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

    Quonno

     

     

    Lawwell and co pray for all fans to have the Tonydonnelly67 view on Celtic….a totally unquestioning and accepting approach. It lets them get on with downsizing uninterrupted.

  2. Cultsbhoy all factually correct but as you know like the SMSM you can state facts and then proceed to slant it whatever suits your view/agenda. In view of your recent posts re Mowbray etc I’ll this one with a pinch of salt! However of course you are entitled to hold them ,Guid New Year to you and yours. H H Hebcelt

  3. mike in toronto on

    I’vehad

     

     

    I seem to see things a bit differently … I think a lot of the players we have brought in are decent players …. just once we get them here, we are making them look poor …. I think the Board need to improve, as do the players, but I think the single weakest area is in coaching … particularly for our mids and strikers …. players look good before they come to us, or even for a few weeks after they get here (GMS and Armstrong), but then the malasie sets in ….

     

     

    decent players, well coached in a good system … that is how Celtic can compete against teams with bigger budgets…. not easy, and wont guarantee wins all the time, but, for me, coaching and the system we play are keys to Celtic’s future success….

  4. CelticRay – Don’t get me wrong – I think all of our players are good enough to play in Scotland. I woudl just be disappointed at losing the 3 I mentioned because I think they have the potential to be bedrock of the team for the next 5 years or more.

     

     

    I’m a big fan of Griff, but he’s not the centre forward to score goals for us in Europe – he is out of his depth there. Broony is a player we miss when he is not in the team, but his biggest asset is his enthusiasm and he is short on skill. Maybe Allan and/or Christie will provide this for us.

     

     

    Understand where you are coming from btw, these two were on my shortlist :)

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

    Mike in Toronto

     

     

    Agree on both Griffiths and Tierny.

     

     

    Griffiths should be made captain

  6. Popped back on to wish everyone a happy new year. I have been keeping an eye on here and seems it’s more of the same, shame really.

     

    I will be having a quiet one as my lhad returning home has seen dad taxi being brought back into service. I look ahead to 2016, not a lot of point in looking back at a fairly poor 2015 for myself, but there you go. I would have been looking ahead anyway, always seems the better option for me .

     

    Be back at Celtic Park on Saturday to cheer on the team. The team on the park needs our support, it needs a few other things as well, but we cannot fix that in time for Saturday so let’s do something we can all do.

     

    Hail! Hail!

  7. Cultsbhoy for the sake of accuracy? I do not consider myself to be part of the &co of TD’s 67 &co I hope you do’nt either.

  8. Paul67

     

    Happy New Year to you and yours and to all on CQN.

     

    It’s all very well posting a tentatively positive leader on New Year’s Eve

     

    HOWEVVA. (Chapeau Kojo)

     

    Where is your steak pie recipe?

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

    Hebcelt

     

     

    I was polarising to highlight the lunacy of P67’s frankly laughable PR spin on the year we’ve just endured.

     

     

    All the very best to you in 2016

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

    Just watched Tony donnellys propaganda clip on celtic TV. … let the people sing with goals banging in from all angles

     

     

    Tony – if others want to be grumpy mine shafters just leave them to it mate – enjoy the fact were top of the tree regardless.

     

     

    4 in a row – with the 5th on the back burner … league cup semi against ross county and Scottish cup v Stranraer to look forward to.

  11. mike in toronto on

    cultsbhoy…

     

     

    LG as captain? Hhmm… interesting thought, but having thought long and hard since you suggested it (a minute or so), I think I would have to say no ….

     

     

    I’m old fashioned …. captains play at the back or in the middle so they can see all of the park … plus there is the intangible issue … a Celtic captain should represent the club well on and off the park, and should be smart about it …. might be the first name on the team sheet, but not sure about captain.

     

     

    now… next year at this time, if he keeps progressing, we might be talking about KT as Celtic Captain …. from what I know of him (which is not a whole lot, I”ll admit), he seems to be made of the right stuff.

  12. BIG-CUP-WINNERS on

    Jmccormack

     

     

    “so let’s do something we can all do.”

     

     

    100% correct.

     

     

    HAIL HAIL

  13. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    ” 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. ”

     

     

    That is how I view Ronny Deila as well. Indeed, I believe that the factor most likely to prevent Ronny reaching great heights with Celtic is the Celtic support.

     

     

    JJ

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

    SFTB

     

     

    Glad you chuckled at ‘albeit’

     

     

    I could have written ‘ we end the year level with AFC, albeit if we take the same points from these games as we dis from the last 2 we will be a point ahead’

     

     

    I omitted reference to Unhappy AGM and dwindling crowds .. I didn’t want to get too IM Jolly. ;-)

     

     

    HH

     

    CB

  15. TONYDONNELLY67 on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 4:18 PM

     

    CULTSBHOY CAN NOT RELATE TO CELTIC BOARD AMBITIONS ON OR OFF THE PARK on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 4:05 PM

     

     

     

     

    Quonno

     

     

     

     

     

     

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

     

     

     

     

     

     

    So I should fall in line and agree with everything you say, and not have any thoughts of my own, OK. Phhhhfffftttttttt

     

     

    Tony, you are perfectly entitled to your opinion.

     

    Just let us know what it is in relation to the Board doing its best.

     

    Also having made the serious accusation that I hate Celtic and its manger, would you either back it up with evidence or withdraw it.

     

     

    – See more at: http://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/state-of-the-club-report-year-end-2015/comment-page-4/#comment-2746008

  16. 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/#comments

     

     

    No I think that the right move would be better if you and cultsbhoy spearheaded a full take over of the club and lead us to another European cup final, cough cough. You could do that right, show RD how it’s done right?

  17. mike in toronto on

    gg’….

     

     

    the next great CQN debate …. steak pie …. with or without kidney? a definite yes for me!

     

     

    damn, I’m hungry now!

  18. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    “….on the year we’ve just endured.”

     

    Cultsbhoy might have endured it. I have enjoyed many a game at Celtic Park in the past year. If you have `endured` it, fine but use `I` not `we`.

     

     

    JJ

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

    TD

     

     

    You are free to form any opinion the Board gives you

     

     

    HH

     

    Have a happy 2016 ;-)

  20. quonno

     

    Oh well hold on I owe you an appoligy, I thought you didn’t like the board or RD, my mistake sorry I take that back you do, I must have you mixed up with somebody else, once again, my appols.

  21. TONYDONNELLY67 on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 4:23 PM

     

    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/#comments

     

     

     

     

     

     

    No I think that the right move would be better if you and cultsbhoy spearheaded a full take over of the club and lead us to another European cup final, cough cough. You could do that right, show RD how it’s done right?

     

    Tony. Drop the facetious stuff. Just answer the question. Do you think that the Board is doing the best it can.

     

     

    Simple yes/no. We will all respect it either way.

     

     

    Annd how about me hating Celtic and Ronny.

     

    – See more at: http://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/state-of-the-club-report-year-end-2015/comment-page-4/#comment-2746014

  22. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    MiT

     

    The `Yes` might have been definite but your preference is less obvious 0:-)

     

     

    JJ

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

    Mike in Toronto

     

     

    I was being tongue in cheek…. Young Tierney is on his way to being a firm favourite because he shares the passion Griffiths not only demonstrates but hopefully engenders in his team mates

  24. As we approach the end of 2015 we have won 10 out of the 15 championships this century ( and should have won another 3). Apart from the BJ era this is the longest period of sustained success we have enjoyed post WW1 over 100 years ago. Please remember between 1920 -1965 we won 5 titles.

     

    We are I suspect odds on to win another 4 or 5 before this decade is over. Our club is solvent we have a world class stadium and training centre 42K SB holders and we are playing in Europe every season sometimes at an advanced stage.

     

    On this Hogmanay think of your forebearers fortitude who waited sometimes many years to see a league or cup win.

  25. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    ” . We will all respect it either way.”

     

     

    There`s another one deciding he can speak for me !

  26. Cultsbhoy,

     

     

    I imagine TD67 sitting in his green chair surrounded by Celtic Views with hooped wallpaper. On the wall are pictures of every Celtic team since 1888 and portraits of Lawwell, Ronny and Hoopy the Hound.

     

     

    If I was posting from this Celtic bunker even I would be tempted to swallow most of the porkies from Pedro about the need to downsize.

  27. TONYDONNELLY67 on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 4:27 PM

     

    quonno

     

     

     

     

    Oh well hold on I owe you an appoligy, I thought you didn’t like the board or RD, my mistake sorry I take that back you do, I must have you mixed up with somebody else, once again, my appols.

     

     

    Sorry to labour this. My openly disliking current Board is completely different from me hating, your word,

     

    Celtic.

     

     

    As I have previously observed, you would do well to drop facetious stuff. It could well come back to haunt you.

     

     

    – See more at: http://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/state-of-the-club-report-year-end-2015/comment-page-4/#comment-2746021

  28. mike in toronto on

    JJHS … you are right… I wasn’t clear … it is definitely steak and kidney (or snake and kitty and the kids used to call it) for me …. but, really, if anyone is making it for me, and they just go with steak …. I’m not going to say no!

     

     

    cultsbhoy ….d’oh! I should have picked up on that! I think I ate too much over the holidays, so all the blood went to my stomach, and my brain has not yet fully recovered!

  29. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    Jerry Cornelius

     

    That must be a pack of lies because many posters on here tell us this is a terrible Celtic side,a terrible Celtic Manager, a terrible Celtic Board and a terrible Celtic support. Obviously, no sane person could describe the club you describe as terrible so. as I said, you must be telling a pack of lies.

     

     

    JJ

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