Taken to school, Paul McConville


Celtic’s valiant capitulation last night had a familiar feel to it.  We took the game to Milan, bossed them in many areas while the tie was still close enough to be called a contest, created chances but had no cutting edge and lost heavily, at home, to what is clearly the weakest of four Milan teams we have faced in the last decade.  It was a similar story when Juventus came to Glasgow last season.

Am I the only one who thought it was familiar from stirring European nights of the 80s?  Take on one of the most experience teams in Europe with two out-and-out wingers, inspire for a time but only earn a lesson in how unforgiving the game can be at the top level. Or at least, hope we learned a lesson.

We loved it in the 80s, of course, but it was like going to school when Martin O’Neill arrived and taught us how to win in Europe.  Despite the defeat, the 10 men got it right at home to Barca, and in the home win over Ajax, where we allowed the visitors the majority of possession and territory, but with four minutes on the clock and Celtic playing well last night, I noted the game was “worryingly open”.

In Europe, an open game means defeat. We don’t have the midfield or attack to win playing adventurously. When setup properly, we can defend as well as anyone in Europe, this is our irrefutable strength, play to it.

Paul McConville

The first thing I did when I met Paul McConville at the Columba Club on Friday was dig him up for not being in touch recently.  This gave him an opportunity to wax enthusiastically about the consuming joy of being back on the tools as a solicitor in Glasgow.  He was a man who had arrived exactly where he wanted to be in life.

He was so full of drive, clarity of vision and purpose that it was with utter disbelieve I heard the news of his sudden passing yesterday.

As anyone who read Random Thoughts Re Scots Law knew, he loved his family.  He also loved practicing law and held Albion Rovers in high affection.  He was not, as has been suggested, part of the Celtic family. Had the snake oil salesmen turned up at Celtic Park they would have endured the same forensic analysis from Paul as he applied elsewhere, but he was an important friend and resource to our community, and ultimately our club, during an historically important time.

To most of us he was a unique blogger.  Cheerful, incisive and unrelenting.  He charted the story of Rangers insolvency, administration and liquidation, then picked up the even more complicated events surrounding the phoenix.

When asked on Friday why he had been less industrious recently, specifically covering the leaks from Charlotte Fakes, he conceded he just didn’t have the time anymore; he was back litigating and loving it.

The personal cost of his blogging was often all too clear, he was out there, but Paul managed to retain his determination not to be browbeaten, while enduring the numptites with more good grace and humour than most of us could muster. Before taking up his new role in Glasgow he worked a few minutes walk from me. We collaborated on a number of matters in recent years and marked one auspicious afternoon last year by sharing a bottle of Champagne; a genuinely treasured memory.

The fragility of it all is breathtaking. Our condolences to the McConville family. May he rest in peace.
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  1. innocent_bystander on

    Sorry to hear about the passing of Paul McConville. Like him I am not from the celtic family but I enjoyed reading his posts even I did have to find a spare half an hour to read them.



    In terms of last night, failure to replace Hooper has caught up with us as his goals were always far more than a 10/10 Wanyama performance. Pukki is not the answer, plays too much with his back to goal and Balde is too raw in the basis of what we’ve seen so far. Derk played well in patches last night and may come good once he gets fitter and stronger from a run of games. Some of the problem is Lennon though and he can’t be classed as a novice now . He must surely realise that Commons is a liability at this level, Sammi needs to play out wide on the left and Forrest may be better used as an impact player. The results were gained last season by being defensively sound and not by going toe to toe with the more technically gifted teams which seems to be the modus operandi this season. Ok we played well in Milan but ultimately lost.



    On the positive side VVD is a player and Efe has looked much better this season. I still think Izzy can do a job and were fortunate in having Lustig and Mathews in the books as they can both play a but defensively and going forward.



    Just getting a few things off my chest today as it softens the blow from last night but I personally think we’ve now become far too concerned with the whole sevco saga – maybe it is time to focus our energies on forcing the board to speculate to accumulate. Well probably never know if Alfie would have been the answer but surely buying a player in that price bracket would help crack the glass ceiling. The current signing strategy may unearth the odd talent but maybe they should consider purchasing players with a bit of experience but still have something to prove – it worked with Sutton and BBJ. Am surprised no one had suggested getting Hooper back next season on a loan deal



    Anyways HH and rant over – I feel better now

  2. derks left boot,



    My problem with zonal marking is the attacking player can attack the ball at speed and with a spring.



    I’ve seen the stats from the blog, maybe it’s just me but when we play in Europe, my heart is in my mouth at set pieces.

  3. Liverpool TV Sky 429 free channel @ 2pm Parkhead:The Fans Story.About Liverpool’s first game after Hillsborough

  4. Cousins of William game on BBC1 Scotland on Sunday I see.


    Big performance needed to redress the disappointment of last night.



  5. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    Zonal marking doesn’t mean you are rooted to the spot waiting for the ball to arrive on your spot.

  6. Condolences to Pauls family and may he rest in peace. I only just met him for the first time on Friday. Such a shock.



    requiescant in pace.

  7. The quicker we beat hearts the better then hopefully the idiots who appear on here after a defeat will crawl back under there stone.



  8. weeminger – deals can be structured to work for everyone.



    “Wages accounted for a healthy 52% of a £65m turnover thanks to a salary cap that ensures no Swansea player earns more than £35,000 a week. They are all on heavily incentivised contracts and win bonuses of £5,000 a game are attractive even by Premier League standards.”




    “Then there is the playing philosophy insisted upon by Jenkins, chairman of a board made up entirely of Swansea fans, with the Supporters’ Trust that helped save the club in 2002 still retaining a 20% stake. Insistence on a passing style shaped the successive appointments of Roberto Martínez, Paulo Sousa, Rodgers and Laudrup as manager and also minimised the disruption when the Dane’s predecessors departed.”



    Source – http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2013/feb/25/michael-laudrup-swansea-city



    We need to re-invent the Celtic Way – perhaps the New Celtic way.

  9. WGS @ 11.45


    say now we are at a similar point MON was at after the Shaktar game in Donetsk.



    Another rebuild to take place !!



    I would imagine there will be a meeting or two with PL and DD over coming days how to proceed !!





    I doubt anyone will be meeting with DD over the coming days to discuss the rebuild job you (rightly) suggest is now needed. The truth is Celtic plc is pretty far down DD’s portfolio priorities and unless there are a convenient gaps in his business or golfing diaries, he’ll not be meeting NL or PL to talk about a rebuild. The best we can hope for is a 5 minute “Old Mr. Grace” type chat on the phone in between important business meetings. DD just ain’t interested anymore and won’t be unless the prospect of us joining the EPL was re-surrected and that just ain’t going to happen.



    There will be no re-build. We will sell our high value players (before they lose their current value), replace them with projects and NL will remain in charge as long as he is prepared to work within this business model.

  10. Shocked and saddenned by the untimely death of Paul McConville – we have lost a strong and questionning voice and the world is poorer for it.



    As for the game – i was going to post last night but it didnt work – I’m glad it didnt. As I watched a myriad of Celtic supporters go through central station last night the overwhelming feeling from them all was one of sadness.



    The club are letting us all down through what I would describe as their devastating parsimony and lack of ambition. The lack of a good striker is overwhelmingly stupid – there is no other word to describe it accurately. Its stupid on every level.



    Who on earth scouted Pukki and Balde and what exactly did they see in them. Boerigter is simply an imposter – he hid all night last night.



    Celtic once again are on the verge of throwing away a winning hand thanks to their ambition to be mediocre.




  11. !!bada bing!!



    12:43 on 27 November, 2013



    Seen that program a few months ago, very good to watch the Liverpool lads speak very highly of the Celtic support. HH

  12. 67heaven,



    They would come if you pay the wage, looking at what we paid for our two latest strikers, although probably not on great wages…it would even itself out.



    Could it cause turmoil in the dressing room?



    Probably… That’s when man management should come to the fore.



    We want the best we can afford without players spitting the dummy. Prove their worth on the park. HH

  13. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    Hun skelper.


    He must have a higher opinion of our support than you seem to have..o))

  14. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    From Almeria to Valladolid all the talk in the dressing room is about who is going to get the chance to move to Celtic, and live in the tenement in Dennistoun.



    …perhaps strolling through Alexandra Park of a Sunday afternoon, after attending Mass at Our Lady of Good Counsel.

  15. NegAnon2


    12:51 on


    27 November, 2013



    It’s interesting that you felt Boerrigter hid, cause I thought he did alright.



    According to the UEFA stats, of our forward players only Forrest attempted more passes, but his completion rate was slightly worse. Samaras and Commons attempted less and had fewer completions.



    UEFA Stats



    He was relatively unhidden.

  16. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    Once again, 4-2-4 comes unstuck.



    Tactically, we are a one trick pony.



    Unfortunately, every team knows how the trick works.



    Does the manager have another trick up his sleeve, or a rabbit to pull out of his hat?




  17. ArranmoreBhoyLXV11 on




    BEAUTIFUL epitaph Paul.. Paul Mc C was up there as a go to blog every time for many of us.



    We are all diminished by his passing.

  18. What normally happens on here during the run up to a ‘big’ game is the happy clappers have the run of the place with positive happy thoughts of what it will be like when we win,



    then when we get beat they run for cover and the mineshafters take over telling us all if you think that was bad its going to get a lot worse,



    it was ever thus and we shoud stop slagging off fellow posters simply because we dont agree with them,




    by the way, the carnage on here last night / today will pale in comparison to what it will be like if the unthinkable should happen on Sunday.

  19. The big guy at the back...supporting Wee Oscar. on

    A very fitting tribute, Paul.



    Like many, I never had the pleasure of meeting Paul McConville but often enjoyed reading his blog. What I can say is that all of the personality traits described by those who knew him also shone through in his writing. It was a pleasure to have read you.



    RIP, Paul and may God bless your young family at this terrible time.




  20. hun skelper,



    I waited until today to post, being on nightshift I read all the posts, some being in the heat of the moment and some… Och well we were fourth seeds anyway.



    Most posts made good points but the ones that stuck out was the lack of investment.



    Surely, you can’t be happy that our strikers languish on the bench not deemed fit to get on the park.



    I’m under no illusion that we can’t burst the bank but when did it become the case, that we spend money for players not ready to pull the hoops on from the outset.

  21. justafan 12:27



    “Really? Not much evidence of that since 2003”



    funny you should say that, isn’t that around the time our esteemed Peter Peter the Bonus Eater started getting tucked in?



    Also I see that Neil Lennon has been in the press moaning about suspensions but perhaps if instead he were to address that topic with our maverick Captain of kicking and stamping and general Kung Foolery he might not be short of his deputy and we might have picked up a few more points this CL campaign.

  22. jeez_I_thought_blinker_was_pants on

    Paul 67



    You’re not the only one, last nights 1st goal was a carbon copy of the one we gifted Real Sociedad at Celtic Park in ’82.



    BTW Excellent Tribute to Paul McC

  23. SFTB ——



    Glib ole Albert is suggesting that if [for example ] you are depressed as a consequence of drinking too much then it is probably better not to deal with that depression by getting drunk one more time.

  24. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    Balatelli had a kick at efe when chasing after him in tge fist half. Fouth officual obviously wasn’t watching his tv monitor as he was when btown was sent off.


    Coruption goes all the way in football.

  25. Setting free the bears,



    Apologies with wording. I meant a player who would entertain us.



    Mihai Raduț

  26. hun skelper



    Paul67 will decide when people can and cant post on this blog – its his blog, not yours



    I have read most of the discussions on here after defeats, i dont notice anything in them that would cause Paul67 to ban the folks from posting



    What i tend to notice is that the posts seem to be longer after a bad defeat because there are so many differing opinions about how it can be fixed, or what we should have done in the game to avoid defeat



    Its called discussion



    If you are of such limited mental capacity that you cant join in those discussions, then dont – its your free will (do you understand what that means?)



    But to simply come on and tell said discussioners to crawl back under there (i think this is where the word ‘sic’ would be inserted) stone is pretty embarassing and says more about you than it does about them



    The same kind of thing goes for the post i read overnight telling the ‘leave early-ers’ that they are not welcome at the ground



    Not welcome by who? I bet DD is more than happy to take their cash through tickets sales, and he owns the club – thats all that matters



    A random person who doesnt own the ground or the club isnt in a position to tell people they are not welcome



    Freedom of speech and actions – it seems some people on here dont want either of those

  27. mighty tim supporting wee Oscar on

    St Jude minx posted earlier total £26280 not to bad at all.







  28. Derks Left Boot on

    The Honest Mistake loves being first


    12:48 on


    27 November, 2013


    Zonal marking doesn’t mean you are rooted to the spot waiting for the ball to arrive on your spot.






    Unfortunately it would appear thats what our players think it means!



    1st goal last night? Don’t think I seen a Celtic player leave the ground. Possibly due to the flight of the ball. VvD may have thought the ball was heading to the “zone” behind him, and that player may have thought VvD should have taken responsibility. As I say, its then down to judging the flight of the ball. If you are man-marking with a couple spare, then at least you remove this potential confusion.

  29. M6bhoy



    How do you know how often PL and NFL speak to DD? Mr Grace?? Pure speculation and troll like. Try and say something sensible if you want to contribute.

  30. It was extremely naive to think we could have just two in midfield against a Milan side who obviously did their homework and knew the key was to have two men on James Forrest.Kaka will never have as much space in any game this season.


    I note that some people blame the board for not financially supporting the manager this maybe so but to buy three players for nearly 5 or 6 million whose contribution to the Champions League has been minimal is just wasteful.Instead of buying in January try and clear out players who are blocking the progress of some of the younger players we may have.For me would you trust whoever identified Bangura,Lassad.Miku.Balde,Pukki and Boerrigter and thought they would be good signings.

  31. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on



    I am thanks.


    Maybe walked too much yesterday.


    Was feeling ill and shaky so decided to come home.


    Was meant to take a couple of pies back up for mwd and ones called ronald..


    Sorry bhoys..

  32. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    Clever clogs ole Albert Einstein also not a great believer in zonal marking, based on wave -particle duality; where the particle is the ball and the ole Sieve stands and waves it through.



    Werner Heisenberg [ yet another clever clogs who lurks on here] based his Uncertainty Principle on many seasons observing Fraser Forster deal with cross balls.

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