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. The Spirit of Arthur Lee on




    You have been wearing stone roses gear for a few years now.



    Just take her and be a cool dad




  2. Truth_Beauty_and_Freedom on

    Posted too soon, but honestly, words fail me at this statement as it is so far from my own, and I suspect many others assessments that it beggars belief. I will be delighted if/when we win this league, but a ‘comfortable certainty’ it absolutely isn’t.



    Yours in Celtic,




  3. In my view



    Lawwell runs Celtic from A-Z.



    The Celtic Board is weak. Apart from Dermot the only serious player is Ian Livingston as a former CEO of a FTSE 100 company. The others whilst honest and good men could equally be on the Board of Stenhousemuir and nobody would bat an eyelid. IL is Celtics youngest board member and more of his calibre are required to challenge the status quo and current failings.



    The Board meets at most once a month more likely once every 2 months. Dermot doesn’t attend and sends a proxy usually. So his involvement is by phone call or the occasional European game involving the club.



    As long as PL delivers cash / Ebit break even irrespective of revenue or football success the gentlemans club or Celtic Board will sign off. They will not rock the boat.



    There is nobody seriously challenging PL on his (lack of) performance. It is a cosy gentlemans club. Dermot has too many other interests and as long as Celtic ticks over he will be happy enough. It used to be an after dinner conversation in Dublin 4 but I would imagine even that has gone.



    The treatment of Keane has probably irked Dermot and whilst supporting a very likeable Ronny …he will not forget Lawwells role in the charade with Keane. Ronnys failure could easily end up in Lawwell being put out to pasture. That said Lawwell has the survivors instinct and he will know that he has a part to play in Sevcos return…as he has been round the block a few times with the 1872 version. Sevco in the SPFL next season suits Lawwell personally as well as a chance to entice back some of the 15,000 who no longer attend home games.



    It’s not a short answer ….as some context is required as I join the dots from various discussions , informations I pick up etc



    One thing I can tell you for certain , the vast majority for Celtic fans who can think for themselves don’t buy into the PR from Paul67. They don’t buy into the enrichment of PL and the downsizing. They don’t buy into tacit support for Sevco in the SPFL.



    The Celtic support do buy into our club being run properly and appearing in the CL every season as opposed to the Malmos and Maribors of this world.



    That me until next year…awra the best to all. Hail Hail.

  4. Latchford



    If what you think is true time for Dermot to go as well in my opinion.



    Anyway all the best for 2016.

  5. T, B & F



    Oddschecker odds are 1/40 Celtic, 20/1 Aberdeen.



    Any racing commentator faced with those odds would safely describe it as a comfortable certainty.



    However, one year soon we will lose a league and, after several failed prophecies of doom, posters will be able to blame others for being “complacent”.

  6. What is the Stars on



    you should be happy that she still wants to be seen in public with you.




    yes I will be over for a race meeting this year, will meet up.

  7. Aiden Bhoy,



    I was hopeful that Dermots son Brett would have become more involved. I suppose he has many things to keep him busy ….as well as his good lady.



    Celtic will always owe a debt to Fergus and Dermot. Dermot was in some ways more of a financial powerhouse for the club in its transition from the Kelly/White regime. Dermot has lost money in Celtic whereas Fergus made a circa £30M profit…..and I don’t begrudge him one penny off it.



    I would always be happy to have Dermot involved at Celtic …..however it needs a young Dermot Desmond now.

  8. Aidenbhoy



    i expect Tierney and henderson to become regulars in first team. Nesbit has good chance going by reports



    findlay has good positional sense, pace and physicality for centre back but still bit young to make position at celtic his own right now, again has good chance of making it.



    mcgergor and fisher etc… are likely to be moved on for a profit alongside a number of others. a 3 year turn round like that is very good for any academy



    there are lads on here who talk well of other younger lads like hill, thomson and miller so it does look like things are going well in this area



    would rather Celtic promote from within and look at bringing in better players which would maybe cost more due to increased scouting and initial outlays but saving in having blotted squad

  9. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ on






  10. Gooooooooood evening all



    HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPY NEW YEAR to one and all when it comes,



    may 2016 bring you all your needs and may you be granted the strength to deal with any troubles.



    after much deliberation i have given all you roasters another years contract extention :))))))))

  11. What is the Stars on

    Colms dream Musselburgh 135 tomorrow


    Good luck


    Horse said to be in great form. Big run expected. Drying ground would help but backing it anyway

  12. Latchford



    I think that if you try to define what is meant by run properly you will end up with a number of definitions, maybe as many as you have supporters.



    There is a process for actually doing that definition and international aid agencies have a tool for doing it. It’s called Log frame.



    I’ve mentioned it once or twice in dealings with the SLO but it’s a complicated resource intensive process to set up and apply and my reluctant judgement is that Celtic (like most clubs) simply are not at the level of business maturity to embark on it.



    I’m not sure that the support are ready either as it requires letting go of preconceived concepts and attachment to their current roles and raisin d’etre and perceptions.



    If it takes two to tango it takes many more to have a ball.

  13. VP


    thank you thing on the up wae my mam,they dont make them like the auld yins anymore ,tough as old boots

  14. LEFTCLICKTIC on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 9:41 PM


    Goooooood evening my Fhriend, what happened to my one year rolling contract, 10% increase year on year…:)


    Happy New Year to you and yours when it comes.


    Keep the Faith!


    Hail Hail!

  15. The Spirit of Arthur Lee on

    Fecking miss being pissed at this time and my mother trying to sober me up for the bells . Just to get pissed again


    All the best for 2016

  16. Lennybhoy


    all roasters got another year,so yer in:))))))


    Thank you for all your help since i have met you but especially the last 24hrs,




    ng the wee mhan


    papa can i stay up late,i was good at school for the last two days:))))))))))



    Course you can wee mhan you can stay up till ye conk out



  17. SOAL


    being woken up to home made soup and a pot of stew & peas



    it will make you feel better CSC

  18. AIDEN BHOY on 31ST DECEMBER 2015 9:55 PM












    Does that not come down to the communication aspect between board and fans ?



    – See more at: http://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/state-of-the-club-report-year-end-2015/comment-page-9/#comment-2746205




    It does but honest communication requires trust that what is revealed during it will not be used to further paticularly agendas.



    So a prerequisite is to build a bedrock of trust and that requires risk on both sides.



    Now if Celtic were seen as a non separable single entity agreed on a main objective instead of a divided community, trust would follow naturally from realising we are all in the same boat .



    The most dangerous idea Celtic face is the idea of separation. Drop that idea and a new world of possibilities opens.



    That is what I’d like to see emerge although it may take the consequences of divisive thinking (on both sides) to bring us to reality.

  19. Auldheid



    I genuinely think most fans are looking for leadership from the board . We never here from them bar the AGM and that never turns out well . We need to know they are fighting our corner and ensure what has happened in the past will not happen again. I know they have their reasons for staying quiet but I believe if they told it how it really is this club would be united.





    I agree with your point about a divided community. Trust is a commodity singularly lacking at the moment.



    That’s a natural consequence of the disconnect between the board and the fans,between those in charge and those who supply everything they need.



    The board are reaping what they have sown. Were the consequences not so serious,I’d be happy to leave them to it. But it’s OUR CLUB which they are driving over the cliff.



    And so much in charge are they that we can do nothing about it.





    Nice to read your stuff earlier,bud.



    My bestest for 2016 to yer wee Mammy,you,R,and The Wee Man.



    Oh,and all your other loved ones,especially the daughter who came up wi yon spurious excuse to keep you away from Dublin2016!

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