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).

Click Here for Comments >

About Author

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 23

  1. MAY 2018, oh how we laughed and mocked:



    “Brendan Rodgers’ Celts are on the verge of clinching an unprecedented double Treble, after sealing seven-in-a-row.



    But Rangers chief King says the appointment of new boss Steven Gerrard can halt Hoops’ charge to ten-in-a-row.


    Asked how Gers would close the gap on Celtic, King said: “We appoint a manager who can win games, with more resources, and we take one league title way from Celtic. We only need one league title, we don’t need two or three. We need one. Once we take one away, it’s like a pack of cards.



    “Celtic’s cost structure is more like we were ten years ago.


    We needed Champions League football, and if we went into the Europa League we were in trouble because the cost structure was so high.



    “Take that away for one season and it will change the numbers on the Celtic side very quickly.



    “Celtic have the comfort levels we once had of knowing we were going to get Champions League money.



    “We have to take that away from them and hopefully we have started that process last Friday with the appointment of Steven Gerrard.”

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




    ‘Georgia voting for Biden is the icing on the cake.’








    The shifting of demographics and allegiances in the southern states may help soften the Republicans resistance to reforming the electoral college system. The system has hitherto always worked in their favour. If that’s now no longer certain and might in future work against them they may be prepared to move to a more democratic system. Not before time.

  3. The so called incredible form in the early part of this year before covid that brought us the title did come with one interesting caveat.?


    They only played rubbish teams full stop.


    As soon as they played a decent team but not a great team [copenhagen] they got found out at celtic park.



    This current seasons team are much the same.


    And it will always be the same with this current manager and most of the players he picks.


    We are not even nearly as good as we think we are.

  4. boondock saint on

    LAst night’s result was shocking, and what was even worse was at the end of watching it, I just got up and said oh well, another European game. My wife looked at me and asked me if I was feeling alright. she said where was the ranting and raving, and my response was if there is no emotion on the park then whjy should I waste my time. I love Celtic, breathe Celtic like all of you. I love Neil Lennon for what he has given to Celtic, but something has to change. I am 49 with a bad hamstring and I could have run through the middle of our defence last night. Every time any team gets a set piece it either leads to a goal or a near miss. We have good players but something is missing, we all can see that. I just want to see my team being up for every game, I don’t think that is too much to ask for. Every team is playing in front of no one, but it is your job to go out and work hard and perform, whether in front of 60,000 or just 60. We are at a crossroads right now, and I think the majority of fans are needing a change. We are in a position that ewe never imagined we would be in, but something has to be done.


    Sorry for my negativity.



  5. DENIABHOY on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 2:39 PM


    MAY 2018, oh how we laughed and mocked:






    This has haunted me a lot of late.





    Prescient it seems.



    HH jg

  6. ernie


    I have to say I am enjoying your unemotional posts among the outpourings of grief after last night`s horrible performance. Good man.

  7. spikeysauldman on 6th November 2020 2:46 pm



    I don’t need to read that I have very clear opinions on anti semitism in the labour party.


    I just won’t be lectured on right an wrong by that hypocrite Blairite gimp.

  8. Neil Lennon should do the honourable thing and resign,That’s about 3 times he has thrown the players under the bus,you picked the starting eleven and you have been a failure,you have cost the club millions,there is no more excuses We the fans deserve more from Dermot Desmond and Peter Lawell,after all with this pandemic plenty off fans renewed knowing there is no chance this season to actually see Celtic play at Celtic Park,so we have done our bit ,now do what you know is the right thing to do is to remove Neil Lennon ASAP,before there is no way back regarding the 10.

  9. TIMMY7_NOTED on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 2:35 PM




    I’m not a member of the Labour Party, never have been.



    But the finding of anti Semitism raises more questions than answers.



    And I’m not sure that it’s a good look for an SNP supporter to be throwing around accusations of anti Semitism.



    As Michael Rosen put it,



    ‘If people combatting antisemitism in the Labour Party are not combatting antisemitism in the Tory Party then they’re not combatting antisemitism. They’re combatting the Labour Party.’



    The same applies to the SNP.

  10. ernie lynch



    Only one person lying that was Pau67 yesterday. Distortion of the facts


    Lenny was talking about the subject in hand, which was the two miscreants….


    Disingenuous in the extreme I think I said.


    And all before he should have been preparing his team for what could have been an important game.


    You’ll be claiming to be a fenian next.


    Must be one of the few wrapped up in red white and blue.

  11. Ronny Deila and John Kennedy


    Brendan Rodgers and John Kennedy


    Neil Lennon and John Kennedy




    Eddie Howe and John Kennedy


    Gordon Strachan and John Kennedy


    Martin O’ Neill and John Kennedy


    Shaun Dyche and John Kennedy






    This arranged marriage routine must stop,guys must stand and fall with assistants they know and trust, not the CEO having a man on the inside, that is when the controlling starts.

  12. spikeysauldman on




    its an interestin video btw, not just about labour.


    somone posted it here last week



    …trying desperately not to think about the state of the team right now :-( ((




    Thanks, saved me from posting it myself :-)

  14. Very poor article Paul, when we are looking for hope, inspiration and practical answers, you want us to eat cake.

  15. Timmy7 on 6th November 2020 3:06 pm



    Many apologies oh great one, what is it they say about imitation again?



    Away and work.

  16. Two very level headed articles on e-tims and CQN today but they are being put before a Celtic support armed with pitchforks and torches.



    We want to be told what to set fire to and who to stick our pitchfork into.



    We don’t want any fancy-dan explanations that says there are multip;e causes for our failures (just excuses) or anymore mentions of the SNP (“Nicola never played for Sparta Prague” is the new smart- aleck remark development from “I’ve never seen a zone score a goal”).



    Our team that lost abysmally to Sparta last night, is also the team that played so well in Lille, a team that won 3:0 in Milan, who in turn beat Sparta 3:0. All of these teams, in our Europa group have looke , over the course of 3 games in the past month, both hapless and very good. And, currently, we are the most hapless of all these 4 teams.



    Like Paul67, I would wave Europe goodbye, if ut was possible to make the bargain of exchanging European failure for domestic success.



    But it is not.



    The up and down form aof all 4 teams will, undoubtedly, show through in their domestic game too. We could travel to Prague and get a win or draw but it won’t change that underlying dynamic.



    The guys that always want to resolve things with a sacking will still want to sack/ If a new guy comnes in and things continue on this line, he too will be met with calls for sacking. Brendan Rodgers was losing support amongst that self same constituency during his final year with us, but we have forgotten that and re-constructed our memories of that period to fit our prejudices.



    Bottom line for me- I don;t care whether Celtic sack Neil Lennon or not. That is just an act of ritual sacrifice; it cannot change the course of our stars. We either win or lose this league with roughly the same group of players we have at the moment because we cannot change our playing personnel for the next 2 months. We have to be in the league race when we have that opportunity to strengthen. We have enough attacing talent in strikers and attacking midfielders. We lack sufficient pace and talent in defense and defensive midfield.



    We need a management team that can construct a more solid defence out of that bad squad make-up. Whether its Neil Lennon doing so or someone else will be determined by internal factors at CP and should not be responsive to a vote amongst the fans (that way lies the madness of going through 4 or 5 managers each season).



    That is the populist Trumpist appraoch. A call for clear heads and clear objectives is the anti-thesis of a Trumpian approach.



    In the first 10 weeks of the campaign, things looked beige and unpromising (despite that people saw it as black). In our recent improvements (Milan, Lille and Aberdeen) we saw the first signs of promising colour but it is back to black after the worst performance since the last Sevco match. Motherwell and Hibs will tell us whether we are heading for a bright season, a dark season, or an inconsistent multi-shaded season.



    I wish I knew as much as the pitchfork guys as to what is going on at CP but I don’t.



    I expect that the guys at CP who have to survive this year, have a better reading of what is possible and what is likely than I do.



    If I can see a team with a recognisable pattern of play beginning to emerge and if I see signs that air has been cleared of poisonous grievances, or poisonous players sidelined than I will feel more hopeful than I currently do.



    Meanwhile, I will greet any sacking announcement with an attitude of “So what?”

  17. CELTIC MAC on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 2:58 PM



    I’ve quoted what Neil Lennon said, word for word.



    It’s clear to anyone what he said.



    You are exhibiting cult like behaviour in your attempted denials and distortions.

  18. Wonder if DD has a phone number for Marcelino?


    Coached Sevilla, Villareal and Valencia. Sacked in 2019 after winning the Spanish Cup (against Barcelona), he is considered a superb coach here in Spain.


    Was supposed to get the Milan job for this season but is still out of work.


    Yeah, I’m dreaming, I know.

  19. A while back – start of the season probably – me and a mate went through the teams and picked a best 11 from Celtic and the huns.



    The only 2 huns that got in our team were Barasic and McGregor. The rest of the team it was “clear” we had the better players



    We went through it again and the only Celtic players that made the team were Julien, McGregor and Christie. There is a bit of an argument over Ajer and Laxalt but the point remains that that’s a big turnaround and a lot of players not performing.

  20. I don’t see us learning how to defend set pieces anytime soon.



    I don’t see Neil settling on a team or a system anytime soon.



    I see more routine wins against SPFL dross followed by a shocker every now and then.



    If P67 or any other fan is not filled with dread at the thought of Lennon taking us to Ibrox then I’m afraid they’re kidding themselves on.



    We are second best right now and have been for months. We’ll be second best come May as well.



    Hell mend us.

  21. Lenny stays we lose 10 —- simples. He doesn’t want to be there in reality as the fear of failure in delivering 10 is consuming him.



    Change now and it’s 50/50.



    Lawwell will stick with his shower appointee meaning he is 100% responsible for appointing the wrong manager and not removing him when he needs to removed for his own well being.



    Lawwell needs to go next summer as 10 is gone.

  22. squire danaher on

    Would youse pair a Timmys take your Timmy clique elsewhere?



    No room for cliques here.



    Have you not got a WhatsApp chat?

  23. 🙋‍♂️ Hi Jobo! 😊 



    You may, like the rest of us, not be able to do much about our current ‘malaise’, but you ARE making a difference with the Supporter Experience on CQN, and God Bless you for it! 😊



    CQN POTY x3 Vs Sparta Prague submitted, as difficult as this was. 🙄



    Take Care all fellow Celts, Keep Safe and Hail Hail! 😊 🍀



    TB&F. 😊



    P.S. There has NEVER been a Celtic Manager under as much intolerable pressure and scrutiny as Neil Lennon is under at the moment… I have said before that he needs ALL the help and support that the Club, and we, can give him! Reading between the lines I would not be surprised to see Neil Lennon stay where he is, but changes being made in how things are structured below him and in SUPPORT of him. The next 3 weeks will tell. Whilst Neil Lennon is our Manager he will have MY 100% Support, AND my prayers. For what that man has been through, and continues to be put through, he deserves OUR Support (MY Opinion). I for one will NOT add to the pressure that this good man is under! 😊



    BeCarefulWhatYouWishForCSC 🤔


    GodBlessNeilFrancisLennonCSC. 😊

  24. Last night after a bright start Jeremy Frimpong had a throw in, in the opposition half and no one came towards him to collect the ball (I think it was about 10 -15 minutes into the game). He stood for about 20 seconds before having to just throw it in the general direction of a Celtic player.

  25. Yorkbhoy – it has been happening that way for a long, long time. Remember KT looking to do quick throw ins while everyone stood still besides an opponent.

  26. DD could, if he wanted to, get us any unemployed manager in Europe. All he has to do is fling money at him, like he did to hire BR. DD gave Neil Lennon the job, PL told him in the showers, but, not his decision, though he probably did weigh heavily on Neil’s side to get the post. Reading the editorials on here over the last few weeks has been eye opening. Not much difference now between this, once great impartial site, and “The Celtic View”, por cierto.




    sound post.




  28. squire danaher on




    Wholeheartedly agree.



    Same in my house last night. Considerably less tellyshouting than usual from Sq jnr and I.



    The Squiress couldn’t believe the apathy which I pointed out merely reflected what we were watching.



    I must say The Happy Clappers are very quiet today. Has Wee Bad Nippy Sweetie issued a free speech lockdown on Catholics today ?

  29. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    T, B & F



    Thundering applause for your magnificent attempts to shift the terms of the debate!

  30. YORKBHOY on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 3:33 PM


    Last night after a bright start Jeremy Frimpong had a throw in, in the opposition half and no one came towards him to collect the ball (I think it was about 10 -15 minutes into the game). He stood for about 20 seconds before having to just throw it in the general direction of a Celtic player.




    This does my nut in. Watch Laxalt as well he can’t believe nobody comes to him looking for the throw in, what happens he attempts a long throw which usually ends up lost to the opposition or he goes for a quick one two on the side line resulting in another throw in or loss of possession!


    I know this is in no way important in the scheme of things, but how is it in every European game we have played the referees have been atrocious? Last night giving them every foul when they screamed at him, giving imaginary frees for handballs, not sending off the rat for the very late kick at Rogic, he saw it as he give a yellow card, always moving back our throw-ins two or three feet in our own half and finally blowing up for a free kick for offside and allowing their player to take it in our half!


    Rant over!!

  31. YORKBHOY on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 3:33 PM



    Agreed – it’s painful watching the time it takes for us to take throw ins or set plays. Gives the opposition time to regroup and set themselves up to defend which is probably reflected in the number of times we end up back at our keeper or concede ftom them. Another symptom of bad coaching and inertia from the players.

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 23