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. Reading some of the comments about the Feyenoord game etc, I’ve come to realise that there is a lot of old buggers on the site.

  2. Just dropped in to say…..



    winning captains



    16:32 on 14 December, 2012




    Do you think that the CQN postie-guy


    will come up to my neck of the woods ?


    P.S. I hear that there’s a double-page pull out


    of all my positive happy-clapping posts !!! :o)


    Hail Hail

  3. MWD,



    could you post the links again to the Oscars Bucket day please.



    If your lurking Aunti Pasti (thats what ellie is calling you ) thats for you.

  4. saint stivs,



    As you say, it is a huge site. I don’t recall the name.



    I was there between 1960 -65.

  5. garcia lorca,



    You opened some scars that will always be there with that post. The 60 Dunfermline one I found hard to take, as a 9 going on 10 year old. After the Feijenoord match, I ended up leaving Milan from the next bay as their players. I can still remember carrying that big box, with Big Cup, out on to the plane, as if it were yesterday.






    I am well aware that the Netherlands is among the most secular in Europe. It wasn’t anything like that until the late 60s, early 70s.

  6. Saint Stivs,


    I’ve got a book which consists of the reproduction of pages of The Daily Record & Mail from 1925 to 2011 on all the major Celtic Stories of the times. It mostly consists of match reports from all the great Celtic Triumphs throughout those years, The 7 – 1 Hampden in the Sun and Lisbon etc. Its a great book to pick up and wallow in a bit of nostalgia from time to time.

  7. Watched the 70 Milan Final through a temperature of 104 degs.



    Couldn’t have felt sicker if I tried.

  8. thomthethim


    17:09 on


    14 December, 2012


    saint stivs,



    As you say, it is a huge site. I don’t recall the name.



    I was there between 1960 -65.






    so your another auld yin on here, were you one of the lucky ones or was there no bad employment practices in there ?



    worthwhile getting screen captures from google maps of the bunkers, hundreds of them are gone allready, the work is going on at some pace, with 2 new access roads near complete.






    seperate subject, someone asked who we miss posting,



    were is sean from prestwick & terry o’neill these days ?

  9. Saint Stivs it’s been hinted on here that the development might beef up the ratio of Celtic to other teams’ supporters in Bishopton.


    Do you share that view?



    I know it’s not a legitimate ground for objection.



    Personally I think these ingrates should welcome the improved standards of behaviour and academic achievement associated with our schools :-)

  10. The Dunfermline Cup Final defeat was 1961.



    I wasn’t there – I was only 7.







  11. corkcelt


    17:11 on


    14 December, 2012


    Saint Stivs,



    ive got the same one, its very good.

  12. Dunfermline Cup Final was in 1961.



    I missed both games, playing for St. Mirin’s Boys Guild in a cup tie plus replay.



    We lost in the replay too!

  13. Gordon_J backing Neil Lennon



    15:55 on 14 December, 2012



    ‘ECA says that membership can’t be transferred – but they were an original member? Makes no sense at all.’




    It’s commercially expedient.



    How many clubs that made the decision, aware of their own precarious financial position, wished to establish a precedent?

  14. saint stivs,



    Less of the “auld yin”. I prefer mature.



    Ten apprentices were started that year, 1960, and I was one of the Token Two.



    It was a very bitter, cold place for us and every day was challenge. It was constant, however, it taught me to take no sh*t from anyone, ever.

  15. Ave Maria, gratia plena.


    Maria, gratia plena


    Maria, gratia plena


    Ave, ave dominus,


    Dominus tecum.


    Benedicta tu in mulieribus,


    Et benedictus


    Et benedictus fructus ventris,


    Ventris tui, Jesus.


    Ave Maria.



    Sancta Maria,


    Ora pro nobis,


    Nobis peccatoribus,


    Nunc et in hora


    Mortis nostrae.


    Ave Maria

  16. Read NegAnon2’s posting on “introduction of new automated safety measures on Scottish motorways” Should this lead me to conclude that this was a Scottish Government ploy only. Or am I wrong? If I am correct in my interpretation of this post, may I point out that this system has existed for well over a year in the Birmingham area and I think in other areas in the south.

  17. Just spoken to Mrs and Ms Tally who are up in Glasgow doing some Xmas shopping and having a bite to eat in that Chinese Noodle Bar at the corner of Argyle and Union Streets.



    Ms Tally was in the Celtic store earlier on, but refused to divulge what she bought (me)!



    Peeing down, apparently – and a bit baltic!




  18. playfusbal4dguilders on

    Bbc news reporting that Kenny Shiels Kilmarnock mgr accuses 4th official of telling lies and fabricating evidence at his disciplinary hearing.



    4th official – Dallas Jr.



    Who’d have thunk it?







  19. Happy Birthday , Kano (it was mine yesterday……I am only a day


    older than you? Wow! You look so much younger),