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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. Found this Irish blessing and I send it with my best wishes for 2016 to all of you who contribute or who only lurk.

     

     

    May your troubles be less,

     

    And your blessing be more.

     

    And nothing but happiness,

     

    Come through your door.

     

     

    Best wishes to Paul and all who work to make this place one that all of us benefit from as Celtic supporters. Here’s to a good finish to the season and an outbreak of happiness among us all once more.

  2. Celticrollercoaster supporting Shay,our bhoy wonder along the way on

    Happy New Year fholks. May all your dreams for 2016 come true.

     

     

    Looking forward to meeting up with some of you tomorrow before the game

     

     

    It is a Celtic onesize, sit in front of the TV day, for the celticrollercoaster family ( once the older two kids decide to rise)

     

     

    HH and Best wishes

     

     

    CRC

  3. A very Happy New Year to all the good Bhoys and Ghirls of CQN.

     

     

    Here’s to a treble, Living Wage and an OBaF free 2016.

  4. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    HAPPY NEW YEAR CQN…….. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. “Canne buleev thut Liewell an’ Delia

     

    huv let rainjurs steal a march oan thum wi’ raidin’ Donnie Rovers fur

     

    Hit-Kid Forrester……..

     

    ……..thur takin’ munny oot yer poakits, so they urr……

     

     

    ….how loang kinna keep this (charade) up…..’sakes mhan! ”

     

     

     

    CUT!

  6. glendalystonsils on

    May I wish Paul ,all CQN’rs and indeed all tims a happy and healthy new year…….and of course, a season to remember for the Celtic.

  7. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    Happy New Year to all.

     

     

    May we remain fit and well to take all that 2016 can throw at us, good or bad.

  8. Paddy Gallagher on

    Happy new year to every single one of you. I hope your lives are enriched and you all enjoy a successful Celtic 2016.

  9. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    Taken from the must read STM

     

     

     

    Trisidium

     

    Trisidium 1st January 2016 at 12:40 pm #

     

    I have been passed information – as yet uncorroborated – that a certain entitled individual was interviewed under caution last week in connection with the sale of a football club, and that an indictment will possibly follow.

     

     

    If we can corroborate the story, we will be able to tell you the identity of the individual and the football club.

     

     

    11 0 Rate This

     

    View Comment

  10. P67 and all at CQN.

     

    Happy New Year.

     

    Make mine a treble.

     

    Hail Hail and Let The People Sing…

  11. Another transfer window slams open.

     

     

    Nothing imminent at Celtic? no immediacy?, might be a blessing really, we’ve done so badly in this game of chance, that it might be better if we put transfers on hold, played some youngsters and got better from what we have. After all we’re told every day on the internet by fans that don’t go to see Celtic, that our resource has already won the league before it started, so what’s to lose?.

     

     

    Last January we signed GMS and Stuart Armstrong, maybe to be expected that tricky wing man GMS wouldn’t be an automatic, but he is well out of the first team picture and has even been eclipsed by James Forrest the perennial Celtic enigma. Like James, GMS also suffers in the modern new age tactical plan that everybody is a midfielder, unless you’re the striker?, all have to get back block , and tackle ( See GMS’s attempted block see James’s tackle both in injury time at Tynecastle )

     

     

    Stuart Armstrong fizzled out at the end of the season, and hasn’t started this one, he’s being played out of position I hear? A check back to DU and Stuart Armstrong’s career ( also very stop start) shows a third of his games were as a sub, or he was subbed . Most were played in a very different role as part of left mid in a midfield three, there’s no doubt in RD’s system he looks isolated and lost out wide on Celtic’s left wing. However, it very much remains to be seen if Stuart will come in out of the cold and we get to see a £2M ‘midfielder.’

     

     

    As Paul67 hinted the other day, lets stop taking these punts in a crazy market, somehow I expect Celtic to be scrambling around the mercenaries who hold out for a move and a decent wage towards the hour when the window slams shut, at the months end.

  12. Happy NEw TEar to Paul and all CQN community

     

     

    On Aiden..he will be on North of £50k per week with at least one more sideways move to the championship or the like to maintain that standard of living before he would consider “coming home”

  13. The wages of Boerrigter + Stokes + Cole = offer to Aiden

     

     

    Punt three non contributors and sign a player who goes straight into first team. Probably still a drop in wages for Aiden but if he wants to come home, play regularly and get back into Ireland team he’s got a decision to make.

  14. A very happy and prosperous new year to all Tims everywhere from a hot and humid southern Florida.

     

     

    Whatever 2016 brings to us in the SPHell it certainly won’t be boring.

     

     

    Let’s start with a decent win this weekend.

     

     

    HH

  15. mike in toronto on

    Happy new year to all CQN’ers, family and friends.

     

     

     

    Florida bhoy …I’m off shortly to jump in freezing cold Lake Ontario …. (for charity, at least) …. but, I am really, really wishing I had taken you up on your kind offer to come down and dive in much warmer waters near you!! :)

  16. BIG-CUP-WINNERS on

    Aidan was made to play for Celtic.

     

     

    I’d hope he realises that and rekindles his love for the game at home.

     

     

    Too many Celtic fans plying their trade elsewhere.

  17. Mike

     

    The way I’m feeling this morning, I should join you in the lake.

     

    Jinky, Lubo, Henrik and wee Bobby Craig were all spinning round the walls of the club last night.

     

    BTW whisky and Del Shannon definately do not mix.

     

    HNY

  18. Happy New Year to all Celtic fholk.

     

    One wee point….

     

    Please don’t bring back Aiden.

     

    Know why ?

     

    2 reason’s….

     

    1. Aiden was sold for top dollar and, has gone on to give his best years elswhere…good for him.

     

    2. Aiden would be brought into Celtic just now to play under a manager who, ruins players that he signs…imho.

     

    Sadly…that state of affairs will continue till, Celtic are restructured from top to bottom.

     

    Is the day getting close ?

     

    52,000 at the orcdome the other night.

     

    How many will be at Celtic Park the morra ?

     

    20,000 ?…Less than that ?

     

    Anyway, don’t let the less than appetising present fool you into thinking that, an ugly near future might just be round the corner…..I hope I’m wrong.

     

    Off oot.

  19. mike in toronto on

    TAL Happy new year pal!

     

     

    We are off to the zoo tomorrow (not that one, the real one) …. so if KT is up early enough (she is on call this weekend, so may be late), we will try to drop by the club for the game before the zoo. Would be good to catch up.

     

     

    PS…. Whisky and Del Shannon?! what were you thinking? Frank Sinatras maybe … but never del Shannon! :)

  20. BIG-CUP-WINNERS on

    KEVJUNGLE

     

     

    Pretty much all of that post was wrong eh ?

     

     

    Your observations 52,000……..that place isn’t big enough to hold such and in any case there was less than 50k.

     

     

    Less than 20,000 for the Champions……….at least you made me laugh.

  21. BIG-CUP-WINNERS on

    SFTB

     

    Found some of the show funny too. This year they didn’t avoid some of the big issues.