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. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/


    13:18 on


    27 November, 2013


    First goal 2 words. imo



    Goalies Ball!!!





    Exactly my thoughts,not impressed by box domination at all.

  2. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    Derks left boot.


    There is the same room for confusion in zonal marking and man marking.


    The stats speak for themselves. We rarely concede from corners.


    Milan exposed weaknesses in our setup. Neil Lennon must know this and must learn from this. I doubt if we’ll move to man marking because we’ve conceded from 3 corners in a year.

  3. Bt,



    I couldn’t make the game at all, had to leave work early the night before as I had similar symptoms to yourself.



    Felt terrible in work last night but had to go in.



    Not one comment from a hun about the game, reckon they know another storm is on it’s way.



    Feel ok now, bedtime for me HH

  4. I would have loved to have met Paul McConville. I’ve met and yarned and had a drink with some extremely well-known people. I also met some complete tossers who’s persona certainly did not match their public image. Some people write and you think ” Geez–you know your stuff—better than that–you’re honest and I would trust you with my life.” I’ve never met Auldheid, Oldtim, BRTH, and others on this blog, but it will be one of my New Year resolutions to put that right. Oh, and Twists and Turns as well.


    If the measure of a man is the out pouring of feeling as a guide, then the tributes to Paul McConville speak for themselves. To those of you who had the good fortune to meet and talk with him–congratulations.


    You met a man.

  5. The Honest Mistake loves being first on



    If ole schroedinger put Fraser Forster in a box there’s a 100% certainty that he’ll not come off his line to collect a ball.

  6. the honest mistake loves being first



    13:29 on 27 November, 2013,



    Last post… What marking system were Milan using last night?



    We had quite a few corners with no threat.

  7. Paul67:



    As I said to you yesterday, I have known Paul’s Brother for about 20 years, a great friend. However, I never knew that Paul was his Brother until 2012, even though I had read Paul’s blog never linked them until his Brother invited me to a Sportsmen dinner as one of his guests and when I said I couldn’t go as I told him I was going to a Q&A in Blantyre…Our Paul’s going to that. On the night you introduced us.



    May God Bless his Soul…



    Keep the Faith!



    Hail Hail!

  8. The Honest Mistake loves being first on



    We created the same amount of chances from corners as they did.

  9. Desperately sad news about Paul McConville.



    All the more shocking having seen him in what appeared to be rude health on Friday night in Blantyre.



    My thoughts and sympathy are with those who love him and those he loved.



    I disagree with Paul67, he may not have been a Celtic Supporter but he was very much part of the Celtic Family as far as I’m concerned.




  10. Paul67


    I can only imagine the impact that the news of your friend Paul McConville’s death has had on you.



    Losing a friend and a sharp reminder of our mortality is a double whammy.



    You did well to blog so appropriately and honoured your friend eloquently.



    You are in a position to pass on the condolences of all CQNers and I know you will be sadly pleased to do so.

  11. The big difference from last season european games was the loss of VW.


    He had a huge presence both protecting the defence ,dominating mid-field and a threat at set-pieces. I argued before that he should have been offered a special contract , on par with the average EPL wage.


    How weve missed him but I suppose also not being able to field Broonie took the bite out of the team too.

  12. I'm Neil Lennon (tamrabam) on

    SFTB @11.44


    A lot of sense talked and you are indeed correct that we should spend what we earn and not a penny more, However


    It is also just as important that the amount we earn continues to increase, otherwise we spend less and less and generally can expect to become poorer on the pitch


    It is also important that the amount we earn is made of mostly of traditional income, gate money sponsorship, TV etc and not by selling our best players year on year, for I have never came across a team yet who have sold their way to success


    Im not sure how well our core business if doing without CL and transfer sales.


    Like it or lump it (and I lump it) sooner or later a sevco outfit of some sort will arrive again and challenge us for that CL loot. (If we take away last seasons CL cash and the sale of big vic we are all of a sudden not looking too good commercially.) That may indicate that the core business income streams from gate money, sponsorship and TV are not as good as they could be. That should be a challenge to PL. Currently without CL cash and a big player sale per season we might be tightening the old belt even more than we are doing now


    On the pitch we are weaker in some areas than we were last season


    Last season our brave CL run masked a few inconsistencies


    This season I don’t think many would be satisfied without a “double”. Does this mean we deserve better? I think it probably means if we spend more than every team in our league added together we should generally expect a lot of success. Deserve or expect? I guess we make up our own minds there. IMO it’s a one horse race and an occasional treble while the huns aren’t around should not be beyond us.



    I would to finish off by offering condolences to the friends and families of one the finest bloggers in the country. A man who made the MSM cower in his shadow as he told it like it really is.


    We have lost another great off the field ally


    God Bless

  13. ....PFayr supports WeeOscar on

    We have regressed from last season




    Anyone who thinks we have progressed is deluded



    The only thing that has improved is the bank balance ….maybe that is progress for some



    Will the bank balance look so healthy next season when folk choose not to pay to watch the same old rubbish

  14. Utterly disappointed at last night’s performance and result however I reminded myself that before a ball had been kicked in the Summer I would have been happy for Celtic to reach the Group stages. I maintain that.



    Anyone who has read Why England Lose will know that Weeron is right; in general spending money wins you football matches. We would need to spend a LOT more to substantially improve our CL results on a consistent basis.



    The strategy is right (or at least I haven’t heard a convincing alternative) and this or that setback shouldn’t blow us off course.




  15. Gordon_J backing Neil Lennon



    11:36 on 27 November, 2013



    The Scottish Government has published a massive document – but it still fails to answer some very basic questions about its independence proposal.



    The Independence White Paper – Quantity Not Quality




    Whilst not wishing to get into politics, (I favour none of the main parties but believe independence could result in a new Scottish party) it only took a few clicks of the mouse and typing 6 words in an Adobe search to find that the White Paper Scotland’s Future? cites Norway 41 times!



    Will our Government copy the Domstol (Norwegian Court Administration) rules on Masonic judges, which requires them to register membership of the freemasons? See: http://www.tomminogue.com/blog7.php/freemasonry … I WISH!

  16. SFTB,


    Have to disagree with you.Non scoring forwards have been our problem all season.When we have to rely on,not particularly good goalscoring midfielders and defenders to score for us,we are in deep trouble.Not exactly a Lampard amongst them.


    I know you mentioned this earlier,but what is needed is a massive clear out and a total re-think about how we approach the games.We have fallen into a rut of our own making.


    When have we actively pursued a playmaker?.Our last was Naka.This has to change.To shoehorn people into positions is not helping our cause.Works to an extent in the SPL,not against class.We have more midfielders doing nothing than any other team I know.According to many,Lenny does not like “Playmakers”Dont know if thats true,but the scarcity of even one at Celtic Park,should maybe tell us something.I wont go on about our lack of strikers,I think everyone knows my point on this,but 3 good battling midfielders,a playmaker,and 2 good strikers,would help our cause considerably.The new boy might fill one of the striker roles,so not much else needed.The same old,same old is becoming a drudge,and no improvement seems forthcoming.


    The maddening thing is most fans are singing from the same hymn sheet,nobody at Celtic Park seems to be.

  17. Sftb



    Thanks for posting Blantyre Kevs thoughtful post.



    In terms of player recruitment I have mentioned before how a change of season that moved the main transfer window to December without putting titles at risk in the spring would help us.



    Are we confident enough in our tite retaining ability to start planning for next years CL now? Should we be moving out players out of contract in the summer and cashing in a Fraser Forster before EPL clubs discover his dracula gene? Afraid of crosses and scared to leave his box?



    Who could/should we let go without throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

  18. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    Pfayr. Better in defense.


    Weaker in midfield and attack.


    Is there potential for improvement?


    Yes. Can this team improve to be better than last years? Yes.

  19. Swanseabhoy



    We did not have to spend a lot last season to get 3 wins in a group just as difficult as this one was.We really only lost Victor and Hooper.They could have been replaced,but we shamefully went for the cheap option.

  20. Scott Brown – a major culprit in our failure?



    I feel that the whole campaign turned on that act of stupidity – all the more so because he’s in the form of his life and when he plays as he is doing now he’s essential to our play. His absence has been a major blow and all the more galling that it was self inflicted.



    Last night was just the fulfilment of what we know. Last year we had good fortune at times. This year we had little and will always be vulnerable to the slightest lack of concentration at this level. We don’t have a Kaka Balotelli Montolivo or de Jong. We remain a small fish in a big pond and will do for as long as we remain in the SPFL.



    We can’t ignore the fact that there would be only one reason for any established striker to play for us now and that’s money. The total cost of a fee and salary could be massive and of course agents see the lack of fee as simply an increase in wages and commission. What would be the knock on effect for others? Hence we are trawling not too successfully to find a good striker in the raw stages of their career – not so far too successfully!!



    Lots of planning rethinking to be done before the qualifiers next year particularly bearing in mind who will be involved in the World Cup and the early CL start.



    We need to use the time to experiment and decide once and for all who we want to keep or lose from the squad – particularly amongst the younger players.



    I do tend to understand those who query why Derk Boerrigter was bought as he wasn’t meant to be a striker. He was meant to provide and when he’s played fit he does. Its not his fault that there’s no -one to get on the end of the crosses.



    It was disappointing also I thought that Neil could not see or accept that Kris Commons was not going to perform last night and make a change sooner rather than later. We can only hope that this result will cause him to have a long think about many things. Its not just about strikers.

  21. ....PFayr supports WeeOscar on




    VVD is an improvement



    But …we cannae keep a clean sheet ..one in two months I think

  22. Weeminger – ah statistics. Well he did make a lot of passes but most of them were back to Izzy and were of the “I dont want it variety” – what were his telling contributions?

  23. Robert Tressell



    Whilst not offering this as any excuse the number of game changing moments missed were a feature of this years CL campaign.


    Mulgrews header and hitting the bar v Barca.


    Stokes free kick in Milan.


    Kayals miss in Amsterdam


    VVD’s too perfect volley last night.



    Most if not all followed by opposition taking a similar chance presented.



    This suggest a solid enough foundation but bluntness at the attacking edge.


    I’d sign Balotelli with promises of as much ice cream as he could eat topped with hundred and thousands and an all expenses paid trip to Nardini’s Largs every weekend.


    My point is how difficult it is to get players who can bridge the gap.

  24. The Honest Mistake loves being first on





    4-5 million spent on strikers cheap option?

  25. Hi Paul



    Disappointing night, but while we were pretty open, the key goals (the first two) were down to basic lapses in concentration. We were caught on the break for the third but we had to chase the game at that point. Those lapses and a lack of steel in and around the box cost us, I think. Had we defended set pieces better, we could have been praising Neil this morning. So frustrating, but it’s been one of those campaigns. Definitely plenty of room for improvement tho.



    RIP Paul McConvill. Very sad to hear of Paul’s passing and thoughts go out to his family.

  26. Shocked to hear about Paul . R.I.P


    Seen him once at KOSC


    We will miss his forensic analysis of all things Sevco. He was always there to shine a light on those areas where an analytical mind was required . He will be sorely missed.


    Condolences to his family.

  27. Big Nan



    Did you listen to JFK’s speach on secret societies that some say led to his killing?


    Its on U-tube . I dont know if he was meaning the masons or maybe the mafia or both but we dont hear that level of rethoric from todays leaders -sadly.

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