State of the Club Report: year end 2015


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

    Any info on our sick list



    Broony – will he back end of January?



    Griff – this week , next week , longer?



    Boyata – if it’s hamstring at least a couple of weeks ?



    Armstrong – Bad back? That syndrome can last seasons as we all know



    Commons – what’s his issue?



    Forrest – not heard of an injury but he must be overdue one now



    Lustig – his hip has lasted well for weeks but usually flares up. Reading of janko going on loan – Bad move if true

  2. Failed European campaign?


    More SMSM crap, bandwagon leaving soon, get your ticket, for the hate express. All aboard. They be in, in their droves soon, that Aberdeen result kinda caught them of guard a Wee bit, but it won’t stop them, just hang around, see if I’m wrong?

  3. Well Tony I am pretty sure that the irony of you calling anyone daft isn’t lost on the blog.



    You did manage to accuse me of being mentally ill, a Hun and smsm today in the one post though.



    It’s an old facist trick to dehumanise those who disagree with you. That and making lists of whom to out when your petty small minded ways are accepted.



    It sprobably even lost on you that using phrases like the enemy within is also a somewhat facist sentiment.



    But the thing is Tony your just not the sharpest tool in the box. You sit and read your daily record and then claim you are the be test Celtic supporter in the world.



    You are not the messiah just a very silly, dim wee boy.

  4. Saint Stivs



    On the loan deal thingmy we could do a lot worse than ask Toronto for a wee loan of Giovinco, a crackin’ wee player and scorer of many goals, just to keep his fitness up like.

  5. For those entrusted with the stewardship of Celtic Football Club? Who would want the job in the corrupt and warped environment of modern football? I have my own reservations about those holding the reins in the heated seats, but at times I wonder if they are the right people in the right place at the right time. Perhaps future generations of Tims will look back, when we are once again on a level playing field with the rest of Europe, and thank the stars that members of the establishment were in charge during these perilous times. Who knows? In the interim there will most be further railing against the high heids that seem so distant from the rank and file, and most certainly much mutual chaffing between supporters and directors, who on the surface seem to have little in common at all.



    Without going into “the state of the club” too much I personally look forward to 2016 with great anticipation. When inevitably the huns limp back into our league, ithen will be the right time for much soul searching. By then the court cases will have been mostly decided, and the message coming out of Celtic FC will decide foe me personally my future emotional and financial investment in the Club I love so much. No need to elaborate further.



    To all Tims everywhere, a happy Hogmanay and a prosperous 2016.



    Hail Hail.

  6. Mincey


    Went to the Toronto V Motreal game in June and saw that Wee guy, very good player, and the Toronto captain, a baldy guy, a yank I think not sure, he’s not bad either.

  7. Serious question:


    The financial fair play seems to be a topic the governing bodies seem to be hot on, what about financial payments for teams from TV rights making a mockery of transfers around the world?


    Next season the real money kicks in apparently in England.



    We are all done as far as competing for players already.


    Why do they not look at this as it will kill our game completely sooner rather than later.



    All 20 teams in English Prem are in the top 40 richest clubs in the world right now.


    The game is up.

  8. John Colqhoun(sp) was a guid, dangerous pain in the ass type of player for the Jambo’s back in the day.


    I think that, James Forrest could be the same type of player for us if…..JF was managed by a canny-savvy-fox of a Celtic manager….imho.


    The thing is…a canny-savvy-fox of a manager would be looked upon as a, threat to PL and JP as, they prefer to be in control of puppets…to the detriment of the quality of the product on the pitch….imho.


    I think that John Collins could be a good Celtic manager coz….he izny clique orientated.


    But, if…Ronny is mutually consented, JC will probably walk with him…probably.


    Re: The Fear Factor that the return of the huns holds.


    The huns return will be a four fanged attack….imho.


    1. The evil-hate-filled-befouling-rioting-hun-orcs on and off the pitch.


    2. The compliant SFA / SPFL / Uefa-referee’s…mibbery on the pitch.


    3. The compliant spin-doctors of the SMSM.


    4. The compliant-kowtowing Celtic hierarchy who’ll look the other way and, hear nothing that will show up their O## F### pals in a bad light.


    Now, what Celtic supporters have to ask themselves then….honestly answer is…


    Will Celtic supporters be able to halt this 4-fanged attack on Timdom ?


    How can they when, they’ll give over their Season-book money to the Celtic hierarchy who’ll then, sell them out ?


    You, as Celtic supporters have financed 4 years of regression since the huns died(LOL).


    4 years of winning a 1 horse race isny the type of kudos that can be sang from the rooftops.


    3 years of ‘blowing’ the much coveted CL-money-pot reresents grounds for wholesales sackings….imho.


    But, alas…it’s Celtic we’re talking about.


    The Grand Ole Celtic Rudderless Ship were naebdy’s responsible until it comes time to collect the bonuses.


    That, from my vantage point is a disgraceful state of affairs.


    What was the point in having fans at the AGM when they go and complain about pies not being warm enough whilst, in the back ground…the latest puppet-manager plays his part in the shipping of, £60 million of the CL-money-pot ?


    Maybe, just maybe….now, I know that nobody wants to see this, least of all me….but, maybe a year of being cheated by the evil-huns whilst, the board looks the other way….is exactly the type of horrible medicine that Timdom needs to make them see that, Celtic are dying on their feet and….need to be restructured….or…..


    ….even I canny finish this post……



    Saint Stivs







    On the loan deal thingmy we could do a lot worse than ask Toronto for a wee loan of Giovinco, a crackin’ wee player and scorer of many goals, just to keep his fitness up like.






    thats a good and interesting one .



    what about lampard for half a season ………………




    or, whisper it …………..



    John Terry.

  10. Ray Winstone's Big Disembodied Heid on

    In the spirit of alternative (to English) seasonal greetings………………………………………………………………



    QISmaS DatIvjaj ‘ej DIS chu’ DatIvjaj.

  11. John Colqhoun(sp) was a guid, dangerous pain in the ass type of player for the Jambo’s back in the day. –






    and he was shit for celtic.


    never as good as provan. no where near,



    like whittaker, a waste of a jersey.



    only look back fondlt at galloway from the purple huns.

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




    Currently I’m poland . Fly back Saturday morning



    Three network don’t give me a signal here so only have Internet access in WiFi zones. Can get mail and whatsapp messaging as well as cqn

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

    St stivs



    I think Willie Wallace signed from hearts

  14. Saint Stivs on 31st December 2015 2:38 pm




    Galloway was sh#t for Celtic coz, the manager’s didny know how to play him….imho.

  15. It’s a pretty limited state of the club report with no analysis of the root cause of the systemic failures across the club. I suppose that is held back for Sevco, SFA and catering facilities at Celtic Park.



    Take for example player recruitment. We have recruited approx 18 players in the last 2 years….most of them surplus to requirement. It is a scatter gun approach with project after project. In the last 2 years we have failed at CL qualification and propped up our EL group. With a budget several multiples of Aberdeen and Hearts…not to mention Motherwell….we struggle to show the gap in resources. Malmo and Molde are similar….they also have budgets well below Celtics.



    Revenue has fallen from CL highs of £75M to £55M ( it would be circa £85M plus with BT money in last 2 seasons). If you read between the lines the club thru our ilustrious leader are downsizing European ambitions into EL qualification.



    St Ninians does not seem to be working as planned. Young Tierney is the exception rather than the rule. There is an argument to close all youth facilities , development etc Why invest several million each year for little or no return. Treat every Scottish club as a feeder club and buy up the talent at the right time. Hopefully then we can catch a James McCarthy before it’s too late…..and Christie can stay at ICT until fully “first team ready ” and avoid buys such as Armstrong who is not good enough for Celtic.



    I see nothing changing under Lawwell. His strategy has been poorly executed and we are going around in ever decreasing circles. In the current environment we should have CL qualification every year. It has never been easier with the Champions route. However mismanagement across the board has seen the club regress for the last 2 seasons.



    Finally on Res 12 ; I admire the diligence and patience of Auldheid and co. on the matter. I hope they are proved right and we have the truth. I suspect not…and by taking Celtics lead and playing the long game what comes out will be so out of date that it will “irrelevant”. It’s just a pity we didn’t have Fergus in place as the approach would be have more straightforward and would have been bumpy but the support would have been 100% behind the club.



    In the state of the club ….it doesn’t mention the clubs greatest attribute …..Paul67 , no it’s no Pedro. The support has become disillusioned by the Board, CEO and general direction. There is a malaise over the club. I would go far to say that a sizeable section of the support don’t even trust or have confidence in the Board. The Board reminds me of a piece I read about the Celtic forward line of the late 40’s …they were dubbed the 5 sorrowful mysteries. Seems apt for them.



    In short our club is at a crossroads. It requires fresh leadership from Boardroom, CEO to Manager. It should be in a position of strength with CL income secured on an annual basis. The fans should be 100% behind the club. The reality is the opposite. I still retain hope that Dermot will take the tough decisions and start the clean out….if not the decline will continue unabated.



    Best in 2016 to all esp Celtic and Ireland in the Euros.

  16. wallace was the best signing oF course from hearts.




  17. NEGANON2 on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 1:30 PM


    I believe that 2015 was a pretty dire year for Celtic. We have had a disasterous European campaign, the team has gone backwards to the point now they don’t even look fit




    Occasionally when chasing a game ( and in the odd occasion losing) , the losing team has a tendency to look as you say ‘unfit’ , this is often a charge levelled by supporters with a scant understanding of even football at amateur level ……….



    Didn’t get beyond your first para assumed the rest of your contribution was a re-run of your campaign to shake us out of our complacency




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