The pack of cards that never collapsed


Almost five years ago, our old pal, Dave King, promised us that if Newco won only one league, Celtic would collapse: “We appoint a manager who can win games, with more resources, and we take one league away from Celtic.

“We only need one league. We don’t need two or three. We need one. Once we take one away, it’s a pack of cards.

“Celtic’s costs structure is more like we were 10 years ago. We needed Champions League football and if we went into the Europa League we were in trouble because the cost structure was so high.

“Take that away for one season and it will change the numbers in the Celtic side very, very quickly.”

It’s worth repeating: “We only need one league. We don’t need two or three. We need one.”

They got their one league.  In 2022 they got Champions League group stage participation, a financially rewarding run to a European final and sold two players for a combined £27m.  Meanwhile, we failed to reach the Champions League for the next four seasons.  But still, it wasn’t enough to bridge the gap.

The financial prowess of a football club is not limited to income or bank balance.  You need to look at the sell-on values it can generate from the playing squad.  This is particularly difficult to measure accurately.  Take Kyogo, for example.  He is the best striker we have seen in close to 20 years but at 28, he will never move on for the money the inferior Odsonne Edouard generated.  As a consequence, it is likely you will see Kyogo doing his thing for many years to come.

It takes experience to manage a squad successfully.  Martin O’Neill was experienced and had gilt-edged winners, whom he encouraged the club to retain by offering ever-higher salaries.  It worked, until players went into age-related decline on eye-wateringly high pay.  We soon discovered we were not experienced enough.

You need a commercial team that will bring in the big deals, no matter what happens on the field.  Celtic have this, it underpins our purchases and salary negotiations.  Newco can only watch and try to learn.  Their humiliation over the Sydney Tournament is a case in point.

There is a corporate knowledge at Celtic that’s been learned the hard way.  It seeps into many corners of the club, instilling benefits that are not evident until you look back.  It is also far from finished, just because we are a chapter ahead of our rivals, doesn’t mean we don’t have tons more learning to do.

When Dave King gave his interview on Celtic’s “pack of cards” in 2018 he referenced how Rangers collapsed after the 6-2 game in Martin’s first season.  That game was certainly the moment Scottish football forever pivoted towards Celtic, but there’s a difference between Rangers dominance and that of Celtic.

Celtic are run on a sustainable basis.  Rangers lost money annually, plunging £35m into the red in one season alone.  On the way up, they rode a player price asset bubble, underpinned by an owner riding a property price bubble.  It was always going to crash and burn (as I may have mentioned a few hundred times before it did).

Any team can get it wrong, Celtic did two years ago, but when everything else is structurally better than your rivals, you can pick yourself up and go again.  They are a formidable rival, one that will take a brave man, or a very stupid one, to attempt to overhaul.

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  1. Prestonpans bhoys on

    Hits the post and philcool slids in to net the rebound ⚽️⚽️👏👏👏

  2. BIG JIMMY on 1ST MARCH 2023 12:02 PM


    Liel Abada Celtic dive sets former SFA ref off as he demands RED CARD for blatant cheating





    The forward was booked by Nick Walsh after taking a tumble in this box during the Viaplay Cup final.





    The Ex Ref is DES ROACHE…Apparently.







    The above is an article in Todays Daily Ranger….












    I MAY not disagree too much with this Ex Refs opinion, however the ” TIMING” of this article is hardly surprising, considering it was Celtics Liel Abada who was guilty on Sunday.





    i dont remember any such ” articles/opinions” being expressed whenever its KENT or SAKALA….or MORELOS who are/were GUILTY of Cheating ?





    Also, do you RED CARD a player for DIVING, when he is on the half way line etc, or JUST OUTSIDE the oppositions Penalty area in order to win a possible very dangerous FREE KICK from 20 yards out….or is it just for any DIVING in the opponents Penalty Area ?






  3. Point of order Paul



    Pack of cards cant “collapse”, i think the expression the old snake oil salesman was looking for is “house of Cards”

  4. What’s this talk of Celtic you speak of AT?



    P67 – An awfy long piece on thems again and nothing we don’t know.








  5. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Old firm quick news yet again!


    Funny that yesterday they were a “busted flush” and today they are our “rivals”. What does that say about Celtic?


    I’d rather be looking upwards for rivalries. How can we close the gap to the bigger league clubs?


    Two decades of failure in Europe, but let’s not bother about that as long as we are half a step ahead of a busted flush!

  6. Prestonpans bhoys on

    DES ROACHE TBH never heard of him however you don’t get a red for a dive inside the box. If you get a red it’s because you are on a second yellow.

  7. Its all about a convicted criminal and what he farted 5 years ago.



    Newco is Newklub continuity here eh



    Cant help it. Wish you would try a blog that exhibits our sustainability shown both on and off the park.


    Celtics future,Celtics plan,Celtics way forward.


    Or is that all bout the 2 klub cheats and how we react.




  8. Good reminder of their predictions.


    Just anther ploy in the continual fleecing of the Huns.

  9. Prestonpans bhoys on

    DES ROACHE…just did a Google on him. Very very low down in the SFA food chain, only seems to ref in lower leagues and that stops 2015, so assume he’s packed it in.



    Biggest game St Johnstone v Dundee Utd and he was 4th official . You would be better off asking me about nuclear fusion 🙄🙃

  10. glendalystonsils on




    Tell me about nuclear fusion ?

  11. bigrailroadblues on



    Stop yer kerry oan about nuclear fusion. I’m on my sixth pint and I still can’t spot a handsome hun. 🤣🤣🍻🍻

  12. Fusion is it?



    We tried that new fusion restaurant that only serves intestines and organ meat.



    It was offal.

  13. Our year of extreme hubris interrupted their history of such behaviour and we are now in the groove again.



    With money in the bank, would like to see a bit more appetite for investment in the age of Ange in an infrastructure that matches our desire to move beyond the ole ‘we need a new football environment’ argument of the last 3 decades.



    Player trading, champions league qualification, marketing successes are all worthy but where is our big hairy audacious goal for the next few years that will see us move from a baseline of £100m a year towards £150m.



    We need to match Ange’s ambition and not just keeping just in front of der hun….




  14. bigrailroadblues on

    Can see plenty of torn faced huns. Time for some well earned fun for ole Johnny. 😇

  15. Tobago Street on

    I think that people in this country are sick and tired of being told that all people in this country are fed up with being told that people in this country are fed up with being sick and tired.


    I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of it.




  16. Jinkyredstar on

    Fusion – under certain circumstances, when the nuclei of two atoms collide, the outcome is “Penalty to Rangers”

  17. Kyogo better than odsonne.






    Mibbies aye. Mibbies naw.



    Even at 28. If I was an epl scout I would recommend him as a summer buy.



    Someone will test our resolve for several of our boys during the summer.



    And ange said before don’t be surprised if favourites move on.



    Btw. Mooy is 32. Some player.

  18. As a wee aside.



    A speculative conversation with someone in property market and rangers selling part of the Albion car park for a residential build.



    Transaction will not be in the millions of pounds bracket.



    He said not enough to buy a decent Scottish player.



    Let’s see how it is reported will it be an undisclosed sum.



    Damn them outstripping us in every department

  19. McPhail Bhoy on

    Big Wavy


    Agree with your post but also what about our infrastructure? We still have poor facilities for most supporters prior to kick off. If you don’t enter the stadium there’s the usual burger vans etc. but very little else. I know we have talked about Fan Zones, cafes etc. but what is happening on that side of things? We had a lot of talk but very little action really since the final stand was built as part of Wee Fergus’ rebuild, that was a long time ago.


    Better communication would help and not just a quick response at the AGM that rebuilding the main stand doesn’t make economic sense. Is that it, is the sum total of the communication?

  20. GuyFawkesaforeverhero on

    A man walked into a bar and ordered, “..a pint of your nuclear fusion, please.”



    The barman said, “we don’t sell that here, pal. We’ve just not cleaned up the lounge from Sunday night yet.”

  21. bigrailroadblues on

    Good afternoon all from the Black Bull, High Street. I shall take a leisurely perambulation to Grace’s to watch the coup de gras of the horrible hun. Again.😀

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