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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. HAMILTONTIM on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 5:47 PM

     

    Tony

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I’ve never reported anyone on CQN. I want even on when you posted yer nonsense that got you yellow carded.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    If I recall from reading back it was other posters who called you out.

     

     

    – See more at: http://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/state-of-the-club-report-year-end-2015/comment-page-6/#comment-2746107

     

     

    You know it wasent that one, you know fine well when it was.

  2. bonus point for the name or picture of the butchers on the gallowgate with the ornate 1920s style design. in grey marble.

     

     

    anyone ?

  3. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    TD67. Fella your point of view about the Celtic board the manager and the team are as valid as anyone else on CQN.We all have our point of view and posters ganging up on another Celtic supporter is out of order they may not agree with you that is there right but to try to belittle you is out of order.Keep posting your view the various points of view make the blog. H.H.

  4. Dexter

     

    We played them off the park in January while never needing to engage third gear.

     

    What has changed downriver to change the contest?

     

    A magic hat?

     

    A raft of loan signings?

     

    A massive investment?

     

    They can’t dominate their lower league opponents, how can they hope to successfully make the step up in class?

     

    In saying that I haven’t seen them this year apart from that game at Hampden.

     

    However, being ignorant of their players, tactics or managerial capabilities is no bar to spouting my opinion on CQN is it? ;-)

  5. Joe Filippis Haircut on 31st December 2015 5:26 pm

     

     

    ———–

     

     

    Joe, honestly, what brought on all those individual errors ?

     

     

    The managers managed to take a team that was leading in nearly every match to a losing or drawing positions. We got worse in most games

     

     

     

    On occasions being two up.

     

     

    Other than Inter last season , I found the manager very naive at times (well every other game actually).

  6. Still early here but soon be looking out the old glad rags to put on for tonight’s festivities.

     

    When I awake tomorrow morning or afternoon, probably the latter, it will not only be another day but another year.

     

    I will still love my Celtic as I did the previous year.

     

    On Saturday I will be down my local supporters club to be with my fellow Tims, we agree and disagree on a regular basis but we always come back to watch the Celts.

     

     

    Spare a thought for all less fortunate than yourself too,

     

     

    Wishing all fellow Celts the very best of health and happiness for 2016.

     

     

    Once a Celt…..always a Celt.

  7. Right am done for this year, see you all next year, God bless everything Celtic in 2016.

     

     

    Lurking Huns I wish you more horrible pain than you can imagine in 2016 and you can also GIRFUYs

  8. Work over for another year. All the very best to all Tims on CQN.

     

    See some of you good ghuys on Saturday.

     

    Hail Hail

  9. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Saint Stivs. During the closed season it was apparent that we would have a much harder season this season when we lost our two centre backs.We brought in two new Centre backs one got injured early doors the other struggled to find his feet.In Europe at times we played well but individual errors cost us dearly.We have now lost Boyato but I believe we can win the treble this season and also be much better prepared for the European qualifyers next season however,thats the great thing about football we all see it differently.H.H.

  10. Sad to read JJHS saying “cheerio” to the blog. Hope it is temporary but it could be that the continual sniping on here has cost us another good poster.

  11. TONYDONNELLY67 on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 6:02 PM

     

    Right am done for this year, see you all next year, God bless everything Celtic in 2016.

     

     

    Lurking Huns I wish you more horrible pain than you can imagine in 2016 and you can also GIRFUYs

     

     

    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

     

    All the very best for 2016 Hope you have a nice pain free year. But you`re still a trumpet. You remind me of a wasp on here. Annoying most people without really contributing anything of substance. Especially copying and plaging. (deliberate) One thing for sure, you`re unwavering support for the board is what they need to hear, especially when they want the mighty Gers back as soon as possible. Enjoy that when it happens.

  12. Some fire in a hotel in Dubai dramatic pictures on sky news.

     

     

    Hope and pray every one has got out.

  13. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    HRVATSKI JIM. Yes it is a pity to lose good posters but im afraid understandaible when you see the treatment some get on CQN.H.H.

  14. Cosy Corner Bhoy on

    Interesting stats from Jerry Cornelius ; as in all ‘ looking back’ memory ,although not always reliable , can only cover that which happened when you personally were present. The Ma worst is ‘worster’ than yours’ can really only apply if both were the exact same time scale,so, I have a laugh when I read them because that is seldom the case. Anyway, my recollections go back to 1943 and since it took till 1951 to win anything I bags having seen the worst Celtic teams!! As for Europe….. To busy fighting a World War at the time to worry about thae furriners mebbe beating us at the fitba’….. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL CQNrs and hope 2016 is more peaceful on the blog. BTW ,saw a bloke today with a ‘Celtic’ strip with CONNOLLY IRISH REBEL on front and CENTENERY 2016 on back! STOATER.

  15. A happy new year to all on here when it comes, board bashers, board lovers, lurkers even the (odd) hun that posts:)

     

     

    It’s only a game after all…aye right :)

     

     

    I’ll catch up at the corner with some on Saturday with a few programs. Hail Hail to all.

  16. Celticrollercoaster supporting Shay,our bhoy wonder along the way on

    HRVATSKI JIM on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 6:17 PM

     

    Sad to read JJHS saying “cheerio” to the blog. Hope it is temporary but it could be that the continual sniping on here has cost us another good poster.

     

    ——————————————

     

     

    I think Jungle Jim was saying cheerio for the night.

     

     

    HH

     

     

    CRC

  17. eddieinkirkmichael on

    Is it a wonder that some teams aren’t that far away from us point wise over the last couple of seasons? Some clubs will be potentially 12 points a season better off since Scotland’s second biggest club was liquidated.

  18. VOGUEPUNTER on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 7:02 PM

     

    Stivs

     

     

     

    Any opticians in the port??

     

     

    ——-

     

     

    that my ny resolution actually, to go get my eyes tested.

     

     

    but seriously the bold judith is top trumps.

  19. ....PFayr supports WeeOscar on

    Happy new year to all

     

     

     

    See more ad hominem attacks from the resident board toadying rude boy

     

     

    It gets a bit wearing at times….

     

     

    HH

  20. Just seen on news the fire at the hotel in Dubai.

     

    Don’t think you should be allowed To go that high unless you can get emergency services to the trapped people.

     

    All the top floor rooms should have emergency parachutes or something.

  21. weet weet weet(GBWO) on

    Hogmanay Memories

     

    The Highlight of the year

     

    Hogmanay was a real treat, the highlight of the year. Children would be allowed to stay up late in anticipation, waiting for the bells. It was never certain just who would turn up at the door, but someone always did. The food was laid out on the kitchen table covered with a pristine white tablecloth. Sandwiches, shortbread and black bun. Also, bottles of beer and a half-bottle of whisky, with bottles of cordial, a sort of sickly sweet concoction which virtually guaranteed that dentures would later be a necessity for the imbiber!

     

    When the pub closed, well before midnight, Uncles Angus, Duncan and Alex would appear, with their favourite tipples in carrier bags, and a lump of coal as an omen of health, wealth and prosperity for the coming year. Grandad would enjoy a quite dram and a puff at his pipe, whilst Uncle Angus would, once again, re-create his part in the winning of the Battle of El Alamein in North Africa in 1942, using the salt and pepper and a box of matches. Everyone had heard it all before, of course. Mum and Dad enjoyed the commotion simply because it was an event in those days, a unique event, before the advent of late-pub closing and urban sophistication had made every Saturday night an event.

     

    On the television would be The White Heather Club, with Andy Stewart and bagpipes, tartan, singing and lots of dancing, in black and white, of course. Then, finally, the moment we had all been waiting for- the countdown to the bells. In a frenzy everyone would refresh their glasses and listen to Andy Stewart intone the magic phrase, ‘Happy New Year!’ Everyone would give each other new year greetings, the ships in the docks would sound their foghorns, fireworks would ascend into the night sky and the celebrations would commence. Uncle Eck produced a guitar and would sing some rock and roll, followed by Harry Lauder’s Roaming in the Gloaming, just for Granny. After every verse she would laugh uproariously and cry out, ‘yir an awfy man, Harry!’ Neighbours would appear bearing records and these would be stacked on the Dansette record player, The Beatles, Helen Shapiro and, of course Cliff Richard and The Shadows for the younger ones. Strip the Willow, The Gay Gordons and The Dashing White Sergeant were then performed in the tiny living room, as grand as if it were the Royal Albert Hall.

     

    More neighbours appeared from the landing, part of a giant impromptu conga which had spilled out from Mrs Findlay’s, three doors down. Her son, Big Tam, had been a Piper in the army and he was in the lead playing Heiland Laddie on the bagpipes, around three times faster than usual.

     

    The party would begin to wind down around three in the morning, Mum’s favourite phrase to us protesting children was, ‘remember, it’s New Year tomorrow, as well.’ One by one, the revellers would leave after another rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne. When they were gone, the table, once pristine and orderly, would now be a reminder of another Hogmanay. Another year over and the new year still to come, what would it bring? Stored in the ‘Press’, the ubiquitous pantry, the large, pre-ordered steak pie would be waiting for the traditional New Year dinner.

     

    Many Hogmanays have come and gone since then. Although perhaps more sophisticated and grand, they will never outdo the special magic of those, perhaps, more innocent times. Most of the people I remember, including my uncles, have gone as well, but I can still hear the laughter and the music and still feel the sense of optimism and hope as the bells signalled the start of ‘Neerday’, looking to the future whilst remembering the past and absent friends. Still, whatever time we live in, whatever the ways of the world and the complexities of modern life, the greeting Happy New Year, is, and will always be, the cry at Hogmanay, A very Happy New Year to everybody.

     

    Previously published by Scottish Memories Magazine, Warners Group Publications plc. Cover artwork by Chris Taylor.

  22. BMCUW & Cowiebhoy,

     

     

    Firstly, Lawwell must go….so change can happen. As a one dimensional tactical beancounter he has put Celtic in a straightjacket. I wouldn’t hire Lawwell as a CFO never mind a CEO when I look at his history …just google it …from monktonahall, Port Authority to old board commercial manager.

     

     

    Celtic is Scottish football. The Ibrox club will be back next year however financially they are Aberdeen plus and will not be a threat. Celtic can sign any player in Scottish football during the transfer window. If that is the case why do we need our own set up when it costs several million and other clubs will do it for us and give the boys first team experience we are reluctant too.

     

     

    If the youth set up and coaches delivered a player like Tierney every then I would consider retaining it. Paul McLauglin the Headmaster at St Ninians has a new intake of Celtic players every year. Out of the last 50 we have had one make the first team from a quick check. However it is not working. So bite the bullet and let the motherwells, Hamiltons, Hibs develop the next young Celtic Scottish players.

     

     

    Celtics resources financial and scouts need to deployed internationally and scout for talent and build alliances there.

     

     

    However as long as we have a CEO who puts his own personal entitlement before Celtic ( taking a bonus during CL failures ) then the decline continues. Lawwell has taken £8.6M out of Celtic, more than Henrik, Martin O’Neill, Broonie. More than the Lisbon Lions over their entire Celtic careers.

     

     

    Lawwell has defined the Celtic mantra

     

     

    – manager …puppet

     

     

    – signings ….projects

     

     

    – star….sell

     

     

    – Bonus — deliver

     

     

    – CL qualification — c’est la vie. Neuter expectations.

     

     

    – EL qualification — it’s Europe.

     

     

    The continuing decline will see the 3rd consecutive CL failure next season yet the CEO will probably ensure his bonus to take his annual compensation to £1M and approx £10M in total.

     

     

    Would 3 CL failures and the loss of £80- £90M of revenue be enough to see Lawwell kicked out….or does he continue his downsizing to give Aberdeen plus a chance.

     

     

    Lawwell is systematically destroying our club.

  23. May try and go into this seriously sometime in future.

     

    Statistically things appear to be reasonably fine.

     

    Yet there is a degree of discontent and feeling that things should be better.

     

    Almost like watching a game where you score first, yet know deep down you are not going to win.

     

    Also a lack of confidence about how things will pan out if BDO lose attempt to make an appeal, or make an unsuccessful appeal.

  24. latchford on 31st December 2015 7:32 pm

     

     

    I am open to correction on this one.

     

    Although he is not my favourite person, I believe that on occasion , PL has waived or at least deferred bonuses.

  25. Back.

     

     

    Just to confirm.

     

     

    I hate that moment when you turn over the pie crust and find some sausages in the mix.