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. justafan – The onus has to be on the ones proposing a radical change to supply justification and plans to implement their new ideas. But I do agree that the no side should produce more in the way of a positive case for devolution – as well as critiquing the proposals coming from Yes.



    Big Nan – I hadn’t counted, but I did notice that Norway seems to have replaced Iceland, and before that Ireland, in SNP hearts.

  2. Strange that oul’ BMCUW left the blogding for a couple of day’s to miss the Fallout from last nights result and we have some of the best constructed and thoughtful posts we’ve had in sometime – great debate and some of the CQN humour and banter back.



    So enough of that…



    Just to say for me it seems the chaps who say we have been unlucky in our European campaign because Mulgrew, Van Djyk etc have missed chances that could have made all the difference to the course of the game(s), are the same chaps that state a Striker wouldn’t necessarily have made a difference.




  3. Tontime Tim



    That game was the closest I’ve been to hypothermia. Well remember the sleet driving our way. Poor old Dick Beattie probably had to be unfrozen with a blowtorch or just a few words from Sean Fallon perhaps?

  4. Seville 67



    “We have lost goals scored from cross balls this season in exactly the same manner 3 times. Nial McGinn in Aberdeen, away to Karagany and last night. O”



    Completely different goals.



    Niall scored after FF had left his line to punch and got caught in traffic. Jamie Langfield lost the opener to the same error as did Milan’s youth team player yesterday and Joe Hart in recent games.



    The first of the two Karagandy goals away came from a throw in which was flicked on by a near post runner about 10 yards from goal. There is no way Fraser should have gone to the flick on area. The ball then is missed completely in the air by Mulgrew or Ledley, if Fraser had come he would have been competing with his own player who had an unchallenged opportunity to clear. Unfortunately the defender’s miss let the ball break to a Karagandy player who prodded home. Their second goal was from open play and did not involve a zonal error or a keeper error.



    Last night’s goal was down to VVD and FF.



    Yes FF should have covered Virgil’s positional error at the first but there are a lot of times where he is quite right not to come out unless he can guarantee to win it or be of more use than remaining on the line.

  5. Condolences to the family and friends of Paul McConvillie.


    I never met the guy.I was however an avid reader of his blog


    which for me was educational, brave and insightful.



    My tuppence worth on last nights performance is by picking


    2 wingers & Commons we played into their hands.


    The step up in standard from SPL to the Champions League


    is massive.


    With Brown suspended we required Ledley along with Mulgrew


    & Kayal in the midfield. My other gripe is the money spent on Pukki


    and Baldi looks like a poor investment when both,while fit, warm the




    No god given right to win but the manner of defeat was hard to take.



    Finally, it is always a pleasure to share the company of posters on


    this forum.Yesterday was no different. Hope you are all well.HH

  6. setting free the bears supports Resolution 12 & Oscar Knox


    14:52 on


    27 November, 2013



    Hi, I think you more than most get me thinking about my own opinion, I like the way you address things and break them down to offer your own opinion/solution.



    The points that you raise with regards to Ajax, Porto and Lyon are, as far as I can see, on the money.


    The only difference, and this is where I feel the majority of our complaints/moans/concerns come from, is how they go about negotiating their hurdles. They still play in a manner that is attractive to watch, we imo don’t.


    They also still spend decent amount’s of money on replacement’s, again we don’t.



    Get the team playing attractive football, especially in the league, Europe takes care of it’s self, and I believe there would be a lot less hysteria after last nights poor result and results like it.



    I love watching Celtic (or did) regardless of the opposition, no doubt Europe added that extra spice, but I never missed a game in Scotland, now it’s a chore and has been for the last few years.



    I can think of no good reason why we can’t play a brand of fast attractive football in Scotland, it’s not the finance that’s lacking it’s the will.



    Hail Hail

  7. The Honest Mistake loves being first on



    Wait till the guys away then talk about him behind his back.

  8. I don’t buy that WD missed a sitter, he did what we want most of our strikers to do and put his laces through the ball, it was a good save by the goalie who stood his ground, as wee Provan said if he had sclaffed the shot it would have been a goal.

  9. Think about it, of the current first team squad who are the ones you would be really desperate to keep….



    For me it would be 6 – Matthews, Lusting, Van Dijk, Charlie, Rogic and Balde,



    the last 2 I think will come good eventually, but that’s it, the rest would be no great loss,



    please Neil don’t buy any more duds

  10. bamboo



    14:04 on 27 November, 2013



    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.




    I have it on my blog here: http://www.tomminogue.com/blog7.php



    “The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are, as a people, inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and secret proceedings.”



    Powerful stuff delivered by a masterful orator.



    I am no great admirer of US politicians but can’t help thinking that much of the mud that has been slung at John F. Kennedy since his death is aimed at discrediting him for his supposed failings to distract from the obvious suspicious circumstances of his death.



    You might say that some commentators are diverting the discourse.

  11. Seville67



    14:24 on 27 November, 2013



    Well said; I agree with most of that.







  12. The Honest Mistake loves being first @ 15:1,



    “Chairbhoy. – Wait till the guys away then talk about him behind his back.



    Which guy?



    Hail Hail

  13. Awe Naw



    You make a lot of good points so it may be a bit thrawn of me to pick up on the only one where i have a major disagreement:-



    “We become more parsimonious the further we go up the ladder. Which I find galling.”



    I think you have failed to take account of the wage inflation that has occurred since the days of our paying 5 or 6 million for Lennon, Sutton and Hartson. All of that spending was sanctioned as a shop window spend to make us attractive for a move to England so it failed anyway. the more important note is that the wage costs in attracting a £6m striker have gone up exponentially. We would struggle to get such a player now. Aruna Kone cost £5m, Naser Chadli, £7m, Altidore ??m and Ricky Van Wolfswinkel cost £9m. We cannot afford failures at that price. They remain a gamble despite the price tag.

  14. Chairbhoy



    “Just to say for me it seems the chaps who say we have been unlucky in our European campaign because Mulgrew, Van Djyk etc have missed chances that could have made all the difference to the course of the game(s), are the same chaps that state a Striker wouldn’t necessarily have made a difference.







    Not at all. As you will see from my post above, I was referring specifically to the two ties against Milan. It was not the forwards who missed the chances.



    An AC Milan defender scored a chance that was no harder than the one VVD missed.

  15. One of the first things a rival team spy would notice,is FF does not come off his line.Which may have contributed to the goals last night.

  16. praecepta


    12:40 on 27 November, 2013



    Agree with you in respect of the number of touches in midfield, it is infuriating when players take 3 touches to gain proper control of the round thing onto their preferred peg.



    During a dull game , I count into myself the number of touches in midfield our ghuys take and on average it is always nearer 3 than 2, Barca move it too quick but I suspect that they are between 1 and 2 touches per player. We should at least aim for 2 touches max, to encourage better movement in the team ……



    The players in the current team who routinely take too many touches in midfield is Chas ( he is really a defender) and Joseph working it on to his overly favoured left peg. Chas is routinely left with the ball by crafty continentals who can mark up while he is thinking what to do with it. Meanwhile, our better players are very closely marked , and with a general reluctance to pass to a man closely marked , we either shuffle the ball out to a full back or play a very long high cross field ball. All the time, our better players get marked tight.



    Last year, Gary Hooper never got a sniff against Juve for the above reasons, we need to assess long term how / if we can become technically more proficient, whilst having the drive to plough through the Scottish pitches and opposition.



    There is a longer term problem that it seems to me that you cannot recognise what constitutes a very good Scottish player anymore, we appear to be a bunch of relatively tall lads who pass the ball to a man who is not marked, keep doing it until a space appears. Subtly and skill are at a premium and we are way short of the fitness levels needed to compete with top 16 CL teams …..



    Lots to ponder, no real short term solutions though , we need to think through the possibilities of other strategies actually working in practice.




  17. Usually, I will just come on and have a rant, then forget about it…but today


    I think ive arrived at a point now, where im not missing seeing Celtic play, as much


    I banned myself from scoddish fitba….due to the cheating…..and our spineless board


    So…ive been going to see Celtic in the CL….but you know what…what I witnessed on Tues wasn’t Celtic….it was some excuse for a team…a bad replica of how Celtic should be


    The only good thing about Celtic at the moment…is the warmth generated by the supporters…we are loved because we are the best fans around.


    But….that warmth and the plaudits we receive from all around Europe….is being milked for all its worth by the board


    And we do deserve better, because that is not a Celtic team,I want to pay good money to see, and I wont,…its awful to watch


    We are just plodding away as CL fodder….not good enough, and there to make up the numbers….tell me… what is the point of that?


    The quality of football we are expected to put up with….is shocking,….


    Is it worth….40, 50, 100 quid….no…not at all


    Our board are clueless…businessmen my arse,…chancers more like


    They are eroding our identity…and substituting some corporate nonsense in its place


    If you really want to be respected in football….try building a proper foundation to achieve your ambitions, instead of trying to build your bonus


    Either S**** or get off the pot….we don’t need a business mentality, we need a football mentality


    I will finish by saying that the manager and the players, need to take a good look at themselves…


    Stop babying these players…JF, Derk, KC were woeful…imo they are hiding, and FF, world cup keeper, who cant come off his line…yeah right


    Totally fed up with it

  18. UEFA charge Celtic over a banner at last night’s game,not sure which one.This is getting silly now.

  19. It’s embarrassing to see Parkhead emptying out before the end of a game – any game. However, I have to say that I find it hard to criticize the folk that let early last night. I used to go to every Celtic game, home and away, when I was growing up. Never entered my mind to ever leave early. Nowadays, unless working, I never miss a game on-line. Yesterday at 0-3 I felt like switching the PC off and going doing something more useful. The only reason I didn’t was because my son was watching with me and I would not let him see me turn my back on Celtic. It’s just not the way we do things around here.



    The last 2 games have been absolutely dire. We were lucky to win on Saturday while our manager did absolutely nothing to change the way the game was going. Had Fraser not made that great save at 1-1 we would likely have lost. Last night was a re-run although this time we were being put to the sword on the park by a technically gifted, fast and dangerous team. Couldn’t believe it at half time when the team came back out in the same formation.



    Help is needed urgently in the coaching department.

  20. ....PFayr supports WeeOscar on

    The moon bhoys




    What makes you want to keep Rogic…done just about bugger all in his first year

  21. celtictom



    Thank you for the kind comments.



    As for “They still play in a manner that is attractive to watch, we imo don’t.”



    I feel that is down to the fact that we care how Celtic play and imagine that the other teams are more attractive to watch. As far as I am aware, Porto are a fairly dour defensive outfit and I have never seen them as flair players (they have a very good centre forward though but he will leave soon). Lyon, after regular success are now on the slide. Moneyballs theory cannot compete against the brainless sugar daddy approach of PSG and, though I do not know, I’d guess Lyon fans are not happy to settle for mid-table obscurity and possible?? entertaining football. Ajax have been doing this since the Bosman ruling came in and i doubt any Ajax fan thinks they are a vintage or entertaining outfit now. Insteadd of selling a Van Basten, Seedorf, Bergkamp, Ibrahimovic or Snejder, they are now selling Alderweireld and Erikson.

  22. Last night we had:



    More possession


    More attempts on goal


    A higher % on target


    More corners



    What that tells us is not a lot other than a squad that’s worth twice as much as ours is more efficient at taking the chances it gets.

  23. setting free the bears supports Resolution 12 & Oscar Knox



    Sorry, I have confused you on the McGinn goal.



    I was talking about the away game – not the one on Saturday the one where McGinn headed the ball straight off the keeper.(My mistake).



    The point is that balls coming in from wide – be it throw ins or corners make him look like a rabbit in the headlights.



    So get your act together and do a far better job of reading my mind :-)




  24. SFTB.



    Here’s 3 ——-



    A Manager who didn’t seem to notice [ and if he did,,not to care ] that Juve intended to defend 15 metres deeper than normal. Very complacent to then proceed to do exactly what Juve wanted..



    Milan’s first goal…



    Milan’s second goal

  25. !!Bada Bing!!


    15:51 on


    27 November, 2013



    I’m sure a bit of advance research is totally beyond the UEFA suits.



    I see what the GB are trying to say, and I even think they’re going about it in quite a clever way. It’s a pity UEFA aren’t keen on any kind of overt political statements at their flag-ship tournament.

  26. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    ‘A 25-year-old man has been arrested after a laser light was shone on to the pitch during Tuesday’s Champions League match at Celtic Park.



    Pictures from the game showed a green light on the face of AC Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati.



    The 25-year-old is now the subject of a report to the procurator fiscal.



    Celtic’s lost the match 3-0 ensuring a last place finish in their group. The result also means they will not qualify for the Europa League’



    – lifted from Shortbread. They must try harder to hide the glee.

  27. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on




    I agree but we were quids in already when we knew back in January what was going to happen. I.e the sale of Victor and Gary. Our wage veiling has decreased. Nobody earns more than skoosh so thre chances of getting or keeping a better player than him is all part of the malaise the club finds itself in.



    Lenny talking about cosy chats with Joe Ledley sounds all too familiar. When he takes his auctioners hammer out for Fraser then it has that inevitable feel about it.



    I said before we need to increase the wage ceiling and get a small trustworthy but motivated squad. Contracts and bank slips i.e wages and security are a hell of a tool for a manager especially when they have done the business. It would seem that only the board and the coaching staff get rewarded while the players should be happy with their lot. Now why is that ?



    If they are going to be replaced with better players due to our strong financial position then great but that is not what is happening or the stated policy. Peters recent STV interview. Additionally his conflicted Dave King statements are a dont rock the boat policy.



    We rightly prioritise the CL and that makes for lacklustre domestic performances. Again part of the malaise



    Maybe taking more of a risk domestically is the answer but money is king and that is why we lose guys like Victor and Gary


    while muting any discontentment from the coaching side with pay rises and as we both know its considered too much of a risk. We would lose out on CL participation money and selling proven CL quality players. We could pay the living wage from a portion of the interest.



    The players pay lots of money to be well advised.



    Anybody who mentions ten in a row is our worst enemy.




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