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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. bankiebhoy1 says:

     

    31 December, 2011 at 17:04

     

     

    I think they know exactly who he is: a jumped up little orc with a potty mouth.

     

     

    :-)

  2. Philbhoy - It's just the beginning! on

    Wishing all CQNers a very happy and peaceful New Year from a slightly wet Stonehaven!

     

     

    Best wishes especially to wee Oscar, Knoxxy and those who have health or family issues to contend with.

     

     

    You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

     

     

    Special thanks to Paul67 and everyone at CP who are making this a very special Christmas and New Year.

     

     

    God bless you all.

  3. The Battered Bunnet on

    Auldheid

     

     

    Opportunity knocks for Celtic over the coming 6 months in my view.

     

     

    The horsetrading over what status to assign a Newco Rangers, the impact on various commercial deals across the SPL on their inevitable demise, and the knock on effect on the other clubs gives Celtic, as the stable foundation of Scottish football, an opportunity to explore a few incongruities.

     

     

    First up: Overseas broadcasting rights. Let’s take them back and start to drive meaningful revenue via the internet. If Sky threaten to pull the plug on their deal unless Newco Rangers are admitted to the top division, let them. We have the wherewithal to make a better deal free from some of the current constraints. I’m happy enough for national rights to remain collectivised as it spreads the cash around more evenly, but the clubs collectively get a pittance from overseas rights, and if Celtic can convert the emerging digital opportiunity, let’s do it.

     

     

    Next up: Governance. Let’s implement a meaningful, measureable and thoroughly transparent system of licensing and adminstration, such that the chaos that will visit Scottish Football shortly can never be reprised. This includes financial criteria for clubs as well as governance structures at the SFA etc. I want to see Scottish football advertise vacancies for professional referees, with all comers welcome to apply. If you’re good enough, you’re on the payroll. £40K per year basic, plus performance related should be quite sufficient to attract a better calibre than the School Teachers and Double Glazing Salesmen we’ve been used to.

     

     

    Then: Ownership of clubs. You might recall I advocated Celtic buying Southampton a couple of years ago. Less than £15M would have been sufficient to buy a club with an outstanding youth academy, replete with 21st century facilities, and a 5 year old all seated stadium. We might be barred from entry to the EPL, but we know how to run football clubs, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t take the EPL dividend without having to play there. The only blockage is the SFA’s rules, not UEFA’s or FIFA’s. UEFA only bar clubs with the same owner from competing. Southampton are likely 10 years away from European Football, but only 5 months away from the EPL.

     

     

    Finally: Estadio’s recommendos. I rather liked the suggestions on goalkeeping :¬)

     

     

    TBB

  4. Very interesting web site

     

    http://companycheck.co.uk

     

    You can check out any company from your local companies to rangers fc

     

    Celtic plc to whoever

     

     

    Tells you cash in bank etc , all the directors their info too including all the companies they have been involved in wether dissolved in admin or current with links to ten too!

     

     

    Hours of fun

  5. I have been trying for about 4 hours to watch the game on Celtic TV. All I get is a singalong, followed by rubbish adverts. I have tried contacting Celtic TV. No reply. Any suggestions, anyone?

  6. Elbows, went in to maim and pain

     

    He did his job,that much was plain,

     

     

    By chance, he first did touch the ball,

     

    but , earns no mitigation…none ,at all!

     

     

    For,he had malice in his Heart,

     

    A fearsome hate…

     

     

    Right from the Start!

     

     

    collie

     

    Tail’s Awaggin’, Awaggin’

     

     

    Kojo, sends his fondest wishes,

     

    to Awe CQNers..and thur Missus.

     

     

    Especially, tae Sir Paul and his Fine Lady,

     

    And tae Ma Uncle Lou, and Auntie Sadie!

  7. Happy new year to all CQNers wherever you may be around the globe!

     

     

    Back in hospital here little Oscar had a temperature so we’re stuck in over the new year. Not too worried about that though its only a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things. Got to the pub on Wednesday night for 10 well overdue pints, loved it. Well done Lenny and the Bhoys! Healey is a ….!

     

     

    I know a lot of you already pledged to give blood following my previous appeal but just a wee reminder if any of you don’t give blood regularly please consider making it your new years resolution for 2012! It is in short supply and I have learned that a lot of the blood and particularly platelets transfused here in Belfast are flown in from Scotland.

     

     

    Knoxy

     

     

    Hail Hail

  8. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon..!! Tick Tock !! on

    Parkheadcumsalford……….scroll the bar at the bottom along a bit (place mouse arrow on the small circle and drag it along)

  9. Philbhoy - It's just the beginning! on

    Knoxy

     

     

    Hope the wee fella is ok!

     

     

    I posted last week that people with health issues and taking prescribed drugs can still donate blood. (ME!)

     

     

    Get the Blood Transfusion Service to write to your doctor. Your doctor will then ask your permission to discuss your case with the BTS.

     

     

    In short, you may still be able to save a life!

     

     

    And for all you healthy guys out there who have not given blood, get your tails up there asap!

     

     

    Ya wimps! :0)

     

     

    Happy New Year to one and all!

  10. @Konxy, hope Oscar gets home soon, we got Conor home yeaterday and in great form again, hope you all have a great 2012, Hail Hail

  11. Knoxy

     

     

    The new year resolution was not to have a resolution,that was until you posted about the plight of young Oscar.

     

    Blood will be donated mate. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.HH.

  12. Knoxy

     

     

    I am hoping to start donating platlets after the new year…

     

     

    had the screening and I am good to go..

     

    only problem is my blood presure but been told it maybe white coat syndrome.. hope to be accepted soon…

  13. Just home after spending ay pleasant ++ afternoon with Árd Macha in Leo’s Tavern.

     

     

    If Carlsberg did Hogmanays….

     

     

    Looking forward to a similar experience with Noel90 in the next few days.

     

     

    Best compliments to all CQNers for the year ahead.

  14. I find it amusing that the “level” playing field is viewed by some to favour us, of course it does, we were the ones suffering the most from an uneven biased system, even if we allow that none or at least very few go out to be biased against us we must admit that it’s institutionalized bias we’re talking about, let’s be honest and look at the demographics of the country to see what I’m talking about.

     

    Growing up how many of your mates honestly supported St Mirren or Motherwell or Clyde, if I were asked to officiate between us and them, regardless of how fair I wanted to be, I know in my heart that I’d be leaning in Celtic’s favour, but, if I knew that each important decision would be viewed again by people who pay me then I would be sure to take a few seconds before rushing to judgement.

     

    Last season I said with the team we had and they had it was only a matter of time before injuries and suspensions took it’s toll but I had ignored the establishments refusal to show yellow and red cards to them at the same rate as had been done for ten previous years, check their discipline record over the years to verify it, last year was the fewest demerit points they’ve had in ages.

     

    This year it will bite them in the bum.

     

     

    Happy New Year to one and all

  15. thomthethim

     

     

    Please pass on my regards to Noel.

     

     

    What age is Noel’s young fella now?

  16. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo says:

     

    .

     

     

    31 December, 2011 at 13:42

     

    Having scrolled back on to-day’s posts I have to say that I have enjoyed your recent “adaptations”. You seem to have specialist knowledge of goalkeepers’ favoured anatomy supports. I just hope you have not offended our Australian cousins. LOL Keep them coming.

     

    Happy New Year!

  17. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Kano 1000 on

    Philbhoy

     

     

    were you in Glasgow for the Christmas with family?

     

     

    and at Celtic park for the Kilmarnock and Celtic games with hospitality?

     

     

    And did you take your father in law— previously known as Joe ( from Donegal ) the Hoo doo or some such?

  18. A Happy New Year to Tims throughout the globe!

     

     

    Still basking in the glow of us finishing the year on top of the table. Congratulations to Lenny, Dolph and Thommo and the players for turning things around.

     

     

    A prosperous New Year to you Paul and once again, much gratitude for the platforms you provide for us exiles to participate in events closer to Paradide.

     

     

    God bless wee Oscar and to ALL those that represent Celtic around the world in various causes and charities- you exemplify all that is great about Celtic.

  19. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    My brother in-laws mate drives a taxi in Glasgow he had a passenger last night who told him his sisters man has a pal at work who is a big Airdrie fan.I know, I know, but you want the truth dont you ? now his pal the Airdie fan had been at a carpet shop in the East End and the guy who sells carpets is the uncle of Hugh Keevins Editor.The thing is you see the Editors girl friend( keep up at the back now) baby sits for Elbows McCullochs wife and the thing is she told her Elbows meant it so it must be true.A happy New Year to all Celtic fans where ever you are through out the World.H.H.

  20. HAPPY NEW YEAR when it comes ghents

     

     

    Lenny, management , players …………..keep on keeping on

     

     

     

    HH

     

     

    PF

  21. West Wales Celt on

    V-Mhan, 15:10;

     

    I did exactly as you suggested and had a peek at that thread.

     

    It was very uncomfortable reading and I felt the need to acknowledge my own part in some harsh judgements…

  22. A big Happy New Year when it comes ( and retrospective if it has) to Paul67 and all CQN’rs.

     

     

    This is a special place.

     

     

    May Yur Lum Reek

     

     

    Oh, for lurkin huns – May Yur Bum Squeak (four hours until the January sales)

     

     

    HH, God Bless all and have a good one !

  23. Happy New Year Paul and all the CQN Team – Off out now to celebrate in some style in Javea. This will be our last New Year as a couple . . . my lovely Venezuelan wife announced she was pregnant at Christmas. If all goes to plan our child should be arriving on Planet Earth about the same time as we are hoisting the Champions flag up the pole ;)

     

     

    Feliz Año Nuevo Amigos!

  24. paul football remains as popular as ever, but the economy is bad jobs are being lost all over the place and people are having to make choices about what is affordable i.e. picking games over SB.

     

     

    celtic talk about being the family club, but a visit to parkhead is more often than not a sub zero temp exp, what are the club doing to make watching the game more pleasent, attractive? a heating system, standing etc…

     

     

    to put into perspective a fan could visit the pictures 3 times and spend less on admission, sit in a warm, comfortable environment for same price as 1 visit to parkhead.

     

     

    feck before/ after the games its a case of see you later nothing or no where to go to keep fans happy, warm, meal, drink etc… its poor.

     

     

    having a laugh at rangers pipedream of a new development around ibrox keeps people amused, but what happened to the celtic triange, yet that thing that would rise out of the ground, am still waiting

     

     

    our squad is still to much and to ordinary – time will hopefully move things forward

     

     

    p.s. john fleck is no better that a good young player, i have seen him many times and he was fast tracked and overrated. he was physically a man by the age of 13 years old and of course looked class as the other kids were still skinny, but grew. the scottish thing of being big and strong was most important. scouts would watch players and so long as one liked him the others followed suit. not flecks fault but he was never as good as was suggested

     

     

    and another thing whilst james forest has made the grade he was not considered as the best young playerand looked like leaving celtic aged 16 years old, whilst others got handed contracts.

     

     

    and another thing, young danny wilson was playing for ranger youths one day when celtic scout gcame to game, his mission to look at big strong boys, my brother at the time said have a look at the centre back he’s got everything, after games sout says would only consider fleck, the centre back was danny wilson and he is a celtic can as was his dad as i am.

     

     

    footballs a funny old game.

  25. Off out mow Bhoys so thanks for the laughter, tears, and posts of songs of hope and joy this year nearly now passed.

     

     

    So to Paul67 and all lurkers and posters a Very Happy 2012

     

     

    Hail Hail

  26. Celtic Soul Brother- Supporting Kano 1000 on

    Happy New Year to all on CQN and special thanks to Paul67 for making it possible.

     

     

    One for all the gamblers on here-a bloke at my son’s cricket club had a £2 bet at 550-1 on Yakuba first goal and 3-2 Blackburn!

     

     

    Needless to say he is a City fan!Got to be one of the best score predictions ever!

  27. I hope you all have a great 2012 and get all you wishes…Obviously the wishes part does not include Edward

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