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. Moyes or any other manager worth his salt, wouldn’t work under Lawwell. His controlling influence will be common knowledge in football circles.

  2. Lennon n Mc....Mjallby on

    Unfortunately with the help of the smsm Celtic are the inalienable property of the sfa,for me it’s up to Celtic fans to force the regime running Celtic to take drastic measures,I’d happily pay to see Celtic become a freelance Harlem Globetrotters starting a revolution of breakaway across Europe but unfortunately radical action and thinking won’t happen and instead we’ll resume the reality car crash with the Kardashihuns.

  3. 1 week from today lent will be underway. I knew it was coming round sharpish when I looked in my packed lunch for work this morning and there was a hot cross bun to enjoy with my morning tea. Some people will abstain from chocolate, alcohol or something else they enjoy for the duration until Easter is apon us. Most of us also recognise this time of year as being the countdown to spring and the end of another dreary winter. Usually at this time of year Celtic start clicking through the gears and motoring towards the title while our rivals are being left in our wake due to them having no or little funds to improve their squads and suspensions, injuries and fatigue having an impact at a crucial stage of the season. Every team will have a bad patch. Happens to every team in every league around the world. My Barcelona supporting friend ‘who has never been to Barcelona’ wanted rid of their gaffer at the start of last season due to a run of poor results. He certainly called that one wrong! Celtic are going through their own bad patch right now. 2 games can be considered a bad patch when you assess our form over the last few seasons we don’t have many back to back defeats. The difference this year is that when we look at the table there is a team on our coat tails. They have learned, improved and have battled their way to become genuine contenders to win the title. Will they maintain their push? Who knows? There is now clearly a title race in progress though and bottle will come into it. I think Celtic will prove they have the tools to see the job out but is that enough?


    When you manage any team in any form of life you want that team to work together and get results. It doesn’t matter if you are building a house or building a sports team. There have to be management, plans, objectives, timelines and expected results. There can be challenges along the way and set backs but the progress has to be measure able and any blips or set backs addressed or at the least explained.


    At the minute our team from top to bottom looks disjointed. Our management team are not getting the results in key games. They are now being put under scrutiny by some of the people who pay their salaries. Mostly this is done in very informative prose with cases for and against and backed up with statistics. It’s clear that the major problems with the management team at the minute are as follows.



    Organisation – The team tend to look at times that they are not sure what they are doing and where they should be doing it from. Do all the players know the strategy for each game? It appears sometimes they don’t.



    Recruitment – a team has to have the right blend of personnel to complete the job. There is no point having 11 superstars and no hod carriers. You can’t have 11 goal scorers and no defenders just as much as you can’t have 11 defensive players. The team must have the right blend of youth, experience, flair and determination.


    It doesn’t matter how much these guys cost they have to be the right men for the job. Spending millions does not guarantee success. Good management teams will pick up the right players regardless of price. It’s a jigsaw where the right pieces are required.



    Communication – if the team are not doing what they are told by the manager who is letting them know? Are the half time team talks yielding a change in performance?



    Team Selection – players are selected on merit via training in most cases. That is a supporters view on why most players get a game each week. Continued poor performance leads you to wonder if that is indeed the case or do certain players continue to be picked on previous reputation alone?



    Decision making – perhaps the biggest failing in any management team. If your decision making is wrong it can cause all types of problems. If you take into account the ability to pick the wrong team from the outset a number of times then the decision making is clearly poor.



    Problem solving – massive in football management if your decision making has been poor then you have to know how to solve that issue and resolve it whilst learning not to do it again. Some managers like to note everything down. Some have a wee lackey to do it for them and others pore over games on screens after matches learning and noting where they went wrong to improve their decision making and indeed problem solving in future matches. Failure to learn is a key failing in any management team.



    I think our management team are failing mostly on their problem solving to change a game via substitutions and formation changes. There is also an argument that we don’t shuffle the pack enough, someone is having a tough time who is moved in to help them out? One of our players is clattered, who has his back? A cohesive team unit will cover for each other, fight for each other and also bail each other out when it gets tough. When the other team is in the ascendancy you use professionalism to kill the game for a few minutes and regroup. We are lacking a touch of cuteness and aggression at key points in games.


    Ultimately the players can hang the manager out to dry. We have all seen it. When any team stop doing what the manager asks it’s game over he has lost control.


    Any petulance has to be punished. Ever worked anywhere when someone shouted at the management team and kept their job?


    The respect for a management team has to be key.


    As always favourites will get some leeway. That can still work as long as they perform.


    In all aspects of the management team at the minute it looks like there is a clear problem. There have been injuries and various other issues over the course of a season but with the squad at our disposal a week or two organising should have that sorted if the communication is right. Any game can create an issue, a red card, injury to key players, loss of a bad goal BUT through previous experiences you refer to your log book lackey or the bottom of your memory bank and think right how did we deal with this before and how do we learn from the last time and improve on this situation? Do we go to win or sit in, perhaps take a draw or have a go late on? These are all things that managers have to contemplate and then let the team know the strategy on the pitch.


    I’m afraid that at the minute we are failing on a lot of fronts. Most coaches could win 80-90% domestic games with the current Celtic squad. It is when we have an issue or are put under pressure that we crumble through poor selection, decision making, problem solving and communication. The team are fit enough and they are good players. The coaching is not bad. The issue is that a good manager will focus on the key areas where games are won and lost. Make hard and tough decisions on team selection and formations. Be able to change games mid match and problem solve when there are issues arising. Celtic are winning games at the minute because we have better players. Our striker has an off day and another team are at their best with a coach who plays a certain strategy and we can drop points. If we score early we can hurt teams. If we don’t we are vulnerable. If we lose a player through a red card we are weak.


    The league probably won’t be lost but I’m not sure our head coach has the managerial nous for the long term Celtic project. By the team Easter comes round we may know better where he stands.


    By the way if you fancy a hot cross bun I would recommend jam on it!




  4. Thom


    When Ronny was appointed, he was an outside of the box thinking appointment, just no far enough imo.


    Paco is the coach at Rayo Vallecano, he has no money, not a cent, he has to build his teams from freebies, any that can command a fee are sold to make ends meet and he has to start all over again.


    He has been doing this for a few years, keeping them in La Liga and playing good attractive attacking football.


    If Ronny is going and I suspect he will be when the season is over, I doubt sooner, I would look at the likes of Paco, or the coach at Villareal, Toral who is of the same make up as Paco.



  5. Ernie all these questions you are posing/asking why not take your own advice that you so helpfully gave me , go to www. fuckinggoogleit .com. Amazing site. H H Hebcelt

  6. Always amazed me why no cross border entry to the English leagues only applied to Scottish teams . Surely a precedent was set with Cardiff and Swansea being allowed entry . It’s all good and well ogilvie and his ilk saying we aren’t allowed . But was it ever really challenged . Should we maybe have hired the boy Bosmans lawyer .

  7. Ernie Lynch,



    As yes, your MO we know so well: resorting to childish insult and denigration, which belies your otherwise attempts at cerebral contribution. One glance at Celtic Wiki provides all the background you need. Nobody fooled here.



    We crossed swords during my time in my previous incarnation as San Diego Bhoy, I’m still waiting for the answers to my questions from that “conversation”.



    You are a political troll of the lowest order, continually attempting to polarize the blog toward conversation over sleazy masters in Westminster.



    BTW, did you ever accept Paul’s gracious invitation to meet with him, during your acrimonious disagreement years ago? No, I thought not.

  8. I see Ronny has stated ‘I will never quit Celtic’ – is that code for I have been asked to resign but I’m staying put until the finances are sorted and my/our contract(s) get paid up in full?



    That’s what it sounds like to me.

  9. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    TIMALOY29 on 4TH FEBRUARY 2016 3:58 PM









    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.





    True, but we also need consistency of performance and the players capable of providing same.

  10. Phyllis Dietrichson on

    P67 – I’m not sure I follow the logic of waiting until June. The Euro 16 tournament will take up everyone’s attention and focus – it starts on June 10th and runs for a month. Two days after the final is the first leg of the CL Second Qualifying Round.

  11. Margaret McGill on

    Paul67’s prissy platitudes proves he is smitten by the current custodians of Celtic football club. History will prove me right just as it has since 2009 when I started posting here.

  12. Ronnys come out fighting,saying he will never quit Celtic,good for him,wish some on our board would have the same,taking no more i will be polite,and say nonsense,from the media,also tell parks that Celtic no longer need there bus,as for David Moyes not for me,if you cant make it at Man Utd, the biggest club in the world,then i cant see him cutting at Celtic,as for the development at our club,is there any young bhoys that can step up to the plate,

  13. i can’t see moyes coming, he needs a job where he can rebuild his reputation, not one where you win back to back leagues, do well in europe and end up at bolton or middlesborough.



    its a very hard sell, the job as it is at the moment.

  14. i’d take him straight away, mind you, at everton he produced good teams that played good football but most importantly got results

  15. thomthethim for Oscar OK on




    Seems that Paco and the other lad are doing what Ronny is doing, i.e., picking up frees and odds and ends, plus developing youngsters and making them into a team.



    All well and good, but his remit is to build a team to stay in the top division.



    To quote the mantra of our college educated erstwhile neighbours, “We Deserve Better”.

  16. Off topic as usual.



    For those lads coming over to Dublin next month, quite a few have been concerned at the prospect of Good Friday in Dublin and the pubs probably closed.



    The ROI are playing Switzerland on March 25th at the AVIVA, in Dublin.



    I spoke to a mate at the FAI today who can organise tickets together in the stadium with access to the bars.



    I have no idea of the costs at this stage, I have just to get to him with the numbers.



    If anyone thinks they are interested on being there, an unofficial CQN corner at the AVIVA, can you send me a line at dublin2016@mail.com. I will take it forward and confirm costs etc and come back to you.



    I should have an e mail out with updates etc to all those that have e mailed me in the next few days.




  17. The Battered Bunnet on

    Moyes really only wants 2 things:



    1) A place where he feels he belongs



    2) A project he believes in



    If PL really was an obstacle to Moyes taking the Celtic job, perhaps someone ought to have a wee word with Peter.



    Give him responsibility for the football club, and let him get on with it. He’d be totally immersed. And possibly, immense.



    I fear though that Davie’s boat sailed some time ago. Meantime, we’ve got a manager who shows all the signs of not knowing why it isn’t working the way it says it works in the book.

  18. Football is a simple game. If you give the ball to Griffiths in a yard of space 90% of the time he will hit the target? Who taps it in if the keeper saves it?


    I will never ever agree with Celtic playing 1 up front domestically.




  19. So let me get this right all you Lawwell/Board-haters:



    Over the last twenty months, when things have gone well on the park, it was all down to Ronny….However during that time and up to date, anything that goes wrong is down to Lawwell and his bonus.



    Ronny has been given all the signings by Peter and John Park and has been told to get on with it – he has absolutely no say in their recruitment.



    I’m afraid some on here have never moved on from Primary school, where ‘a big boy did it and ran away’ was always the answer to everything.

  20. HEBCELT on 4TH FEBRUARY 2016 4:12 PM


    Ernie all these questions you are posing/asking why not take your own advice that you so helpfully gave me , go to www. fuckinggoogleit .com. Amazing site. H H Hebcelt






    How would Google know what other posters have in mind in planning a hypothetical, future scenario?



    You understand?



    If you respond by suggesting I google the answer I’ll take that as a no.

  21. thomthethim for Oscar OK on



    Off topic as usual.







    For those lads coming over to Dublin next month, quite a few have been concerned at the prospect of Good Friday in Dublin and the pubs probably closed.







    The ROI are playing Switzerland on March 25th at the AVIVA, in Dublin.







    I spoke to a mate at the FAI today who can organise tickets together in the stadium with access to the bars.







    I have no idea of the costs at this stage, I have just to get to him with the numbers.





    I mentioned this option on here a couple of weeks ago.



    I was at an International match there a couple of years ago and the bars in the section I was in were closed.



    The same bars are open for Rugby matches.



    Maybe worth verifying.

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



    I must apologise, but I have no recollection of you under your previous name. I hope that doesn’t dent your ego too much.



    One of the subjects being discussed is Celtic moving to the EPL. No one had mentioned the political aspect of that. I’m not sure why. It’s very relevant.



    So far as the big invitation is concerned (and it seems to have concerned you more than it ever did me) it was to meet not Paul67, but someone, unnamed within the Celtic hierarchy. I believe the purpose was to allay my concerns about various matters. Why said person couldn’t just have relayed his/her thoughts via this blog I don’t know. But there we are, we’ve all moved on and we can all see what has happened since. Actions ( or the lack thereof) speak louder than words, don’t you think?



    I assume you’d be against a move to the EPL?

  23. thomthethim for Oscar OK on



    Thomthetim @ 3.06







    [✔] Yes







    […..] No





    What was the question again?

  24. Tony Mowbray’s Celtic vision was doomed on MOTD every Saturday night in his post match interviews at WBA, where he said after each defeat , they would play in his attacking style. After their relegation Celtic inexplicably appointed him, and quickly had to have Neil Lennon the fans friend with no experience, to restore some order



    Ronny Deila’s similar visions were holed under the water line at Murrayfield of all places, and we’ve been shipping water ever since , despite two trophies, and potentially four.



    Had Ronny gone on to select his personnel much more carefully with or without the help of the Celtic football hierarchy ( whoever they are ) then he’d be a lot closer to where we should be, despite the comparative paucity of his budget.



    You don’t lose the Celtic job because you blew the treble, and there remains substantial lingering doubt in the boardroom and beyond the waves , that the principle reasons for appointing Ronny Deila remain intact.



    Ruthless businessmen that pick from the Celtic very shortlist have done exceptionally badly in the past, and will do so again. The majority shareholder with real off the radar wealth, remains a caricature figure, and unaligned to anything east of Glasgow cross.



    I hope we brazen it out for as long as we can and give the guy what he was promised at his interview , and ignore the baying crowd, it’s your custodians that have no Celtic football vision to share with us, and can only count in multiples of empty green seats.

  25. Efe is not a central defender.His position should be as a holding midfielder.He has the build and the ball control for this. An emergency fullback as well. Lustig has always had the problem of leaving a space behind him at corners and crosses from the right. Gordon is suffering because he has No settled back line in front of him. You don,t become a bad goalkeeper overnight.


    As for Ronnie,well I think he doesn’t,t have the drive or charisma to get the best from the players. I have been saying this for over a year, but I wanted him to succeed.


    On a positive note, our new CF looks the business.

  26. CELTIC40ME on 4TH FEBRUARY 2016 4:30 PM





    ‘its a very hard sell, the job as it is at the moment.’






    The Board may be working on the assumption that it will be easier next year when the Old Firm bandwagon is back on the rails.

  27. Hi guys, hail hail, Ronny out etc.



    Was anyone reminded by Kazim-Richards of Samaras when it comes to the long ball? He seemed pretty good in the air – could help in Europe (if Ronny sees the light).

  28. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Ronnie is right not to quit we are top of the SPL and still in the Scottish cup I know you would not believe that if you listen to the sack Ronnie brigade.The time to review our season is when it has finished and if changes need to be made that is the time to make them.One thing we need to do is stop signing players until we get rid of the dross we are paying players who will never be regular first team players and this is draining the budget for better players.The game on Sunday should allow the team to play freely and a good win will restore confidence. H.H.

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