

    saltires en sevilla says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 15:57

     

    Dushanbe

     

     

    Aye the oul’ clandestine jiggery pokery

     

     

    The pilot thickens…

     

    I blame too much hotel food, long-haul flights and not enough exercise…probably ;-)

     

     

    I think worked out who finbar is…fairly easy Ho!

     

     

    CCB ? I have one or two possibles if not the General-need to wait for Marcusog to update then. He was giving me all the news before the orc game on Wed

     

     

    Or…you could just email me from linked-in ya dancer!

     

     

    HH

     

     

    M

     

     

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

     

     

    Saltires……You actually connected with him on L.I last night. Check your updates.

     

     

    An esteemed purveyor of Liffey Water.

     

     

    Wonder how many other (Manfred) Lurkers we know on here?

  8. Happy New Year to the bhoys in and around Ozland, and Happy New Year Hoopsters everywhere.

     

     

    Gordon J, glad to see the blog back and that you are on the mend.

     

     

    No disrespect to Kitalba, I think your position on the Kayal injury is admirable, but Elbows is a thug and I believe he thought his mission was accomplished. The fact that he rolled about throwing his arms up and feigning injury says it all for me. This is a well used act to avoid being carded.

     

     

    Anyways, I hope that everyone connected with this blog and with Celtic have the best of New Years and much happiness for the future, prayers and thoughts are with Kano and family and Reamonn and his family.

     

     

    gsu

  9. I wish for a successful 2012 to Neil and the Bhoys, we are indeed on the one road…

     

     

    I thank Neil and his Bhoys for their efforts in 2011, especially for finishing the year as they did, it augers well for 2012.

     

     

    I thank Paul67 for continuing to provide such a fantastic Forum that allows those of us of the Celtic Family to debate all things Celtic as well as other topics.

     

     

    I thank every CQNer for their contribution to the Site over the past twelve months.

     

     

    I wish everybody connected with CQN and their loved ones a very peaceful and Happy New Year.

     

     

    An image that sums up where we have come from since we were 15 points behind:

     

     

    Something Inside So Strong

     

     

    Keep the Faith!

     

     

    Hail Hail!

  10. I actually pity ‘teenage sensation’ Fleck in that he clearly has a lot of talent, but goodness me, what an error of judgement by joining a team with a one hundred plus year history of ‘power’ football.

     

     

    I mean, do the orcs have anyone who can take talented players like Fleck onto a higher platform (for an example, see Sister’s Pants)?

     

     

    Not asking out of spite or that, but seriously, what have they produced and nurtured in terms of talent worth the entry fee in the last 40 years?

     

     

    Bodes well for the Scotland team though. Not :-(

  11. Did Collum have a good game?

     

    He failed to get out his red card towards the end of the game but overall I think he did quite well.

     

    He gave 25 fouls against them to only 8 against us (not counting off-sides). He let them off with about 4 more fouls.

     

    But he seemed to be reasonably fair to me.

     

    The Hooper off-side and the great save by Forster were the linesmans call.

  12. Paul 67

     

     

     

    ” 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.”

     

     

    Apart from changing the season to recognise climate change I wonder if the number of folk watching Celtic has dropped as opposed to the number attending matches to watch?

     

     

    I appreciate this is difficult if not impossible to measure but when a game can be watched in a pub or at home (TV or PC) or for free in a pub or for free on line ,is it not time that some attempt was made to capitalise on the numbers of Celtic supporteres who would actually pay to watch Celtic if they in fact had the opportunity?

     

     

    I understand the current artificial barriers (like the “not 3 to 5 broadcasting”) and TV deals but advances in technology and legal challenges are beginning to render these unenforceable as well as not meeting the emerging new customer needs. I believe that in 5 years these artifical barriers will be gone, just like prohibition bowed to consumer demand for booze.

     

     

    What I would like to see is only one way of paying to watch Celtic and that is by a season book for ALL games at a standard price whether the game is watched by the supporter at the game, in a pub or on his armchair.

     

     

    It would be supplemented by a pay to view option.

     

     

    There would be an argument for a match day only SB at a lower price than current to attract a crowd that does not cover the TV viewing whilst still allowing the holder the choice to pay to view for games he cannot attend.

     

     

    To non attendees the game would be delivered over recognised to air or stream channels using verification technology.

     

     

    Obviously the opposition in each game get their cut but I think it will become unrealsitic to expect the match attending support to have to bear the lion’s share of income generation. The current arrangement where there are a number of delivery channels and even sub channels in a main channel (Sky1,2 4 or ESPN) serves neither the supporters or the club.

     

     

    Given that Celtic might be the only club in Scotland next year capable of attractingh a sizeable audience, the opportunity to totally change the thinking behind the existing model to a watching model for the future that is hurtling our way might never be better.

  13. saltires en sevilla on

    Dushanbe

     

     

    Righto…the Clash reference all makes sense now

     

     

    Yep there are a few who never post but give Ye pelters when they catch up in late night sessions in mj’s and the oul’ Marquis

     

     

    off to meet

     

    hairy face from Downpatrick in mickey joe’s shortly

  14. Wee Baz (of kebab shop fame) has been sent off – straight red. Holloway sent to the stand. B’ham 2 Blackpool 0.

  15. Happy new year Singapore

     

     

    Right, now OUR responsibilities!

     

     

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

     

     

    Involvement of the Supporters

     

     

    Critical to the success of these proposals is the involvement of the paying supporter and we recognise that the more they pay the better. It is further recognised that it is better for them to be ripped off by a benevolent SFA rather than for them in their proletarian dissolute tendencies to fritter their money away on drink and junk food .

     

     

    To encourage them to invest in Scottish football and the continued well-being of maegalomaniacal millionaires and wannabees running the clubs, we propose as of next season that all teams replace half-time draws etc with a ‘supporter’s pick’. During the pre-match warm up a random draw of season book numbers will be made. The two supporters drawn for each team will play for their team for the whole game. They will also be paid the salary of the highest paid participant (of their team) that day. If in the case of Albion Rovers, East Stirlingshire or Aberdeen the selected supporters happen to be the highest paid players, they will instead be entitled to a free pie and Bovril. This opportunity will be open to all sexes, ages and abilities. It will of course revive that age old Scottish custom of ‘taking my boots to the game ……just in case’ and may go some way towards verifying the eternal claim that ‘ma granny could have scored that’!

     

     

    Supporters will of course not go away empty handed. They are of course the life blood of our prosperity and they will be entitled to buy the shirt they wear on the pitch for a 20% discount (once they pay for cleaning fees).

     

     

    We feel that this will be treasured possession for many to look back in years to come and say ‘I was there’!

     

     

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

     

     

    Next and possibly final extract will deal with the levelling of the games’ finances

     

     

    Hail hail

     

     

    Estadio

  16. Happy New Year when it comes Gents, get the hangovers pre order for the morning. Hail Hail !!! and onwards for NO 10 in the new year…..

     

     

    God Bless…

     

     

    KLV

  17. Paul thanks again for providing a great site this year,so to yourself

     

    and All you fine people on CQN, A new Years Wish

     

     

     

     

     

    At the sound of the tolling midnight bell

     

    a brand new year will begin.

     

    Let’s raise our hopes in a confident toast,

     

    to the promise it ushers in.

     

    May your battles be few, your pleasures many,

     

    your wishes and dreams fulfilled.

     

    May your confidence stand in the face of loss

     

    and give you the strength to rebuild.

     

    May peace of heart fill all your days

     

    may serenity grace your soul.

     

    May tranquil moments bless your life

     

    and keep your spirit whole.

  18. CultsBhoy loves being 1st on

    Paul67

     

     

    Congratulations on another brilliant year of CQN. The final post is a belter the perfect resume of 2011.

     

     

    I’m glad to finally change my name and I’m loving sitting first.

     

     

    It’s always a time for reflection and reflecting on our new status I ponder how much is due to Celtic excellence and how much is fue to Rangers collapse. Certainly a bit of both. Many under performing players have rediscovered self pride and are doing the team and themselves due credit. The manager is a year older and a lot more experienced.. If adversity brings learning it explains a lot. That brings me to my arch nemesis Peter Lawwell.

     

    He has hot there at last. This window will tell us if he has learned anything.

     

    I suspect either way we will win this title do I’m far less concerned.

     

    If we win the next 5 I MIGHT find it in myself to forgive him squandering the last 3 titles… And that is progress, for me at least.

     

     

    Happy New Year to all CQN posters who make the blog what it is.. The most erudite Celtic forum on the web.

  19. The sfa have rescinded bazza’s card so he will be available for Birmingham next game.

     

    Those English cheats picking on that innocent little lamb.

     

    I saw him often in spl and he never committed a single foul.

  20. DUSHANBE BHILLY BHOY on

    saltires en sevilla says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 16:17

     

    Dushanbe

     

     

    Righto…the Clash reference all makes sense now

     

     

    Yep there are a few who never post but give Ye pelters when they catch up in late night sessions in mj’s and the oul’ Marquis

     

     

    off to meet

     

    hairy face from Downpatrick in mickey joe’s shortly

     

     

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

     

     

    Give my regards to him for 2012. Just looked “outwith” my windae…..no full moon tonight, so you should be Ok with him :)).

     

     

    Treble Ho!

  21. Steinreignedsupreme on

    bamboo: 31 December, 2011 at 16:12

     

     

    No referee is ever going to get every call correct, but there is no excuse for certain decisions.

     

     

    Collum clearly tried to avoid dishing out too many yellow’s in case he would have to send-off someone – I understand the logic behind that.

     

     

    But while he allowed several bad challenges to go from Lafferty and Bartley he booked Stokes for no worse than what he previously let go.

     

     

    He also bottled two big decisions – blowing for half-time when Samaras had got goal-side of his marker and would have been clean through, and failing to dismiss Healy for an assault on Forrest … no attempt to play the ball and knee high – a red card any day of the week.

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