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. celtic40me…



    well, that’s paul’s article given the red pen treatment by the self-appointed arbiter of just about everything



    Perish the thought I’d have an opinion. Any maybe one that differs from yours. I’ll turn this around – do you have a problem with people questioning the status quo?



    Paul67 invites comments. I had a comment to make. What’s the problem?



    it’s almost like someone is trying to exert some sort of imagined authority over him



    And it’s almost like someone else is trying to poison the well. Having nothing to say about content and everything about ad hominem insult.



    you know, like belittle him in front of everyone



    Are you Paul67’s representative on earth? Ultimately I’ve asked Paul some hard questions. I’ll make zero apology for that. Your problem is somewhat more difficult to decipher. But to be honest? I’m not too bothered – in the end if you can’t actually post a counterpoint to my questions to Paul, it says more about you than I.



    I have zero interest in slanging matches or name calling.




  2. AULD BERTIE on 4TH FEBRUARY 2016 5:43 PM



    Ah, a nat.



    Concerned about the poor.



    So concerned that you wanted to reduce corporation tax, you freeze the council tax, and you refuse to support an increase in income tax.



    Such concern. It’s quite touching really.



    Tell me though, are you in favour of Celtic playing in the EPL?

  3. the long wait is over on

    While still unhappy about last nights performance and have grave concerns about RD’s ability to lead us to the CL a few points for perspective:-



    1. Would you rather be in our position or Aberdeen’s?



    2. The best odds on Oddschecker have us at 1/16 to win the league and Aberdeen at 12/1



    3. We now have a genuine living , breathing competitive race for the league. Isn’t that what we’ve always said we needed to prove that the demise of Rangers wasn’t going to be Armageddon?



    We can’t cherry pick when we want a competitive league and when we don’t. Aberdeen are not a great team , not even a great Aberdeen team , but they are well organised and up for it with a couple of genuinely talented forwards. (For what it’s worth either us or Aberdeen would comfortably dismantle Them)



    While last night was uncomfortable there’s no denying it gives the rest of the season a certain tang. As fans we’re out of our comfort zone now and while I wouldn’t have wished for it we have to deal with it.



    I’m genuinely looking forward to the rest of the season now. Bigger crowds, better passion and at least one belter of a home game against Aberdeen to come.



    What do we want ? A long slow march to the title every season? Yes , on one level but that is never going to happen every season.



    For the moment we do need to support the team and Ronny.



    If we do we will win the league.



    Our biggest issue as a club is that we have no rebuilding window of any kind for a new manager unless we win the league with two months to go and sack that successful manager , a la Real Madrid.



    If we wait till the end of the season we are weeks away from the most important games of the whole season. That’s an impossible pressure and one which the club and others in the same position need UEFA to address.



    Personally , I’ve never cared about the league cup particularly and the idea that any Celtic managers job should hinge on winning the treble is , given that it has been whipped up by the MSM, is as dangerous as it is laughable.



    The league is simply a must and the Scottish cup a distant but desirable second.



    For where we are right now, today – if the club think RD is to go they have to do it now – not next week or the week after but now.



    I cant see that happening and for the moment therefore I back him.









    P8DDY – well said. The blog lead article has been little more than PR speak for several seasons. I would think the blog’s success led to a bit of cozying up towards Paul. Plenty of inside info in return for a sympathetic slant.



    It’s a real shame – And a contrast to the initial haughty and very worth intentions. All opinions are equally valid, but the logic errors and attempts at new speak that upset me.



    I’ve been on the blog since year one. Rarely post now but still enjoy dipping in for the continuing quality of the debate that often materialises. Plenty of people on here a lot smarter than me. Don’t see many of them supporting the status quo.



    Likewise (on all fronts!) :) The good old days, eh? :)




  5. My friends in Celtic,



    If we sacked Ronny now; would all the supporters advocating this be prepared for John Collins to take charge on an interim ( at least ) basis until the end of the season?



  6. P8ddy



    Fine comment!



    Regarding Kazim-Richards, I know this is an incredibly backward way of looking at the contribution a striker makes but I ask myself:



    1) How many goals did CKR score? None


    2) How many goals did CKR create for others to score? None


    3) How many shots on target did he have? None


    4) How many shots on target did he set up for other players?…



    The idea CKR had some kind of ‘dream debut’ is one which has gained momentum on here, but one in which I’m indulging in some serious head-scratching.



    I don’t mind asking was his debut, in the top 100 of all-time Celtic players??, top 1000?? Not for me, but then we’re huns for having those kind of opinions, eh…




    If we sacked Ronny now; would all the supporters advocating this be prepared for John Collins to take charge on an interim ( at least ) basis until the end of the season?



    Absolutely not. I’d rather have Walter Smith. And he would come a distance behind Archie McPherson and Jock Brown.




  8. Good rallying cry Paul,



    it will be largely unnoticed though. The reason, rose coloured specs, yes rose coloured specs. I have heard people say time and time again that winning is something you play the game for, not something that is a guarantee as quite a few fail to realize.



    We were poor last night and we may be poor again before the season’s over but I wouldn’t bet against us winning it at the end. A lot of anger around right now and people don’t know how to deal with it, but lets not end up like the Huns on a perma rage that for the most part has nothing to do with game of football.


    The amount of abuse that some of our players are getting on here eg. GMS is beyond ridiculous, have we forgotten the Hamilton game already?



    I was angry at the last two results just like most on here but guess what, I will be faithful to our team through and through. If Big Jock heard some of the comments lately directed towards Celtic, our manager and players he would turn in his grave.



    The overreaction to what at the end of the day is just a game is outrageous and should be put behind us and vented not as anger but as support for the manager and the players






  9. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Evening all.



    Paul – this article is clearly the product of a calmer head than most of us posters possess.



    But your first sentence says it all for me.



    If this is a programme that started in summer 2014 with an objective of champions league qualification in late summer 2016, we are 19 months in with six months to go and are ‘well behind’ where we need to be.



    All the indicators suggest the mgmt team in its current form won’t achieve the objective.



    Hail hail

  10. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    My dad said there was arguement within the away support last night, not sure if it got as far as fighting


    Someone also said police officer was extremely aggressive and pulled his baton when questioned


    They gave his number no doubt he was chasing a 18-23 year old kid.



    It’ll all be in police Scotland cameras I’m sure

  11. greenside



    I’m sure Stein would more perplexed by a manager who has only one way of playing football.



    Does the formation of the ’67 team equate with the formations Scotland played between 78-85? No a bit of it.



    I’d go further and say Stein would be rubbing his hands with glee if he was ever asked to come up with a way of beating a RD managed side.



    Do you think Stein would be capable of that?





    That scenario is precisely why I have always backed RD.

  13. The Battered Bunnet on

    The worry is, Bournesouprecipe was posting from his iPhone on the train on the way home from work.

  14. GREENPINATA – A no from me. Ronny clearly still has support from some Celtic fans. I don’t know any who like Collins or see what value he brings to the team.


    If Ronny goes so does Collins. Moyes is available, get him now. If he won’t come, then ask an experienced and respected gaffer like Hay or Strachan to organise and pick the team until an appropriate appointment can be made.

  15. Too many posts to read back on, so I’ll just put my tuppence worth in.



    RD looked lost last night, we played a lightweight midfield that was bullied, as usual our tippy tappy passing game on a quagmire of a pitch was our nemesis.



    The first goal, well, nothing we could do about it…it happens.



    Second goal…do we still play zonal ? It looked that way…hate that system, although if you have the organisation and nounce to play it, I’m sure it works.



    There seems to be no fire in the belly from some, to me that is down to the coaching/manager.



    One up front at the start…bah humbug never in the hoops.



    So for me, if we can get a replacement manager in that has the credentials to turn things around…good…if not…here’s hoping.

  16. Johnybhoy1958


    We are not winning the physical battles?


    IT’s hard to do that when we are so far off our opponents we would need binoculars.


    Our set up and positional play is awful.


    This is a coaches remit.


    You have to find a system that maximises the talent at your disposal.


    Last nights goals were terrible from the players perspective.


    First was in soft area in front of defense where centre mids should be but are rarely seen.


    Second was a run from into box allowed by his marker being slow to react.


    Both these types of goals are frequent this season.


    If the opposition coaches have seen it and plan accordingly then why can’t our coaches see it.


    Also when was the last time a Celtic player made a pass for some one to run on to?


    We are the footballing equivalent of the Standing stones of Callanish.


    There is a fear factor about this team thats unnatural.


    Are they following coaching instructions to the letter?


    There are so many puzzling aspects about this team but the reality is a coach is there to make the most of those at his disposal and is failing.


    We do have a fairly good squad i believe.


    Maybe Eric should play as the defensive mid?


    Young O’Connell always looked good when he played so he can play in central defense.



  17. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    As an erstwhile Ronny supporter, I now feel it is time to pay him off, thank him for his efforts and wish him well in his future career. I am sure he will find success at some level in football, at some time, and will hopefully have learnt some lessons in his time with us, that can be applied in future.



    Reading Paul’s leader today, I have to take issue with his feelings that we have a league to win first, and then look at the bigger picture in the summer. As many posters have pointed out today, the Euro’s will create an unfavourable climate in which to plot a course towards a new manager, with a view to success in the EL qualifiers. Ronny has had his chance. Delaying change now, would unbelievably be gambling with our very entry in to the qualifiers, and the unthinkable scenario that we share our very first league challenge against the new club, not as champions. Many posters have wrongly stated that we currently have a 3 point lead, and a home game to come against the Dons. This is not necessarily true, because of the split in the SPFL it is theoretically possible at least, that we could play Aberdeen three times at Pittodrie in one league season. After watching the feeble capitulation of this Celtic team in so many important games this season, is anyone really confident?



    This threat is real. WITS was right all along. Ronny out. Delay no longer. HH

  18. BOB O’ BALDY…



    Fine comment!



    Thank you! Better be careful though – Celtic40me will be after you!



    Regarding Kazim-Richards, I know this is an incredibly backward way of looking at the contribution a striker makes but I ask myself:



    1) How many goals did CKR score? None


    2) How many goals did CKR create for others to score? None


    3) How many shots on target did he have? None


    4) How many shots on target did he set up for other players?…



    The idea CKR had some kind of ‘dream debut’ is one which has gained momentum on here, but one in which I’m indulging in some serious head-scratching.



    He’d what I’d consider an unremarkable debut. Didn’t look awful, didn’t look like a world beater. Certainly, there’s a long way to go before he’s proven anything. He had a Daryll Murphy style debut.



    There’s something far wrong though with betting the farm on him. And putting that sort of pressure on a player after 45 minutes seems more destructive than fans booing other players.



    I don’t mind asking was his debut, in the top 100 of all-time Celtic players??, top 1000?? Not for me, but then we’re huns for having those kind of opinions, eh…



    I think it’s a real shame when things descend to name calling. The whole ‘green-hun’ thing is utterly discouraging. It stifles debate. The notion that an opinion can’t be placed for fear of being called a hun or ‘sleekit’ or whatever is a real shame. I lurk on FollowFollow mainly to reconfirm my low opinion of our opposition, and that sort of thing is rife.



    On the positive, we’re here posting and making a contribution. Everyone that cares about Celtic recognises there’s room for all opinions.




  19. Still absolutely gutted


    Very few positives but…..Sviatchenko is a player and no doubt will be sold on.


    I liked Kazim Richards. Lost very little in the air and was not afraid to put it about. Need a bit of steel. No doubt the MIB bassas will have taken note.


    Off out again.


    Up the hooops

  20. Bob O,



    I was not comparing Big Jock to RD, for there is no comparison. I do know this, he loved Celtic and would defend his team and the club to the max. I do not think he would be rubbing his hands with glee at the way a manager and players of Celtic are being treated






  21. Sipsini



    He looks lost most weeks, stands at the edge of the dugout area because he knows he needs to, since Legia to Aberdeen, the same Ronny.






    The players have chucked it, did you see anyone one of them rallying the otehrs last night or Sunday, nope !

  22. thomthethim for Oscar OK on








    There is a massive gulf between what they are doing and what Ronny is doing, about four divisions at least imo.





    RD is also getting spend they don’t have.











    I know I was comparing Mandarins to Clementines, but my point was the terms of reference for both jobs are diffeent. Staying in the SPL is not the target for a Celtic manager.

  23. Stairheedrammy on

    Blantyre, I’m told they filmed all of the GB as they walked out and then set about a fan drawing and swinging batons when the crowd queried what they were doing.


    Having watched the sheep twice recently I’m worried for the first time in years. They have a determination, efficiency, effectiveness and belief about them that we don’t have. They are better than the otherSPl teams and I wouldn’t be surprised if they managed to win their remaining games. As for us, we have a team of skilled lightweights who are likely to drop points against inferior teams. RD is unlikely to be punted unless we drop well behind the sheep so we are likely to see him continue, until the summer I would imagine.

  24. We play 2251.


    Full backs starting position at half way line, two centre backs disconnected.


    Lightweight in midfield 5.


    Lustig wants to play fb not wing back. Others just don’t want to play, (long list). Others cannot get a chance to play.


    Zig and Zag think they still play for Dundee Utd.


    Insistence in playing attacking football 8 v 10 in 20 metres in opponent’s last third, leaving single pass into a 70 metre open field for their one guy with pace to chase. One shot goal.



    Week in week out, ( even Accies ) teams score from the same punt into acres of empty space.


    Every team plays the same against us.



    Why do our management not remedy this?



    Not saying change of manager, now.


    Saying play a different better system now.



    Let a back four ( or three) defend. Three new centre backs cannot get a chance to play their game because they are constantly pulled out place defending the spaces vacated by full backs being asked to play as surrogate wingers.



    Play players in their positions. Why have 12 plus midfielders and ask our full backs to play midfield roles?


    Play 5 in midfield? Play 4 midfielders and one of our three wingers and a striker.


    Play 4 in midfield? Play 3 midfielders and one of our three wingers and two strikers.



    But play a defence, please.








    The worry is that we lack fight in the team. The players who have been brought in are mainly there for their skills with the ball,which is fine as long as someone is there to win it for them.



    We don’t have that.



    Everyone thought Cantona was being disrespectful when he described Deschamps as a water-carrier. He wasn’t. He knew what he provided to the team,and it wasn’t bottles of water.



    Additionally,there’s a picture here which describes our shambolic defending perfectly.




  26. sipsini-where are the fitness levels of last season? Team spirit is practically nil,tells me the players are not buying into RD’s plans. He had very little credibility to start with IMO,and what he did have has eroded. HH

  27. i'vehadtochangemyname on

    I don’t know what happened to the dons last year – a fabulous run collapsed- internal strife- bottled it – media manipulation got to them ! Dunno ! If they keep it together we are in for a hell of a ride and I’m blogging to people who were there at helicopter Sunday ! Who are we playing next ? It’s a must win game



    Hunlurkerladbrokes scum , we’ll win, bring your stunts on.





    Aberdeen will probably suffer the usual injuries and suspensions,as will we.



    Difference is that they don’t have ready replacements available,whereas I don’t think we’d miss many of ours(!)

  29. BMCUWP…



    That photo speaks volumes, no organisation and no leadership.



    Ps, posted last night, you might have been in your kip, booked the blooms hotel from Thursday until Monday.






    Can’t argue with any of that.



    In work today all my Tim mates are of the same opinion …time for RD to go.



    As for the huns… RD must stay is their song. :(

  30. The 2 big questions for the board are will Ronnie win the league or not. Not big question is why are we signing so many players who are not good enough.A survey of friends and family who go the games 8 yes we will win the league 4 no s and 3 I don’t know I cannot look I am too scared to look.

  31. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    So, we lost to Derek McInnes’s Aberdeen. Yes, that’s Derek McInnes’s Aberdeen. They did not sack him when they took one point from fifteen. Nor were their supporters shouting for that.


    This game came at a bad time for us. Brown and Boyata just back from injury. Simunivic and Johansen out injured. Lustig looks like he needs a wee break, but Janko is injured.


    When we have a settled team we look good. Really good at times. When we keep having to make changes we struggle.


    Too often we have had to make changes this season – particularly at the back. We must be into double figures for CB pairings this season. VVD leaving was a big blow. As well as his defensive work, think how many goals he got for us.


    Ronny must have been looking to get a Simunovic-Sviatchenko partnership going. Erik comes in and straight away Jozo gets injured.


    We have a good enough team to win the league. Let’s go and do it.

  32. I was asked last night if I would sack the Board.



    I answered as follows. I believe a bit more information on the decision making processes, in spite of my conclusions, might actually help.



    Further I think that there is a commercial imperative to doing so. I can understand some stuff has to stay confidential but if Celtic’s thinking is sound then they have nothing to fear from expressing it.



    However to encourage them to do so the whole exercise has to be approached with open minds, not looking to find points to score from.



    I’ve e mailed to SLO. He is but one of a number of very good people serving Celtic and us. All the way to the friggen top. Guys doing a difficult job – pleasing Celtic supporters in difficult circumstances.




    Auldheid on 3rd February 2016 11:29









    your a very articulate, contextual, and more than qualified celt.












    if you had the power, would you
























    No, but I would ask them to address a number of issues:









    1. Explain in an easy to understand way the economics that govern the current develop and sell policy that led to hire of RD and how the policy or how it is implemented is reviewed and how often.









    (I’d start here with this guy


















    and end with a paraphrase of his conclusion. ” So, it’s a case of damned if we do, damned if we don’t”









    2. Explain with proof the cost of financing a team that will guarantee qualifying for the CL and all the reasons why they are not prepared to do it with evidence to back up.









    3. Explain the position of Scottish football and how the state of finances of other clubs stopped what should have happened in 2012 to Rangers and has happened since, happening and how Celtic saw it.









    4. Justify PL’s salary. Giving any of it up would not buy a decent player but the PR value would be very high.









    5. Explain their silence in relation to events at Ibrox.









    6. Explain their stance towards the SFA and reform of that body.









    7. Explain the actual player recruitment and manager recruitment process and why some of our purchases who never made it past a few games where purchased.









    8. Explain clubs role in lead up to the OBB and now.









    9. Explain their resistance to a living wage. Practical or principle?









    Now if I asked those questions and they asked me why they should answer them, I would say a more informed support might be able to make more informed judgements and being more transparent might remove some of the rods that these issues form to beat Celtic with.









    I suspect however that their reply would be it would only make the rods bigger, because no one trusts us or what we say, so why hand ammo to folk to pursue their own agendas?









    Before any progress can be made trust bridges need to be built and I’m not sure if either side is capable of doing that. It means leaving too many egos attached to long held beliefs at the door.



    – See more at: http://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/aberdeen-v-celtic-live-updates-2/comment-page-27/#comments

  33. St Patricks day 1956 on



    as development coach, but we need a tactical football manager.


    Ronnie Deila was brought in as a No 2 to Neil Lennon, but Neil decided to move on. So instead of getting a replacement proven manager the board gambled on Ronnie. It is apparent to everyone this is not going well. Why don’t the custodians of our club admit this and try and rectify it as soon as possible. Believe me, no one was willing Ronnie to be more successful, than me, but the team is not progressing at all. His two assistants seem happy to sit in the dug out and let him take the criticism, rather than join him and offer some kind of input to change things. Ronnie is a great man and a great development coach, that is his forte, however he is not the tactical manager that Celtic Football Club urgently require. We lost games from a winning position, not knowing how to go about closing out a match. We have failed in games when we went behind, incapable of getting something out of it although we had players on the park more than capable. We have went down the rankings in Europe and not performing well enough on the domestic front. YES, we are 3 points clear in the league and still in the cup at time of writing, but for many supporters we could and should be doing better. Everyone would like a healthy balance sheet and a successful football team, easier said than done, but maybe the board could match the ambitions of ” the lifeblood of the club ” and attract a director of football / manager. Someone to give direction and new ideas to the squad we have, a squad I believe that we can add to, and coach to play the high tempo football we want, to defend better and attack teams without leaving ourselves exposed.


    Who is this man ? I don’t know, but we must start looking, Find him, to work with Ronnie as he develops our young players of the future.


    A future that Celtic supporters expect, a future that Celtic supporters deserve.





    That’s a comprehensive list,no mistake. I’d love to see the answers to a few of those questions.

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