Where we are and the way forward


Celtic are well behind the position they should be at this stage of the football cycle which started in the summer of 2014.  This week’s two defeats are a symptom of that.  A year ago, then-new signings Armstrong and Mackay-Stevens contributed to two highly credible performances against Inter Milan, which indicated we were on a positive trajectory, but pretty much every available indication since has pointed south.

Aberdeen were poor in the first half last night, but shortly before their opening goal om 31 minutes I noted that they were defending comfortably, despite our dominance.  We had not made a chance which tested them.  We often need a lot of possession before the goals flow.

There is a flip side to that ratio.  We often lose a lot of goals compared to the possession we allow opponents.  All teams take a direct approach to attacking Celtic – get it forward and shoot. Better still, win a corner.  Football games are about two things: scoring goals and not conceding goals.  Some work is being done on the former but I’m concerned our shape does not accommodate the achievement of the latter.

We’ve kept 4 clean sheets (Kilmarnock, St Johnstone, Partick, Stranraer ) in the 18 games since beating Dundee United 5-0 in October.  Only Thistle (1-0), Dundee (6-0) and Dundee United (5-0) have lost at Celtic Park without scoring since…………… Ross County on 1 August.

Records will show that yet again we lost a crucial goal at a corner kick.  What will be lost in time is the sheer panic caused by the Aberdeen corners which didn’t result in a goal.  I’ve never seen a team defend set pieces so poorly over such an extended period.

There could be many reasons why we’re not in the Champions League knock out stages right now, but I’m sure the reasons we’re not comfortably ahead in the league is that defensively, our shape and organisation is not good enough.  We concede too much space in dangerous areas.  This is why we’re not miles ahead of a team with vastly weaker resources.

On the way forward:

It’s of the upmost importance we win the league.  As it stands, we will achieve this.  Colin Kazim-Richards, despite being of journeyman-pro stock, gave us a dimension we’ve not had in 18 months.  He, Kris Commons, Ryan Christie, Patrick Roberts and Erik Sviatchenko will all have a positive impact on the remainder of the season.

Ronny has got a lot wrong, but he was right about one thing after the game last night, “The players need the fans’ support”.  Those who suggest that anytime is a good time for recriminations probably don’t have a good grasp on the complexities of any given situation.  There will be plenty of time for recrimination in June, right now, we need to keep our eye on the prize.

Win the league, then we’ll talk.

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  1. I had reservations about the wisdom of logging in to the blog today for reasons of my own sanity. I’m glad I did, there are some fantastic measured contributions of all opinions and slants.



    All style and no substance seems to sum up Ronny’s team thus far, and pleas of a defensive midfielder have gone unheeded by those that run the business end of operations.



    It could be argued anyway that a gnarled, defensive minded player would only be played out of position in Ronny’s formation.



    The solution seems so effin simple it would make you greet, study Jock Stein’s tactics rigorously and get insight how such an attacking minded philosophy could defend with such aplomb. See how Mr. Stein’s formation/s changed when we lost the ball. I’ve studied it, and if a dunderheid like myself can see the ebb and flow of such genius, surely the professionals could make it work. Of course we don’t have a Ceasar either, but an applied team effort would make for a huge difference in plugging that gaping hole in the center.



    I’m not suggesting that our current raft of signings even have 50% of the talent the Lions did, but I also refuse to believe that they are as dire as some suggest. We are still top of the league, with a huge goal difference.



    If Ronny and Co are ushered out the door, remember the hun are just one step away from bringing their hate fest back to Paradise. Better get it right Peter.

  2. If we can handle the burden of so many players on our payroll such as is the case presently, wouldn’t it be prudent then to set up two groups of players: a core of tougher hammer throwers to win us the league, and also a core of more technically gifted players to step in for European games?

  3. Nice angle Thomthetim,



    Were you a successful gaffer then :-)



    My auld boy told a similar story ; he was told by his boss (who was a git) not to be a friend to his team but a gaffer. He took this advice but it never really sat well and he wasn’t happy in that period. When he got out of management and into a specialist role he had his best time working.



    Maybe Ronnie is a 1st team coach not a manager after all. I would still like him to do a double and if he goes he does it on a high and his own terms or he finds the confidence to better it next year.



    hail hail

  4. Apparently RD is to be given 5 years to get the majority of the team to be home-grown. 1 league loss would be considered acceptable in that time.

  5. FLORIDA BHOY on 4TH FEBRUARY 2016 3:22 PM


    If we can handle the burden of so many players on our payroll such as is the case presently, wouldn’t it be prudent then to set up two groups of players: a core of tougher hammer throwers to win us the league.



    i cant see the MIB’s in scoddland falling for that one -)))



    2 reds every other week.

  6. FLORIDA BHOY on 4TH FEBRUARY 2016 3:16 PM



    The prospect of us playing in the EPL has political ramifications.



    That’s the reality here in Scotland.



    I appreciate that people in Florida might not be aware of that.



    btw Is Florida named after Mount Florida?

  7. CultsBhoy can not relate to Celtic Board ambitions on or off the park on

    I’d like a mature manager next time.



    For the record I supported Ronnie’s appointment for 3 reasons:



    We were in a position of being able to take a risk – effectively no domestic challenge.



    I fancied a new progressive approach as proposed but has ultimately not been delivered.



    There wasn’t a queue of managers willing to take the job.



    Things have changed.


    We have domestic competition and it will increase next season


    Progressive approach has proven to be flawed and not delivered.



    Not sure if we will have a bigger pool of managers to choose from..one attraction to interested candidates will be that they can only do


    Better than Ronnie

  8. Now, my last statement is made up, as I’m sure you realised. However if it was the case and it had been made clear to all, when he arrived, would you accept it?

  9. traditionalist88 on

    Ronnys problem is that he overcomplicates the game and prioritises chasing the ball like headless chickens over technical ability ON the ball.



    He is blind to the fact that there are certain players without the mental toughness OR the technical ability to play for Celtic.



    For example, a manager who knows the level we need to be at or at least aspiring to will have Efe Ambrose and Gary Mackay-Steven on the transfer list on day one for these reasons.



    We need to be ruthless – Ronny is not the man for that.



    Its a simple yes or no in every case – do they have what it takes mentally and technically to play for Celtic?



    The good news is there is a nucleus of players there to build a side around. Often the addition of only 3 or 4 players can make a monumental difference to your fortunes.



    Thats why its often said the manager is the most important man at the club. Fundamentally, does he know what it takes to play for Celtic?



    If the answer is yes, he will do what is necessary to build a team and squad that fit the bill.



    If the answer is no and the manager is weak into the bargain, there will be an unfathomable transfer policy in which his input is taken on board but not exactly given priority.



    After nearly 2 years, I think we know the answer.




  10. QUONNO on 4TH FEBRUARY 2016 2:32 PM



    We need to acquire a side in financial peril.






    One in the lower English league.






    Take their membership and go from there.







    Where would home games be played?

  11. Thom


    Every coach should first and foremost imo, set out not to lose a game and build from there, get the middy balance right for whatever oppos you are playing, change the system if needs be, but balance is the key, again imo, we don’t seem to have any balance just now, every game it’s the same tactics no matter who we are up against, and it is failing.


    I don’t hols much truck with the we should be humping everything in sight cos we have a bigger budget, coaches set their teams out to stop us, some are successful, some are not, we have done it in the past against Barca for example, I just don’t see anything differing from our coach whatsoever, he keeps saying we are learning, he maybes is, but as sure as eggs are eggs, this is not being transferred to the players.


    Pedros problem is if he gets shot he is admitting he has failed, and we, the support are at his mercy.


    Shame but Ronny has lost the support and possibly/probably the dressing room, he is a dead man walking.


    The next problem is who next ?


    As has been said by myself and many many others, unless the policy is changed it will be the same old same old.


    A lot of posters are saying he hasn’t addressed the def mid problem, we have no idea if he has tried, but I imagine he has, as a blind man can see we have major problems there, we had a fella in the other week but no deal was done, so I assume he has asked for a def middy and hasn’t been given one.


    I said a few years ago, when Lenny was going through a roughish patch that we needed a DoF, but Pedro obviously decide he knew better and he seems to have taken on that role and has failed miserably imo.


    Paco is the man.








    You had me there :-)



  12. Somebody posted on here last there are five Norwegians on the backroom staff,


    Can someone please tell m who they are,and what their jobs entail,thanks in advance.HH

  13. The Battered Bunnet on




    I could believe that. I could also see it destroying the value in the business. If that was/is the plan, the perfect guy for the job is a Davie Moyes type. Hand him the club, tell him what you want to achieve, and let him get on with it.



    You wouldn’t give it to a guy who doesn’t know how to do it. There’s enough risk in the plan without compounding that with a manager trying to figure it out as he goes along – as Ronny is clearly doing, and toiling at that.

  14. lennon's passion on

    Is the football enjoyable ?



    Are we improving under RD ?



    Do the majority of the fans have faith in RD turning things around ?



    Is RD learning from his mistakes and the make up of Scottish football ?



    Would the majority of fans be confident of Celtic winning a must win game ?



    If you answer no to the above questions then Rd has to go.

  15. spootiemad on 4th February 2016 3:10 pm



    I have no doubt a contingency plan has been contemplated. I would imagine that June will be an eventful month for us.



    Hypothetically, who would unite and galvanise the fans. Not one of the names put forward so far has filled me with expectation. The manner of how we conduct any change will be crucial imo to a Unified support. Any manager we employ will know that failure will not be tolerated and patience is not a virtue at Parkhead.


    The danger here is that we will attract managers with a short term philosophy with no eye to future development.



    Hail, Hail.

  16. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    Coneybhoy on 4th February 2016 3:25 pm





    No, I never reached the dizzy heights of being a gaffer.



    I sometimes get to have a say at home!



    However, your father’s experience strikes a similar cord, I.e., not being a pal to his crew.



    In my own case ,it was with my children. I told them that I would never be their pal, but always their dad.



    I think the differences are obvious, as I didn’t want to know the kind of stuff they would tell a pal, but I insisted on being their “gaffer”!.



    My father summed up how to interact with a pal. I think it is a Burns(R) quote. If not, it should be.



    ” Ye can tell it tae a bosum pal,


    Ye can tell it tae a cronie,


    But there aye some things


    Ye’ll keep tae yersel,


    That you widnae tell tae ony”.



    I found that sound advice, as it reduces the risk of being blackmailed after you fell out with your pal!!

  17. TinyTim



    Never had you down as a wild optimist mate:))



    We need a new board, a failing English team, a support that will watch us in the lower leagues for some years and then we will be ready to take our place with the Bayerns and Barcas of the Galactico world..



    Hmmm my usual optimism has deserted me:)) When I see Liverpool spending hundreds of millions on players and managers and still coming up empty handed I wonder if their board lacks ambition or if the game is in fact dead and we are just at the wake?



    I have an old friend, almost 70 now, he’s a Man City fan, still watches his team but by his own admission says ” It’s not City”



    I rarely watch football these days apart from Celtic, I just can’t stand the Sky razzamatazz or the Scottish parochial amateurism and penchant for the died team and I know Celtic as a club to survive and compete with the best will have to change, just hope that change doesn’t mean me sitting watching the game and telling the long suffering Mrs Starry i ” It’s just no Celtic darling”



    More questions than answers the day..

  18. lennon's passion on

    Current celtic team is like my marrige.Lacks passion,direction,penetration and climax



    Humour from Twitter world.

  19. CultsBhoy can not relate to Celtic Board ambitions on or off the park on

    If we wait until June to change management team. Lawwell has the perfect excuse for European failure. We will be told that the new manager needs time. So expect change in June.



    The only thing that could compel me to stick with RD is if the alternative is Collins… Even as a temporary measure.

  20. GREENPINATA on 4TH FEBRUARY 2016 3:40 PM


    As things stand. We would continue to play our home games in the UK.







    And within the jurisdiction of which of the four home association?

  21. FRANNYB67 on 4TH FEBRUARY 2016 3:36 PM


    Somebody posted on here last there are five Norwegians on the backroom staff,







    I think the medical team (doctor and physios) are Norwegian.

  22. CultsBhoy can not relate to Celtic Board ambitions on or off the park on

    Nous on an 18 month contract- a salary and bonus to match Lawwell’s.



    No additional transfer budget he either makes the current team better or he swaps players out to find acquisitions.



    Chance for Moyes to reestablish himself…

  23. The Battered Bunnet on 4th February 2016 3:36 pm



    The problem is RD did do that in taking Stromsgodset to the title. He lowered the average age of the team year on year.



    Now I’m pretty certain he wasn’t expected to win at least 1 trophy every year that he was there (and indeed he didn’t), so I’m in no way saying he was ready to manage us and our expectations but in terms of the fictitious goal he probably fits the bill.



    I won’t accept the Norwegian diddy league arguments. Evidence suggests that the quality is higher than here. However let’s say it is. If we were looking for a manager that had done the same in a league we think is comparable to ours I’m not sure his next stop would be Celtic.

  24. thomthethim for Oscar OK on



    Who is Paco?



    I heard Thierry Henri the other night discussing Guardiola.



    He said that the first thing he does is make sure that they are solid at the back. This gives them the platform to attack.



    If it is good enough for Big Jock and Pep, then who are we to argue.



    If we change now, there is a risk of losing the league and not reaching the CL qualifiers.


    If we don’t change now, ” ” ” “, etc…. and go to the Europa Qualifiers.



    If we change now and win the league. we will be in the CLQs, with a settled new manager.


    If we change now and don’t win the league, we will be in the ELQs, with a settled new manager.



    ‘Sno easy, so it’s no’.

  25. Ernie,



    Jurisdiction would be managed. It has been managed with Berwick Rangers and with the Welsh clubs. I realise that both are long standing, but as with all change it would be sorted.



    Did anybody really understand the implications of change bosman would bring ?


    Did anybody really understand the implications when Darwien FC signed two players from Partick Thistle and made them the first professionals. Within 10 years it was commonplace.



    Change will always be initially resisted, but any problems will be overcome.



    Hail, Hail.




    We need some consistency in selection



    I suspect that the GK, Back four and midfield 2 are locked in. Hope that will mean better performances from all of them.

  27. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    Coneybhoy on 4th February 2016 3:25 pm



    What about goalkeeping coach, Stevie “Norwegian” Woods.




  28. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    CELTIC40ME on 4TH FEBRUARY 2016 3:43 PM



    thomthetim for president





    Can anybody Trump that?

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