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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. Good luck to Ronny in the New Year.I hope you have taken in everything from the past 18 months and learned from it.

     

    Please,it is not impossible to play with two strikers at Celtic Park.By that,I dont mean the “Two up front”nonsense we get from many.I mean two strikers.Just how successful were Hooper and Stokes,the last good pair of strikers playing together we had.

     

    A holding,(real holding)midfielder is a necessity to the way we play.

     

    A playmaker to deliver the “Pass”that we so clearly have been lacking.

     

    I think that we are not too far away from a very good team.I watched the team zip balls about at great pace at Tynecastle,for around the first 20 minutes.With the right help,we could have sustained this longer.An “Auld heid”in the holding role.

     

    Just my ramblings.Anyway,I have a deal of optimism for the New Year.Not too great a wishlist.,and not impossible to get.

  2. mike in toronto on

    gg/jjhs … my brother is cooking dinner tomorrow …but hadn’t thought about what he was cooking …. just sent him and email letting him know that I am expecting S&K pie! thanks for reminding me! :)

  3. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    Latchford said:

     

     

    ” 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. ”

     

     

    In the unlikely event I were I to imagine you, Latchford, it certainly would not contain any of the images mentioned above.

     

     

    JJ

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

    Quonno

     

     

    Stop baiting TD67 – he can’t possibly answer that question until he is told what to think about it by the Board. Leave him alone …!

     

     

    I also asked him if every Celtic player regardless of form or injury history is above questioning. Hopefully the board will instruct his answer on that one too as he hasn’t got back to me either. ..

  5. West End of East End on

    Jerry Cornelius – Great post mate, sometimes we need reminding of that. It took to the last day of 2015 for the best post of the year to be made….

     

     

    Hail Hail and a Happy New Year to all…

  6. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    MiT

     

    I think of S & K as English and Steak Pie as Scottish. I certainly prefer the steak pies I have had since my return to Scotland nearly nine years ago to the S & K pies I had in England. All opinion, of course but it is making me hungry as well! Beef Wellington at 7pm for me.

     

    JJ

  7. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    Oh, meant to say that it is cheerio from me. I hope CQN becomes less negative in 2016.

     

    JJHS

  8. MIT

     

    Sounds much more impressive than Mike in Toronto, don’t you think?

     

    If you want some kidneys I have two unused.

     

    They are a bit shrunken though.

     

    I prefer a wee bit sausage myself, but not too much.

     

    Unfortunately I had my ration of red meat as a Christmas treat.

     

    No more till Easter.

     

    A Happy and healthy 2016 to yourself and all CQNers above the 49th parallel.

     

    I hope all our ambitions for Celtic and CQN come to pass.

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

    West end of East End

     

     

    Best post of the year was whoever stated following European humiliation:

     

     

    ‘Boyata and Blackett are two of the biggest t*ts to come out of Manchester since Bet Lynch was in her pomp’

     

     

    That was a classic!

  10. mike in toronto on

    JJHS …. fortunately, the better half (who is australian) doesn’t read CQN, so I can admit this …. the pies in Oz were maybe the best I have had!

     

     

    There is a kiwi pie shop that has opened in Toronto that apparently makes some fine ones …. going there is on my list of new years resolutions.

     

     

    Jumping into freezing cold lake ontario tomorrow morning (for charity) …. so, coming out of that …. I think tomorrow’s pie (whether with kidney or not) may just be the best pie I will ever taste!

     

     

    Beef Wellington? At 7 you say? If I leave for the airport now, I can maybe be there by 9…. can you keep some warm for me?

  11. Brother phoned me.

     

    He say’s big rumour is aiden mcgheedy back on loan, Garry Mackay Stevens out on loan.

     

    Anybody else heard this.

  12. Gooooood Afternoon CQN

     

    Heading out in a wee while, so may I wish every Celtic supporter worldwide, all the very very best for 2016, even though already celebrating :-)

     

     

    Hail Hail

     

     

    PS – nice to see you are also getting excaperated in our signing strategy :-)

     

    Hope you and the CQN team have a great new year

  13. JJ and WEEE

     

    I worked with a guy , a Celtic fan, in the late 60s early 70s who thought Jinky was rubbish ,Dalglish slow, and BJ lucky. I went to a few games with him and if we were’nt 4 or 5 up by HT he would be moaning away.

     

    Sellick fans……….youve gotta luv them.

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

    Latchford

     

     

    I imagine TD67 as more of Cato to Lawwell’s bungling Clouseau … A kind of odd man servant who is liable to jump on Lawwell’s back and roll about the heated driveway as he steps out of his car at night but who is fiercely protective of him in public…

  15. Oh and Latchford from your post at the back of 2

     

    You and I are the same page

     

    We’re signing from the same hymn sheet :-)

  16. mike in toronto on

    GG ….. given that you are off red meat until easter, I feel I can share this with you….

     

     

    I do my chef’s course for fun, and was going to do a barbq course in January … but, the boss is quasi-vegetarian, so I am now doing a veggie cooking class! (I know … the shame!)

     

     

    so , I have to get as much red meat as possible over the next few days to get me through the rest of the winter!

     

     

    and thanks for the offer of the kidneys …eerr… ‘ll get back to you on that if Loblaws are sold out!

     

     

    as for MIT … I like it … reminds me of Mr. Chomsky … one of my heroes!

  17. “In the unlikely event I were I to imagine you, Latchford, it certainly would not contain any of the images mentioned above”.

     

     

    JJ – Almost spat my coffee all over my keyboard there – very funny pal and very apt.

  18. Some good and some bad for Celtic in the past year in my opinion.

     

     

    We’re on our way to 5 in a row and domestically our domination sees no sign of abating any time soon.

     

     

    In Europe we’ve been very disappointing and there’s been little sign that Ronny is learning how to close the spaces that continue to see us losing so many goals.

     

     

    Young Tierney has been a real plus and I loved seeing a picture of him yesterday cleaning Naka’s boots when he was but a mere boy.

     

     

    As Paul has alluded to, some of our signings have been poor. For me, Cole and Ciftci come into the wtf category.

     

     

    Off the park, has seen the Fans Forum meetings continue and increased opportunity for dialogue. Whether most of it is meaningful is open to interpretation.

     

     

    The board continue to shame us by refusing to sign up to the Living Wage and then we had the embarrassment of the AGM.

     

     

    We walk on with hope in our hearts to 2016.

     

     

    Hail Hail

  19. Crowds are gathering in Times Square for the New Years Eve concert and the ball drop.

     

    (We all know a thing or two about that)

     

    Due to security concerns once you go in you can’t get back out.

     

    There are no bathrooms.

     

    So if you want a romantic evening in the company of 1 million people, many of whom probably wearing adult nappies, Times Square is the place to be.

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

    Turkeybhoy

     

     

    Yes ‘in her pomp’ sealed it … Classic CQN post match wit

  21. mike in toronto on

    would be disappointed if GMS goes out ….. in the system that RD says he likes, the two outside players of the three really need a bit of skill and to be able to take players on … of all of our players, I thought he would excel in this system…. and still think he could. he has the skill.

  22. IF Nir Bitton has improved it is not measurably more than would be in the least expected of him.

     

    A player like Kieran Tierney would progress to the first team regardless of who is the manager

     

    how much credit should be given to Jim McGuinness for the blooming of Leigh Griffiths ?

     

    Will Scott Brown and Jim McGuiness complete their A Licence around the same time ?

  23. A big Happy New year to All.

     

     

    Hope 2016 keeps every one safe and well.

     

     

    2016 will be the deciding year for me regarding the team i love so much.

     

     

    Cant take much more of the shambles that we have seen from the cheating Huns/Refs/SFA/SPFL/LNS.

     

     

    Be good and God Bless

     

     

    HH

  24. Fholks….all kidding aside….

     

    I know that I’m lucky to be still here.

     

    I know that a lot of unluckier folk than me should be here but, sadly are not.

     

    I know that and, will never, ever, ever, forget the wall to wall, best wishes, prayers and thoughts of an entire blog of Celtic supporters on these pages earlier in the year when, I was going through a period of uncertainty from a health p.o.v to the degree that, after a battery of hurried, condensed tests, scans, exams etc to ascertain whether I would still be alive or, not….the prayers, support, best wishes and thoughts were totally overwhelming. If, I had to win the lottery every week for the rest of my life….I still wouldn’t have enough to pay you all back. Thank You CQN and, May God Bless You All.

     

    When it comes….Happy New Year to All CQNer’s and, Mr Paul 67 and, all yer families.

     

    God Bless You All…..bye.

  25. AAAAAAHHHHH Europe

     

     

    Between 1975 and 2000 (25 years guys ) done absolutely nothing apart from the Real Madrd home game and a couple of others Sporting ,Cologne come to mind and that was about it.

  26. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    The Celtic board for me are doing a decent job the club are in the black and have money to spend in the transfer window we can always think they should be doing more or doing better that is human nature.We have a bright young manager who could bring us the treble this season and I hope he continues to grow in the job and cracks our European bogey.I m looking forward to the coming and goings this transfer window. H.H.

  27. butsybhoy on 31st December 2015 5:02 pm

     

     

    A big Happy New year to All.

     

    Hope 2016 keeps every one safe and well.

     

    2016 will be the deciding year for me regarding the team i love so much.

     

    Cant take much more of the shambles that we have seen from the cheating Huns/Refs/SFA/SPFL/LNS.

     

    Be good and God Bless

     

     

    HH

     

     

    You know my thoughts on that J.

     

    Midnight been an gone an hour since here, so, All the Best in 2016 pal………..

     

    Regards & Hail Hail

     

    TBM

  28. KEVJUNGLE on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 5:05 PM

     

    Don’t always agree with you but you do post some sense. Keep on posting…Happy New Year to you and yours when it comes. And I hope our Team get the treble in 2016.

     

    Keep the Faith!

     

    Hail Hail!

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