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. Paul cracking article and a happy new year to you and your family and I am sure everyone will agree without CQN where would we be.



    Hail Hail lads.



    I was one of them fans who wanted Neil out when the team was doing bad but I will never doubt him again.



    Happy new year to all my fellow tims and I know what my new year resolution will be lol.



    Stay off CQN when drunk annoying my fellow tims and once again i apologise if some comments offended anyone.



    Have a great night lads and god bless you all.



    Most of all god bless Neil Lennon.

  2. Paul67 et al



    Actually it is a pity we didn’t have a game at Parkhead today! Anyways, top of the league going into the new year for the first time in three years. This time we need to do all we can to stay there. And do as well as we can in the Cups. In the meantime best wishes to all those on here, and Paul67 in particular for his sterling work, and let us hope that next year is not going to be their year, it is going to be our year, it is going to be Celtic’s year!

  3. How did I miss Phils latest article exposing the dark side of the media



    Keep bad news out and put news in.



    The Press Officer or “spin doctor” has become an increasingly influential and vital figure for major organisations, especially in the age of the constant news cycle.



    As ever in life people usually mess up when they forget their core function and go off on one.



    The following comments are attributed to Strathclyde Assistant Chief Constable Campbell Corrigan in a minuted meeting yesterday with two representatives from the Affiliation of registered Celtic supporters clubs.



    “On the subject of relations between large elements of Celtic support and the police CC accepted that there had been a breakdown in trust following a series of anti-Celtic briefings given by the Communications Officer at Strathclyde Police. It was pointed out and accepted that the journalist and the tabloid concerned were known to have an anti-Celtic agenda. CC confirmed that future briefings from police would need a different approach and that Communications Officer would no longer be doing that function and that Celtic PR Dept. would be involved. CC accepted that these events had been damaging to police.”





    It is a rule of journalism that you must never become the story.



    It is also difficult for a spin doctor to spin something about themselves…



    This is now a story about a spin doctor.

  4. RobertTressell says:


    31 December, 2011 at 15:44


    not an afficiado , but do smoke around 4/5 a month ( cigars that is) , if it is a special occassion and you`re flush go with the Cohiba`s , they are excellent and a decent size at around a tenner each. For sharing ,looking good and a good smoke the KingEdward Centurions or Senators are excellent , slightly cheaper the Villigers , around a tenner for 5 always do the job.


    Happy puffing

  5. Done.



    didnt know if you caught my wee thank you on thursday, Coorslad was chuffed the ticket went to a good port home, hahah.





    you need to get along to the Green Brigade experience, absolutely brilliant.


    watching the game again, and hearing the noise from 111, and thinking i was there, its brilliant.

  6. Stivs



    nephew was in green brigade on Wednesday too…



    need to get there myself..



    off to vigil bhoys.. speak later…

  7. Evening fellow Celts,



    Watched the game at Old Trafford today as if I was a Blackburn die hard.



    Really delighted for Steve Kean, talk about dignity, well, he’s kept it recently, brilliant.



    Many ex Celts getting on the scoresheet and having eventful games down south today:



    Caldwell sent off and concedes pen for Wigan (no surprise there)


    McDonald scores and hits woodwork twice for Boro


    Stan scores at Stamford Bridge for Villa


    Malky Mackay’s Cardiff winning 1-0 courteousy of Kenny Miller (less said the better)


    Lambo’s Lions get last minute qualiser at home to Fulham



    Lastly, can anyone tell me the current whereabouts of the following:



    Stephen Pearson


    Ross Wallace – Burnley?


    Craig Beattie


    Momo Sylla



    Happy New Year to all………







  8. Right, happy new year wherever the big and wee hands on the clock of the internaional dateline have met.



    Time to get suited, booted and have a piece ‘n’ square sliced before heading back out again.



    I Leave you with the killer change that will once again see Scotland and Celtic ascend to the heady heights of universal football hegemony!





    The minimisation of advantage gained through financial prosperity



    It is of course recognised by the committee that all of the above will undoubtedly be copied by the world at large and while we may gain a slight advantage by being ‘first mover’ it will prove almost certainly to be no more than temporary. The curse that is ‘money’ will see the self styled elite once more corrupt the game to their advantage. Therefore the final proposal is undoubtedly the key change that will see the game flourish only in Scotland (and with selected partners) for at least the next hundred years.



    As we know, in the late 19th century the game of football, while popular was pretty haphazard and disorganised until like a new enlightenment the Scottish game brought forward the revolutionary idea of ‘passing the ball’.



    At the time the true power of this innovation was not realised nor capitalised upon. Now we need to right that wrong.



    With immediate effect we propose to patent the concept of ‘passing the ball’ and no other country (unless with our specific assent) will be allowed to utilise it in their own version of the game of football. Many clubs will of course see no difference to their game while in Scotland many will wonder at just how they are going to make use of this newfound opportunity. Patience will be required but it is the committee’s view that even in Scotland, the exclusive use of ‘passing’ should lead to a massive advantage over the opposition. (It should be explained here that the idea is to pass to someone wearing the same coloured shirt!)



    We only have to look at the last 40 years to see the advantage that competitors had over us by the illegal use of our invention while we ignorantly adhered to kick and chase.



    With this one change we believe the Scottish revolution will be finally complete and we can look forward to overtaking Brazil in the World Cup acquisition stakes. A suitable space has been allocated at Hampden Park for the trophy when it is awarded in perpetuity.





    Lang may yer lums reek!



    See you in 2012



    Hail Hail




  9. saltires en sevilla on

    Marcasog says:


    31 December, 2011 at 11:58



    Cheers my oul’ mucker



    Expecting to see some pearls from you soon



    So nae pressure then ;-)





    Have a great 2012







  10. Blantyretim



    At his place right now, just picked up his carryout down at the local! Might take a spin through to Kirky to visit a friend of ours who is laid up, depends on the weather through that way. Remember that old story about Cary Grant, somebody sent over a telegram to the US asking ‘How old Cary Grant?’, to which he replied He fine how you? How Oldtim? He fine, how you?



    Hail Hail

  11. Tommy Joad says:


    31 December, 2011 at 16:55



    Pearson is on loan at Bristol City from Derby


    Beattie is on loan at Watford from Swansea


    Ross Wallace is at Burnley



    not sure about Sylla

  12. Kayal33, thanks



    Never knew Pearson had left Derby, same team as David Clarkson ex Motherwell then….


    Momo still looked elastic enough in the Legends game v Man U !!!




  13. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon..!! Tick Tock !! on

    Happy New Year to all my fellow Celtic Supporters, manager, staff, players and Board………should be a very interesting year ahead……..!!!!!!!!

  14. Tommy Joad says:


    31 December, 2011 at 16:55



    Pearson scored the only goal for Bristol City last night (away) – to give Southampton their first defeat of the season.

  15. Wee Bazza, eh?



    Sent off, straight red for foul and abusive language.


    I bet he was dumbfounded to see the festive coloured card, an him only doing what he’s always done to the “Friends of Hugh”



    I mean don’t these eejits realise who HE is…….?



    Poor wee soul.

  16. Blantyretim.



    I.m here in the house,If you weren’t so far away we could have went for a drink.


    Has WDH booked up for Espana yet,he wants me too go with him but I don’t think I could handle two weeks with him,all that good food and wine that he would recommend would just about finish me off.


    But you never know though,he may talk me into the trip yet.



    He’ll probably be on shortly, slagging me off.



    I’ll be on after the bells to wish you a Happy New Year.

  17. Happy New year and thank you from THE KANO FOUNDATION



    Well 2011 is nearly at an end and what a year it has been for the Kano Foundation.


    We welcomed some fantastic volunteers on board who have all played a huge part in taking us forward. We gained charity status, some brave souls got their legs waxed, we had a great christmas party for the kids AND Christmas eve saw us take our 1000th child through the turnstyles FREE OF CHARGE. But above all we made loads of new friends.


    So to everyone who supported us this year THANK YOU. With your help next year can only get better and more kids will get a fantastic day out.



    From all at the Kano Foundation have a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

  18. Paddy Gallagher on

    Off out now comrades ,so I would just like to take this opportunity to wish you all, and your families the very best of good wishes for 2012.


    I will raise a glass at midnight to you all in the CQN family, past and present.

  19. Momo was playing in Moldova until his team went orcish (bust) in 2009. He’s rooming with Zheng Zhi at the Best Western and is available for selection on Monday.

  20. Happy New Year All CQN’ers, thanks for all good wishes for the wee man (Conor) on Wednesday night when he was in the hosp, delighted to say he is in flying form and back home for Hogmany, or New Years Eve as they call it here in Dublin, eventually got to watch highlights today, elbows hard challenge would say booking as both went in with straight leg, Healy def red, laugh at me booking. Hooper onside, Wallace goal, it’s great to get a favourable decision from a MIB for once, top of league at Jan 1st is better than we could all have imagined at 3 nil down to Killie, long may this run continue, Hail Hail and may the wind be always at your back