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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. Nye Bevans' rebel soldier on

    Goodnight Timland.

     

     

    EastEnders on,so I’ve been banished tae

     

    the telly in the bedroom.

     

     

    If you can get yerselfs up tae Paradise the

     

    morra fur the big Glesga derby.

  2. It’s new year and I see nothing has changed in Scottish football.

     

    Celtic and club fans want to sign Aiden McGeady who at his best can get place on the bench. What happens then? Celtic cannot sign that player becouse the club has not enough money to do this.

     

     

    Rangers want star player that is Harry Forrester and what? They sign him!

     

    Two clubs and two different ways of doing bussines in football.

  3. mike in toronto on

    sipsini … it was so cold, I think my walnut whip may have turned into peanut brittle…. but I’m hoping some time in front of the frre will fix that!

     

     

    WDH … have a good holiday, mate? He could play piano. He passed before I could see him, but I did hear his brother play once in a small club. magic. And my friend used to live beside Oscar Peterson (whose big influence on piano was NKC), so we would sit in her garden, and listen to him practice…. amazing!

     

     

    Parkhead … a wonderful singer. and a pretty cool guy … pretty involved in civil rights stuff …. his biography is a good read.

  4. Zbyszek

     

     

    You still retain your unique sense of humour:o).

     

     

    Sincere best wishes to you and your lovely family. I must visit you this year.

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

    Mr Z

     

     

    Celtics interest is in an international player who is going to the euros …. he’s under contract at an English premier club and on premier wages

     

     

    Sevco have signed a dud from the moon …..

     

     

    Don’t be confused by the media hype

  6. glendalystonsils on

    Aw, wait though, I forgot about Natalie. Then there’s Lloyd, Arthur and old king……….

     

     

    Sorrry Carlton, yer away doon the list.

  7. mike in toronto on

    Hamiltontim … cheers pal. . and the best bit …. lots of tv there …. 1 Celtic jersey on the news …. and not a zombie shirt to be seen! I’m know…. its petty, but I cant help it! :)

  8. glendalystonsils on

    voguepunter on 1st January 2016 7:07 pm

     

     

    Not even quoted! Neither’s Ashley…

  9. Short term Centre Half with loads of experience? Richard Dunne. Cheap and would offer great support to Jozo.

  10. Mike

     

     

    How dare you embarrass us by appearing on camera with a Celtic jersey and a peanut brittle.

     

     

    What will the world think of us?

     

     

    (Very well done and have a great new year )

  11. ElDiegoBhoy

     

    Thank you and all the best to you and your good girls, my friend. Few days back I listened Anais Mitchell music and it reminded me of you. Probably it came through the information that you were going for Regina Spector concert. Anyway, Mitchell is much better.

     

     

    TBJ

     

    It was tongue-in-cheek post. You lerned Poland, I learned Scoland and it’s press.

     

    Wishes for the journalists – close your brothels, open your hearts.

  12. glendalystonsils on

    Mike

     

     

    any zombies jumping in to the water with their XXXXXXXL Sevco top on would immediately alert the Japanese whaling fleet -:))

  13. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    ….and some want them back …. INCREDIBLE

     

     

    FF

     

     

    ← The Bears’ Den

     

    RangersMedia Forum

     

     

    »

     

    Good Article From Ff.

     

    Like This

     

    minstral’s Photominstral

     

    Today, 05:38 PM

     

    Ralphbrand

     

    user-offline.pngTrialist

     

     

    Join Date 10-06-2015 Posts 88

     

    icon1.png Fifty years of fighting.

     

    As today is New Year’s day it is as good a time as any to look back and see where we were as a club fifty years ago. It goes without saying that things were very different, but do we really appreciate just how different times were? Fifty years ago a Rangers supporter could say what he wanted, sing what he wanted and within reason, do what he wanted.

     

    Contrast that with today’s sinister atmosphere of Big Brother and Scotland’s very own thought police who have Rangers constantly in their sights.

     

     

    Fifty years ago Rangers was a hugely respected football club both within and without Scotland. Its players and officials from the patrician John Lawrence right down to the ball boys embodied the Scottish Protestant work ethic, where self discipline and fair play were the name of the game. The stories about Rangers players observing a strict dress code were not just stories but true in fact. Even sartorial elegance was important at Rangers, the message was clear to one and all, don’t besmirch the name of the club. Those few Rangers players who transgressed the rules were promptly sent on their way without any further ado.

     

     

    The typical Rangers fan was a white working class Protestant. He would have been employed meaningfully in actually making real things, unlike the mickey mouse ‘service industries” which now make up so much of our present day economy. Rangers meant hard graft, honest sweat and a release of pent up energy on a Saturday (every Saturday) and at three o’ clock!. The impact of Skye was nowhere in sight as the football authorities and clubs determined when and where they would play, rather than some faceless executive of a multi-national communication business.

     

    There was no Scottish assembly nor was there the array of pressure groups which abound in modern Scotland, many of which seem to have a hatred of Rangers as their sole raison d’etre. Furthermore, there was no rapid tele communication, when just having a heavy black telephone in your house seen as a sign of affluence in a sea of poverty.

     

    The internet has given rise to a series of bloggers (mainly strange obsessed individuals who spend much of their sad existence following the fortunes of a club they hate) who had they been located fifty years ago would have been institutionalized for the good and safety of society.

     

     

    There was a tacit understanding then that Rangers were the natural leaders, their size and achievements put everybody firmly in their place. All clubs feared and envied Rangers, their will power and sheer determination to win seen as the template for others to copy.

     

     

    Within the Scottish media respect was afforded to Rangers, this was a time when Scottish journalists wrote about they saw, rather then what they wanted to see. Any attempt to blacken the name of Rangers would be met face on by John Lawrence and his associates and given short shrift.

     

     

    And Celtic? They were nothing, constantly humiliated. The average Celtic supporter who ‘sought’ work had few educational qualifications and worked (if he felt inclined) as an unskilled labourer. Managerial and supervisory posts were way beyond his reach. Lack of a decent education rather than religious discrimination was therefore the reason for his plight. Catholics were disproportionately over represented in the prison population and unemployment benefit claimants.

     

    Catholics sought a separate apartheid form of education which entrenched their suspicions and fears of mainstream Scottish society. In self-imposed isolation they viewed Rangers with a curious mixture of hatred and admiration.It was here at this embryonic stage, that the future generations of Bernadettes and Declans would roll of the bigoted assembly line ready to subvert the very society which had fed, clothed and educated them.

     

     

    Rangers held the whip hand in the fifties and sixties. So what went wrong? Two things in my opinion. Society changed rapidly especially in the eighties and nineties. Society lost a lot of belief and faith in the nation’s institutions. The church lost its way and that was most evident than in the Kirk. The descendants of Calvin and Knox should hold their heads in shame. From a robust defender of the faith, the nation’s church was bequeathed to a group of limp wristed apologists who sought to ‘accommodate’ other faiths. At a political level, the once strong Conservative AND unionist party of Scotland shrunk to zero. Aligned to this was an alarming rise in the SNP, the republican wing of Celtic. Their aim was simple, break up the union and get full independence. For this to happen, you have to have two groups of people doing two different things. One group does nothing, switches off either through apathy or ignorance, unaware of what is unfolding before their very eyes. It is to this group that most of my anger is directed towards because they have betrayed their heritage and legacy.

     

    The other group is the complete opposite, they have a very clear but narrow agenda with fixed objectives. Get political control at local level with the district council. When that is achieved move onto the national stage. To achieve these political objectives they realized that control of the media is necessary. Institutions like the BBC which was once largely neutral in sporting matters has adopted an active anti-Rangers agenda. At local radio the effect is equally corrosive with the constant drip drip of anti-Rangers bile. The number of hostile ‘journalists’ in the written medium seems to have mushroomed in recent years. The catholic university educated intelligencia has coupled itself to the liberal media in one hell of an unholy alliance. So what is their overriding agenda?

     

     

    Nothing less than the total destruction of Rangers football club, there can be no other possible explanation for their concerted, merciless pursuit of Rangers football. Their hatred of our great club precludes any rational analysis on their part. This is not paranoia, we leave that to others! It has been gratifying that finally a large number of Rangers supporters have belatedly woken up to their game. No where was that seen more than last Sunday’s game at Ibrox against Hibs. The atmosphere generated by the crowd really did evoke the grand days of the sixties when the anthems were sung with gusto and passion. Make no mistake, they heard the lion roar and they shat themselves. What other possible explanation could there be for the amount of critical articles that came out like rats crawling from a sewer.

     

     

    We are very much alive and well and reports of our demise have been exaggerated.Roll on 2116 when Rangers will be the only show in town. Have a goo New Year, and yes we are the people!

  14. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    emusanorphan on 1st January 2016 7:15 pm

     

    ——–

     

    Might not be a bad shout.

  15. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar…… Ipox belongs to the creditors on 1st January 2016 7:42 pm

     

     

    Fascinating retrospective of the protestant ascendancy and it`s divine right to rule , all wrapped up in a football club.

     

    Could have been written by a member of the K.K.K.

  16. prestonpans bhoys on

    67heaven,

     

     

    Roll on 2116 when Rangers will be the only show in town. Now that’s what I call long term planning :-)

  17. 67Heaven

     

     

    It truly is frightening that people with such ignorance and bigotry live among us.

  18. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    PRESTONPANS BHOYS on 1ST JANUARY 2016 8:05 PM

     

     

    Ma jays

     

     

    What a shower of plonkers ……

  19. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    HAMILTONTIM on 1ST JANUARY 2016 8:06 PM

     

     

    I’ve ran into a few of them over the years, and that’s why I cannot fathom why ANY Celtic Supporter would want them anywhere near us, or our Stadium …. HH

  20. PRESTONPANS BHOYS on 1ST JANUARY 2016 8:05 PM

     

     

    67heaven,

     

     

    Roll on 2116 when Rangers will be the only show in town. Now that’s what I call long term planning :-)

     

    ———————————————–

     

     

    Which town?

     

     

    Cowdenbeath is my guess…

     

     

    :-)

  21. I am amazed at the attitude of Celtic Supporters. I will not renew my ST when they come up, because I HATE them. HH

  22. HAMILTONTIM,

     

     

    You are so right and what makes it worse, imo, is that the Scottish Government, who MUST know all about them, do nothing. Indeed, you have numbskulls like Macaskill praising their singing of their bigoted racist songsheet. Still can’t get my head around that.

  23. 67Heaven…

     

     

    I’ve worked with numpties like that all my life, what a learning curve these clowns are on.

     

     

    Still, we have some clutching at straws, brogues and wearing shirts and ties as they work machinery.

     

     

    Their day is over, it’s the orc/zombie element that we we have to control now:)

     

     

    Any ideas? HH

  24. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    NatKnow

     

     

    More like Loudenbeathe ….the only ‘town’ they will be welcome in….

     

     

    Weefrathetim

     

     

    …and I will never enter any stadium housing their hate-filled hordes ……. I want to watch football not corrupt bigoted kkk Neanderthals

  25. lennon's passion on

    Settle a family new year argument who was the Celtic player on Only a excuse last night.

  26. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    Lads

     

    Whether we agree with it or not, “they” have a similar perception of us.

     

    And that`s not just the huns.

     

     

    That`s precisely why I would love us to have a close look at ourselves so that we can attract more Scottish supporters.

     

    Perhaps just a pipe dream.

  27. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    Sipsinl

     

     

    We have resisted, and our day has come …. HH ……. we always said ” and the Glasgow Celtic will be there” ……. AND WE WERE RIGHT