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. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    Our wage ceiling has decreased in relative terms to our year on year profit margins…above should read ..while going backwards on the field of play due to selling when we dont need to. We seem to be so indecisive. Anthony Stokes renewal seems a good case in point.




  2. Seville67



    I just watched the Aberdeen away game and find that the cross for Niall came from open play. We were not defending a dead ball. Efe let the ball go over his head and did not back track, Izzy tried to leave his marker but did not get there. Hayes cross started well out of the 6 yard box and barely entered it at the end when Niall arrived. If FF leaves his line for that Niall would just contrive to miss the header and block off FF accidentally, leaving Izzy to defend a 1:1 header against a taller Aberdeen player.



    We are getting into difficult areas when we talk about defensive set up from open play attacks as it is a mixture of zonal responsibility, communication and man to man reaction which applies then.



    When examining zonal’s merits we should, perhaps, restrict it to the like for like comparison with corners, long throws into the 6 yard box and attacking free kicks from the sides of the penalty area

  3. DeniaBhoy in awe of wee Oscar's Courage on

    I left condolences last night for Paul’s family – he was a one-man demolition squad of the BS, smoke and mirrors brigade. Huge loss for those of us who think the truth is always worth pursuing.


    What shocks me today are the many posters who met him a few days ago in apparent good health. I hope he hasn’t been suffering unknown to us for a long time. God Bless.



    As far as the team goes, there are lots of excellent posts on here from people who have the knowledge to know what they are talking about. Because you don’t manage Celtic doesn’t mean you are an armchair numpty. With the greatest respect to NFL, there are posters on here who are a lot more intelligent and analytical than he and most other football managers are. The fact they make their living doing something else does not mean they should be cast aside by the “if you know so much why aren’t you doing the job” brigade.


    Neil’s main strengths are, most likely, motivational and experience – Been there, Seen it, Done it. For that he gets respect, especially from younger players and underachievers.


    But he is not a great tactician, he does not seem to learn from mistakes and he is not quick enough to make changes when things aren’t working. He is a clever, articulate man away from the dugout, appears to lack speed of thought when in it.


    Tin hat on.

  4. PF Ayr – he hasn’t been given much of a chance yet but I think given the opportunity of a sustained run in the first team he will come good, just an opinion.

  5. SoT



    “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”




    I fear we may have a different understanding of specificity.



    Anyway, once you say “seem” or “seems” you award yourself license to interpret another’s attitude, opinion or state in any way you see fit. I cannot argue with an imagined perception. I very much doubt that Neil was complacent, unprepared or unconcerned by Milan’s change in defensive layout. How well did they manage that when they conceded open chances to this unaware manager when Kayal, Mulgrew and VVD got behind them?



    As for 1st and 2nd goal, do you believe that Neil was complacent (your initial charge) in making (sic) VVD leave his area or FF not to cover or Sammi, Efe and Charlie to retreat into the box for the second when all prior instructions told them not to.



    Should he have subbed VVD after 12 minutes to prevent “complacency”? Should he break UEFA rules and make 5 subs for the 5 players who made mistakes?




    Despite the best laid plans of mice and men, players will contrive to make errors and they’ll do it again. Even under Jock, Clough and Ferguson, players will cock up.

  6. Sipsini re 12:36



    I’m one of the bhoys that shared a couple of beers with you and a game of pool in Aberdour. Jamiebhoy was also there but its Dunblane we’re from not Bannockburn….. Close but no cigar :-)!!! How do I find out if there’s any spaces at the CQN 10 year get together bhoys??? HH





    R.I.P. Paul McConville

  7. ....PFayr supports WeeOscar on

    Those who have contented themselves with the current rubbish will continue to attend



    Those who are unhappy …unless matters improve …will stop…



    Those who attend will accuse the others of being poor supporters



    Those who stop will accuse the others of blind faith



    And so it will continue ….however…falling attendances …less money spent …poorer football

  8. I agree totally with the sentiments in the banner, I just think that a football stadium is not the place to express them. As for the prat who had the laser, please go away!!!!

  9. !!bada bing!!



    15:38 on 27 November, 2013


    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.





    Pardon my ignorance, is the point of this marking that the keeper stays on his line?


    My own thoughts are, that it looks like hes been told to stay on his line and let the defenders deal with it. Surely its natural that if the ball is coming in you want to go for it unless uouve been indyructed to do otherwise.


    We may be being a bit unfair on big 5’2″ FF…



    Ayrshire is Green and White




  10. Awe Naw



    “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.”



    It is inevitable that some will leave unless we pay them more than they’re worth. We lost Sutton, McNamara and Agathe to the new financial reality in 2005. Whether Celtic men or no, they knew how much Henrik was paid and they fancied themselves as getting a share of that. And yet our club thrived and survived, and surpassed our losing UEFA finalist status on 3 further occasions.



    We could not prevent Hooper from leaving or Forster from going in future, anymore than Man U could stop Ronaldo. There is always a price.



    We were lucky with Henrik but it was a close run thing twice that he could have left us, as he told us in interviews recently. We won that one but we lost out in persuading Balde to stay on and giving Paul Lambert money to benefit several English teams with his coaching knowledge.



    Always twisting is as stupid a policy as always sticking. Even the best card player who mixes the strategies will get it wrong sometime. I am constantly amazed by the people who expect a level of certainty and accuracy from others that they cannot, despite several claims to the contrary, provide themselves.



    That last bit was not a dig against you BTW. By the standards of post defeat analysis on CQN you are coming desperately close to being seen as a voice of reason.



    You don’t want that, do you?

  11. 67 European Cup Winners on

    Not really surprised by our position in the group


    2 things went wrong


    1) Transfer Policy:


    Selling VW and GH was OK not improving us up front really poor from Celtic (a penalty and a deflected shot is our lot) Pukki Balde Boeriggter not the answer


    2) No Luck: (or Manager has no control over)


    Mathews injury, Izzy own goal in Milan, Brown red card (stupid stupid boy) Mulgrew header at the end of Barca game, VVD last night



    All of the above means NL is forced to make certain decisions that are not improving our chances – like:


    Playing Samaras as a centre forward last night (he’s not a CF he’s not good enough anywhere but thats just my opinion)


    Hoping Kayal can fill Browns boots (he cant)


    Praying John Park was right about boeriggter (he wasn’t)


    Adopting zonal marking (we lost 2 goals from corners last night)



    NL is not to blame he is trying to paint a wall with a toothbrush – circumstances and a bit of bad luck have made us a weaker team



    No mystery or surprise we are bottom



    Hail Hail




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



    my point is that FF does not command his 6 yard box, be it from corners, throw ins or crosses.



    It is an issue for us and needs to be fixed.



    The goal you mentioned on Saturday was the result of more indecision.




  13. Deniabhoy-agree ,a lot of well constructed stuff after last night.Any reaction is not knee jeek IMO,the writing has been on the wall,and the blog for a wee while now HH

  14. SFTBs @ 15:38,



    “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



    Well that’s true and a few ghuys have made that point, however the gist of the post was rather than being “unlucky” because good chances fell to defenders that failed to convert we could well have had a quality striker in at the right place at the right time and got “lucky”.



    In other words we could have made our own luck.



    BTW – Thanks for re-posting BlantyreKev’s piece, missed it the first time round.



    Hail Hail

  15. Bhoys and Ghirls,



    Zonal marking not for me.



    I cannot argue with the stats given on here, but I have never liked or rated it.


    Too much ambiguity where the zones meet and the system requires the keeper to be fixed on his line.



    Is this too simplistic.???



    HH, Always in Celtic

  16. Re FF



    Comments on his static position on cross balls and agility (or lack of it)…






    The same keeper lionised on here over the past 18 months? The same keeper who produced a fantastic save last Saturday? The same keeper tagged grand muralla by the Spanish press? The same keeper capped by his country, a country far from keen to cap any player from any league other than their own?





    Now he’s dead wood; get rid; always useless???



    I’m sure FF will in the not too distant future ply his trade elsewhere and we will recall the best keeper we’ve had since Father!



    Its all about opinion but for goodness sake!!!

  17. Condolences To The Family Of Paul McConville.






    Ah See Inverness Caley Have Designs On Making Paul Hartley Their Next Manager…..



    Ah Hope He Negotiates A Release Clause In His Contract…..



    So That He Can Become The Next Manager Of Celtic….



    Without Costly Compensation…





    (If Kojo Gives Him The Nod….)






    What About Kaka’s Second Goal ?



    Shades Of The MegaWattie……



    About Time Our Ginger Martinet Overcame His Blinkered Thinking….



    And Brought Airdrie’s Finest……



    Back Home To His Ain Folk…..



    So Watt Is Said Not To Be A Great Trainer…..



    And Not As Fit As He Could Be….?



    By WHOSE Standards Exactly..?



    The Lad Is A NATURAL Athlete….



    He Has Never Been Lacking In Effort..



    On The Rare Occasions That Our Special One….



    Has Deigned To Play Him….



    Terrorising Defences…..And Chasing Back Too…..



    Till The Final Whistle…



    Things That Aiden McGeady Managed Only Fitfully In His Time At Paradise….



    And There NO Point Picking Him To Play On The LEFT WING…..



    With Him Being So Predominantly Right Footed…..



    Play Him Through The Middle….



    With Atajik….



    I’m Done With These Endless ‘Speriments…



    So His Manager In Belgium Parrots That He Has The Same Failings That NL Laid At His Door…..



    Don’t Recall Any Former (Journeyman) Goalkeeper Ever Making An Impact As Manager……



    Other Than Dino Zoff…..



    And He Was Only A ‘Qualified’ Success



    Francie & Josie ?….Not Laughin’

  18. lennon's passion on

    As far as the team goes, there are lots of excellent posts on here from people who have the knowledge to know what they are talking about. Because you don’t manage Celtic doesn’t mean you are an armchair numpty. With the greatest respect to NFL, there are posters on here who are a lot more intelligent and analytical than he and most other football managers are.



    Haha are you for real because they have a few extra brain cells and can write a good letter. They could be better managers than people who have been In football all there lifes. Did you bend down when you were blowing smoke up there ARSE. This place is comedy gold.

  19. corkcelt- SUPPORTING THE DAM 5 on

    Just arrived back from the game. For once I’m finding it extremely difficult to maintain my happy clapper optimistic persona. Haven’t scrolled back and am not going to. I feel annoyed with everyone including the PA guy. There was no build up of singing pre game, it lacked the usual CL atmosphere. I was mystified by Lenny’s selection, for me Sammi is a winger not a striker, so we had 3 wingers and no strikers. Then at the back where I expected us to be strong we gave away 2 of the softest goals imaginable. Credit to The Green Brigade for keeping a chant going for the 2nd half, greetings to the CQN’ers I met up with in the Blayne Valley. unhappyclappercsc but still proud to be a Tim.

  20. Dermot Desmonds time is up for him at Celtic. I bet he wasn’t at the game last night,sell your shares to some one who will be at the club , not some part time share holder.surely there must be some fat cat celtic supporter out there.and I will say on here if im not happy with our team or coaches performances, then nobody is going to shut me up.

  21. Channel 4 News ‏@Channel4News 3m


    Italian senate approves expulsion of #Berlusconi from parliament after tax fraud conviction, with immediate effect #c4news



    If only we could have eliminated AC Milan last night

  22. EK Bhoy,



    I agree with the whole tenor of your contribution to the debate. I have felt for long enough that we need to be coaching our players to develop far better technique. Our control of the ball is poor and often enough when, say, the likes of James Forrest gets it, he hesitates before moving and then loses time and space. Every one of our continental opponents this season have mastered the basics far better than ourselves. Besides that, each of them has given us an object lesson in pass and move. Every one of our players is far too static.



    It may well be that we are constricted in some ways because we play in th SPFL and the opposition are poor and often offer only the old 10 man defence. But we don’t really counter this particularly well and certainly not entertainingly. Passing across and back and forth seldom puts a team under real pressure and bores the pants off the support.



    Excitement and enjoyment will come, imo, if we encourage our midfield players to pass the ball as the young lad Gauld is doing at the moment for DU. I believe we have players capable of playing in the same fashion as the young man. I know that we can expect our players to be subject to rougher treatment than that metes out to the DUs of the league but I feel we need to start using our current players better.



    Last night exposed the real gulf between us and the even not particularly good CL teams. We have a lot of catching up to do.



    Imo, we should make a start by giving some of the lhads like Herron and Henderson a start at Tynecastle..

  23. I’m at a loss as to add or detract anything.



    In the past 24 hours I’ve heard that NL has taken us as far as he can. That we need a manager to stand up to the board. That we need 10 – 15 mil spends on 2 to 3 players. That we need to buy in Jan to bed them in. That we won’t buy in Jan because no post Xmas European money. That we need to take heart from where we’ve got to. That we need Rangers back. That we need to scratch this team and start again (Barring ___________ – insert fave player here). That we should be content with a leisurely stroll to the title. That the double will suffice. That come getting papped out of the Scottish Cup the writing will be on the wall. That God help us all if ‘they’ win the Scottish Cup.



    It’s a wish list that never ends and its visible spectrum starts at wishes and ends in fears. Back when I was younger I used to wonder how missed out of the Shevchenkos of this world (Pre global visibility of course), the Weahs, the Drogbas even…



    I used to wonder how Rangers (As was) could do it to us time and time again, as if they held the sign over us. I foolishly believed they myth that they spent and we didn’t. A parsimonious second rater was us…



    I am at a loss as to what I could add or detract from/to Celtic and where we stand just now. I could quote you John Park’s words that Finnbogasson ‘…can’t trap a ball and isn’t impressive’ or that we were pursuing three far eastern players for the near future.



    I don’t know what it adds – it’s a conversation held outside Equi’s in Hamilton between my workmate and his pal with JP.



    I’m unsure what Celtic fans want anymore – I worry it total success and total domination and reeks of what we used to castigate the Govanites for.



    I do think we went into this season weaker that last, but I can’t square that with our open policy of looking for rough diamonds and selling them partly polished – we are going to sell, that’s just a fact. If someone could formulate the secret to only finding rough diamonds then this lark would be easy.



    I would have to say though that zonal marking is keech and, no matter how you try to polish that turd – it has not served us well. It removes a lot of active responsibility – and often has players flat footed when they should be alive to the ball.



    Strange Days Indeed…




  24. SFTB



    Some really excellent posts from you today. Yours is a voice of reason and, dare I say it , gentleness