State of the Club Report: year end 2015


2015 saw Celtic win our fourth consecutive league title, a feat achieved only twice before in our history: 1908 and 1969. The 1908 win came during Willie Maley’s team’s imperious 10 titles in 13 seasons. The 1969 win, by one of our greatest teams, preceded our second run to the 1970 European Cup final, where we lost to Feyenoord in Milan.

It was only on reflection that we realised 1970 was a turning point for Celtic. Jock Stein’s teams eliminated the champions of Italy, Portugal and England that season, a far more testing journey than the team of 1966-67 endured. Until that point, only Celtic and Real Madrid outside those three countries had won the European Cup, but Martin O’Neill would be manager the next time Celtic eliminated a team from what we now know as Europe’s major five leagues.

We knew nothing of that in 1970. Indeed, Celtic won a further four consecutive league titles, but others were laying better foundations. Our model was copied, improved upon, and eventually rendered irrelevant. Celtic travelled to Milan for that European Cup final in 1970 with the whole of Europe expecting to them win. We were the top team in Europe, clearly heading in the right direction. Or so it was thought.

The reality was that we were facing the wrong direction, we just didn’t know it.

There are parallels between 1970 and now. Four in a row is appreciated by those of us who craved a quarter of this achievement in the 1990s, but our domestic dominance is such, that we all look to Europe for that extra fix. Now, it’s not a European Cup final defeat we’re lamenting, we’ve been exposed by lesser-resourced teams as we bombed in the Europa League.

Apart from the fourth title, and five-in-a-row looking a comfortable certainty, the other portents have us heading south. Two seasons of Champions League football have been followed by two of Europa League, with performances dropping each consecutive season. What we don’t know is whether what’s happening on the surface is indicative of the foundations we’ve been laying for 18 months.

Herein lies the issue: the fruits of Ronny Deila’s labours are not evident, not on the surface, anyway. There are some positive portents: he’s improved Nir Bitton, blooded Kieran Tierney and given Leigh Griffiths the stage his talent needed, but this season spaces in our defence have been as wide as the Clyde, and just as worryingly, the transfer success hit rate has been abysmally poor.

Fixing the former problem should be achievable, Ronny has taken teams to the Milan, Amsterdam and Istanbul and defended professionally (if not successfully), but fixing the ineffective transfer strategy will be more difficult. It’s not clear why we’re misfiring, or whether we can amend our ways. Throwing more money at the problem may improve things, but the problem is not fundamentally finance, Malmo and Maribor both operate on a fraction of our expenditure.

There are mitigating circumstances for our recruitment woes. Unlike Malmo and Maribor who take time to develop teams, we’ve been buying first team players for years, and the market has moved away from us at a remarkable rate over the last five years.

A decade ago only a few teams in England could outbid us, and they didn’t compete directly for talent with us anyway. We’ve now living in an era when Stoke City sign top internationals from Bayern Munich, and England is not the only league which is drifting away.

Mitigating circumstances are all fine and well, but that’s the challenge for Celtic. Work smarter, find the untapped scouts, be better than those with more money than they know what to do with.

2016 will bring another title and possibly one or two cups, but as 1 January approaches I’m hopeful the lessons learned in the transfer market since 2014 are put into practice.

Have a fantastic New Year.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 21






    Not such a bad idea,bud.




    That would work-if he hit them with it!





    I hope you and yours have a marvellous 2016,my grateful thanks for all your efforts here and elsewhere.



    Along with fulsome and genuine apologies for my less gracious posts over the last year. ‘Twas not always my way,so I’ll try my old approach for a while.



    One wee caveat-our second fourth title-eh,wtf?-was a glorious year,a treble,a hunskelping Cup Final to boot.

  3. maley 6 in a row –



    1904–05, 1905–06, 1906–07, 1907–08, 1908–09, 1909–10



    maley 4 in a row –



    1913–14, 1914–15, 1915–16, 1916–17,



    stein 9 in a row –



    1965–66, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74,



    strachan – 3 in a row.



    2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08,



    lennon – 3 in a row . and ronnie makes it 4 …………. tbc



    2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15





    Ffs,don’t mention books. A certain mutual friend is home shortly…

  5. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    Bobby, further to your post in the last blog about James scoring with his left foot against Hearts.



    He went off injured just after scoring unfortunately. It was a cracking goal , very early in that game.



    We won 4 nil with Hooper and Stokes excelling in the second half. We played really well that night.



    I hope you have a great new year .

  6. Paul67,



    very good summary. Its the transfers in that are failing time and time again. We seem to have a huge turnover of players who dont make it, mostly because they are not bought at 1st team starters.


    Its projects or mysteries.



    Dare I say it, like all the top businesses, we need to pay the CEO more, that will work. The problem will get fixed.



    he will try harder.

  7. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on




    Best investment in scouting team would be money saved by getting rid of John Park imo

  8. OK, a wee speculative daftness,



    Indulge me for uno momento.



    Fantasy League.



    DD decided he wants to have a Robbie Keane / Craig Bellamy type loan for the rest of this season with a view to a permanent move, who could we go get ?



    Goalscorers only need apply.

  9. Happy New Year to all on the blog, heres hoping 2016 brings the improvements throughout the club and in governance of the game here that is needed urgently

  10. Saint Stivs



    Maybe not what we need but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the return of Aiden McGeady, initially on loan with a view to make permanent on summer. Don’t think we’ll sign a striker unless Cole or Ciftci leave, we only play with one so why would we need four. If one of the mentioned two does leave I’d expect us to sign Libor Kozak, no fee, poor scoring record.


    The one position we definitely need to strengthen is central defence. An experienced centre half to help Simunovic develop, and given Boyata may be out for a while the sooner we get one signed the better.





    Correct,mate. On all counts. As ever…



    I hope you and yours have a grand time tonight and a wonderful year. It would be a pleasure to meet up in March,perhaps,because we’ve so obviously been at the same games over the years,time-frames matching.



    I’m still looking for the bassa who knocked a can outa my hand in 83 at Ibrox,and I told him then I’d recognise him again…

  12. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    Bobby, thanks.



    I dread to think what grief the guywho knocked that can out of your hand will get. Lol.



    The old joke, what’s the green and white thingu flyinf at Ibrox?



    An empty Kestrel can

  13. P67



    Another thoughtful article but I would take issue with a couple of things you sate.


    Malmo, if I remember correctly had replaced about half their team in the summer before turning us out of the CL. So they are not really building a team in the way you suggest. Instead they went out and recruited a manager/coach with the requisite experience. We as we all know took another massive punt on a guy with experience of one club in a small town in a small league.


    Secondly you suggest that there may be lots going on behind the scenes that the support is as yet unaware of. Young Tierney is now being quoted as evidence that the conveyor belt is about to kick in. Again with respect that is almost impossible to verify. The time to go big on youth was three years ago when the Huns died and we know it would take the zombies three years to arrive in the top league. That time had been wasted IMHO




  14. Extracts from Colonel Walter E. Kurtz’ New Year message on Vanguard Huns:



    “Jealousy, as they say, is the root of all evil. As a supporter or employee of the world’s most successful football club, it is therefore, par for the course that your team needs to put up with a certain amount of envy from those who support provincial clubs or clubs with delusions of grandeur. In Scotland, however, the old adage above is proved to be very accurate…Scotland is on a very slippery slope, and the silent majority need to fight back before it is too late. This slippery slope does not only apply to [Sevco] Football Club, but to the Protestant, Unionist & Loyalist communities in general…Everyone knows that the vast majority of [Sevco] supporters are from the PUL community. Monday’s rousing rendition of the Billy Boys, Derrys Walls etc leaves nobody in any doubt. The vast majority of [Sevco] fans are proud of their heritage and there is no better sight or sound than the Blue Sea of Ibrox declaring its love for that heritage and history. It is spine tingling, and it helps bring the PUL community together like nothing else on God’s fine earth… Billy Boys is football’s equivalent of the Haka!
The ‘faux’ outrage over Monday’s heart warming sing song has been made all the more sweet by the fact that it was all a sting. [Sevco] fans sick of the selected deafness from English, McGillivan, Spiers et al, led to a concerted effort to get everyone singing the song, with amended words. From where I was sitting I heard, ‘Up to our knees in EBTs’… but within minutes the usual suspects had fell into the trap.
As a member of the Orange Institution, I am subjected to vile and vitriol… every time I go to a match, or even look at social media. That is seen as acceptable by the media and politicians of Scotland.
It was great to have the best anthem in world football back on Monday. The Billy Boys must be sung at every game. No concessions, no changing of the original words… lets have the Orange Order Divine Service back at Ibrox on an annual basis. It’s time to take our club and country back…We are up to our knees, it could be worse, it could be our necks!”


  15. I must watch a different team from most on here, we could and did have two very good defenders last season but still got opened up by half decent teams because we leave our centre backs exposed all day long, interesting we don’t see that but see Forrest not covering the full backs and blame him when fullback exposed is it not?



    we need defensive cm who plays behind the ball and in front of cbs all game long, not the brown, buttons who want to get beyond the play

  16. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    “the fruits of Ronny Deila’s labours are not evident, not on the surface, anyway”




    I have said before, Paul – I think it might be a few years before Ronny’s work really pays off in terms of first team performances. Hopefully we can be patient in the meantime.

  17. TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels on

    Had a long discussion last night with a legia fan here in warsaw



    He totally understood the need for their expulsion due to the stupid administration error but



    Thought that the uefa delegate had a responsibility to check the paperwork at the start of the game



    Thought it ridiculous that uefa can hand out such penalties while being so corrupt with platini in particular



    Told me he knew the huns died – said anyone who knows football is aware of this



    Was amazed that the huns cheating and ebt / registration issues had went virtually unpunished – particularly given the legia punishment for a simple error that had zero impact on the match result



    One thing that really struck a chord with me was how much it would have meant to them to qualify for the champions league. Both for the fans and financially as money is very tight here. He says they would have strengthened on the back of that qualification instead of going backwards now.

  18. oneofthe70percent on

    The idea that the plank in charge of the team has improved Biton is total garbage,he was a good player long before Lawwell employed his lapdog,it was just as with Rogic he had a bad injury,as for the failings of our transfer system,if we continue buying fourth rate players from fifth rate Spl teams,we will go downhill faster than a bobsleigh ,it,s no surprise our european performances are getting worse,we are about 1/3 dundee utd,and their frecent record in europe is appalling,meanwhile we let good players like Henderson and Fisher go on loan,when they are better than loads we have brought in and much better than we already had at the club,funny that Tony Watt is starring for Cardiff in a much more competitive league,I know he could be hard work,but nowhere as hard as many of the Lisbon lions,and their post training piss up session,but we had a world class manager,that coped with that,now just about the first thing RD did wasto boot tony out,get RD to feck A S A P.

  19. P67


    Great post and most of it I agree with, and that’s probably because it was a positive post and how you see it, I didn’t see any negatives in it at all, but trust me stick around, thems in here will find the negatives and rip your post up like toilet paper, and they are well with in there rights to do that as it is a blog.


    But it’s the Four Tops song, enter the usual suspects and fill your boots.


    PS ……this is the Four Tops song.




  20. TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels on

    Anyone got an update on Tommy gemmell – last I heard he wasn’t quite 100%

  21. Can’t disagree with the that Paul67, apart from 1970 being 5 in a row, not 4.



    We need to develop better and sustain teams longer without selling so many players.


    We should never again find ourselves in a situation where our 2 first choice centre backs leave at the same time.



    Thanks again for CQN and all the best to you and yours for 2016.

  22. Neil Lennon Kicked Tony Watt out and he had the backing of the players.



    Ronny Deila merely refused to have him back.



    Celtic got rid of him and got £1.2m


    Standard Liege kicked him out to their sister club Charlton for an undisclosed fee.


    Charlton kicked him out on loan to Cardiff just last month.


    In common with all his career he has made a good start at his new club.



    I really hope he screws the nut and does well but the more likely outcome is that he will piss off his team mates and manager quite quickly and end up scrambling for a gig with Airdrie again.



    A real waste of a prodigious talent- another Derek Riordan.

  23. Time to get rid of a few,too many squad fillers. Stokes looks like Neymar ,every passing day we have Ciftci and The Ox in the Box Cole to pick from up front.

  24. I believe that 2015 was a pretty dire year for Celtic. We have had a disasterous European campaign, the team has gone backwards to the point now they don’t even look fit.



    The board has continued its campaign against its own support, culminating in a disasterous agm where the club, a bit like Tony Donnelly, attacked dissent by calling it racist. True to form they have retreated behind their barricades and say nothing about it now, hoping we wil all forget or be cowed by them.



    They are now,presiding over financial decline as well as on field failure which after all is an inevitable consequence of,downsizing.



    But worse of all they remain silent on corruption and cheating. Simply because they are part of it.



    Next season, next year indeed, the Huns will be back and Celtic will say and do nothing and welcome them back and welcome back their racism. If Celtic fans respond in any way they will be lambasted by the board and arrested.



    Our decline and our betrayal nears its nadir.

  25. What is the Stars on

    Who signed Cifcti ?


    Was it Ronny ?


    Who decided to play him ahead of Leigh Griffiths in our first few competitive games ?


    Was it Ronny ?



    Indeed the fruits of Ronnys labours ?


    God help us all if this man is left in charge


    We will win the league of course but please replace him before he embarrasses himself and us in another failed European campaign



    Happy New Year

  26. Phyllis Dietrichson on

    On the huns singing of The Billy Boys, I say let them sing it. Let the world see them for what they are, let their sponsors be proud to be associated with it, and let the cameras pan round the crowd to show how it’s only a “tiny minority” singing it. Let The People sing.

  27. NegAnon2



    The man who helps the SMSM with its myths and lies about Celtic, every accusation against the board are only his bitter hate for the Celtic, puts the spin that he’s a Tim?


    This/ he my friends is the enemy within, and he is not aloan, he twists every post that people make to suit him, his type are the ones that the SFA SPFL SFL and SMSM soil there undies for, in a nutshell, the guys daft, but! Allowed his opinion of course, and that’s from a what was it he called me a facist, lol, a very mixed up person to say the least, probably harmless as long as he’s taking his meds mind yi.

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 21