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State of the Club Report: year end 2015

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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. A Happy New Year to all Celtic fans, worldwide. For 2016, my New Year’s Resolution is, simply, Number 12.

     

    May this be the year we see justice in the courts, the lid lifted on SFA corruption and MSM complicity, and, with any luck, an occasion for more jelly and ice cream.

     

    Oh! And a stopper, striker and creative midfielder would also be very nice.

  2. Happy New Year to Celtic fans everywhere. Hope to meet up with some CQNers in February.

     

     

    HAIL HAIL

  3. HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my cyber friends on CQN,hope it’s everything you wish for,a treble and less sniping at each other on here would be a good start.We need to be united as a support we have enough enemies in this country without going for each other COYBIG

  4. A Ceiler Gonof Rust on

    Happy New Year CQN.

     

     

    Jools Holland, no bad. Boab Winklepicker, better.

     

     

    HH

  5. Happy New Year to all in Timland from ML5.

     

    Delighted at the Jags in sheepland.

     

    Good one on Only An Excuse, Ronny has the team much fitter……he ‘s got Jamsie Forrest to limp quicker !

  6. Here’s to another new year of ups and downs

     

    Grins and frowns

     

    Laughter and tears

     

    With quite a few beers.

     

     

    And in the morning

     

    A hair of the dog

     

    But never forget

     

    It’s only a blog.

  7. I’m on my own, the clan having retired to bed. Whisky and some old songs bringing memories of loved ones.

     

     

    It’s all good. Life would have been all the poorer without knowing and loving them. I miss them all yet though. The pain of loss is hard but by God it was worth it to have known their love and life……..

     

     

    Here’s a drink to ones gone…. May we be the same inspiration to those who come after us as they were to us…….

  8. A happy and healthy new year to all on CQN.

     

    A treble in 2016 would be nice.

     

    A successful Resolution12 is even more important. Keep posting and take care one and all.HH

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

    Over an hour into 2016 and not one signing announced …..

  10. Cosy Corner Bhoy on

    Happy New Year to all Celtic supporters,the Happy Clappers,the Mineshafters, the Exiles, the Followers, the Haven’t been to a game in years, and anyone other demograph.. We ALL have one thing in common,The Celtic. Remember there are many paths to Paradise ,but, only one to Hell.

  11. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    ROBERTTRESSELL

     

     

    I got ma baws booted from my Mum last week,I’ve not been home for Christmas/New Year this century. I know exactly what you mean,mate.

     

     

    Tell you what,it must have been hell before mobile phones and t’internet.

     

     

    If ever there was a time for memories,it’s this time of year. Bask in them,pal. Wallow,if you feel like it. You’ve earned them.

     

     

    HH

  12. Big Peat of Islay on

    Paul 67 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.

     

     

    That is enough, given the time at the helm, to part company with RD. The Torran Rocks are approaching with the return of the orcs. We need an experienced helmsman at the wheel.

     

     

    Experiment over.

  13. Gerryfaethebrig on

    BMCWP

     

     

    Take it as a privilege she is still giving you a hard time, as for Cosy Corner Bhoy, not jealous but love the fact you are arguing about horses and Celtic…that is such a great thing…. Am still hoping you got another winner with your 14/1 shot at the Hoot ….. I live in hope

  14. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    BIG PEAT OF ISLAY

     

     

    Ffs,give Ronny a chance to recover from his hangover before you boot him in the goolies.

     

     

    I recently got a mail from a CQNer on how we progress as a club. It was a week ago. I’ve still not managed to formulate even a tentative reply.

     

     

    The reason being football as a science,for the first time in my Celtic life.

     

     

    Action and reaction.

     

     

    ‘We have to do this!’ is now met with ‘And here’s what’s gonna happen!’

     

     

    Chuck the manager,we can get better. Chuck the players,thur no’ worth the jersey,we can get better. That’s the mantra of everyone who knows football and loves their club. So I agree with you.

     

     

    We all go with that-It can only get better-mantra,mindset and belief.

     

     

    The reality is that Celtic don’t even dare to dream anymore. The present is reality,the past is,well,dreamy. The future is a nightmare because,under current driving forces and micromanagement,it can only get worse.

     

     

    Stick or twist wi Ronny?

     

     

    I’ll stick,thanks. Because the alternatives,based on the last twelve years of interfering from above,only induce another nightmare.

  15. Happy New Year Paul and all CQN’ers.

     

    Predictions for 2016:

     

    ‘tic tae win the treble,

     

    PLC pressured into ensuring SFA/SPL/SPFL/UEFA rules are/were followed and just and EXISTING penalties applied to those who failed to comply with records adjusted accordingly.

     

     

     

    Fairness and a level playing field for all.

     

     

    HH

  16. BMCUW at 12:47

     

     

    Bobby, thank you and Happy New Year to you buddy! Not near my You Tube favorites, (US spelling) but need to send you some soon.

     

    All the best for 2016. Bells here are still over 3 hours away, but getting suitably smeekered.

     

    IniquitousIV

  17. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    GERRYFAETHEBRIG

     

     

    Excuse me,old bean. My Dad and I never argue.

     

     

    We merely have animated discussions which are settled amicably along the lines of-‘telt ye,get the beer in!’

     

     

    But aye. I’m very lucky,and I know it.

     

     

    My Dad is 400 miles away,Gerry. I doubt yours is further than your shoulder.

     

     

    Take care,mate. If you had clicked on my link to David Gilmour at the same time I posted it,you would now be listening to ‘Smile’

     

     

    There you go…

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