State of the Club Report, year-end 2014


2014 saw Celtic win their third consecutive league title, but we didn’t reach either cup final.  A period of significant change got underway during the summer when we said farewell to Neil Lennon.

Neil took over from Tony Mowbray, his first managerial appointment after working with the Youths at Lennoxtown.  His first season was the one that got away.  Defeat at Inverness with the title within their grasp, Walter Smith’s Rangers took their third successive title against the third difference Celtic manager.

Three months into the next season, Celtic were 10 points behind a Whyte-McCoist inspired Rangers, but that was overcome, with interest, by Christmas.  Celtic went on to win the league by 20 points, although 10 of them were as a penalty for Rangers incurring an insolvency event.

Thereafter it was plan sailing for Neil.  He never looked back in the league and reached the Champions League group stage twice, progressing to the knock-out stage on the first occasion.  He learned the managerial ropes at Celtic and did enough in his four years here to establish himself as a European-class manager.  He was our third unqualified success in four appointments.

By this summer it was evidence to all, including Neil, that significant rebuilding was needed.  The job was handed to Ronny Deila.

Ronny’s first challenge came in the Champions League qualifiers in the form of Legia Warsaw.  Despite the record books showing Celtic progressed after a 3-0 default home win, Legia wiped the floor with Celtic home and away.  Celtic looked like a team of strangers, unfamiliar with the system they were asked to play.

That was, of course, true, the system was unfamiliar, but it’s execution was miscalculated, the on-field results were deserved.  The Champions League playoff round against Maribor was unusual inasmuch as Celtic dominated the away first leg and deserved more than the 1-1 draw, but the Slovenians arrived in Glasgow with their game face on.  Celtic were outplayed and out of the Champions League.

Things slowly got better, although home performances against Motherwell (by my measure the worst) and Hamilton Accies (who were impressive), and latterly Ross County indicated there is still a long way to go.

Ronny’s Celtic found their feet in the Europa League, where they finished second behind a very accomplished Salzburg.  The away performances against Salzburg and Astra gave an insight into how things could be for this Celtic team.

It was, to say the least, disappointing not to qualify for the Champions League.  It denied the club millions of pounds and shaded our trump card in to be used in attracting players, but in reality we’re not a Champions League team this season.  The Europa’ gave us an opportunity to play European football on our level, pick up coefficient points and extended interest after Christmas (if you’re young this won’t mean much, if you’re my age, you’ll recall this being our Holy Grail).

Inter Milan await in the next round.  They are also going through a rebuilding exercise and are as vulnerable to lesser-resourced teams as Celtic – so unlike Juventus two years ago – we have a sporting chance.

The tactical direction of the club is visibly distinct from what went before Ronny.  Is this a good thing?  Probably.  Neil Lennon and his players over-achieved in their first Champions League season on a scale it’s difficult to measure.  That squad had no right to reach the levels they did; theirs was a herculean effort.  Play Matthews at left back, alongside a central pair of Wilson and Ambrose.  Put Miku up front, with Mulgrew and Ledley in the middle – then go beat Barcelona.  It was beyond impossible.

Barca, Ajax and Milan were prepared for Celtic last season; we finished bottom, out of ideas and direction on that stage.  We needed to change, same again wasn’t going to wash.

Ronny’s played a high-pressing game, mostly with players who are unaccustomed to the demands of this game-plan.  This has been a mistake on several occasions, most notably against Legia and Maribor.  He’s working on player fitness, but in all likelihood it will take the next two transfer windows before he can craft the squad into the shape he wants it to be.

We’re halfway through the season and, with Aberdeen playing before us tomorrow, there’s a chance they could go top of the table, for a couple of hours, anyway.  That’s not good enough, by any measure.  Notwithstanding the revamp, we should have done better in the Champions League qualifiers and we should be further ahead in the league, but the fundamentals remain intact:

We needed to start post-Neil Lennon with a new tactical strategy.
Trying hard not to be disrespectful to Aberdeen, but we’re going to win the league.
We’re in both cup competitions.
We remain in the Europa League.

I was happy with the direction we took in appointing Ronny Deila and remain so.  The problems of the last six months could be classified as First World Problems.  We’ll get over them, while others watch on from the Other Worlds.

Have a Happy Celtic New Year, strap in and enjoy the ride, I promise it’ll be a great one.

Sale on at CQNBookstore, fill your stockings.

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  1. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all ladies, gents, roasters, bampots, heid-the-baws, bangers, stoaters, dobbers, wallopers & balloons ( all terms of endearment, I assure yeez ) a very Hoopy & prosperous New Year.



    H.H. & KTF

  2. masty is neil lennon and both of us are supporting wee oscar


    14:07 on


    31 December, 2014




    theres feck all holy about that mob..



    Mea Culpa.


    Should have read “Unholy war”I was on the verge of excommunication there.

  3. Hamiltontim


    14:26 on


    31 December, 2014





    A fair analysis.



    However, I don’t agree with your assessment of the Maribor tie.



    In my opinion they were prepared to sit back for the first 45 minutes in the away leg and see what we had. They allowed us to have the ball, retreated in numbers only pressed us once we got into the final third.



    After the break they were like a different side.



    In addition their coach had clearly learned more from the first leg than Ronny.




    We are in the knock-out stages of the Europa League because of Craig Gordon’s heroics. Mostly, the rest of the team stood back and let him save our bacon time and time again to scrape through (8 points out of a possible 18 remember) out of the weakest groups in the competition.

  4. Gordon_J backing Neil Lennon


    13 million X 70p I Think :)))))


    Half a loaf is better than nothing :)))

  5. Laxey sold their shares for 20p a share..


    I think they were “preferrential” shares originally bought for 1p.

  6. TheLurkinTim


    14:34 on


    31 December, 2014


    I would like to take this opportunity to wish all ladies, gents, roasters, bampots, heid-the-baws, bangers, stoaters, dobbers, wallopers & balloons ( all terms of endearment, I assure yeez ) a very Hoopy & prosperous New Year.



    I would like to add to that list,


    Fuds and Trumpets,also terms of endearment.


    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL ON HERE AND ALL TIMS WORLDWIDE,from a waterlogged,dreich,leaden skys,Turkey.

  7. m6bhoy



    14:36 on 31 December, 2014



    Craig Gordon is paid to save the bacon, he dosen’t do it as a favour HH

  8. Richie #TeamOscarForever on

    The young bhoys showing the way (from the Celtic website)



    CELTIC’S Development Side will travel to Germany at the start of 2015 to take part in the prestigious Mercedes-Benz Junior Cup.



    Some of the best of the best young players on the continent will be on show in Stuttgart as eight teams from five countries battle it out for the top five-a-side prize.



    The Bhoys will face Hoffenheim, Borussia Monchengladbach and Fenerbache in their group, with Stuttgart, Schalke 04, Manchester United and Grashopper Zurich all potential opponents in the knockout stages.



    Having last participated in the five-a-side tournament three years ago, it will be a new experience for most of the youngsters, though many were involved in a similar event 12 months ago – the Sparkasse & VGH Cup, based in the German town of Gottingen.



    Now in its 25th year, the Mercedes-Benz Junior Cup has proved a showcase for some of Europe’s most promising talent, with 87 players going on represent their national teams and five of them lifting the World Cup.



    Stevie Frail’s side will take centre stage for the competition’s opening game on Saturday, January 3, when they square up to Fenerbache (kick off 11.05pm, Celtic Park time). They will meet Borussia Monchengladbach (kick off 12.37pm, Celtic Park time) and Hoffenheim (kick off 2.09pm, Celtic Park time), before the latter stages get underway.



    Celtic squad for the Mercedes-Benz Junior Cup:



    Jordan Hart


    Calum Waters


    Jamie McCart


    Fiacre Kelleher


    Jack Breslin


    Aidan McIlduff


    Aidan Nesbitt


    Paul McMullan


    Regan Hendry


    Mark Hill


    Calvin Miller


    Theo Archibald

  9. Mike Bhoyle


    14:37 on


    31 December, 2014


    Laxey sold their shares for 20p a share..


    I think they were “preferrential” shares originally bought for 1p.



    Not sure about that Mick.Sure someone will let us know.

  10. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    The group behind a purchase of two million Rangers shares claims it will not have any involvement in running the club.



    Laxey Partners Limited increased its stake in Rangers International Football Club plc on Monday by buying more than two million shares for around £840,000.



    The purchase, held on behalf of the firm by nominee shareholders Credit Suisse, saw Laxey’s stake in Rangers rise to around 4.99% of the company’s issued capital.



    It is not yet known who sold the stake to Laxey Partners, which is an Isle of Man-registered hedge fund.



    The firm, which is led by investment bankers Colin Kingsworth and Andrew Pegge, is believed to have paid £1m for one million shares as an initial investor in the newco Rangers last October.

  11. Just volunteered to take the wee mhan tonight so may not get on later(though the odds are short I will) may I take this chance to wish each and every last one of you and your famillies a Happy 2015.



    May you be granted the strength and Grace to deal with whatever it brings.


    “Lang may yer lum reek”

  12. What is the Stars on



    I dont agree



    The appointment of Ronny was a mistake,his continued presence in a job he is hopelessly unable for is a bigger mistake and leaving him in control until the end of the season could be a disaster



    Ok its a first world problem


    But the sooner the better the club admit their mistake and appoint a manager the better for all of us



    Happy New Year

  13. jamesgang



    14:38 on 31 December, 2014





    13:29 on 31 December, 2014


    Joe Filippis Haircut


    13:15 on


    31 December, 2014


    bournesouprecipe. I do not understand what is going on over at Ibrokes but once again they appear to be pulling back for the brink.I have said from the start of there fiasco that they will survive in one form or another and I still think that is the case. H.H.



    Of course there will be.Just what form is anyones guess.The buy out of shares helps them not a jot.Laxey,if them,have taken all the money.Nothing going into the huns at all.They have not pulled back from the brink.What they have now is a replacement for whoever sold the shares,nothing more.No fresh finance for the clubThey still need the £8-10 million to keep going.






    So keep me right here……



    It’s not that they’re veering away from the brink; applying the brakes before the brink or have attached wings to off set the effects of the brink in some kind of Chitty Hunny Bang Bang fashion?



    Rather some misguided gummy bears (hard to believe given their expected business nous) have bought their tickets and clambered on board the Bigot Bus as it careers towards oblivion!??



    I would love that to be so.


    Time will tell. The MSM won’t.






    HH jamesgang

  14. Proudbhoy



    The Imposter is on Youtube



    I’ll not spoilt it by telling you what its about, but u should definitely watch it




  15. turkeybhoy



    14:33 on 31 December, 2014



    Hey don’t be nasty TB, everybody needs a hero the 3 DOBears are next in line behind whyte green and the sleazedales, HH

  16. What is the stars.



    Talk me through your level of football expertise then ? Who would you have managing Celtic in the real world ? Talk me through when you have seen a more successful and financially sustainable Celtic than we have now in your Celtic supporting history ?

  17. Richie #TeamOscarForever on

    I quite liked this tweet on twitter:



    Dear The Rangers fans,


    Men with money gave men with money, money. The Rangers got no money.


    Why the fuss?

  18. leftclicktic



    You’re one of the best my friend.



    God Bless and Hail Hail to you and the family.

  19. bournesouprecipe



    I remember when the deid team ‘swooped’ usually with a private jet and a Perthshire estate or Jersey retreat mentioned; Sevco merely spew, stumble or stagger…it’s just not the same.




  20. hun skelper


    14:40 on 31 December, 2014





    14:36 on 31 December, 2014



    Craig Gordon is paid to save the bacon, he dosen’t do it as a favour HH






    Constantly relying on your last line of defence is not a policy that has a long term future. Craig Gordon is paid to do a job which he excels at. It’s just a pity that that more of his colleagues don’t match or come close to him.

  21. HT


    Thank you





    Steve McClaren’s Derby County and Scottish giants Celtic are interested in Chesterfield striker Eoin Doyle, according to the Irish Independent.




    Doyle is attracting interest



    Doyle, 26, has proved to be a revelation for Chesterfield this season and has already scored an impressive 21 goals in all competitions for the club.



    The Dublin-born forward signed a new deal at the Sky Bet League One club back in August, however he could be set for a move away if the right offer is placed.



    It is highly unlikely Chesterfield boss Paul Cook will want to see one of the club’s prized assets leave, however if a sizeable fee comes in for the striker, a move may have to happen.



    Doyle is known for his superb movement in and around the opposition box, making him a menace for opposing defenders. His knack of finishing opportunities handed to him is also very impressive, his ability to score goals is somewhat resemblant to a young Michael Owen.



    The Irish Independent suggests that Cardiff City, Sheffield United, Preston, Bristol City and Millwall are also eyeing a potential move for the clinical striker.



    Doyle joined Chesterfield from Scottish side Hibernian in 2013, and he has really hit the ground running at the club after scoring 29 goals in 64 appearances at the club.



    The 26-year-old forward has had previous spells at the aforementioned Hibernian, Sligo Rovers, Shamrock Rovers and Shelbourne.



    A move to Derby County or Celtic will be a significant change in Doyle’s professional career, and he would need to quickly adapt to playing football in a higher division, but there is no denying he has the talent to succeed in a tougher league.

  22. !!Bada Bing!! 14:53 on 31 December, 2014


    Craig Gordon is our best player




    Without doubt but then he’s not had much competition this season from any of his team-mates.

  23. Richie #TeamOscarForever on




    Championship promotion-chasers Derby County and SPL champions Celtic have joined the list of clubs contemplating a January move for Eoin Doyle.



    The Dubliner is in line to capitalise on a remarkable campaign where he has already scored 21 goals in all competitions for Chesterfield.



    It has placed the League One side in a dilemma heading into the transfer window as they must decide whether to cash in on the 26-year-old.



    Derby are considering Doyle because of his movement around the box and predatory finishing that would suit a side who create an abundance of chances. Steve McClaren is interested in adding an individual with his qualities to supplement his squad for the crunch part of the season.



    Celtic, who are aware of the League of Ireland graduate from his time at Hibs, have indicated to Doyle’s camp that they want to be kept informed of developments in light of the dramatic increase in his strike-rate.



    Cardiff City boss Russell Slade is also a fan of the former Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers attacker.



    Millwall, Sheffield United, Preston and Bristol City are long-term admirers of a player who is expected to command a fee in the region of £1 million if Chesterfield opt to sell.



    His representatives will meet with the Spireites hierarchy later this week to discuss where they stand heading into a period where strikers are in huge demand.



    Former Sligo Rovers boss Paul Cook does not want to lose a key player yet respects that Doyle could potentially make a big leap in his career off the back of his impressive run.



    Elsewhere, Hull City’s move for St Patrick’s Athletic defender Sean Hoare could be complicated by speculation surrounding their manager Steve Bruce.



    Hoare made a big impression during a brief trial with the Premier League side last month.



    Bruce – a candidate to replace Alan Pardew at Newcastle – was particularly taken by the centre-half who also scored highly when he was assessed by the fitness and sports science staff in Humberside.



    The 20-year-old has broken through to become a regular under Liam Buckley in Inchicore and started in their famous FAI Cup win over Derry City.



    He was also drafted into Noel King’s U-21 squad for the double-header with the USA and Russia in Marbella and made his debut as a sub against the latter.



    Hoare is under contract at Pat’s and they would therefore be entitled to a fee if Hull follow up on their interest.



    The Tigers dipped into the League of Ireland market last summer to bring Cork’s Brian Lenihan across the water.



    Another Leesider who could be on his way to the top flight in the coming year is Preston’s Alan Browne.



    The physically imposing 19-year-old joined the League One outfit a year ago from Cork City where he was only on the fringes of the first-team squad.



    Browne, a midfielder, has taken a big step forward this term, making his 25th appearance of the season in a weekend draw with Crewe.



    Swansea have watched the energetic hard worker five times and view him as a long-term option although they may wait until the summer to follow through on their interest.



    Browne has also graduated to King’s U21 set-up and was part of the Spanish squad along with Hoare.



    On the manager front, Chris Hughton says that he is attracted by the job vacancy at Brighton & Hove Albion.



    They are seeking a new boss after parting company with Sami Hyppia and Hughton is understood to be in the frame.



    The former Irish full-back has told the BBC that the Brighton job would tick the boxes.



    “It’s a very good club and one that has a tremendous infrastructure,” he said.



    “Anybody like myself that has been out for a while would be interested in that type of job.”



    Irish Independent

  24. roy croppie


    14:51 on


    31 December, 2014





    I remember when the deid team ‘swooped’ usually with a private jet and a Perthshire estate or Jersey retreat mentioned; Sevco merely spew, stumble or stagger…it’s just not the same.



    You are forgetting the intimate tour of Sir Mintys world famous wine cellar.

  25. What is the Stars on




    Stop being silly



    Ok I am an eejit and Ronny is a great manager


    I am the only one who cant see it


    Or I am a hun troll


    Or I am an MSM dupe


    Or I have a sense of entitlement and am throwing the toys out of the pram



    Firstly its not my job to appoint Celtic managers but if it was I would appoint a proper one.


    The Celtic job is a big job and you would get plenty of ambitious young and not so young managers willing to take it.(if they were paid properly and given a reasonable budget)


    In the meantime I would sack Ronny today and just pick random fans from the crowd to pick the team and organise tactics for the next few weeks until we have a manager.


    I reckon that would be a better option than The Delusional One



    However maybe you are right and Ronny is great



    Motherwell away was a shambles,watch that game again and then look me in the eye and tell me Ronny is a manager

  26. Ronny and his system has been done to death I guess, some fancy it and some don’t.



    I just think back to when we have played in the CL, opposition gaffers have usually said –



    ‘Typical British team, back to front, fight, full of running etc etc’



    I like the idea of a modern style of play, and an opportunity to develop young players to play it.



    As opposed to, 442, style dependent on our best player at the time.

  27. Paddy Gallagher on

    Sir Minty’s Jersey retreat is just 5 minutes from me, impressive luxury property overlooking St Brelade’s Bay and owned now by a lovely couple (one of their 8 properties) from the midlands.

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