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. What is the Stars,



    Thats enough from you.Its New Years Eve.Away and get drunk.


    Happy New Year mate to you and yours.Have a great one.Similar to Ronnies.LOL.

  2. Hopefully there is no truth in the Doyle rumour, in his time at Hibs he did nothing to impress, actually looked out of his depth in what was a very poor Hibs team

  3. This afternoon’ s Inter kites-



    Podolski/ Lavezzi/ Salah / Shaqiri.



    Loans / Inter are skint.

  4. What is the Stars on




    Happy new year to you too


    and indeed to all on here



    Ronny may well win the league but sooner or later Peter has to admit he has made a mistake



    Anyway makes no difference what anyone thinks


    Looking forward to this fast attacking football that Ronny promised



    Craig Gordon man of the match everytime we play outside of Scotland




  5. About the use of smart phones at games, surely we could show texts about the game, photos etc etc from people on the big screen, even film of folks at the game, I know it would have to be moderated :). We need to use the technical factors that are there, how about ordering and paying for your half time snacks during the game, with your smart phone, and then collecting them at HT instead of waiting for ages, it can be done using modern technology which is readily available with the wifi system in place, I am sure there are other use for all this as well por cierto

  6. Channel 4 News ‏@Channel4News 3m3 minutes ago


    Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has been suspended from all football activities for 6 weeks after his comments about Jewish and Chinese people.



    No politics in sport ? ……………………………………….

  7. Deeee-lighted, just got a very Happy New Year Message from my Daughter in Sydney – didny like her 2015 blue hat mind :-)



    HT/Auldhied, I actually put up 2 days ago, that one of the key strategies of our Board, should be getting the stadium full, and get 52k season tickets back, even for minimum increase in fina ial taking through the gates


    Major problem, though, we do not have the product on the park to keep them, and like WHiTS, I am not convinced – Yet – Ronny is the Mhan to deliver on that





    With regards catering, I do need to give credit, huge changes lately, hot homemade soup and Stovies now being served along with numerous other improved items, so we’ll done on that area



    Hail Hail

  8. WITS



    Generally agree with some of what you say , but Craig being MOM outside Scotland is no real measure, that accolade was also given to FF on numerous occasions, the one positive is that we have proved we can score away from home in Europe this season albeit against poorer opposition.

  9. My last post of the year – and I really mean it….


    It dizny matter what striker Celtic play – they dont get chances


    so they look like numpties – wrong!


    Look at Pukki now that he is playing for a ‘properly’ managed team


    that creates chances for the strikers!


    My best Celtic formation…Wim’s 4-4-2 with the diamond midfield.


    Happy New Year to all the reallists who stood in the Jungle. Yes, you as well Gerry McNee when ye stood in the midde of the Celtic supporters in the Jungle, on boxing day 1984 when we lost 1-2 to Dundee Utd and, did yer match report from the ‘real’ Holy Ground.







    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.



    H.H. & KTF






    Ironic that your post was immediately after a c&p from FF or RM



    Those places fit the descriptions you apply,for sure!



    Happy New Year,mate. Enjoyed your stuff. Great site,innit?

  11. bhoylo83



    14:42 on 31 December, 2014





    I’ll keep it in mind. Watched a few already tonight.



    Cheers buddy

  12. What is the Stars on




    Fair point about Forster



    However you must be a hun/msm dupe/spoilt brat/not real fan if you agree with me




  13. Paddy Gallagher on






    15:03 on



    31 December, 2014





    Paddy Gallagher,



    Are you a millionaire.I think we should be told.




    Naw mate – just got bad neighbours :-). His old Jersey home 5 mins from the Airport is impressive though.

  14. roy croppie


    “God knows why she is cleaning under the bed then…”



    i played that game once -didn’t end well

  15. SFTB



    Nice response :-)



    Just found out Daughter has been in the blue mountains for 2 days, sent photo’s Cliff hanging – Awesome



    Hail Hail

  16. What is the Stars





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






    Here’s the highlights






    I watched that game again and the highlights don’t show half the chances we created. Shambles??? We were superb that day, some brilliant football, which even the commentators on there and on the bbc remarked upon. Not only would I look you in the eye and tell you Ronny is a manager, I’d look you in the eye and that is a template for how the game you should be played.



    You see what you want to see. That is RD to fail, so that you get your wish. But when called out upon it, you have no solutions. It’s not a difficult question.



    Who would you want as to replace RD and how much time is he to be given?

  17. eddieinkirkmichael on







    Although I think the catering has improved this season, I still think it’s overpriced by at least 40%. The service is slow and it’s obvious that some staff could do with training.


    At the Ross County game I got a pie and a coffee after waiting in the queue for 15mins, during the wait I noticed they had no lids for the cups and the staff were going through to the next section to get lids, unbelievably they only brought the number of lids they needed for each order instead of just gradding a box of lids.


    I pointed this out to the young girl who served me and i swear she was actually stunned that I had made that suggestion. She then went to get a lid for my coffee and came back again with only 1 lid.



    On at least 3 occasions this season I have not bought in the stadia as the queues were moving so slowly. I wonder how many others choose not to purchase as they can’t be bothered waiting in the queues or think the product is to expensive.



    I go to junior football when Celtic aren’t playing at home on a sat and I can get a pie and a coffee for under £2.50p

  18. Cowiebhoy



    Glad you heard from Laura!



    I actually believe that to some extent Celtic are listening to supporters concerns and opinions. Now, don’t get me wrong there’s a long way to go but I’ve seen evidence of it particularly in the past 6 months.



    Aye the catering has improved but the cost is still ridiculous in comparison to high street prices.



    Our high point in attendances when the stadium was rebuilt was never sustainable. Current crowd levels are pretty much on a par for what they were out with the ‘Fergus years’.



    The real difficulty is in trying to entice back those missing thousands.



    Who were they?






    Young/middle aged men?



    I don’t know.



    My point to Auldheid though was that the highest recorded attendances were in the days when football was predominately a working man’s past time.



    If the focus is put on the game being a means of family entertainment how sustainable is that in the mid to long term?


    BURNLEY78 1449



    I agree entirely with your assertion that we are currently financially stable,and won’t dispute the success either.



    The problem I have,and I doubt I’m alone,is that while granting the board the kudos for the above-and I do,said it loadsatimes-is that the financial model and the football model must run in line.



    And guess what? We even have that right!



    It’s a fact.



    The financial model is failing in tandem with the football model, because….



    If the club insult us by putting pish on the park,we’re not gonna turn up.



    And they are. And we aren’t.



    So how does that suit your idea of a well-run club,long term?

  20. Happy New Year to all the Celtic family, getting in early as I get a bit maudlin on Hogmanay and my crankiness level rises. I drink from the cocktail of memory, regrets and promises at this time and it gets weary. 2014 has been a very hard year but I am still blessed by many things ( there you go I am off already)


    Hail! Hail!

  21. A couple of points.



    STV understands Laxey Partners made the decision to sell in the hope the group would provide strong opposition to Mike Ashley, who was recently thwarted by the Scottish FA in his attempt to increase his shareholding to 29.9%.


    Now, why would it be in Laxey partners interests to provide strong opposition to Mike Ashley when they’ve managed to wipe their hands of the sorry mess.



    Someone was talking about making more revenue from catering, now this is a laugh. Even in the Kerrydale suite, which is more upmarket than the catering stalls around the stadium. I purchased my first bit of food from them a hamburger, chips and some pakora.


    The hamburger (I think about £4.50) was absolutely disgusting and the pakora was crispy and burnt. They have chefs in the Kerrydale suite, what are these people doing? Are they trained? Or just walking about in chefs whites for the look of it?


    I realise they are just taking them, but if they are chefs the should be pointing out about the quality (or lack of) the food.


    During the year there was all clamour to provide the living wage, I think it’s nearly 8 pounds. Now I know you’re not paying 8 pounds an hour for Jamie Oliver, but still.



    Before I posted I just read cowiebhoys post praising the catering, granted I didn’t have any hot soup or stovies, but anything I’ve had I’m including the pies are awful.





    I seldom buy in the ground, mainly because of the ridiculous cost.



    Usually buy something outside.

  23. What is the Stars on

    Johnny Rambo



    forget about the highlights


    We won one nil


    It should have been six


    Late in the game Motherwell were down to ten men and they almost equalised


    Why ?


    Because our defenders spent more time attacking than our forwards did


    We almost threw 2 points away


    Proof if any were needed that Ronny would be ok in a Norwegian under 14 schoolboy league but not for Celtic

  24. eddieinkirkmichael



    I rarely buy inside the ground for all the reasons you outlined.



    Good to see you yesterday mate.

  25. We play Inter Milan on 19 February, the Chinese New Year: Year of the Sheep. I’m hoping that this is not an omen…..

  26. Jonnyrambo67



    I watched that game again and the highlights don’t show half the chances we created. Shambles??? We were superb that day, some brilliant football, which even the commentators on there and on the bbc remarked upon. Not only would I look you in the eye and tell you Ronny is a manager, I’d look you in the eye and that is a template for how the game you should be played.






    Away at Motherwell was one of our best performances this season.



    However, I’d be just as inclined to apply your above point to Legia in the two games against us.

  27. What is the Stars





    Because our defenders spent more time attacking than our forwards did


    We almost threw 2 points away






    Good for them, I want to be entertained. I want all out attacking football. That’s how you bring back crowds. I don’t want us playing out time at the corner flag against 10 man Motherwell. This is football, teams will create chances against us. I saw that game as proof that RD is going in the right direction.



    And since you refuse to answer, I’ll ask again.



    Who would you want as to replace RD and how much time is he to be given?





    Joooooost in case I’ve not said it before,ya lucky spawny git.



    Yer a lucky spawny git.



    You and Minx deserve each other like few I’ve ever seen before,and I’m looking forward to Belfast,as are we all.



    Big problem for you on 14/02/16 possibly….

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