We have moved on, time to join the FA


Some things in football defy satisfactory explanation.  Top of that list is Alex McLeish’s Rangers winning a treble against Martin O’Neill’s Celtic in 2002-03.  I know they were financially doped, as Michel Platini would put it, and I know we had the whole Seville thing going on that season, but Celtic were clearly the stronger side.

A gulf between the sides opened the following season, wider-still than the enormous talent of The Swede, but we were left to ponder what went wrong in the final weeks of season 2004-05 as Celtic an unfit looking Celtic were pipped, again, by McLeish.

During that period, he won everything he got close to.

Subsequent years have not been kind to the reputation of either McLeish or O’Neill.  But whereas Martin got Ireland to Euro 2016, McLeish bumped around from one Birmingham failure to another.  He had to go to Egypt to get a job, but was sacked after two months of dismal failure.  Surely a gig in the amateur game would follow?

Exactly!  Where else is more amateur than the SFA.  What was not good enough for Zamalek SC was perfect for the Scotland national team.  We all knew McLeish was a busted flush, but the sheer level of amateurism at the SFA led to Michael O’Neill being courted, then publicly rebuffing the SFA due to their (cough) amateurism.

The problem with all of this is when people at the top stop caring, the apathy percolates down to you and me.  We are no longer engaged with international football as fans.  That ship has sailed and may never return.  I love the World Cup and the Euros, but I don’t support anyone.  I plan things to do during the autumn and spring international breaks, they are a welcome space in the calendar.

None of this is Alex McLeish’ fault.  He’s just a coach caught miles out of his depth, who built a career on figuring out that playing three up against Celtic’s tanker-ship back three was the way to go.

I would shutter the SFA and Hampden in a minute.  They played an important role for a century but neither is fit for the purposes of the game in Scotland.  The SFA only came into being because of geography.  Rail travel was not good enough for Queens Park to fulfil fixtures.  If the transport routes between Glasgow and the East Midlands were better, Queens would never have taken the initiative to form a local association.

Football is now a pan-national sport and business.  If you were to re-imagine appropriate structures from scratch, they would not look anything like the SFA.  We have jets and the M74.  Admit we have moved on and join the FA.

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  1. TIMALOY29 on 18TH APRIL 2019 12:48 PM


    CHAIRBHOY on 18TH APRIL 2019 11:45 AM



    Interesting take on managers, once again I’ve got a different version of the roles and responsibilities in Celtic FC. If Desmond Dermot does hire the Managers what does our Chief Exec do?





    Peter Lawwell will be involved in the process. He may advise the board or speak to a manager or their agent on behalf of the board.



    But Lawwell reports to the board. He doesn’t have the authority to decide such things without them.



    The Chief Exec has many duties within the non-footballing side of the business. His involvement on the football side is usually financial. This includes negotiating contracts on behalf of the club.





    John McGinn wanted to come to Celtic, Hibs didn’t play JMcG in the European qualifiers so he wouldn’t be cup tied.





    Hibs did play in the qualifiers. He scored against Asteras Tripolis and was cup tied for the Celtic qualifiers.



    Hibs also allowed McGinn to travel to Birmingham, meet Steve Bruce for dinner, agree personal terms and have a medical without agreeing the final fee.



    Celtic matched the bid and Rodgers spoke to McGinn but he had decided he wanted to go to Villa instead of Celtic.



    It was his decision.



    It wasn’t in Hibs interest to sell McGinn prior to playing the Europa League qualifiers (much like Celtic did with Van Dijk)



    They waited as long as they could and sold McGinn on the final day of the English transfer window.



    We don’t have the correspondence between Celtic and Hibs. Maybe Celtic were penny pinching over a couple of hundred grand or maybe Hibs were demanding significantly more than the accepted from Villa.



    It’s important to point out how disliked Celtic are and most Scottish clubs would much rather sell to England. We will see this come through when we try to sign McKenna.

  2. Hi Paul67,



    Totally agree, the amateur FA in Scotland is now beyond a joke. Their incompetence and partiality has now corroded every facet of the Scottish game.



    Close down the SFA, let’s get a British League going.



    GER57 @ 12:17 PM,



    “I don’t know what happened behind the scenes last summer, and neither do you.



    It is always interesting that folk can speculate to their hearts content even to the point of character assassination when it come to Brendan Rodgers but put forward a scenario that he might not be responsible for everything that’s gone wrong in the last three years and he might have had something to do with our invincible Season or double trebles and there is weeping an gnashing of teeth.



    You say you don’t know what happened behind the scenes and in the next paragraph you tell me what was happening behind the scenes with regard Ryan Christie.



    It’s this lack of logic in the arguments against BR that I rail against.



    Lewis Morgan, Scott Allan and Ryan Christie came back from loan spells.



    BR and his team run the rule over each of them, they had an individual plan and played in the pre-season friendlies; Lewis Morgan was put out on another loan, Scott Allan fell out of contention and Ryan Christie joined the first team.



    It was BR and his team that improved the bhoy and played the bhoy – fact.



    There was a fall out between BR and his staff and the Celtic Board, it happens. My thing is that the systemic failures that was partly to blame and are failings that meant Celtic have under-achieved for over a decade are still in place.



    BRs gone, goid luck to him and his team, my concern is Celtic. There are poeple that are presiding over continued failure still in position, using squirrels and the blame game to cover their incompetencies.



    Hail Hail

  3. You didn’t “win” anything if you were deliberately cheating, Paul.



    However, if you prefer the official records which recognise a 7 year old club as having won 54 league titles, including the two you mention, that’s fine.



    I’ll be doing a Clyde on the ones I use.



    Hail Hail, Martin’s 5-in-a-row!!

  4. weebobbycollins on

    BBC reports that McLeish “…….has been under pressure because of recent poor results and performances.”


    It doesn’t mention the added pressure from wee Hector…

  5. eddieinkirkmichael on

    Its like when idiot politicians call for strict liability, they never actually set out what that actually entails. No details of how it would be administered or the sanctions, appeal processes ect.

  6. Martin had Villa in the top 6 of the Premiership 3 years running.



    Wonder what they’d give for that these days, as they look up from the division below?

  7. “Some things in football defy satisfactory explanation”



    “I know they were financially doped”



    That’s satisfactory enough for me.

  8. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    “He’s just a coach caught miles out of his depth, who built a career on figuring out that playing three up against Celtic’s tanker-ship back three was the way to go.”




    I don’t think he even did that, Paul. I think he copied it from seeing Porto rip us to shreds in the CL playing this way. He went to Ibrox only a couple of months after that game.


    Awful appointment and awful “process” of appointment.


    What kind of profile takes you from Michael O’Neill to Alex McLeish?


    Will the people responsible be held to account? No chance.

  9. There’s always a sense of anticipation whenever the team I support are on the lookout for a new manager ;-)

  10. Alan McRae SFA – El Presidente



    Discussing the notion that he wants a bigger challenge for Celtic, but controversially he singled out Rangers as the club he wants to provide it.



    He said: “They have done it once [gone unbeaten], hopefully it won’t happen again next season, because we’ve got to have challengers.



    “They know you need to have people challenging, otherwise it will get very boring and dreary.



    “We definitely need a good, strong Rangers, they are back, but they still have a bit to go. I’m sure they will eventually.”

  11. Beatbhoy said:



    ” How can you sack a man when World Cup success was within tangible reach??? ”


    Nice one, Beatbhoy. I am sure there is quite some mileage left in this `tangible reach` claim.


    Also, compliments towhoever said the other day that broken biscuits are still regarded as legal tender in Larkhall ! Cracker (no pun intended)!



    Completion of Larkhall Convent within tangible reach.




  12. Paul 67,



    Am I reading your article correctly. You jest surely.


    Join the FA. Ha ha ha; you will have some of your readers incandescent with rage and choking on their sugared porridge as they look out their marching boots.



    No offence bhoys.




  13. Paul67 et al



    “We have jets and the M74”


    That might be part of a bigger problem Paul.






    Martin O’Neill said he would make Villa a top four club if they gave him the money needed , the Villa board refused and it all went downhill from there !

  15. The manager who walked out for Birmingham just after attending the draw for 2010 World Cup qualification bemoans players who lacked commitment to the jersey.



    “I would like to thank those players who showed a passion for wearing the dark blue”.



    Such self-awareness.

  16. Park road 67



    I recall that the money he wanted was to come from Milner being sold to Citeh, but he wasn’t even getting that.



    The same Milner close to being part of a CL/ Premiership double this season.

  17. Regards the joining of the FA, I for one would love that with one proviso, that being we join without sevco, on our own, on our todd.


    Deep down we all know we are never going to get a fair deal in Scodland, never, ever.


    Sure, if we joined the English Leagues we would have to do so at the lowest level, but after four years we would be in the big time.


    Probably not popular, but hey, who said I was a fu##in people person anyway!!!!!




  18. PARK ROAD 67 on 18TH APRIL 2019 2:07 PM





    Martin O’Neill said he would make Villa a top four club if they gave him the money needed , the Villa board refused and it all went downhill from there !





    They didn’t have the money to give him. They were already overspending.



    They aren’t as big a club as people say they are. Newcastle United is a bigger club.

  19. Anyone hear Alex Rae on SSB the other night describe Celtic’s victory over Aberdeen as “A gold star in Neil’s feather”


    Alex is becoming the (ssb) thinking man’s bfdj

  20. traditionalist88 on

    Admit we have moved on and join the FA.





    Be a good idea if it was legally viable.




  21. Rock Tree Bhoy on

    Stating the obvious here but as long as the people who appointed big Eck are allowed to select his replacement then sacking him will not improve the national teams lot one iota. They are all utterly hopeless incompetents. With them in charge of the national team our future will be the exact same as our past, failure after failure. Celtic players – stay well clear please.

  22. traditionalist88 on

    ROCK TREE BHOY on 18TH APRIL 2019 3:35 PM


    Stating the obvious here but as long as the people who appointed big Eck are allowed to select his replacement then sacking him will not improve the national teams lot one iota





    I don’t know if I agree with that. Agree they are incompetent but their choice for manager previously was actually Michael O’Neill, who many had their own views on, but who at least is on an upward trajectory and overachieving for a few years with the North of Ireland… but their incompetence led to them getting a rejection from their main target… a man who already lived in the country and was interested in the job initially.



    So you would think even they would not be stupid enough to botch the negotiation process again, but you never know.



    Not a big fan of internationals but like Paul67 the big tournaments are great, and it’d be good for football in the country if we managed to qualify for Euro 2020.




  23. traditionalist88 on

    Valencia ban 5 fans for six months each for reselling tickets to Celtic fans for the recent Europa League tie.



    Bit harsh. And a bit inconsistent, letting the others away with it…




  24. Is it jist Big Fek…or the whole incompetent managerial team? Re EBT’s…wonder who’ll be the first ex-player to make a statement about the clumpany accepting liability ;-))

  25. Alex McLeish reveals he was asked at the job interview,………. could you perform under pressure?



    He said no, but he could do a mean…… bohemian rhapsody.



    oldonesaretheoldones CSC

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