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



    Good point re Beale.



    I should imagine the sevco coaching team will move, en masse, to their next role.



    I fully expect all of ours to go their separate ways.



    That, alone, is telling

  2. UNCLE JIMMY on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 5:51 PM




    There might be an understanding between Beale and Liverpool that he’s going back there once he’s got some experience under his belt. Not to say he wouldn’t get better experience elsewhere. I can’t see Slippy ever managing Liverpool.

  3. squire danaher on

    UNCLE JIMMY on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 5:51 PM






    Without intending to be unkind, never mind going their separate ways, it’s hard to see on current evidence them being employed elsewhere



    If they can’t manage or coach what are evidently good footballers, how do they manage poor footballers ?

  4. talking of free kicks WTF was broonie doing when he came over to the main stand side when Ryan was about to hit it into the penalty box and our captain made an arse of it and got in the way, what a joke.


    RC on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 6:03 PM


    talking of free kicks WTF was broonie doing when he came over to the main stand side when Ryan was about to hit it into the penalty box and our captain made an arse of it and got in the way, what a joke.



    I think it was a ploy. Problem was CHRISIE did not beat the first defender and ball was cleared.

  6. squire danaher on




    The guy who scored the three goals


    His mate up front.


    You want Celtic players?

  7. onenightinlisbon on



    Sensible Paul Lambert



    Lambert a hun apologist. wouldn’t have him within ten miles of Celtic Park.

  8. Wow..so many personal friends of Brendan Rodgers posting,



    And here was me thinking he was a Ambitious ruthless sociopath that took the first realistic route back to England whilst trebling his wages.



    But no..its Peters fault don’t you know.

  9. onenightinlisbon on

    NOTTHEBUS on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 6:29 PM


    Wow..so many personal friends of Brendan Rodgers posting,



    Not me. Rat of the first order. Knew exactly what he was doing. he may well have had disagreements/arguments with the CEO but ultimately he used and abused the trust and adulation of the supporters.

  10. squire danaher on

    No fan of BR by any means but unarguable he had the club in better place than where we are now.

  11. 11 domestic matches into an historic ten in a row season and the manager states the culture has to change. That’s a hard listen.



    I dont think he’ll resign, I dont think he’ll be sacked so we best buckle up and hope the new Rangers collapse again.



    The only positive I have is that when we play we are still very dangerous. We are like a poor version of Kevin Keegans Newcastle. We are capable of scoring (Rangers game aside) but our shape is a disaster at times.




  12. Not for me Paul.


    Being a contrary type of fellow, I was against his sacking, particularly after his press conference and then the recent glimpses of improvement.



    Changing culture is not an overnight switch. The culture is there because it comes from the manager.



    This had Tony Mowbray at St Mirren, March 2010 vibes.



    It’s over for Neil I’m afraid.




  13. Great glasgow ghirl in work – she couldn’t speak today


    great bhoy I know – hasn’t seen anyhting like this since Brady



    we are rock bottom – the ten is going; fight like fugg



    No fan of BR by any means but unarguable he had the club in better place than where we are now.






    Agree – both things are not mutually exclusive:



    1 Cracking, top notch Celtic Manager – loved him when he was here – a world of difference compared to any recent manager before or after


    2 Still feel totally betrayed in how he left



    I’d prefer he was still our manager, and that things had worked out differently – 10 in a row would be an almost certainty.









    Good post. one thing i wouldn’t get too worried about is the medium to long term. Gerrard wont be here long, when he goes they will really struggle. That however doesn’t help or comfort us in the short term.

  16. Lambert? Please, please no.



    I’m at the stage where I would take MO’N / Keane combo in the hope of a bounce or even Mick McCarthy. Now is not the time to start a new era, we need a short term hit. Desperate, desperate times.




  17. I do not think firing Neil Lennon is the answer, particularly with names like Allardyce, Eddie Howe etc being quoted.


    Allardyce would not give a toss, and Eddie Howe would be out his depth as he finds the Scottish League is not the backwater they think,ask Shane.



    Neil’s preparation has been let down as far back as start of the Season,firstly Tierney,then Forster,then Griffiths ,no choice of second in charge,then of course Boli cancellations and injuries.



    Biggest let down of course is our French hero’s, Julien in huff because of Duffy ( Later became an injury ) Ntcham strolling about impressing no one, and last but not least Mr.Fatigue, who showed up last night and done his value no favours,never tried a leg,a disgrace.



    Honourable mention for Peter, in recent times , he has lost the reins twice,during the MON period and during the BR period , I would have thought his motivation would be the ten yet he allowed the BR situation to fester,culminating with the McGinn saga,off BR goes,back in control in you come Neil but here is the terms.


    No wonder Roy Keane refused previously, as I understand DD left him to sort out details with PL to be told his No.2 was Ronnie,no thanks says Roy,



    Bottom line Neil Lennon might not be a tactical genius,but he is running with the handbrake on,in the form of Peter constraints and moody players,so he is to get fired? that does nothing to resolve the other two elements in the equation.



    Celtic should not be firing their Manager to appease a mob mentality.

  18. DAVID17 on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 6:48 PM



    Fairly hypothetical because we don’t know who they’ll replace him with and more importantly who replaces Lennon.



    Some of the names being bandied around on here so far haven’t filled me with confidence.

  19. TOMMY JOAD – glad to see you posting.



    For some weird reason, your post name has been niggling my brain for a few days this past couple of weeks. No idea why.



    Eventually looked on Google just this morning and – PING!!! – Grapes of Wrath / Henry Fonda!!!!



    No idea why it was in my subconscious – but, anyway – great blog name :-))






  20. WEE BGFC,



    I agree wholeheartedly and your last sentence is the toughest.



    He betrayed us and if he hadn’t left the 10 would be a certainty, as you say.



    No matters how this all turns out, Neil Lennon will be remembered more fondly than BR.




  21. EXCATHEDRA44 on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 6:50 PM



    “Allardyce would not give a toss, and Eddie Howe would be out his depth as he finds the Scottish League is not the backwater they think,ask Shane.”



    Bit unfair. Was Brendan Rodgers out of his depth and would you say Slippy is currently out of his depth?

  22. lets all do the huddle on

    “Celtic should not be firing their Manager to appease a mob mentality”





    honestly mate



    with the best of intentions



    that is a ridiculous comment



    especially after a post that had a few decent points in it



    albeit trying to deflect any blame away from NL which is a bit silly considering he is the manager

  23. In good times and in bad times, They’re there and they’re always there, And when I walk through a storm, I hold my head up high, for at the end of that storm, there’s a golden sky



    And that sweet silver sound of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”



    Happy 133rd Birthday Glasgow

  24. ghuys who post here in my era, philbhoy wee bobby collins, the original sadies bhoy, sorry if ive missed anyone out,we seen the lions destroy teams like sparta prague at half time, good god this is frightening stuff .

  25. we need to back them now more thanever; whoever takes the field, whoever the manager is


    let them know how fuggin hurt we are, shout at them if you see them,

  26. Jobo



    Didn’t vote but I deliberately stayed off the blog for my sanity.


    I felt bad enough without wallowing in it.


    Hung out with my grandson.



    I’ll take a yellow card & stand in the corner.

  27. onenightinlisbon on



    Onenight…sorry but ah didnt ask thst and frankly dont care what you think.


    Nite nite



    Cheers mate. really constructive comment.

  28. Lawwell appointed Lenny, Ronnie and Mowbray. The Great Desmondo appointed the Blessed MON and Fraudgers. The next selection should be made in Dublin, but could be screwed up if the proposed candidate is prudent enough to phone Leicester and ask a few background questions.





    Thanks for replies its all about opinions I guess.



    I would only change NL if his health was suffering, or if he himself was in breach of conduct resulting in a player reaction.



    GEEBEE1978 on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 6:53 PM





    No Brendan was not out his depth given his extensive experience,as for Gerrard,yes he is out his depth but has an extensive coaching team behind him,something that has been denied to Lennon as I mentioned in my post.

  30. include the Ajeti saga in the transfer window, he didn’t what to come here on loan , couldn’t get a game for West Ham who were desperate to get rid ,Lenny wanted Toney but we wouldn’t meet the asking price , we then agreed to sign Ajeti but he didn’t want to come so he decided to go on holiday to make up his mind, if he had to be coxed to come we should have told him to stay on holiday and we walk away.

  31. The phrases I’ve listed below tell a tale.


    They are a potted history of the last 3 weeks in the life of a Celtic supporter.


    The optimism, the despair, the hope & the disappointment: then there’s the standard distractions of Annual Accounts & politics/sectarianism.


    The main thread though is one of a football team that are struggling.


    Despite the once in the life of the club chance of a quadruple treble & sitting in 2nd place in the SPFL.


    It’s a tale of a club that is dysfunctional on more than one level.


    Whatever’s wrong – it’s more than just Neil Lennon is or is not (even no longer) a good coach.


    These are the titles of the last 26 articles on this site.



    Celtic’s headwinds


    The script is written


    Scottish Greens football fantasy


    Celtic will win despite the First Minister


    Celtic v ‘Rangers’, Live updates


    More worrying than the result


    Priority now to stop things getting worse


    On writing Celtic, or their manager, off


    Pride and confidence the target for Celtic


    Hope in our hearts


    Celtic v Milan, Live updates


    4 at the back, Shane, Neil and Gordon


    Aberdeen v Celtic, Live updates


    Hapless mistakes but McGregor and Lennon are together


    Celtic financials: supporters answered the call


    Support and paradoxical intent


    Rennes a yardstick against undefeated Lille


    Lille v Celtic, Live updates


    Celtic joie de vie


    Celtic v Aberdeen, Live updates


    Well done, Celtic


    Two faces of Sturgeon for Celtic/Aberdeen and Newco


    Sparta on 50% Celtic’s game time this season


    Neil Lennon nails partisan Scottish Government


    Celtic v Sparta Prague


    Worst in 58 years but we must reframe the pain

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