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 on

    16 Roads



    To be a tax exile (tax resident in a country other that your own) you must prove domicile in that country.So by having your main business address and residence in Switzerland allows you to avail of lower income tax rates there than in Ireland (thus legally avoiding taxes)


    Obviously the revenue commissioners cant monitor your every movement and they allow you spend a certain amount of time here (its around 100 days)


    So JP can avoid taxes and spend a lot of time in Ireland


    As for charity


    I give a lot money (relative to my earnings) to charity.However I pay my taxes first

  2. Antipodean Red



    Happy NY to you and all Tims Downunder. Say Hello to young Kelvin.Hope he’s not on the Buckie !


    Fingers crossed for Firhill.





    I reckon that few noticed the comments to which you took offence,so go wi the flow and have a Happy New Year!

  4. glendalystonsils on

    16 roads – Celtic über alles…


    16:25 on


    31 December, 2014


    Alan Stubbs is going to be an outstanding football manager.



    I said that when Hibs made the courageous decision to appoint him.



    Couldn’t agree more. I can see him at Celtic one day.

  5. time for change on

    what is the stars



    Sorry jumping in and out at the moment….my template was someone who wasn’t coached by the Largs Mafia or Loughborough system….rather schooled in football systems which designed to faster football….(since I’m on my phone I won’t go into too much detail) however I played and was coached in Germany and simple things like putting the ball in front of a man instead of him waiting for it to arrive…or as a winger/striker knowing where to put/recieve the ball are basics that had escaped my training sessions prior to going there.



    I was looking for someone with hunger to improve and be a better coach….Neil had that and did his badges away from Largs, Paul Lambert went back to Germany to do his too!



    We can’t afford a cheque book coach hence the path I suggested….you and I never saw all the names put forward or applied for the job…outwith Mowbray the Board have done not too bad to date….




  6. RWE



    It’s our thinking that produces odd results usually because the the thinking is odd.



    So what if another club gets a bit more from us if we get what adds value to Celtic?



    Thinking is totally free. We can think what we like, so instead of thinking we are being shafted how about thinking we are pumping money into and around Scottish football and keeping it not just alive but vibrant?



    If you want to change anything think about how, what and why you think as you do for those thoughts produced what it is you want to change.

  7. bournesouprecipe on

    @BobaFettdozer11: Lewis MacLeod £1m to brentford,BRENTFORD!!!! Seething out my mind, ONLY positive from last 3 years gone,just turn the fkn lights off, fk it!

  8. Good evening friends from a very dark (and therefore weatherless for this man) East Kilbride. Enjoy whatever festivities you partake in.



    Paul67 – thank you sincerely for another fantastic year of thought provoking articles. Even the ones that the subsequent comments bear no relation to!



    jamesgang at 16:34 – brilliant, mate!




  9. Glendaly@16.10


    Agree. Hopefully the transfer window will see an improvement that will see us” run away” with the league in what will be a very important Champions league qualification process. Anywhoos you obviously have your priorities well and truly sorted having taken the granddaughter for a walk. HH


    Some great debate on here today and that is what the blog should be about. We are a broad church and, for the most part, we all want the same thing which is to see the famous Glasgow Celtic achieve their full potential. When the team achieves then, by our association with the team, so do we.


    It is disappointing when we play the man rather than the ball and there was evidence of that on the blog as well today. It is a” hunnish” trait and I for one think we are so much better than that. Anyway my Celtic supporting existence is so much better as a consequence of my participation on this site so thank you Paul67 for enabling this to happen.


    A big HH to all Tims, particularly those that have suffered a loss this year. May 2015 bring you everything that you would wish for your families and yourselves.


    Bliain ur mhaith daoibh uilig.

  10. I agree, but I think that change in thinking about why we think the way we do requires some radical attitude change that will only come over the long haul, and, perhaps not at all if we continue to see ourselves as the victim in the socio-cultural world of Scotland and Scottish football.



    That cloak of victimhood entrenches our limited thinking more than anything.



    A healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Year to all hereabouts.

  11. bournesouprecipe on

    Who’ll get the Brentford sell on fee for the Scottish Messi? – the Rangers, the the Rangers or the the the Rangers.

  12. garygillespieshamstring on

    Paul 67



    All the best for 2015 to yourself, Martin and the rest of your lfamilly. Thanks for all your efforts on the blog.



    Auldheid : glad to read your reasoned views on events. I appreciate that we all have different views on things but I have found the continued negative stuff quite hard going of late.

  13. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon ....The angels are with Wee Oscar in Heaven.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    Ave goat shingles…..bummer…..hahahahahahaha ……

  14. bobby murdoch’s curled-up winklepickers



    16:26 on 31 December, 2014





    Yer a girlie,don’t complain. Sort it yourself.



    Btw,I wouldn’t be brave enough to say that to either of my sisters even though they would know I was kidding.



    And I hope you do too.





    Haha Bobby – taken in the right spirit!! Just as long as no one tells me to “man-up”!!






    Happy New Year to you and all CQNers when it comes. Highlight of 2014 has been discovering you crazy lot.



  15. RWE



    Indeed but thank God we have the means to share our thoughts and so perhaps influence them.

  16. Paddy Gallagher on

    I hope that was a Brentford Bic pen (check the photo) he used to sign on with and not one he took with him. This asset stripping is beyond a joke now.

  17. I hope 2015 will be happy for all of you. I wish we could meet in May 2015 in Warsaw. No champaigne for you after :-) Enjoy today and tomorrow when it comes.

  18. Captain Beefheart on

    Excellent point rwe. The victimhood, like Old Firmism, ought to be consigned to the dustbin. It isn’t relevant now. Celtic and its much maligned custodians won the battle.



    I wish Paul and the bampots a fruitful 2015.

  19. Jobo






    Naturally you too a far too young to be on here. But I count our blessings that you’re here anyway.



    HH jamesgang

  20. RWE



    To add it’s not just the thinking of the support that needs changing but of Celtic too.



    It takes two to tangle but as HT said earlier there has been definite movement on the Celtic side. There has to be mutual encouragement.

  21. Just over 6.5hrs until transfer window opens :-)



    How come that laddie fae that other team is already away ?



    Hail Hail

  22. cowiebhoy



    Transfer window in Scotland and England doesn’t open until Saturday.


    McLeod transfer isn’t finalised until then.

  23. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    While Rony is our manager he will have my support yes at times I wonder if he was watching the same match as me.I do like his goal of pressing teams and attacking football and I do think sooner or later we are going to hammer a team I think he is finding it harder to change the players mindset than he thought it would be.He knows I think that he has not been accepted by many Celtic fans but is more concerned about getting it right on the park knowing if he does that he will get the doubters on board.So I will continue to support him as it is early days yet for him and his management team. H.H.

  24. 16 roads - Celtic über alles... on

    what is the stars



    17:02 on 31 December, 2014






    Blame governments for the tax dodgers.



    You pay tax, because they get to your wages first and deduct the funds before you can get your hands on the money.



    The rich and wealthy don’t let government get near their dough, and they are more than likely accommodated by government allowing this scenario to take place.



    It’s not right, but that’s how it is.



    Remember always, it is the worker whom creates the wealth in the first place, but the worker is robbed and exploited.



    Revolution is the only other alternative,but then after the revolution, the leaders of the revolution take the place of the bourgeois and quickly become the exploiter.



    I don’t have the answer to the problem.




  25. glendalystonsils on



    17:28 on


    31 December, 2014





    Transfer window in Scotland and England doesn’t open until Saturday.


    McLeod transfer isn’t finalised until then.




    Still time for a Barca ‘swoop’, then! >)))

  26. Whatever the transfer window brings I hope we get players in early, ideally to allow new guys to go on winter training camp, and we’re not hanging about on 2nd February waiting on epl cast offs

  27. weet weet weet(GBWO) on

    These are my new year wishes for all CQN ladies/gents



    God bless you all.





    Before I lay me down to sleep,


    I pray for a man who’s not a creep,


    One who’s handsome, smart and strong.


    One who loves to listen long,


    One who thinks before he speaks,


    One who’ll call, not wait for weeks.


    I pray he’s rich and self-employed,


    And when I spend, won’t be annoyed.


    Pull out my chair and hold my hand.


    Massage my feet and help me stand.


    Oh send a king to make me queen.


    A man who loves to cook and clean.


    I pray this man will love no other.


    And relish visits with my mother.









    I pray for a deaf-mute gymnast nymphomaniac with


    big boobs who owns a bar on a golf course,


    and loves to send me fishing and drinking. This


    doesn’t rhyme and I don’t give a shit




  28. Happy new year to all when it comes, or for our overseas fellow supporters if it’s already passed.



    Many thanks to Paul for this fantastic platform to express our views, whatever they might be, and best wishes to you and your family for 2015.



    HH Dan

  29. Tim Malone Will Tell on

    I think there is a mentality that if a player is plying his trade in Scotland, then by definition, he can’t be worth the money regardless of the asking price.



    I would rather see us take a punt on some Scottish talent and keep money circulating in the Scottish game rather than buying in unproven dross from Israel, Portugal etc.

  30. 16 roads - Celtic über alles... on

    Zombie don’t know what he’s done



    Minty killed the Paris buns



    So this is how it feels to be Sevco



    This is how it feels to be small



    This is how it feels when the new club goes to the wall…




  31. CQN Couponeers’ Ne’erday picks –



    Blantyretim – Dundee Utd


    PFayr – Inverness


    The Token Tim – West Ham


    Lennybhoy – Newcastle Utd


    Greenlion2 – Chelsea


    Jobo Baldie – Aberdeen


    Pogmathonyahun – Liverpool


    Awalkacrosstherooftops – Bristol Rovers.

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