Worst in 58 years but we must reframe the pain


Since Dinamo Kiev inflected Celtic’s first home defeat in European competition, on what was our first European game after winning the European Cup four months earlier, last night’s shocker to Sparta Prague was our 36th and worst home reversal in Europe.

Three years ago PSG scored five, but, unlike Sparta, they did not hit the woodwork on two other occasions, and they are PSG.  Last season Cluj also scored four, winning by a single goal, but by any measure, across 58 years of home European ties, that is without shadow of a doubt, the low point.  We are now the team fans all over Europe point to and laugh, all the money, yet Cluj, Copenhagen, Ferenvcaros, Sparta.

What has gone wrong?

It is not the formation.  Without changing to three at the back, I don’t think we would have won the league last season.  This season, we tried four, then three, then four, then both defensive lines at different times of games, but the formation is not the problem.  It is possible to defend, control games and create chances with either line-up.  And as we have seen, a change in formation does not make a slow or clumsy defender fast and assured.  If only it were as simple as Scott Brown’s advancing years, or injuries and absentees; they are red herrings, this malaise is more serious.

Post-match, Callum McGregor and Neil Lennon spoke well.  The player admitted to humiliation, the manager walked that fine line of showing contained anger, but he was clear: a lack of application from the players was to blame.  What a thought to ponder.

I am fond of many in our squad; they have delivered success beyond my wildest imagination.  I am fond of the manager too, for the same reason – results are all, and his filled the well some time ago.  If I thought sacking the manager would safely resolve matters, I would tell you so.

It is Neil’s responsibility to put the players on the field in the correct frame of mind to compete at their best every time.  He is failing in this, his criticism last night is self-directed, but sacking him right now would be a Gambler’s Play.  It might work, it might result in carnage, anyone convinced they know how it would play out, underestimates the complexity of the question.

What I know for sure is that we stand at an historic precipice and no one is coping.  We need to reframe the challenge ahead, if we do not, the season will play out as you now fear.  Together, we have a great opportunity to record magnificent achievements, a fourth consecutive treble, 10 and all the glory that comes with it, but all you see are demands weighing everyone down.

This responsibility lies on Neil Lennon and the players because they are winners.  They have the Scottish Government hammering them while punching for Newco, they have 10,000 critics weighing-in online (which they read and are not helped by).  These are the wages of success, lesser mortals have six critics, let this fuel their engine.

After the game, Chris Sutton insisted Europe was still important to Celtic.  Chris, you don’t live in the towns of Lanarkshire.  Europe has gone this season; we need to reframe this too.  Our three remaining Europa weeks are an opportunity to develop the squad and rest weary legs, while Newco will have at least five competitive Europa games.  We must now think of this as an advantage; make the most of it.

We know how to win leagues and trophies.  We were on our knees at New Year but while others “bottled it” and we got on with the business of winning.  There are no white, saltire or union flags here, only green league title flags.  To the manager, coaches and players, what a privilege this challenge is.
Scott Brown goal celebrationRelive some of the better days that took us here in Celtic: Treble Treble, by Alex Gordon, a 100 page full colour booklet on how the Invincible, Double and Treble Trebles were won.  Our stock is available here for £5 each (retail £9.95).

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  1. ernie lynch on 6th November 2020 12:35 pm



    Desperate Ernie, totally desperate. Almost Trumpish.

  2. lets all do the huddle on

    the punishment handed out to celtic for the Boli Covid-gate scandal was ages ago, it had nothing to do with last nights result and perfirmance



    the non-punishment for the huns for covid related offences was only last week



    but if anyone is trying to link that as playing a part in last nights performance then they are living with a desperate mind-set

  3. Any of the SP players worth a punt in January?


    Hearing stories that they included Killie rejects and electricians moonlighting in football.



    Surely we have not failed horribly up against such talents?



    When we got the goal last night we had 10 minutes where they looked a beaten side.


    We were criminally wasteful / tactics collapsed with the substitutes and then we ran out of steam.



    Or we returned to the plan which was to engineer a result that would embarrass the manager.

  4. JOBO BALDIE on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 12:29 PM




    Is it too late to nominate the Arabic speaking (I think) commentator on hes goal.? What a shift he put in. No idea what he was saying but still more informative that the usual suspects who are inflicted on us.

  5. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    We are fast becoming a shambles of a club. And from a position of real strength. So unnecessary.


    Been saying for years that the old firm benefits one club only and that that club isn’t Celtic. And the more aligned to old firmery we have become the more that disadvantage has played out.


    When you take the focus away from improvement and onto narrow, short-term targets then guess what – you stop improving!


    When you have a manager who specialises in coaching and player development and is process-oriented and you replace him with one who doesn’t do player development and is outcome-oriented don’t be surprised if things don’t continue the same way.


    When you have a buy-develop -sell model and players see others move on but they don’t get the moves they would have expected then don’t be surprised if they aren’t too happy about it and don’t be surprised if that starts affecting their play.


    What the heck is going on with squad management? You have mentioned asset management in the past, Paul. We lose our best keeper, not to the EPL but to the Scottish Championship! No sale value. We spend £4.5m on a replacement who doesn’t seem to be good enough and end up playing the backup to the guy we gave away!


    The likes of Rogic and Ntcham were eight-figure players 2-3 years ago – what are they worth now?


    A director of football doesn’t allow these kind of things to happen.


    The three clubs who have knocked us out of the CL qualifiers the last three years have accumulated a total of one point between them.


    We need changes at all levels. Ambition and vision at the top (and ability to think beyond the old firm) and quality people with the right skillsets to execute and implement it.

  6. Go tell the Spartim on

    So just how many defeats will it take?



    I think it’s a bigger gamble keeping Lenny than not

  7. If that’s the spin, by god we must be in a dark dark place.



    We have mentally weak players who cant handle the pressure?



    Don’t criticise it makes matters worse for the poor souls?



    Its the SNPs fault for hammering us and not the hun!



    Nero fiddled whilst Rome burned…….the excuses are palpable, the cracks were there for anyone to see as far back as the league cup final, a hun implosion after Xmas was the only thing that stopped the nine being nip and tuck, they have strengthened, we have regressed since then.



    This squad led by this management team will not win the league, we keep making the same mistakes and expecting different results, you cannot hide the evidence of your own eyes, we are rank rotten.



    This season could wreck the legacies of Lennon and Lawwell, it was said at the start of the season, the biggest danger to the 10 was and still us Celtic.




  8. lets all do the huddle on




    you really do come across as having some sort of social personality disorder with your constant abuse of people while hiding behind your keyboard



    you maybe want to seek qualified assistance for it



    you appear to live in a dark place

  9. lets all do the huddle on

    we have mentally AND physically weak players



    the squad needs re-thought and restructured

  10. onenightinlisbon on






    you really do come across as having some sort of social personality disorder with your constant abuse of people while hiding behind your keyboard



    Would prefer us all to say nothing critical about our club.



    Head is firmly in the sand.

  11. Regarding our performance last night — it takes a lot of skill and effort to look that bad.


    I fear games were being played by some in the team and the squad.



    The biggest issue for me is that NL cannot see who is for him and those that are only in it for themselves.










    you really do come across as having some sort of social personality disorder with your constant abuse of people’







    My irony detector has just gone up to 11.

  13. P67 — all your Not-Jacinda chat is just a big squirrel to keep the troops distracted from last night’s shambles



    Low rent stuff.

  14. 67 European Cup Winners on

    Right that’s that sorted Neil is staying cheers Paul67



    I assume there is a degree of intelligence with our owner and board – they must have a reason to stick with NL


    My brain now wanders into why – why do we not look to change ??


    Why do PL and DD want to stick with NL



    I could guess (and it is a guess) a reason for sticking with NL – some people will not come to Celtic – because they won’t work with PL



    This is part of why NL is not going anywhere our options are limited



    Yes we can attract Jack Ross or the manager of Gillingham or the manager of Bronby (I am making these up – they are small teams)


    The point is we cannot attract better than we have


    I would not be surprised if Steve Clark has refused it



    It is not taking a risk appointing Eddie Howe to manage Celtic tomorrow


    But we will struggle to get Eddie Howe because Eddie Howe wants control


    He will not get control with PL



    So our target market is up and coming who are prepared to put up with PL to get Celtic on their CV


    In this market it is a risk to change



    I have long since believed that Paul67 has a hot line to PL – this is a good thing for CQN


    So Paul67’s message is usually on point



    So although the message from Paul67/PL today is stay positive perhaps behind the scenes work is being done to make a change – who knows I can dream – but I doubt it




    Either way 10 is under threat and PL cannot expect to be taken seriously if we do not win 10



    Hail Hail

















    ‘Would prefer us all to say nothing critical about our club.’






    Well I’ve been accused of a lot of things on here over the years, but that’s about the most bizarre.

  16. onenightinlisbon on

    ERNIE LYNCH on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 12:51 PM





    Tongue in cheek….

  17. Oh my god Paul.


    So we just cross our fingers and hope for the best.


    The manager needs to go asap.


    If he doesn’t, the league is lost.


    The players have given up.

  18. Ernie






    Two games were postponed. No points deduction. And someone from the Scottish Govt included a sycophantic line in a press release, praising sevco’s handling of a rule break.



    ‘Hammering’ – Really?



    Hardly trials and travails that are going to replace ‘famine and oppression’ in Let the People Sing?



    ‘Hammering’ is what our opponents from last night have faced from Covid. It’s what St Mirren faced when told the game must go on without any fit goalies.



    With the biggest and most talented squad in Scotland, we have a huge advantage in dealing with the unique challenges of this season. We’re self destructing, with little added pressure from any external sources.



    HH jg

  19. If we win on Sunday, rearranging the deck chairs on The Titanic comes to mind, we all know another ‘performance ‘ like last night is just around the corner.

  20. 67 European Cup Winners on

    ERNIE LYNCH on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 11:04 AM





    The Great Desmondo, not being a Celtic fan, might not be unduly concerned about losing the 10 if it ensures the huns survival. A price worth paying over the long term. That’s the problem.



    Ernie from the last thread – that may well be DDs view


    But what is yours ??




  21. The one thing I do belive is that Phil McG is as clueless as you or I. his track record is more miss than hit.



    I know the identity of his “rugegr guy”..lets just say his credtials are not that impressive.

  22. The green brigade put a new banner up yes the players may have read it ,but did they understand it. There are players in the club who are only here for the wages especially during this pandemic possibly different if there were fans in the ground which is a big element in our favour.



    Think maybe we should be cutting down on foreign imports as they seem to have little passion for the club,sloppy g has players who would run through a brick wall for him and are less talented than most of the ones we have at Celtic park.



    Its easy to cry foul and go for the manager ,but he only picks the team and sends them on the park if the players dont conform then he should substitute them even if its in the first half Advokat did it against Ricksen after 18 minutes.



    hopefully on sunday there will be significant changes in the team obviously those selected last night are not up to it and cant be trusted to carry out their duties.Easy to say give some youths a chance at least we will get the desired 100% from them send most of the loanees back and if there are those who want away let the sit in the stand they can always play with their mobiles.

  23. Not gossip, my son’s pal was at a hairdresser in Glasgow this morning, a player who played last night, was sitting next to him,the players have the day off……..seems only Broonie in at Lennoxtown…..

  24. The full time appointment of Neil Lennon was welcomed by sevco. 40k sevco season ticket holders cheered. 50k celtic supporters groaned.


    Brendan is hated by most people on this site but Brendan is smart. He had to deal with Peter lawwell who is our de facto head of football. Martin o’Neil was ready to walk after 3 seasons. Can you imagine a situation at Liverpool where an accountant is telling Klopp that he has a new left winger, Marian Shved from the Ukraine.


    The buck stops with lawwell. He appointed Neil.


    Two years ago our turnover was over £100m and sevco’s was £27m and now look where we are.


    Lawwell should go but he won’t. Neil will be fired.


    I fear that we have blown 10 in a row.


    It’s not too late but it’s getting there.

  25. Disappointing article.



    Another serving of bogeyman, people out to get us, siege mentality. Lazy journalism.



    Out problems have been created in house and will be solved in house.



    More looking back over the years. Again, irrelevant in my opinion.



    Its currently November 2020. Let’s focus on the next game.



    Ach, who’s listening anyway.



    Aff oot

  26. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    Paul (Peter) offers no message of hope.



    His message is… prepare for what’s to come.



    There is no plan.

  27. I’m further deflated after reading this article.



    Ferencvaros, Milan , the Huns , Sparta .



    Previously we had Cluj & Copenhagen.



    Our squad management is poor.


    The shape of the team at Lillie, was disciplined, we created chances and overall we weren’t exposed to being wide open after any transition of play .


    Last night was a return to the same tactics we use in the SPL against Ross County, Accies etc .



    We’ve been rotten at home against any technical, half decent team in Europe . The same applies to matches recently against Sevco.



    Did the wee Ayrshire lassie pick the team & tactics on those occasions ?




    My view, as I’ve said before, is that I have more trust in NFL pulling it out of the bag than the board replacing him with anyone better. I’m pretty certain NFL wants to win the 10, whatever the knock on effects for Celtic might be. I’m not so sure about the board.

  29. Tommy 7 noted… You don’t have, even a little misgiving about how the Scottish government reacted to the two sevco players breaking the rules especially when the first minister.. and I watch a fair few of her briefings… Constantly cracks up about house party’s… Professional football has a pass…. I’d have really thought they’d have went to town on those guys and punished the club as well….

  30. There is little positive about our team right now – we are a mess and lacking confidence from keeper to striker and all parts in between. I believe some are not prepared to dig in and those that are can’t cover for those that won’t – it is a dead end.


    I’m trying hard to find something but its just not there, there are so many things wrong, starting with attitude, that NL is simply not capable of repairing, in my view. Unless we are ruthless and dropkick the wasters down London Road and the squad men and new signings can surprise us the current set up will not see us to 10 – this is the reframing we have to be prepared for.


    The BS about us having more talent and them being better drilled and coached is half true as they clearly are better coached but honestly on the form of this season the more talent thing appears nonsense – it is incredible that we are so badly managed from the padded seats.


    This was not the season to take a chance with, not the season to take the foot off and coast. Forget the 10 – whilst irritating we could let it slip with such a huge advantage the bigger picture about what this means to the financial fortunes of both clubs is huge . If the CL route is two rounds or straight in do you think for one second they will not invest significantly to ensure they make it or at least give themselves the best chance? And if they do make it then what – we will have sat and watched our rivals from a spec in our rear view mirror pull up beside us and edge in front and who know what after that……….


    That is a very real prospect and it is spectacularly bad management to allow that to even be a prospect given how big our advantage once was.

  31. 67 European Cup Winners on

    ERNIE LYNCH on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 1:07 PM


    Respect your view – we differ – but only in opinion


    our objectives are the same




  32. onenightinlisbon on

    MOISEY17 on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 1:10 PM



    Correct but Desmond and Lawwell want the “Old Firm’ brand back in play.



    With ten comes the possibility of killing off the present incarnation of Ibrox.



    There’s no way they want that to happen, remember Mr Desmond saying how terrible it was the they were “relegated”. Tells us all we need to now.

  33. 67 European Cup Winners on



    Yep I agree have been posting same




  34. Trying too hard pete 67- the clique will be lapping it up. Meanwhile on earth We are shite, blowing the 10 and badly in need of a manager

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