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. Lovely piece, almost worthy of cold war Pravda.


    Bottom line here is, if Lennon stays in the job and deadco


    win a treble, how many will be renewing a season ticket


    if we can’t get into the ground?


    Not me for a start – wise up.

  2. Westcraigs



    Brendan is hated by most people on this site but Brendan is smart. He had to deal with Peter lawwell






    I wonder if that is true. I do not hate Brendan Rodgers.



    My view has never changed: He was the best fit manger for Celtic.


    His levels of professionalism are sorely missed.




  3. Time for a change at top to bottom of the Club. The model is done, the template is broken and we need fresh faces and fresh ideas.



    The sooner we accept that immediate action is required then the better the chances of the current team winning 10.



    However, if changes at the top are not made then 9 it will be. And that, given our ‘decade of domination’ would be unforgivable.

  4. I said after Ferencvaros that any ambitious club would sack the manager.


    Perhaps the board were relieved we didn’t get into the CL. If we had played against Bayern or Liverpool last night we could have conceded double figures.


    Neil keeps blaming the players – they want to leave – they’re not hungry – and best of all, we need a change of culture. Who is responsible for the culture at the club if not the manager?


    We have failed to find a successor to Scott Brown. We have a surfeit of attacking midfielders, including Turnbull who doesn’t play. We shelled out a lot of money for a keeper when we had Craig Gordon and could have got David Marshall for free.


    But even allowing for all this, we should not be getting humiliated by second-rate European teams.


    Yes, we’re in the running for last season’s Scottish Cup. A nice statistic, but the only statistic that matters is winning 10 in a row. The board has to act now.

  5. vinniethedog on 6th November 2020 1:09 pm



    I’m not an SNP loyalist the whole issue was badly managed, what I don’t accept is that there is some kind of structural hatred of Celtic in the Scottish government there is absolutely no evidence for that.



    I’m particularly disappointed that CQN has become a mouthpiece for unionism and appears to be actively trying to drive a wedge between Celtic fans at a political level and more worryingly using the populist lowest common denominator to do it.



    Proddies/SNP bad


    Catholics/Labour good



    Its totally embarrassing .



    And has no place in a modern Scotland.



    I want my Celtic season ticket holding, university educated children to actively engage in moving Scotland forward and not to live in the past and blame all their ills on big bad proddies.


    We are better than that. Or at least I thought we were, maybe I was too optimistic?

  6. ” We welcome the challenge ”


    ” Can you see them coming ”



    The huns European record suggests they are a good team. You cannot be lucky all of the time.



    The plain truth is ; They are improving year on year and we are now regressing year on year.



    I really used to think we had much better players. Now I’m not so sure.


    Players with big reputations and wage packets maybe, but they are not demonstrating their worth it on the football park where it matters.




  7. The endemic problem at Celtic is structural and stems from the way the balance of power between the manager and the CEO is struck, and that in turn stems from the relationship between the absentee owner and the CEO.



    I suspect Celtic is seen as a difficult gig among managers, for reasons not related to football.



    Essentially the whole set up is dysfunctional.

  8. Sill sore from last’s nights performance and the result. For me it has been obvious that there is very little of a Celtic ‘team’ about us now, mostly individuals. How can it be that our two players with flair and our direct attacking players are; one a teenager who is still at the very start of his career (very unfair for him to shoulder so much responsibility) and the other a loan player from Milan who has just arrived. I’m not blaming them just the lack of plan and teamship (if that’s a word!).


    I’m not sure this is going to end well for any of us.

  9. TIMMY7_NOTED on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 1:37 PM



    You keep rabbiting on about Unionists. The only unionists I see on here are Euro Unionists.




  10. 79 Caps, allegedly St Mirren offered Gordon more than Celtic did?



    Allegedly Forster would have come back up the road in a heart beat, finished his career here then into coaching, was all but a done deal until Barkas was put in front of whomever decides Celtics transfer business, young keeper, great sell on value……the rest is history.



    So they say?




  11. TIMMY7_NOTED on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 1:37 PM






    ‘I’m not an SNP loyalist the whole issue was badly managed,’






    Aye, right enough.



    It was only a gaffe.



    Just like The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 was just a gaffe.



    Nothing to do with evening up the score.



    Christine Graham saying that at committee stage was just a gaffe.



    Whit ur they like, the SNP, wi’ aw their gaffes?



    As I’ve said before, it’s just like the honest mistakes, and just like the honest mistakes, the gaffes tend to be in favour of one side and against another.

  12. gebhoy


    I don’t take all that “allegedly’ stuff seriously. Neil desperately wanted Forster and we waited and waited. Forster simply didn’t want to come back. He thought he would get a move to another EPL team or become first choice keeper at Southampton. And perhaps he saw the writing on the wall at Celtic?

  13. Biden takes the lead in Pennsylvania.



    A bad day for Trump and Brexit fans.



    So it’s not all bad news :-)

  14. Although Phil should be taken with a pinch of salt, it’d be interesting to know who he thinks the two managers sounded out were….and more importantly, why neither of them is in our dugout now.

  15. If the team had performed like it has been since August in front of a full Celtic Park, Lenny would have been out before now.


    60,000 fans would have been screaming for change and the Board would have had to listen.

  16. Paul67



    Neil Lennon’s been thrown under a bus so often, he’s deid, and getting thrown under the bus


    by the best side he could field against Sparta, will see him in the famous revolving door.



    With another subs bench that ‘looked’ better that some Europa teams, the empty Celtic fortress


    and a depleted Sparta side could have hit us for six. Laid up, or locked down for a month Sparta


    played football only seen from a European side, in Scotland.



    Celtic have reintroduced ‘the sieve’, the midfield is spent, and too many players that have been over the course


    before and seem disinterested. Brendan Rodgers left overs plus three transfer windows not without substantial


    investment, but not one star player. If you don’t recognise squad disintegration, you don’t have a VST, BT Sport,


    or hesgoal.



    He called it himself after Ferencvaros, but you’re quite right to defend the manager if you so wish, the same as any other supporter,


    if only because you already know, that there is no plan ‘B’ at Celtic, toughest for the supporters who didn’t like plan ‘A’ the


    the summer before last.



    I wish him nothing but the best fortune hope he pulls it round, he’s a tough cookie who’ll stay in Dodge.



    Bring on the ‘Well CSC




    Spot on.



    Been saying that for ages.



    All season we have rank rotten performances.



    Before now the demonstrations would have forced the board into action.

  18. “We are now the team fans all over Europe point to and laugh, all the money, yet Cluj, Copenhagen, Ferenvcaros, Sparta.”



    It’s the same flaws in all these games – an inability to defend competently and a lack of professionalism.



    Those players thought they’d blow a Sparta youth team away and forgot they had to defend, keep their shape, track back and put in the hard work – as they did the previous week against a much better Lille side.



    We turn Aberdeen’s lights off inside 30 mins at Hampden but can’t hold out for thirteen minutes at Pittodrie the week before.



    Our attitude is absolutely rancid and that responsibility lies with Neil Lennon.

  19. Have we ever regretted getting rid of a manager? [not one leaving]


    Should we have kept Ronnie?….


    What about Mowbray?….


    Gordon Strachan needed another year?….


    John Barnes was about to sensationally turn it around?….


    Heck Tommy Burns [bless him] would have stopped the 10 anyway?….


    Even Lou Macari and Liam Brady were on the verge of big things but we never stuck by them?…



    We all know the real answer to all of the above.


    You simply cannot come back from the situation Lennon finds himself.


    Too many factors are against him and too many red flags and huge alarm bells about his disfunctional team.

  20. Across the other side of the Atlantic the Donald is reduced to dissembling from the White House bunker he now inhabits. Like a character from a Shakespearean tragedy he is forced to witness power slipping away, little by little piece by piece vote by vote. Tortured and defended only by deluded, unable to face the reality of defeat, the fact that his time in charge is all but over, not the beginning of the end, not the end of the beginning but the end of the end. After which most of us will breathe a sigh of relief.


    Meanwhile on this side Paul67, broadcasting from the CQN bunker, blinded to the reality of the disaster that is slowly but surely unfolding at Celtic Football Club, under both Peter Lawwell and Neil Lennon. Neil’s time has come and gone. His focus is gone. His railing over two miscreants from another club should have set alarms ringing, but instead brought out the sectarian worst of the creator of this dear green place. The bells no longer wrangling and jangling but moaning and groaning…


    Sad to say Neil, I am sorry but it is time for you to go.

  21. the games a bogey , Lenny picks the team from his 12 or 13 favourites and it doesn’t matter to him what position they are playing as long as he has his favourites/pals starting then that’s ok , no formation of tactics just go out and play. He doesn’t trust/rate a lot of the first team squad so we have the same old same old week in week out a total shambles.

  22. FT @ 1.58



    After the shock of Wednesday morning when it was despondency all round it has been uplifting to see the votes getting counted and DT becoming more unhinged.



    Georgia voting for Biden is the icing on the cake.



    Pennsylvania should never have been close but that is what happens when the states de-industrialises and the farm belt in between gains in prominence.



    As the old story goes — Pennsylvania is civilisation at either end / Philadelphia + Pittsburgh / with Alabama in between.



    Ohio seems lost though to go the way of Indiana.

  23. onenightinlisbon on

    Win at Motherwell and he still has to go. We could easily win 4-0 there and then lose to Hibs next time out. We are too inconsistent.

  24. AD- I think a lot of posts read,there’s a lack of a team structure, where as ,if guys need to come in ,they should know their role within the team.We obviously don’t have that ,the European defeats in last couple of seasons have been a financial disaster, and it’s coming home to roost in Covid times.

  25. The huns are gonna amass a huge amount of points over us due to games in hand if they win their games coming up pre xmas.



    They are very decent in the Europa league.



    They are unbeaten this season.



    They are giving us a good challenge for the first time ever.



    None of this has anything to do with Celtic and the sooner we accept it the sooner we can stop the dramaqueenery.

  26. MADMITCH on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 2:17 PM



    Yeah, it’s a rare silver lining but the fascist genie is out of the bottle and I doubt it will go back in. Same as the Brexit vote here.

  27. The recent figures from Pennsylvania,showing the bold Joe,as President elect,have wiped out any sense of disappointment from last night.The end of the Reptilian Trump,has cheered me up no end.This matters.A defeat,in what is a useless tournament ,cash wise,fades into insignificance for me.Now,a defeat ,or a draw on Sunday would be completely different.The 10 matters.I hope Lenny now does what I hoped he would.Play the Dembeles,Griff,for game time,Welsh,Soro,Turnbull,Rogic who will need more game time after the break.


    Concentrate on the things that matter.The 10 is everything.

  28. CELTIC MAC on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 2:14 PM




    ‘ Neil’s….railing over two miscreants from another club’








    This is what Neil Lennon actually said.




    “I can’t comment on what the Rangers boys did,” the Celtic manager said. “What I can comment on is the reaction from the government, which I find bewildering. Considering the way they treated us after the Bolingoli incident. There seems to be double standards at the minute, as far as we’re concerned.”



    Now, if you read that carefully he wasn’t ‘railing over two miscreants from another club’, was he?



    He actually says he can’t comment on them. You see that?



    What he did comment on, or railed about, if you prefer to put it that way, was the discrepancy between the comments about Celtic and the comments about the huns. He describes that as bewildering and suggests it’s double standards.



    Personally I don’t find it bewildering at all. It’s exactly what i’d expect from the SNP. It’s entirely in keeping with their history, their traditions, and their actions.



    It is though double standards, as anyone who is not a cult follower can see only too clearly.



    And that’s why you need to lie about what he said, isn’t it?

  29. ernie lynch on 6th November 2020 1:48 pm



    Yip gaffes galore, its a bit unprofessional.


    Could be worse though I’m very glad I’m not a member of a party found guilty of anti Semitism.



    That would really be humiliating.

  30. NL hasn’t become a ‘bad’ manager – and the squad hasn’t become full of ‘bad’ players, (ok one or two are mince!).



    But, a blind man and his dug can clearly see that it’s just not happening, and it just hasn’t been happening since the disappointing CL qualifiers. Last night was not totally unexpected, but feels like a new low.



    Something has to change, and sooner rather later.



    Assuming PL remains reluctant to fire his chosen manager, and prefers the cheap option: how about a left field choice?



    The team needs help, which it’s not getting from the current coaches / assistant / manager.



    So, how about replacing the backroom staff with experienced coaches and with a highly experienced manager to assist NL with e.g. game management for this season?



    If NL doesn’t like the idea and resigns, well nobody can say he was fired.


    (Constructive Dismissal payout aside.)



    If he stays then he should be open to fresh ideas: he might even appreciate the help and develop his managerial skills further?



    Many experienced managers bring quality coaches along with them anyway.

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