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

    The majority of Celtic Supporters these days ARE Scottish, with Irish roots ……the problem is the currant bhuns hate Scotland, and the Scots also ……..

  2. 67H

     

     

    I’m going to be honest I don’t know anyone who wants to play them again.

     

     

    Parkheadcumsalford

     

     

    I posted the other day, sectarianism thrives in Scotland, and our political leaders at council and national level have failed us for generations.

  3. Melbourne Mick on

    Hello again all you young rebels.

     

     

    Not had much chance to look in lately, grandkids have me run ragged

     

    so i would like to wish each and everyone of you and your families a

     

    healthy and happy new year.

     

    H.H Mick

  4. prestonpans bhoys on

    Saint Stivs,

     

     

    And not a word of that will be said on SMSM. The problem with most of Der Huns are that they are computer illiterate, or merely illiterate and rely on the SMSM !

  5. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    Hamiltontim

     

     

    You know ALL the right people…..HH …. I am not as fortunate as you …… HH

  6. that FF post was funny.

     

     

    50 YEARS AGO.

     

     

    Celtic were league chamipons on way to 2 in a row, on way to lisbon etc etc.

     

     

    deludued fools

  7. There will be lots of events celebrating the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising this year. Lots of organisations, trade unions, community groups, etc have planned events for during the year. I will do my best to post info about as many of them as they arise.

     

     

    The government organised their first event of the year today:

     

     

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/dublin-castle-ceremony-begins-year-of-1916-commemorations-1.2482315

     

     

    Cloghercelt and myself will help those of you coming over mark the event as best we can.

     

     

    dublin2016@mail.com

  8. prestonpans bhoys on

    Saint Stivs@8:51

     

     

    Take my hat off to you sir, didn’t think of the actual date / timeline………

  9. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    We’re all sitting here playing a game, WHO AM I, where we all have our name on our forehead ….we cannot, therefore, see who we are, but everyone else can see who we are ….reminded me of the bhuns …. Hahahahahahaha ….. By the way, it’s a shoitie game ….hahahahahaha

  10. Good evening all.

     

    A rough day today, l am truly grateful for this place tonight,

     

    Was feeling a bit down then remembered meeting a gullibilly on Wednesday and telling him i had heard Peter Lawwellv had phoned dundee on wed morning and asked them to postpone the game as we needed a rest:))))))

     

    Hook line and sinker ,

  11. prestonpans bhoys on

    The johnjames site suggests that Ross and Scott may have been duped by DCK, now that

     

    Is believable. Must admit always cautious with this site, no contribution tab so he’s either very rich or funded by someone…………with a purpose……

  12. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    Jeez! 9 O’clock and I am struggling to get my 2nd can of Stella of the day down. Managed to eat half a cheese toastie earlier, but that is all.

     

     

    This is definitely my worst hangover this year! :)

  13. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    Happy new year everyone. All the best to yours and your friends. 2016 is going to be an historic year in Scottish football.

     

     

    HH

  14. garygillespieshamstring on

    Don’t usually get into the scottish politics stuff, but I am curious as to how a party such as the SNP, who wish to keep the queen as head of state in Scotland, can be considered to be a Republican Party.

  15. So al was well in the zombie world 50 year ago Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

     

     

    Christmas Day 1965;

     

     

    Celtic 8 Morton 0

     

     

    zombies 2 Dunfermline 3, sir furious scored the winner for the Pars after the huns had scored in the 1st minute.

     

     

    January 3, 1966;

     

     

    Celtic 5 zombies 1 after the latter had opened the scoring in 90 seconds.

  16. Leftcktick

     

     

    You know my opinion of you and your grandson, soooo looking forwrd to meeting you both at CP soon. Take care my friend. HH :-)))

  17. Happy NY

     

    A comment on Paul 67s leader and his thought on recruitment.

     

     

    From a distance, it looks as though our recruitment at senior level falls into two camps

     

     

    1) Those players we know quite a lot about before we signed them, where our success rate is pretty good e.g. Thommo had the inside on Fraser Forster from Newcastle, whilst Lenny played with/against Kelvin Wilson, Gary Hooper , Kris Commons and observed Griffiths at close range.

     

    Lenny also had Peter Houston check over Johansen before he signed

     

     

    2) The second camp is those guys who have had no links with the club, and whom I suspect are recommended by agents and / or freelance scouts.

     

    Our record n this area is far less impressive, for every VVD or Wanyama there are typically two or three Kayal’s, Lustigs Izzaguerre and four or five Lassad, Boerrighter, Puukki, Baldes, El Hadj,Miku, Scepovic etc.

     

    We can probably segment that again, by suggesting that within this group our record in signing defenders and midfielders is reasonably good, but our record on forward players is hopeless.

     

     

    Conclusion, as Paul 67 suggests, successful recruitment whether at youth or pro level is imperative to our success, and on balance our process isn’t working.

     

    There isn’t a straightforward answer, but, we could do a lot worse than dumping all the statistical stuff and employing 3 or 4 seasoned talent spotters who ‘know a player when they see one’

  18. minx1888 praying to Wee Oscar on

    A happy and blessed new year to each and every one of you.

     

     

    I have been blessed with a truly wonderful family 2 bhoys I could not be prouder of, 2 beautiful step daughters all 4 of them continue to amaze me and make me proud every single day.

     

     

    Sometimes life throws us challenges we think we are not strong enough to handle, but for me God surrounds us with those who help us to grow and in doing so make us better people, tonight I raise my glass to those who have gone before us Pablo, Kano, Wee Oscar, Lurgan57 etc thank you for making me a better person just for knowing you all!

     

     

    To all of you lurkers and posters alike God bless you all and may 2016 bring you enough x

  19. Clashcitybhoy

     

     

    Totally disagree with Kayal being a dud, thought he was one off our best players before McCulloch done him.

  20. minx1888 praying to Wee Oscar

     

     

    Still think yir too good for that HT character.

     

    Luv n HH :O)

  21. garygillespieshamstring on

    HT

     

     

    Salmon lobbying for Huns

     

    Offensive behaviour bill

     

    Mhairi Black

     

     

    What have the Romans ever done for us.

     

     

    Hope you are enjoying your break.

  22. Saint Stivs

     

     

    I know one of these missing reserve team players – where do I send the updated info to please?

  23. Sid,

     

    Clumsy grammar on my part, what I was trying to say was that there were three clusters

     

    VVD etc are very good, Lustig, Kayal etc good, and the others mentioned are

     

    duds

     

     

    BTW totally agree on the Kayal ‘tackle’ by McCulloch, who should have been sent off

  24. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    Top Google search query today is;

     

     

    “Can you die of a hangover?”

     

     

    HH

  25. Goodnight Timland

     

     

    one more sleep :-))

     

     

    early start in the morning , hope to see some of you tomorrow at the coarner

     

     

    HH