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. !!BADA BING!! on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 2:43 PM


    Ask John Colquoun how much he made from the Rafael Shiedt transfer…




    Whit’s that got to do with, how good a player that he was for Hearts ?


    Oh, and….how much did Dalglish make oot the same deal ?



  2. West End of East End on

    Just dropped in for the 1st time in a wee while, yep, world is still flat….only thing that changes is the date…



    It was the Christmas spectacular where we raised our spirits in more ways than one…especially Joe.



    There’s tales of festive seasons past from Paul and Jason, Harper butchering another song and our eardrums, a quiz from Paul….and the slightly unnerving deterioration of the main man Joe live on air.



    (for those contacting us about Joe’s well-being he did survive although had a very sore head the next day, drink responsibly kids…)



    Merry Christmas from the HomeBhoys, have a good

  4. When Celtic signed Galloway…I thought that we’d signed a big box-2-box-battling-ball-winning midfielder to play next to the Maestro and, at the same time….replace Peter Grant.


    But, wtf did I know ?


    Galloway was played….


    Up front ?


    Centre half ?




    Left back ?


    Whilst, the useless Grant…just kept walking into the team…no matter how p#sh he was ?


    No wonder we went through so many managers wi Grant in the team ?


    The 90’s nightmare.


    Rudderless Ship FC.

  5. Good summary of the year and our current situation Paul67 – Happy New Year to you as well.



    Got to thinking about our squad with the January transfer window approaching, and considered what players I would be really disappointed to lose. Only came up with 3 names: Tierney, Biton and Rogic. All the rest can be improved on.



    However, I understand the reality of our situation in Scotland. It’s really hard to compete in Europe when we operate in our environment. I am ok with progress under Ronny. The history books will show he has delivered domestic success. We play, or at least try to play, better football than we did under O’Neil, Strachan and Lennon, but we need to find consistency. Ronny has an opportunity to become our second best manager of all time. It’s truly a shame that so many of us can’t see this and get behind him and the team. Behind the scenes our club is being run professionally, with fiscal responsibility and with respect to our history and culture. Long may it continue.



    Looking forward to Saturdays game. Hail Hail.

  6. Mincey


    Your right the jig is up group stages for Celtic soon will be just a vision if this money keeps making gaps like it is doing right, the financial fair play rule is a joke, big clubs can , and will break it, and pay the fine, so it’s basically just nonsense, we just don’t have the kind of money these people are getting and the sooner people realise that the better, because we don’t have it and can’t play on that park they play on, we are told, and led by the SMSM and break away Celtic groups, that we are DOWNSIZING, That’s the agenda,…….. we don’t have that kind of money….it’s as simple as that, /the board will not allow it to happen and rightfully so, as far as I’m concerned the club is being well ran, and has been for many many years, while others thought that there club was being ran well too, and look what happened to them, while all the cheating, robbing, and lying was going on, one club and only one club in this country held its own, and it’s head high above the others in this country was my club Glasgow Celtic Football Club, and I am and always been prowed of.



    My club in this country since 1888 has never had it easy, the history tells you that we all know what expect here when it’s anything Celtic ….no favours…… And we never ask for any as one director said, “all we want is a level playing field, nothing more, and we won’t expect anything less” but then again there are those who only for reasons that only they know and have meetings about the Celtic football club, and that’s what it is, ..a football club….don’t give me that Hun plc a club shite, we are Celtic so stop trying to play Hun games with us, as I’v said before, just because you wear a combat jacket with a CND badge on it, or a corduroy jacket wi leather sleeves you think your Jack the lads and we are all dafties, keep that thought please, it will eventually be your downfall, I wish you no luck at all in 2016 on dividing my club, and any bad luck you’s have on the way to breaking up my club, think of me, because right now I wish it on you.


    HH RD And Glasgow Celtic Football Club.

  7. KEVJUNGLE on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 2:51 PM


    !!BADA BING!! on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 2:43 PM





    Ask John Colquoun how much he made from the Rafael Shiedt transfer…










    Whit’s that got to do with, how good a player that he was for Hearts ?





    Oh, and….how much did Dalglish make oot the same deal ?



    I wish that I had a bottle of Buckie for every time I have preached on here, the Gospel of ‘TRANSPARENCY ON WHO GETS WHAT FROM SIGNING DEALS AT CELTIC AND ELSEWHERE’.





    – See more at: http://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/state-of-the-club-report-year-end-2015/comment-page-2/#comments

  8. A very good summary of where we are Paul.



    Happy New Year when it comes to you and all CQNers.



    Maybe Ronny should spend a bit more time looking at potential new recruits himself rather than just relying on recommendations.

  9. quonno



    Some of our signings have been baffling to say the least I agree.


    However other clubs do the same and maybe because of inflated prices when we think we see a bargain we jump in with both feet.



    To go down the magic hat road and sign loanees from London clubs may bring him success at the time but in the long run the youth must be brought through when they are ready.


    Problem at Celtic is sometimes when so called “good players” become available we are expected, by the fans to go after them.



    Director of football required to oversee these transfers is what I think we need working closely with scouts.



    But who might that be?

  10. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    Gonnae stope moanin, it’s Hugmananny, fgs …….

  11. Here, I’ll tell you what’s ridiculous.



    The ole January transfer window’s been open for minus 8½ hours and we’ve still not signed anyone. I blame all the Usual Suspects.



    ps Work finished until next year – woo hoo!


    pps – but still expect to be doing my (ahem) part time job each morning….



    Time to hug as many as I can……..

  12. CATMAN on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 3:26 PM


    A very good summary of where we are Paul.







    Happy New Year when it comes to you and all CQNers.







    Maybe Ronny should spend a bit more time looking at potential new recruits himself rather than just relying on recommendations.



    Agreed. However, the problem may well be that he is not allowed to target new recruits.


    Going back to earlier post.



    Do you think that Cole was Ronny’s choice of signing.


    If not. How many others are being foisted on him?



    – See more at: http://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/state-of-the-club-report-year-end-2015/comment-page-3/#comment-2745971

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

    Whatever happened to the BDO appeal ……gone all quiet ….sssshhhh

  14. TONYDONNELLY67 on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 3:33 PM







    We’ve signed worse, many many times, lonnngggg before these two, you think this is a first?



    And you have just answered my question which you were body swerving.



    The long term signing of many, many bingers would indicate a Board that is not doing its best. And if it is their best, then they are not up to the job.


    – See more at: http://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/state-of-the-club-report-year-end-2015/comment-page-3/#comment-2745976

  15. Quonno



    No, and plenty.



    In my humble opinion a manager should see a player at least once in the flesh before we even think of buying him

  16. Some story from Sky Sports, is it April 1st?




    Deila still eyeing title



    31/12/15 3:10pm



    Celtic manager Ronny Deila is not ruling his side out of title contention yet after Aberdeen missed the chance to go top of the Scottish Premiership.

  17. quonno


    Your missing my answer , let me try again, looonnnngggggggggg lonnnngggggggg wayyyy back in the fifties, get it, it’s not a first, now no twisting ok. Your hatred for the club and the manager is showing you up.

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

    Right you lot … it’s blooming new years eve ( new year in Oz by now )



    So cut out the arguments – ceasefire until after Saturdays match at least .



    No bad names ….. no heated arguments



    Just celtic love – ending a year when we had 3 domestic defeats …. Sickened the huns and sfa to the degree they celebrate our limited success in Europe – when they can only dream of that same level .



    On the other side of the river the tribute act celebrate winning over Raith rovers and Livingston. … just ahead of the Pack of second raters . While their convict lead board struggle to pay the bills and continue their internal warfare .



    Happy new year when it comes …. more of the same with progress on the park will do for me

  19. TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels on 31st December 2015 3:46 pm



    An argument free day for me, never argue much anyway, specially cos the missus is always right.

  20. Peter should get double bonus for managing to keep us afloat during such terrib l email financial constraints.

  21. MNCelt



    When you say all bar 3 players could be improved upon, please tell me how you would replace / improve what Griffiths and Brown bring to the team?



    There needs to be caveat that you have to convince a player to come and play in the SPL. Not the easiest thing to do I’d imagine.

  22. CultsBhoy can not relate to Celtic Board ambitions on or off the park on

    A very interesting end of year report- similar to what Peter Lawwell might pen for the Celtic View.



    2015 as I saw it:


    2 Dundee Utd players arrived in January and made a much needed impact to help a stuttering Celtic retain the league and win a cup – we were poorly served in the other Cup semi final although some blame must still be apportioned to the manager and expensively built team for not being able to overcome a team on a relatively dwarfed budget.


    Celtic then landed their no1 transfer target in the summer who has absolutely failed to make any significant impact. Meanwhile our successful defensive partnership was sold/ sent back and replaced with defenders who have yet to make their mark through injury and incompetence. One glimmer of hope in defence has been the emergence of Tierney.



    Season 2015-16 has brought shameful performances and results in Europe raising concerns among many fans as to the competence of the management team.


    Following our exits from both CL and EL before Christmas the sense of unease among the fans has increased as the last 2 results of the year were a home defeat to Motherwell and An away draw to Hearts.



    The team has been plagued by injury to key players ,Brown , Griffiths and Commons. This has been compounded by a loss of form of all 3 Dundee Utd arrivals and others including last year’s star goalkeeper Craig Gordon. The arrival of overweight and unfit Cole is viewed by many as a final act of desperation.



    We end the season on equal point with Aberdeen , albeit with 2 games in Hand.

  23. mike in toronto on

    since it is the end of 2015 ….



    Celtic’s player of the year for 2015?



    I would have to go with Leigh Griffiths … on the first half of the year, Denayaer and Craig Gordon would have given him a run, but the former left, and the latter’s form has dropped off, while LG has kept knocking them in.



    Young player of the year? Has to be Keiran Tierney… a revelation, and seems to have a good attitude, so I expect him to keep improving.

  24. Confirmation from the SPFL that Sevco is a different club?:



    “Rangers have won more League Cup semi-finals than any other club


    Rangers have won more League Cup semi-finals than any other club, having picked up 34 victories in the last four of the tournament. The Gers have suffered just 14 defeats in League Cup semi-finals, and have won each of their last five. Their last semi-final defeat came against Hibs on penalties in 2003/04 – indeed Hibs have inflicted four of those 14 semi-final defeats, more than any other club. The Ibrox side have clashed with Celtic in six previous League Cup semi-finals, and have picked up four wins in those ties.”

  25. i'vehadtochangemyname on

    great post paul – we’re struggling to adjust to the unlimited funds era in the EPL and France – unlimited credit in spain. Where from and who we recruit is a lottery at the moment when journeymen players are being given lottery win money down south.

  26. Mike in Toronto



    Agree re Player of Year.



    Griffiths strike rate is phenomenal.



    Tierney looks superb …. loves a crunching tackle.

  27. TONYDONNELLY67 on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 3:46 PM






    Your missing my answer , let me try again, looonnnngggggggggg lonnnngggggggg wayyyy back in the fifties, get it, it’s not a first, now no twisting ok. Your hatred for the club and the manager is showing you up.



    Had you mentioned the fifties in your earlier post, as you now do I might have caught your drift.


    Now no twisting Tony. Precisely where have I shown hatred for Celtic and its manager. Indeed my posts today indicate some sympathy for him that in the matter of player recruitment, he is not allowed to be his own man.


    Now Tony. Practicing what you preach. No twisting. Do you honestly believe that the Celtic Board is doing its best.



    – See more at: http://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/state-of-the-club-report-year-end-2015/comment-page-3/#comment-2745983

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