When great managers tumble over the peak


Looking back it’s easy to spot; that moment when an imperious manager peaks before tumbling over the edge, but at the time this moment is almost impossible to see.  The moment Jock Stein peered over the mountain was absolutely impossible to identify at the time.

Celtic qualified for the 1970 European Cup final by beating English champions, Leeds United, home and away, and were hot favourites to lift the trophy for the second time in four seasons.  They were about to win their fifth consecutive league title and would go on to make record a world record nine-in-a-row, meaning there was a mountain of ‘evidence’ obscuring the peak from view.

We were the most feared side in football in April 1970 but that team’s time as a European heavyweight was over.  Stein remained a further eight seasons but he never beat another team from one of the large European leagues.  A 1975 win over a relatively obscure Boavista was his best result* in the period before he was replaced in 1978.

The reverence Jock is rightly held in by all Celtic fans now was tested during the 70s when I remember tactics and even minor decisions, like substitutions, were being questioned by large sections of the support.  It all ended in ignominy in 1978, fifth in the league and sacked in a clumsy and misleading fashion.

Jock was still a good manager and did well with Scotland but he should have moved on from Celtic years earlier.

Fans of other clubs will always see the moment of inflection before those too close to the event, but even Arsenal fans are now politely making the case that their once-supreme manager is no longer suitable for purpose.  Anyone suggesting that Arsene Wenger was finished in 2004 would have been certified.  His team had just won the league undefeated, the first team to do so since the 19th century.  They won the FA Cup on penalties the following season and reached the Champions League final a year after that, but they have not lifted a trophy since 2005.  Wenger was a fine 2004 vintage but has disappointed since.

After a slow start at Manchester United, Alex Ferguson has managed to remain at the top for 20 years.  His most important ability appears to be to know when to change coaches, players and tactics.  It has long been said that the best managers were not great players as they needed to acquire a conscious insight on the game which gifted players inherently knew.  Perhaps enduringly great managers are not even tactical geniuses, it’s more important that they can just spot a few.

Ordered the CQN Annual yet? Get it here in time for Christmas!

Remember being a teenager?**  The excitement of waiting for news of the latest pop charts was big news for some.  You can relive your youth buy BUYING ROD STEWART’S single before Sunday.

* In European competition, between beating Leeds and when Jock left in 1978, Celtic eliminated Kokkola, Waterford, B1903 Copenhagen, Sliema Wanderers, Ujpest Doza, Rosenborg, Turku, Vejle, Basel, Valur, Boavista and Jeunesse d’Esch.  They lost to Ajax, Inter Milan, Ujpest Doza, Atletico Madrid, Olympiakos, Sachsenring Zwickau and Wisla Krakow.  And Feyenoord, of course.

** CQN demographics suggest for most of you, your teenage years are now a distant memory.

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  1. kitalba


    13:36 on


    14 December, 2012


    His ability to pit-bull is all but gone yet he is still the same gregarious Celtic Supporter who once walked and talked with us.



    He’d love to shake your hand.






    thanks for posting that, Happy Birthday to our Bhoy and best wishes to the Family.



    The Kano Foundation work, and the banner at every game means your never far from our thoughts.



    looking at the video led on to some others posted by Pablo.



    pleasure to watch them again.



    keep it lit.

  2. Hooooooopeeeeee finished up work for this year!



    Kitalba great Kano posts sir, been thinking of him today and sent an email to Ramie for him to read out to Kano.


    KTF bro

  3. I don’t think any of the Arbroath 3-5-2 (mkII) was an improvement on the Kilmarnock game. Sammi/Lassad or Hooper/Lassad? Much of a muchness.



    This game did do one thing, though – it confirmed that Matthews’ best position is RWB, and that formation suits him down to the ground. The sitting midfielder means Matthews has fewer defensive worries and can concentrate on what he does best – attacking.



    My Celtic pick for tomorrow:





    Ambrose Wilson Mulgrew


    Matthews Brown Wanyama Ledley Izzy


    Hooper Samaras

  4. Missed out on Golf today to do a bit of Christmas Shopping with Mrs. Corkcelt, back in my chair tooling about with the laptop, reading the thread re Big Jock and just went up and picked up a book about the legend, when a bit of paper containing the words of a song dropped out. I swear they must have been there for years & years, anyhow as I’m sitting here reading them, I’ll just quote ye the last verse of one of my favourite Celtic Songs.


    “The fans they all are silent,


    as they travel near & far.


    no more they’ll cheer John Thompson


    that bright & shining star.


    Then play up Glasgow Celtic


    stand up and play the game,


    For in your goal, a spirit stands


    Johnny Thompson is his name”

  5. Vmhan


    16:35 on


    14 December, 2012


    2 tims in bishie there’s only 2 tims in Bishie!



    only1 , the other book is for my brothers xmas he doesnt know it yet.



    dont tell anyone

  6. Marrakesh Express you strike a chord with me . As a 12 year old I sobbed myself to sleep after the Feyenoord game. Has never happened again but was close in Barcelona a couple of weeks ago !

  7. Supporters urged to take part in Celtic Charity Text event



    By: Newsroom Staff on 14 Dec, 2012 15:57



    EVERY Celtic supporter is being urged to get behind the campaign to raise funds for Celtic Charity and Teenage Cancer Trust this Christmas.



    Rod Stewart has kindly donated the proceeds from his current single, ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’, to the appeal and Celtic fans have spent the week buying copies in aid of those causes that will help young people this Christmas.



    This Saturday, December 15, when St Mirren are the visitors to Celtic Park, the club is calling on every supporter to take part in a mass text event at half time.



    The magnificent Celtic support will be asked to buy one copy each of the charity single by texting ‘ROD’ in unison to 87474 and in doing so, your 99p will ensure we raise thousands of pounds for the appeal.



    If you are unable to buy via text on your phone, the single is available to buy online from I-tunes, Amazon and HMV, with HMV stores also selling CD copies of the single.



    Once again we thank every Celtic supporter for their outstanding generosity in keeping with the charitable origins of the club.




  8. V,



    are you aware of the massive development happening at the former ROF in Bishopton ?



    Greatly opposed by the locals here, who formed a protest group, with some high profile people on the council involved on the committee.



    so a couple of years ago they camer round the doors asking to sign a petition.



    hello mr h, will you sign our petition, 2800 people allreay in opposition.


    naw, no signing it, i am all for the progress.


    really suprised at that sir, lets give you some facts, blah blah blah.


    99% against it,



    i am not signing it, i think its great, 2000 new homes, people able to get a house, i mean half the P




    I mean half the Port could move up, and we could get a denominational school, and there might be a bigger chapel, and we could run a celtic bus from a new pub ………



    mrs H



    “get in , and leave the guy alane”



    the development goes ahead, and i look forward to a real demographic change, and cultural enhancements to the “Bishops town”




    they hate me calling it that.

  10. bsr



    Old Bob Kelly was, usually, gracious in defeat – and there were a few during his tenure as Chairman/Dictator!!



    … but he was there when we won ‘the Big Cup’!



    There was a very good relationship between Celtic and Clyde at one time – up until the 70s (?).



    Bob Kelly and big Jock were VERY close – when Jock was offered the Dunfermline job he asked Bob Kelly for advice: he told him to accept it. When Jock was offered the Hibs job, he again asked Kelly for his views. In late 64 early 65 Jock was sounded out by a journo for the Wolves job – when Bob Kelly got wind of this he offered the Celtic mananger’s position to him.



    The rest is history!




  11. Good afternoon CHAMPIONS



    winning captains, hope that one for Strathaven is MMMMMIIIIIINNNNNEEEEE.



    Weefra HH

  12. ArranmoreBhoyLXV11 on



    End of a long week. I ‘m lucky to be working and even luckier to be a Celtic supporter.



    I ve come home tonight to find my shiny fantastic CQN annual waiting for me……a mention on p147 and it s a wonderful read…



    CONGRATULATIONS to all…for its production..I ‘ll order more as gifts..



    A final personal thought. 48 yrs ago today,when I was 2 weeks old my dad died….a very young man..We never met or spoke..but he left me the legacy and proud tradition of following and being a part of the Celtic family…



    I’m eternally grateful for that and the love,warmth and support you find within our Celtic family..especially on days like this, as one reflects..



    It is a privilege to follow Celtic. It is a delight and defines us, as to who and what we are in society.



    Moreover, CQN epitomises all of the wonderful aspects of Celtic. All voices are heard and given time and space..Differing opinions are valued and respected with courtesy and humour at all times…even on the nightshift!



    I look forward to the exciting year ahead for our club,Celtic and for all of us here on CQN…



    We all have one common goal-Celtic…



    We move on , confident we are on the right path…







    and Get the annual……..it’s a cracker!

  13. corkcelt


    16:41 on


    14 December, 2012


    Missed out on Golf today to do a bit of Christmas Shopping with Mrs. Corkcelt, back in my chair tooling about with the laptop, reading the thread re Big Jock and just went up and picked up a book about the legend, when a bit of paper containing the words of a song dropped out.







    ive got 3 newspaper cuttings rescued from the chest of drawers in my old grandas room.




    1 page is Celtic playing Belfast Celtic around 1934.


    Other 2 pages are John Thompsons funeral.



    the reporting style and genuine affection of the scribes for celtic is obvious.



    i need to scan them and get them online sometime.

  14. Nice Past Arranmore Bhoy, Hail Hail to both you and your late father. Happy Birthday to the legend Kano who was before my time on CQN. Hail Hail & Happy Christmas to all on CQN and especially Paul67 to whom I am eternally grateful for this wonderful site.

  15. MWD a man from the North is heading South tonight bearing a gift for you . Can you get in touch to organise a handover. Hail Hail Hebcelt

  16. Can’t believe the example some of you guys are setting….. already started reading your CQN Annuals and it’s still 11 sleeps til Christmas.



    The Onlooker

  17. thomthethim


    16:58 on


    14 December, 2012


    St stivs,



    I served my Apprenticeship in thr ROF.



    you ever work with Charlie O’Neill from the Port ? old man now, next door neighbour of ours. great auld guy.

  18. Hebcelt



    Give me a bell and I’ll give you his number.



    Really busy day, forgot mate sorry about that.

  19. Ntassoolla


    17:02 on


    14 December, 2012


    Saint Stivs why were they against the development?



    it doubles the size of the “village”. 2000+ new homes over 10 years.


    The ROF is massive, huge site.


    They opposed every aspect of the development,



    me, i think its magic to clean up a brownfield derelict site, and to open up the forest woodlands and wildlife inside the fences.

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