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.

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  1. Happy New Year to all of the CQN posters, lurkers, ranters, ravers, uppers, downers and genuine all rounders..



    Health, a wee bit of wealth, a dod of tolerance and happiness to y’all






    Did you get my message this evening or is that iPhone still playing up?


    Keep the Faith!


    Hail Hail!

  3. Happy New Year to all the Celtic fans on here.


    When this place is on form there is nowhere else like it – so more of that for the coming year please.


    And a Treble while we’re at it

  4. Happy New Year to one and all. As an old guy poster 2016 will see a few of us back on the site. As an observation, the JohnJames site has stuck it to SEVCO much more than our own board has.





    Texted my Nokia to remind me to reset the bliddy thing! Sorry,bud.



    Thanks for that,of course.



    HH,and HNY

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

    Happy new year from the wonderful city of warsaw … do they know how to celebrate



    Amazing firework display all over the city …. and at the different city parties I have seen the stranglers. And omd in wroclaw .. Boney m at katowice

  7. The Spirit of Arthur Lee on

    TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels



    Hope you don’t have hoops on




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




    Its a bit nippy for a hoops shirt but had my scarf on at the legia arena

  9. The Spirit of Arthur Lee on

    TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels



    Boney M played at my Christmas night out Brilliant




  10. It……has been a long year, maybe not the best football wise but far from the worst, met a few Cqners at BMCUWP’s day out, too many good people to mention but Clogher, Butsybhoy, Thunder Road, Philbhoy and others, Cosy Corner Bhoy was in good form…….no cliques just Celtic fans meeting each other for a few pints, CQN11 was a definite highlight for me in 2015 meeting yet again other fellow Celtic fans, with a special mention to Lennybhoy for all his help, onto moving into a new job Art of War and Dallas (our Dallas) am afraid for all the moaning and the more moaning CQN is pretty special, there are Celtic fans who I would never have met if it wasn’t for this daft blog….special mention for Macjay, pleasure meeting you and your daughter that day



    All the best to all for 2016



    Am chucking the blog till next year !



    Hail Hail

  11. health, happiness and prosperity to all the Bhoys and ghirls out there for 2016. And to all those from OZ that are just getting up or getting to their scratchers. Lang may yer lum reek!










    Just off the phone to COSYCORNERBHOY and his better,more sensible,half.



    He wishes you a Happy Hoooooopy New Year,you and yours.



    As do I,of course-a pleasure making your acquaintance.



    Above to each and every CQNer and Celts everywhere.



    I’m now prepping for the bells wi a glass of ACGR finest.



    Wha’s like us?

  13. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    Have we signed emdy yet?



  14. Happy New Year CQN and to yours.


    I hope your Team brings you the treble in 2016…


    Until we meet again…


    Keep the Faith!


    Hail Hail!





    And the opposite to EBTs?



    Especially one on the telly,my season of goodwill goes oot the windae when that wee turncoat nyaff is about.



    All the best,mucker.

  16. Hoopy New Year Timdom!!



    Never forget it’s a privilege to be a part of tge Celtic Family. With that comes great responsibility!!!!!



    Do yourselves, your families and our common bond in Celtic proud in 2016.



    Peace, love, solidarity!




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