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State of the Club Report, year-end 2013

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On practically all measures the club has had a less successful 2013 than 2012 but I’m going to give you a positive State of the Club Report today.  2013 gave us one critical achievement, qualification for the group stage of the Champions League.  Winning the league title is, of course, critical for most ambitious clubs, but at Celtic it has become a bit like putting your socks on; it’s something we do as a matter of course.

Overcoming Elfsborg and Shakhter Karagandy was a lot more difficult than it should have been.  They are to us what we are to teams at the top of La Liga or Serie A, but our superior resources eventually held good.  You get a sense from recent comments by Neil Lennon and Johan Mjallby that the realisation we need to shop at least one transfer window in advance of the period we need players to be effective has dawned.

Next season’s qualifiers will, in all probability, be more challenging, so the hard work necessary to ensure a high probability of a successful outcome should already be underway.

Performance at this season’s group stage was ultimately disappointing after a promising start.  We held our own for 80 minutes away to Milan, looking as comfortably as we have been away to a top Spanish or Italian club in 30 years.  Conceding two late goals felt harsh.  Defeat at home to Barcelona was frustrating.  The plan worked perfectly while the game was 11 v 11 and even when we were reduced to 10 men we still had a chance to take the lead, but Barca were hot favourites from the moment Scott Brown flicked out at Neymar.  We missed Brown’s influence hugely over the next three CL games.

A tactically impeccable performance at home to Ajax but some points on the board but the three remaining games, away to Ajax and Barcelona, and home to Milan, were abject.  It was like all our accumulated wisdom of how to compete in this tournament was lost.  The Milan game at Celtic Park was particularly disappointing as it mirrored the manner and score of the defeat to Juventus earlier this year.  No lessons were learned.

When Teemu Pukki cheerfully told us he would bring pace and strength to the Celtic attack, but not a bundle of goals, there was a ripple of concern across the support.  In Europe, we can often only afford one striker, so he needs to be the type of will look away but have the ball bounce off his bum and into the net.

Recruiting a player who possesses this talent and can successfully deploy it on the Champions League, while he does his weekend business in the SPFL, has proven to be the key challenge for the football department.  It’s not easy, but it’s certainly not impossible.  We know the issue, we have time and money in the bank, so I don’t see why we can’t find a solution.

2013 was not a time of harmony for the Celtic support.  Amid vandalism, flares and multiple Uefa fines Celtic banned fans and donated seats in section 111 to charity.  We are 10 years after the Fifa and Uefa Fair Play awards.  The road back to those times will not be easy but there is a road back.

In early 2012 I appeared on Radio Scotland, where James Traynor insisted that Celtic were doomed if the SPL clubs refused to allow Newco Rangers elevated access to top flight football.  I told him the overwhelming consensus on Celtic Quick News was that we were prepared to pay the price to ensure new clubs start at the bottom of the league pyramid.  If it meant more youth players, fewer fans, less effective European competition, so be it.

The predictions of doom were largely misplaced.  Celtic have not only been able to reach the Champions League group stage, twice in succession.  My money is on them qualifying again next year, while season ticket sales in excess of 40,000 is exceptionally robust in the circumstances.

It was almost exactly nine years ago that I suggested the start of the Martin O’Neill era would herald a Generation of Domination, as Sir David Murray’s financial recklessness would lead to Rangers collapse.  Now the only questions is, how many generations are we talking about?  None of what has happened since is a surprise.  Our progress on the field will not be linear, it never was, but it is assured.

Have a great New Year, you deserve it.
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  1. Soz.. thanks for that you condescending git :) .. well done being first on the last article of the year….

  2. No 7 would be a personal best!

     

     

    Andrew Dallas must have as bad a memory as the set of the SFA

  3. darwinsbeautifulidea on

    black should have been thrown out the game after the gambling revelations the guy is just scum on and off the field

  4. Paul67

     

     

    Nothing about the growth agenda?

     

    This is the elephant in the room and you are silent.

     

     

    PL has received his bonus but has he earned it?

     

    What happens next?

     

     

    Can leadership and direction be shown to the GB?

     

    Can the divide between the support and the boardroom be bridged?

     

     

    Please never mention the GoD again.

     

    Just how close did the TFOD come to pulling it off?

     

    Far to close for my liking.

  5. danso_1888:

     

     

    I just think it is cowardly to pass our fear of fear onto our children; our shameless refusal to confront shame.

     

     

    That is our shame, no matter how much we deny it, that is our shame and we bequeath our children the issues we refused to address.

     

     

    As the Aberdeen supporters told us, two years ago, in banner, “Your silence is deafening”.

  6. eurochamps67

     

     

    13:33 on 31 December, 2013,

     

     

    Excellent post EC, that’s what Celtic is all about.

     

     

    Have a good New Year mate. YNWA

  7. But we can always go on pretending, how great we art and live in a past that is gone with our dads and mums who have gone.

  8. Paul67:

     

     

    We should have always and should always in the future be planning at least one transfer window in advance, we most certainly should always be planning for our assault on Europe in January given we always have three qualifiers. And next season we should be planning to ensure we have the strongest possible squad to keep secco where they are if and when they return to the Premier League.

     

     

    We should never wait to see if we qualify for the group stages. Some will argue that we cannot attract the necessary Players until we qualify for the group stages. To those I would say there are Players out there within our price bracket that are both good enough to get us to the group stages and to help us compete competitively in the group stages.

     

     

    Happy New Year to you and the family. And please pass on my best to Martin42 and his good lady.

     

     

    Keep the Faith!

     

     

    Hail Hail!

  9. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon, supporting WEE OSCAR..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    !!bada bing!!

     

     

    15:10 on 31 December, 2013

     

     

    What the heck is going on…..

     

     

    IAN BLACK will serve a suspension next month after he collected his sixth League One booking of the season in this afternoon’s 1-1 draw with Stranraer.

     

     

    The midfielder was cautioned in the second half by referee Andrew Dallas and automatically incurs a ban which begins 14 days from now.

     

    That means he will definitely miss the meeting with Gary Naysmith’s East Fife side at Ibrox on January 11.

     

    But the club will ask the SFA to clarify if the punishment might be more severe following a suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards last term.

     

    The belief is that because Black faced disciplinary action then and he is now set to do so again for a second consecutive campaign, he could ordered to sit out two games.

     

    If that’s the case, the former Hearts midfielder will also be absent for the clash with Forfar Athletic at Station Park on January 20.

     

    Black had actually managed to avoid any bookings until the dramatic 4-3 win over Brechin on October 19 at Glebe Park.

     

    But having stayed out of trouble in his first eight appearances of 2013/14, he has now collected six cautions in just nine matches.

     

    Manager Ally McCoist said: “It’s extremely disappointing. Ian had managed to avoid picking up yellow cards and silly, needless ones.

     

    “If that’s six in nine games now though that’s not good at all and he’s obviously no good to us in the stand.”

  10. EuroChamps67 brilliantly defines why Celtic will prevail.

     

     

    Perhaps it’s worth remembering the ol’ CQN tagline, Celtic News, not lazy journalism.

     

     

    But now, the Scottish mainstream media are anything but lazy. In fact, they are very, very busy indeed. Their efforts are borne of the very real prospect that Celtic’s continuing domestic dominance and relative success in Europe, coupled with an unrivalled supporting spectacle, will lead to their inclusion in a restructured top tier of European Club Football as Scotland’s sole participant.

     

     

    That is the Armageddon that they and the Scottish Football establishment fear.

     

     

    This is why Celtic winning is decried as bad for Scottish football. It is why every division or transgression among Celtic ranks is amplified into a full blown crisis.

     

     

    Keep focussed.

     

     

    Keep winning.

     

     

    The successful implementation of an innovative and integrated football and business strategy will see Celtic prevail…

     

     

    At the top level of European Football. But with new, less parochial rivals.

     

     

    Look to the future, now. It’s only just begun. ;-)

     

     

    Happy New Year to everyone!

     

     

    To CQN 10 and onwards…

     

     

    Chris

  11. kitalba,

     

     

    our plc do not care one iota because the believe we will get on with it after being disgruntled and we probably will but there will be others like myself who will not

     

    how many i really do not know but there will be and thats how we will be slowly

     

    dismantled as it is dividing the support, whats wrong is wrong no matter how its dressed,

     

    for the good of the game is the most popular,is it good for the game that we are involved in corruption? make no mistake this could not have been done without our help of turning a blind eye and i do not like this at at all and i thought celtic supporters were smart it seems the fear of no football has worked.

  12. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon, supporting WEE OSCAR..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    subterranean

     

     

    15:30 on 31 December, 2013

     

     

    THAT IS IT IN A NUTSHELL……AND I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND WHY ANY CELTIC SUPPORTER CANNOT SEE THIS……….WE NEED SEVCO LIKE A BACKSIDE NEEDS A PLUKE….

  13. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS .........FC not PLC on

    Wishing all good Tims a great New Year,and an unhappy awakening to the huns.

     

     

    Reality bites.

  14. !!Bada Bing!!,

     

     

    i agree with the panto time but this is what we have become because no one will tackle them, the question all celtic fans should be asking why will our club not ask it?

  15. overseasbhoy-worked with a guy about 6 years ago ,his wife handled large individual accounts at a bank where Allardyce was a customer when he was Bolton manager.He asked me to guess how much Allardyce cleared a week at Bolton.After a bit of thought,run of the mill EPL Club……,i said 15k a week.Believe it or not he cleared 63k a week………….and stuck 10k a week into his wives account.!!! After i got up off the floor,i knew he was on some mad 10 year contract with Bolton,which must have included astronomical pay rises to keep them in the league…..allegedly…

  16. The season of exactly 100 years ago culminated in Celtic winning the double,with a scintillating 4-1 victory over Hibs in the Scottish Cup Final.Unfortunately the Great War immediately after this,would ensure that more than a few of the players and spectators present that day,would never see or play in another Cup Final….Lest we forget.

     

     

    Celtic fan Tony Donnelly,who was an ever present that season,said outside Hampden….”It’s been a great season but I wish tae feck they’d cut oot aw that pyro in the Mount Florida end.Ahm away tae the Brazen Heed fur a screw tap….Hail Hail’

  17. Wishes for 2014? I’d like to see an entertainer in the team. Somebody that can go past his man, in the traditions of our great players in the past. Somebody that will bring the crowds back – the player you would gladly pay to go and watch. Oh, and if he has an end product and can score 25 goals a season – even better. Best wishes to all.

  18. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon, supporting WEE OSCAR..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    danso_1888

     

     

    15:40 on 31 December, 2013

     

     

    The question all Celtic fans should be asking is “how can I maximise my support for Celtic”. Leave sevco to go the same way as their predecessors …… And hopefully take the whole cabal with them………anything Celtic do / say will be used as ammunition to drum up bhun support as their tribute act approaches the abyss …….sssh, and enjoy

  19. subterranean,

     

    During Mr Stein’s glorious march to 9 in a row, the familiar refrain from the SMSM

     

    was that it would be good for Scottish football if Celtic were to falter. Funnily enough,

     

    I missed such sentiments being expressed during Minty’s now disgraced era.

  20. We will know a lot more about our chances when this window closes.We have the basis of a very good team at the moment.Forster,the back 4 plus Lustig and Fisher.Biton,with games will be a star playing in a diamond.Broony,Mulgrew,Ledley,if he stays,very solid.Commons up to a level is terrific.Our strikers are abject.Against what most of the more hysterical”Happy clappers”think,no one expects us to spend a fortune on a striker.Just get in someone who can do the job.People have been on here denigrating the two boys from ICT and St Johnstone.”Not Celtic class”.Just what is “Celtic class”.Pukki,Bangura,Balde?.Most people involved in the game will tell you a natural striiker will score anywhere.Witness Hooper at the moment.I am not advocating buying any of the two,but we need someone who instinctively knows where the goals are.The St Johnstone boy gave our very good back 4 a torrid time recently,virtually playing on his own.

     

    The finances are great.Will be better this year.

     

    The problem with the fans is one that is causing the most friction.Something will have to be done this half of the season.A start could be made by telling the Stewards to wind their necks in a bit.The rest,god knows.Still not happy with Celtics response to the GB situation.Just what have they done?.A few banners,a FEW fireworks.They are Ultras for gods sake,not choirboys.Going by the morgue atmosphere at the last home games,they will be sadly missed,not least by the team.

     

    Anyway,we are unbeaten,in with a great chance of the “Double”and they are dead,and looking like their reincarnation will either join them,or wallow in poverty for the foreseeable future.

     

    The future is bright,its Green and White,like Glasgow.

  21. i an asking as are others, does it not start to dawn on people finally were are our club during all that has went on and still is,stop making excuses for decisions that are to do with the very integrity of our game, i ask whats been done and still going not corrupt? then why are we a part of it these questions need answered not fobbed off with window dressing, is there genuinely any supporter who does not believe were were cheated by the sfa? if yes is your answer then what the hell have we done to remedy it?

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