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The fallacy of a ‘premier’ top 12

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There was always an outside chance Celtic would go back to the top of the Premiership this weekend, but with a two-point and six-goal swing required, it was a longshot.  When it happened, by the slenderest of margins, I repeatedly heard the lead will vacillate throughout the season.  Maybe.

The champions have Pittodrie on Sunday, 62 hours after leaving the field to Lazio.  Aberdeen always have a go, but Celtic have won all six leagues games there during our Treble Treble years, scoring 16 and conceding just four (three of which came in a 3-4 away win).  If we come through this one with a win, the signs are ominous for any would-be challengers.

The most pleasing aspect of Saturday’s comfortable win over Ross County is that the result was achieved without serious levels of exertion.  The players were granted the freedom of Celtic Park to throw passes around and get some shooting practice in.  County are the worst team we have seen for a long time, worse even than bottom side St Johnstone, who shipped seven on the opening game of the season.

You have to wonder what proponents of a bigger top flight would want us to sit through when side with such limited resources are already filling the calendar.  There are not 12 ‘premier’ clubs in Scotland and Celtic winning without breaking sweat does our opponents no good.

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  1. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    My tuppence worth on the importance of Domestic football V European football. As we challenge for nine in a row, and hopefully ten, League business seems to loom larger and larger on the horizon. Whilst this is as you would expect, is it not indicative of the fact that a sizeable element within our support, still measures our achievements against Rangers and I am not even sure if I fall into this group or not.

     

    I do strongly feel that it is important that we try our best to be competitive, at some level, in Europe. This is where we can meet our true comparator clubs. If we do win ten Domestic titles, what sort of crowds will we see at Celtic Park to see us “going for” Eleven? Twelve? Thirteen? against teams with a fraction of our budget. Will winning titles go stale? I never thought I would say this, but I think it would.

     

    Here is a valid question… would we have won eight Titles on the bounce without Moussa, Eddie, Sinclair? Or even Broony, Jamesie, or Calmac? Probably not. But without the lure of a shot at the Champions League, or the Europa League, the former three, and others, would not have come to Celtic, and the latter three may not have stayed.

     

    Since the sixties, playing in Europe has become as much a part of our DNA, as domestic competition. Do not underestimate the pulling power of our historical and modern day European adventures on hungry young players, looking to make their way in their career, or seasoned pro’s like Julien, who want a bit more glitz in their careers.

     

    It needn’t be one or the other anyway, we can successfully challenge in Europe and Domestically at the same time. This Thursday our Stadium will be full to bursting and the air will be crackling with electricity under the lights, as we take on one of Europe’s glamour clubs, in our own fantastic arena. A win, and I believe we will win, will supercharge and energise players and supporters, for our trip to Todders on Sunday. In the space of four days, two wins would have us sitting pretty in the league, and be favourites to qualify out of our EL Group for the last 32.

     

    This week is what we as a club are all about. COYBIG.

     

    🍀⚽️

  2. HUNDERBIRDS ARE GONE

     

     

    Very well said

     

     

    However, IF i had to pick… i would pick to win the Aberdeen game

     

     

    B-)

  3. NEVERALONE on 21ST OCTOBER 2019 12:26 PM

     

     

    A million times yes! Been banging on about a 14 team league with a top 6 / bottom 8 split for years.

     

     

    It removes the split anomaly where you can end up playing 3 times away at 1 team.

     

    The fact the last 10 games are between the 6 best sides should add to the drama and be a more attractive TV deal.

     

    The weaker sides in the division may be more adventurous if they only play the bigger sides once home and away, certainly it should increase their gates for those games, although total gate money may go down.

     

    The bottom 8 playing 2 extra games should help offset any lost revenue and they are less likely to be playing European football or in the latter stages of the cup so fixture congestion unlikely to be a problem.

     

    More teams means a lesser threat of relegation which again offsets some lost total revenue.

     

    42 teams in the country so could move to 3 leagues of 14, with playoffs for promotion / relegation. Or perhaps 2 leagues of 14 and a bottom of 20 with the previous years top 6 colts being added.

     

     

    The only downside I can see, is one less home game on the Season ticket. But as the lead article suggests is a home game against a bottom 8 side a huge loss? Given all the European qualifiers we have added?

     

     

    It is by far the most elegant, most practical and I think most profitable solution for our game (unless the Atlantic league gets another airing)

  4. Rock Tree Bhoy on

    HUNDERBIRDS ARE GONE on 21ST OCTOBER 2019 4:10 PM

     

     

    Very well said mate, just the one comment I’m a bit dubious about…

     

     

    “A win, and I believe we will win, will supercharge and energise players and supporters, for our trip to Todders on Sunday”

     

     

    that’s exactly what was supposed to happen after our last EL win,

     

     

    My concern is the players telling Neil after a tough game that they are up for it and ready to go again when they’re not, I’m guessing thats what happened at Livi and we will just have to wait and see if Neil has learned anything from that when we play Aberdeen on Sunday

  5. Rock Tree Bhoy

     

    I know its cliché, but it is very much horses for courses.

     

     

    Livi away, is significantly different from Celtic Park under the lights against Cluj.

     

    I don’t question players application or effort. It’s more the environment. Livi away, if you go there on the tight plastic pitch, if the strategy was to be more physical, more direct… then the inclusion of Forrest, McGregor etc wasn’t wise. We’ll never get much from these guys in a physically bruising encounter. I’d of played Elhamed, Bitton and some others vs Livi. But most definitely, I think Lenny needs to freshen up, and rotate better, given the schedule.

  6. HAG – Surely if we win our domestic league then it gives us a chance at CL through qualification rounds and this will get us better players in at the club. Or are you saying we actually need to qualify for the group stages before better players will come?

     

     

    I think if we qualify for CL group then that should be our goal each year then we can look at progressing, but we should not hinder winning 9 and if so then 10, then and only then in my eyes do we look at Europe properly.

     

     

    Again is it small minded, you bet.

     

    History will show repeated failure to qualify for CL, therefor no recognition, but history will also show winning our League.

     

     

    HH

     

     

    D. :)

  7. For a while now, Brown has been played Saturday, Thursday, Sunday… 3 games within 8 day period.

     

     

    Lenny may think otherwise. But a guy nearly 35, ain’t going to be able to give you peak performance consistently if over used like that.

  8. RUGGYGMAN – your point makes sense. On the other hand Lenny and his staff see Broonie every day and must feel that he is coping with it fine. It’s not like we are short of midfield cover. After Aberdeen, we have a few home games where we will see if Lenny is willing to rest players and rotate the squad. I think he will, but still play his best XI for the European games.

     

    A much bigger worry for me is that Edouard is an injury away from putting our season in jeopardy. He needs rested too but with only Bayo for back up we are walking on a knife’s edge.

  9. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    DAVID66

     

    I don’t feel the specifics of qualifying, or not, in any given year, would affect our chances of signing players. Rather that we have some “recent” form in Europe, with the international coverage that brings, raises our profile enough to attract good players. In this context, two draws against Man City a few years back, and the home win over Barca in 2013, counts as “form” and “recent”.

     

    All of the above is really just for debating purposes. If we tank against Lazio, and beat Aberdeen with a ninetieth minute winner, I will be dancing around ma living room, just as much as I did in the Camp Nou when Sammy put us one up in the away game in 2013. 😍

     

    🍀⚽️

  10. Just had to log in on Firefox as trying to log in on Safari only got me in to page 1. When I moved to Page 2 my log in had lapsed and, logging in again, took me back to p.1.

     

     

    Then Rinse, Repeat & Fail again.

     

     

    All to make a long shot post asking if anyone has 2 spares for the Lazio home game

  11. Tim Malone Will Tell on

    Deniabhoy

     

     

    The initiative in the US is interesting wrt kids not being allowed to head the ball – given it is probably the most litigious country on earth you can see that there may be obvious pressures.

     

     

    Also worth remembering that batsmen in cricket wearing helmets is a relatively recent thing – but I think they all wear them these days. If you go back to the 80’s, I don’t think they had even been thought of.

     

     

    Could we see big Julienne being made to wear a headguard some day? I wouldn’t rule it out…

  12. HAG – I know you will as will I.

     

     

    I don’t think there is a right or wrong, well actually I think there is and it is to do well in Europe and raise our profile, but at what cost, forefeiting the league?

     

    I feel we do not have quality in depth to fight on 4 fronts, therefore in these next 2 or more specifically this year prioritise the league.

     

     

    Only my opinion and I realise and respect everyone’s opinion, I might not agree but I respect it.

     

     

    HH

     

     

    D :)

  13. Rock Tree Bhoy on

    If I were in charge at Celtic Park I would be paying lip service to the Europa League at best, its not that I don’t rate the tournament, I’m sure its a great tournament, but in season 9 of 9 I would only have the one priority, the League title, this season, then next season again, just the one priority. Everything else, 100% secondary.

     

     

    Then after we got to the 10 it would be back to business as usual. 10 is the Holy Grail, not so bothered about 11 or 12 etc. They will never ever get to 10 so once thats done we can all relax and have a big party!

  14. RON67 – do you not think Lenny and the team will be right up for both games and quite capable of winning one without it having a detrimental effect on the other? It’s not like we are at the end of a long-hard season just yet. There is no chance of Lenny playing a weakened team/experimental team for a big European game. Nor would any of his predecessors have done so.

  15. DENIABHOY on 21ST OCTOBER 2019 5:44 PM

     

    do you not think Lenny and the team will be right up for both games and quite capable of winning one without it having a detrimental effect on the other? It’s not like we are at the end of a long-hard season just yet. There is no chance of Lenny playing a weakened team/experimental team for a big European game. Nor would any of his predecessors have done so.

     

     

    yes i’m sure neil will have us up for both games but i know the 3 pts that matter most.

  16. as rock tree bhoy said

     

     

    I would only have the one priority, the League title, this season, then next season again, just the one priority. Everything else, 100% secondary.

     

    Then after we got to the 10 it would be back to business as usual. 10 is the Holy Grail, not so bothered about 11 or 12 etc. They will never ever get to 10 so once thats done we can all relax and have a big party!

     

     

    we are on the cusp of something special, let’s re write the history books once again , everything else can wait.

  17. Ron 67 – if we rested players on Thursday and lost and then lost again at Pittodrie, what would be said? Damned if you, damned if you don’t.

     

    If I was Lenny, I’d prioritise League and Europa success this season. Play a second string for the League Cup and Scottish Cup. It’s not like we need another treble but we have enough quality in the squad to do it without picking strongest XI.

     

    League home games are the perfect opportunity for squad rotation. If we are a couple of goals to the good, get Calmac, Christie, Broonie etc. off at half time. Use the subs, especially in the games before the Europa League fixtures.

     

     

    Easy this football mngmt lark.

  18. Shortbread discussing racism in football , Michael Stewart brings up the ” Scottish problem ” it get’s nipped in the bud by Kenny McIntyre !

  19. Rock Tree Bhoy on

    Ron67

     

     

    Think you and I are on the same page,

     

     

    this season everything else on hold, one aim, one goal, win league title number 9. Then repeat next season,

     

     

    after that, who cares what happens, we’ll all be too busy celebrating!

  20. How much influence has McIntyre in Radio Scotland’s sports department. He seems to be around whenever there is criticism of the deid team to defend them or whenever there is criticism of Celtic, when he is the cheerleader and puts the boot in as often as he can.

  21. brilliant picture circulating on the twitterati,

     

     

    West Terracing at Celtic Park. 1971. Pic- Harry Benson.

     

     

    a comment says “few well known tims from the port in that ”

     

     

    i dont recognise anyone, well apart from billy connelly , maybe

     

     

    but i was only 5,

     

     

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EHWYaHhW4AMGJou.jpg

  22. Reggie….

     

     

    I hope we are prophets…. I also have been b advocating the 14 club set up for yonks.

     

     

    It’s so obvious but clever….. it’s being ignored by folk who didn’t think of it themselves lol!

     

     

    Might be existing Premiership clubs not keen of dividing up the money pot by 14 rather than 12?

     

     

    HH

  23. reggie

     

     

    From earlier. While I do not agree with your particular proposal, my numbers would be closer to sixteen clubs, there is no doubt that you have thought this through. In fact you have been consistent over the years. Fact is though if it was down to Celtic, and it isn’t, we would have a ten team SPL. Though not a fan of the idea of the franchise, I think it might be useful outside of well established clubs, and I think i might be close to Auldheid on this one. For instance, should the SW of Scotland be represented? Offer a franchise, lets call it Queen of the South. What about the bigger towns, Falkirk is midway between Glasgow and Edinburgh, good road and rail links, big population. Dunfermline? It’s in the Kingdom. Dundee? A City that should be part of the top league. Will anything change, well Paul has spoken in his master’s voice, the answer, not if Celtic have anything to do with it.

  24. There may well have been a Europa hangover for the Livi game, but that was always going to be a very difficult game. Away to a very physical side on their plastic pitch was a huge leveler and the sending off of Christie swung the odds over to them

     

    Very disappointing but over the course of a 38 game League you will have these results.

     

    Job is to keep them to a minimum but whether by accident or design we are getting tough games in the immediate aftermath of our Europa games.

  25. SETTING FREE THE BEARS FOR RES. 12 & OSCAR KNOX on 21ST OCTOBER 2019 7:22 PM

     

    Saint Stivs

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As well as Billy Connolly, I can see Freddie Garrity and Alvin Stardust standing together on the left hand side of that pic too

     

     

    ——-

     

     

    and bernadette devlin

  26. Re plastic- we need to play the pitch,not the opposition, change our tactics and we have better players than the teams who play on them

  27. BADA BING – do we have a plastic park at Lennoxtown? If we have 6 games a season on them then it would be a worthwhile investment.

  28. The Laws do not stipulate any rules or procedures for crediting goals to players, and indeed such records are not a compulsory part of the game.[13] In 1997 FIFA issued detailed guidelines for crediting own goals, recognising the increasing commercial importance of statistics such as top scorer awards and fantasy football.[13] The guidelines state that credit for scoring is decided by the referee, or match commissioner if present; and “[a] defender’s intervention must be deliberate in order for an own goal to be registered against him”.[13] Regarding a shot which deflects or ricochets into the goal off a defender, some sources credit the score to the attacker; others count them as own goals; for others it depends on whether the original shot was off target; others are more nuanced.

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