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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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764 Comments

  1. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    PETEC. There are many good things I want to do but dont do.There are many bad things that I dont want to do but do. I cannot save myself a sinner only my Lord Jesus Christ can save me.

  2. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    Happy birthday to one of the sensible crew

     

    Ole Blantyrekev

     

     

    Hail Hail

  3. Happy new year to everyone.

     

     

    Anybody notice the FSA, or whatever they are called now,have scrapped the investigation into casino banking and bankers bonuses!,meanwhile foodbanks report record numbers turning up to feed themselves and families.

     

    Still waiting on the public broadcaster to mention it on the various news outlets.

     

    Good time to sneak out damaging news or am I being cynical?.

     

     

    Any *ankers been charged yet?.

  4. Well,I can actually see CQN for a change. So happy 2016 to all posters, their families and of course our club.

     

     

    All I want for the new year is a big win in the Glasgow derby, a couple of January signings, a treble, promotion for Hibs alone, a few more summer signings and CL qualification. Not too much to ask for, is it?

  5. Reading Phil’s site, it looks like he is admitting the game is up, and is giving up his reporting on Sevco.

     

     

    I suspect this is because he knows they are set fair for the top league and despite everything, will be challenging for honours before too long.

     

     

    All the predictions about failing to meet monthly payroll, all the court cases, the obvious bending of the rules and ignoring the rules – despite all of this, Sevco will walk among us next season.

     

     

    Happy New Year.

  6. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    SEAN THORNTON. Fella it has been well reported that the banks will no longer be investigated.They are part of the Establishment and as such will be given as much protection as possible.In my opinion the them and us situation has not changed as much as we would like to think it has the gap between the rich and the poor is still vast in the U.K. H.H.

  7. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    FSA

     

    Rearrange the words and another corrupt organisation shows up who also protected the establishment

  8. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    ITALIABHOY. In my opinion the Rangers the SPL and the SFA are all one and the same thing I believe many football fans are waiting to see the results of the court cases before deciding wither to continue to watch Scottish football.At the moment they appear to be getting away with one of the biggest tax swindles in UK history and yet as you say they are very likely to be in the SPL next season. H.H.

  9. Cosy Corner Bhoy on

    ITALIABHOY 1017: They have been’walking among us’ for years!! Used to be only the last Saturday before the 12th July,but, now it is every weekend between April and December:) :) Well, at least in Kilwinning they do!

  10. Jfh,bt.

     

     

    AYE makes ye weep.

     

     

    See next time anybody wants and applies for a loan or mortgage.

     

    Tell them ye want the same interest terms they got when taxpayers lent them the cash.

     

     

    All the best.

  11. HNY TO CQN, CELTIC FC, YNWA

     

     

    To the lurking Huns including that Hun clown blue bear GIRFUYs

     

    You just had to show your colours las night couldent help it could you, it’s in yer DNA, Monday night yer up to your knees in my blood, New Year’s Eve your a good guy? Away an bite my arse, oh and by the way for someone or something to come back, it means that at some point in the past you had been there? As I said last night, none of yer happy new year cheers from me to you lot, anything bad and rotten that happens to your new club think of me, I wished it on you,.

  12. saltires en sevilla on

    Happy New Year 2016

     

     

    Wishing all my fellow Celts the very best of good health and good fortune.

     

     

    With a fair wind our haul to Include yet another league title.

     

     

    HH

  13. RONNY Deila has distanced Celtic from rumours that the club could make a high profile loan signing like Aiden McGeady – unless the player himself is prepared to make significant sacrifices in order to force the deal through.

     

     

    The 29-year-old Republic of Ireland international could be available on a short-term deal from Everton this January as he seeks game time ahead of the Euro 2016 finals with Republic of Ireland but Deila feels the club are not in a position to pay the salary that McGeady could command and only wants loan signings who can be of lasting value to the club.

     

     

    While John Guidetti and Jason Denayer made an impact on-loan from Manchester City last season, neither chose to make their deals permanent and having to replace them at short notice hardly helped the club’s attempts to qualify for the Champions League this summer. The club have previously made crowd-pleasing deadline day signings like Robbie Keane, with majority shareholder Dermot Desmond reportedly paying a chunk of the deal from his own personal fortune. While players of the calibre of McGeady are under consideration at the club, the consensus seems to be that there are too many obstacles standing in the way of a deal.

     

     

    You’d Never Guess The Horrible Crimes These Girls Committed (Viral Nova)

     

     

    “We have tried before to get those types of players but they get three times the salary at other places,” said Deila. “It’s also more interesting for them to play in England than Scotland. It’s tough and you never say never but it’s a different planet when you talk salaries.

     

     

    “It has to be players who want to come to Glasgow and play for Celtic – like Carlton Cole,” said Deila. “He went down a lot in salary. We would not be able to pay the salary that the likes of McGeady are on. The difference is so unbelievably big that’s there is no chance. The wage structure would be broken 10 times if we did that!

     

     

    “When you get someone and then they leave in the summer it becomes a tough situation afterwards. Sometimes you can do it. If you feel you can build a relationship with the player during the time he’s on loan then maybe you can keep him longer. Maybe with players like McGeady, who has been here before, when he reaches the end of his career he’ll want to come back again. That’s possible, of course. But I haven’t talked with him about that, although these types of names we are talking about. I don’t know what Dermot did before. You’d need to talk with him about that. But we’d need to have the opportunity to buy him. That’s an important thing for us.”

     

     

    There are no sure things when it comes to transfers, as the cases of Guidetti and Denayer prove. The Swedish striker has started just one match at Celta Vigo and the Belgian centre half has had an injury-hit time at Galatasaray, on-loan from Manchester City. “Celta Vigo is a good team – they are fourth in Spain so if you are on the bench there then it does not make you a bad player,” said Deila.

     

     

    The Parkhead side’s first match of the year comes in the Glasgow derby against Partick Thistle today but Deila doesn’t foresee the club undergoing much in the way of transfer business early in the window, other than welcoming Ryan Christie to the club, having been on-loan from Inverness ever since his signing in the summer. The club have been linked with Croatian midfielder Ivan Mocinic but any movement on that deal seems unlikely until late in the month. “I hope to do it [early business] but I don’t expect it,” said Deila. “Clubs are always waiting and players too. It’s about money and options.”

  14. The Battered Bunnet on

    Very best wishes for a great year ahead to all you splendid CQNers, poster and lurkers, clappers and shafters alike.

  15. Good morning friends and a Huge Happy New Year from a dry, calm and just-above-freezing East Kilbride.

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

    Aiden Mcgeady can help to ensure the title remains at Paradise, it’s rightful place.

     

     

    BRING HIM BACK HOME!

     

     

    The 5,The 5…!

     

     

    Astonishing Celtic, absolutely incredible.

     

     

    HH.

  17. WEEFRATHETIM on 1ST JANUARY 2016 10:52 AM

     

    Dena29

     

     

     

     

     

     

    You get my txt??? HH

     

     

    -Yep did you get mine??

     

     

    HH

  18. Did Sevco’s Jason Holt get one or two yellow cards for his two ‘in the crowd’ celebrations against Hibs?

     

     

    Maybe the ref had been warned not to ‘disrespect’ him

  19. WEEFRATHETIM on 1ST JANUARY 2016 11:36 AM

     

    DENA29

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Yes, but message didn’t download like I said in mine. :-)) HH

     

     

    O no It was a play message or something (you know me)

     

     

    Happy New Year tp you and yours hope 2016 is good to you

     

     

    HH

  20. St Patricks day 1956 on

    Good health and happiness to one and all in 2016.

     

    Hopefully we can have a successful domestic season and do what it takes to put into place, NOW, a squad that can progress in Europe. The faithful supporters deserve this.

     

    COYBIG

     

    HH