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. psychology is massive in football! I remember when Cesar won the double in the centenary year – despite a huge challenge and being underdogs, the fans KNEW were were in for a special season.



    We are going for historical 10 – yet since the start of the season, the energy is off! Players wanting to leave, strange team formations, passive coaching, playing one striker against weaker opposition, etc..



    The feeling is not there and the indicators have been there all season – the mojo is gone. Its not all Lennons fault of course, but we have to ask can he turn it around? I think absolutely no chance!



    First off, there are a few players not giving the effort required at top level football – Ntcham, Eduard, Julien – the Frenchies have taken the huff and possibly compromising the dressing room. Secondly, Lennon isn’t setting the team up to defend all over the park, then attack the celtic way.



    Glimpses don’t win championships – we need a shot in the arm to bolster the attitude. 2 OPTIONS



    1. Lennon overhauls the team until January – Get Turnbull, Soro, Klimala, Welsh, Mikey J into the team and/or somehow manages to blast the French into actions



    2. Bring in a man that knows the club , is respected by the fans and players – to get this team playing the way they have shown they can.



    Otherwise, take it on the chin and let the 10 pass us by never to have the opportunity in all our lifetimes.



    Over to you Celtic

  2. Saint stivs


    Think it’s to give the international side more time before game next Thursday.


    Of course we don’t play till Sunday

  3. Neil has agreed to work with his hands tied. Where is big Johann and the rest of his backroom staff.



    I said before, love him or loath him BR was protecting his own brand and whats wrong with that. He gave me some of my best memories as a Celtic supporter. Hun skelping a plenty



    And why the obsession with ex Celtic players to manage the club. Open your eyes FFS, if you go down that route nothing changes.


    Time for PL to find a new man and not a RD type of manager, a real manager someone with ambition that will be left to buy,sell and have a clear budget to spend how he sees fit, you sell a player you spend the money and on your head be it.


    The highest paid CEO in uk football, no wonder, he does all the work by the sound of it. Get PL OUT NOW, hes been protecting his own bonus for years and at our expense. Downsizing when we had the opportunity to take the next step when he had BR, McGinn was too expensive WTF. how long do we accept this level of incompetence from the man at the top. Give Neil a fighting chance by at least giving him his own backroom staff or get rid.


    How many players have we purchased around the 2 million mark that have never kicked a ball.


    How many strikers do we have ?


    How many midfielders do we have ?


    How many defenders do we have ? Please include the reserve players.



    Too many in the squad, paying too much on wages, not enough quality. The project hasn’t worked and if europe is the standard and it should be, then its failed. We should be a constant in the CL not a visitor every couple of years. And when Paul says it’s a gamble, that’s absolute nonsense, if you play in the CL every season then your players become more valuable and the sell on fee is greater. Not rocket science PL OUT NOW.

  4. Do we have a signing strategy? Do we recruit to need?



    We waited a year for Turnbull, only to relegate him to the bench.



    One day we’ll need him and he’ll be one of the many deemed ‘not quite fit enough’



    There are lots of signs of confused, disjointed behaviour.



    I really dont see how we can simply expect an improvement. This approach simply wouldn’t happen in any other industry.



    I’m not asking for change for change sake. However, targeted improvement is a must.



    We are second in the league.

  5. Paul67…



    Another, more disturbing trait than the current Pravda-esque musings is the apparent naked sectarianism creeping into the articles. Namely the ‘Daughter of Ayrshire’ stuff.



    If I’m wrong, please clarify just what you mean by that phrase. Given that you’re now trotting out the SNP as the pantomime villain, you’ve framed this as the First Minister going into ‘Daughter of Ayrshire’ mode and victimising Celtic. If you simply meant she was a hun, ‘Daughter of Govan’ might have been more appropriate. Care to elaborate further?



    Our best players and managers have been non catholic… Certainly, at least the 60’s and 70’s ones. The players beyond that? Sutton, Larsson, Lubo etc etc I have no idea what their religion is, nor do I care. Celtic are not a Catholic club.



    As an aside, the Celtic and Rangers Covid breach cases are completely different. But you know that already.




  6. squire danaher on

    WEE BGFC on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 6:46 PM



    Thanks for response



    When I am lurking I always enjoy the positivity from you and old BGFC



    Hail Hail and keep supporting the Celtic

  7. glendalystonsils on




    re fans in stadiums (stadia?)


    Ross county allowed 300 fans in for tonight’s game v Livvy , apparently because the Dingwall area is on level one of restrictions . As long as the Glasgow area is on level 3 ,there is zero chance of fans at CP in the foreseeable future .

  8. She’s a Daughter Of Govan………( DOG ) ?











    NippySweetie CSC

  9. P8DDY on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 8:06 PM




    Sturgeon is a product of her environment. She will see things from a particular perspective. When a perspective is deeply ingrained the person is unaware of it, which makes it all the more insidious.



    The argument that the two cases are different is rubbish.



    Each club acted as soon as they were made aware there was a problem.



    How each club came to be aware there was a problem when they did tells us something about how the police and the media work in this country. Maybe that’s where you should be directing yourconcerns.

  10. lennie – you stopped great players gettin off a plane



    fugg it, we’re screwed, send them out like it’s their last game

  11. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    ‘Daughter of Govan’. 😂😂



    Love it.



    You do realise the hard of thinking will be on your case chanting ‘freeeeeedoooom’ with no idea what it act means.

  12. Still in a bit of a blur to be honest but thank you to every single person for the good wishes .


    It won’t be forgotten 💚




    There are lots of things in this world that are more important than fitba’.



    Wee prayer said for you and your family.



    Rest in peace Bernard.

  14. Was watching Calmac and then Lenny post game last night. Their comments have been in the back of my mind today and wonder if they point to different possibly antagonistic groupings within the team.



    When he was speaking Calmac’s words seemed to be about something that he was observing. I know he looked shocked but his description of the poor play , the embarrassment , the unacceptable nature of events seemed , to me, to imply it involved others and not him.


    I looked back at the highlights and Calmac was just as culpable as anyone for the poor performance. At the first goal he glanced at the attacker ,running off Bitton, then waits for the cross. He gets beaten to the ball. At the second goal he is scrambling ,but overshoots his challenge like he did against Aberdeen 2 weeks ago, and shows he hasn’t learned to deal with that situation. At the 3rd he can’t get back as he has been chasing it up the pitch. This was the criticism he was making of the team in general. That it was Geronimo ,up the park and leave the defending to others. For the fourth he was nowhere as the ball comes from the left, round him and is crossed for an attacker to take on wee Jerry.



    I was interested that it had been Calmac who had chosen to come out and give his views. These largely mirrored Lennys ,later comments. It wasn’t good enough ,individuals need to do better. Does he therefore include or exclude himself from this criticism and does he mean it? Are these words of individual responsibility directed at others and not himself? Does he believe he will have the managers backing for these comments?



    Calmac, you were rotten last night. You need to improve just as others do. I hope these comments do not show that there are those who can do no wrong. For others this would create an unfairness.There is a togetherness required. We do not need factions,cliques or scapegoats. However, It is for the manager to be in charge of creating a team. Come on Neil. You must know what the team needs.

  15. The rangers have bought fighters . They have tooled up with giants who are prepared to roll there sleeves up . They will run all day and there movement off the ball is very good .no doubt they are carrying a fair bit of luck Last night we had guys in the hoops who never tried a leg . We have better players ,they are only better when they show it ,they haven’t shown it much this season . And no hiding from it the rangers have claimed some scalps . Yes I hate them but I’m not going to let my hatred cloud the fact they are a fair side . But we’ve only ourselves to blame . Looks like our absent landlord has that great team with great history back .

  16. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    Every government needs an enemy.



    When she can’t blame the English, who’ll be the next villain?



    It’s YOU Timmy.



    I digress, if you’re going to panic, panic early.

  17. KC VIC



    However, It is for the manager to be in charge of creating a team.





    How long does he need?



    You don’t really need to answer that.

  18. squire danaher on




    Get a grip and stop embarrassing yourself and the blog by association.




    Sturgeon is a product of her environment. She will see things from a particular perspective. When a perspective is deeply ingrained the person is unaware of it, which makes it all the more insidious.



    I disagree with you completely. The accusation that the first minister is a bigot is both absurd and without foundation. The same accusation is levelled at her in the other direction and it’s as baseless there as here. There’s no unconscious bias.



    The argument that the two cases are different is rubbish.



    Really? One player exposes players of both his own team AND opposition, at the same time his club had no idea he’d sneaked off. We didn’t control the player, and the Peter could have created a major outbreak. In the other case, the two players got nowhere near the squad and didn’t play a game. Boli exposed our squad to the risk of death, long covid, medical complications or even forfeited matches. The two Rangers players posed no such risk to their own club or others. Celtic had no idea that Boli had even left the country – which ever way you cook it, we weren’t paying attention.



    Each club acted as soon as they were made aware there was a problem.



    Only one clubs player posed a risk to both his own club and the oppositions. Regardless of anything else, that was the crux of the problem. Well, that and the fact Celtic’s guidance went as far as ‘don’t be bad’. That may be an extremely harsh way of looking at it, but by and large it’s a correct one. It’s also not too far removed from ‘Celtic’s space age home training regime – second to none’ whilst Griff managed to return to the club looking like Big Daddy. A little bit like the management team, the hype doesn’t match the reality.



    How each club came to be aware there was a problem when they did tells us something about how the police and the media work in this country. Maybe that’s where you should be directing yourconcerns.



    Ernie, whilst I’m tended to agree with you, lets deal in reality – you have *no* idea on the specifics of how Rangers (or Celtic for that matter) found out about their players breaches. None. So let’s be clear – this is your imagining of what happened rather than the reality. Like I say, I suspect that you’re right. And I also have little love for either the police or media, but in cases like this, before throwing round accusations we need to be aware of the realities of the situation. For example – maybe in both cases it was a journalist. Who knows – for sure, we don’t. One of my earliest memories of Celtic Park as a child was witnessing a cop threatening to throw a fan down the stairs because he wasn’t moving fast enough. My father, ever the headmaster (no one was more suited to that job!) tore strips off the cop and marched him to his chief super, where soothing words were spoken – but we knew no action would be taken. That’s set the tone for my experiences since with the police. So I’m in no mood to be charitable. At the same time, I’m also not mad keen on baseless accusations.



    In the end, I have no faith the police will change. I do however believe that Celtic Quick News and Paul 67 are both better than playing that pathetic sectarian game and capable of *not* doing it – so directing my energies in the direction of *us* being better is my aim.



    Have a good ‘un. THere’s more that connects us than separates us.




  20. lets all do the huddle on

    Sturgeon is a product of her environment. She will see things from a particular perspective.




    quality in-depth insight from ernie again



    someone sees something from a particular perspective



    hard hitting stuff

  21. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    Alas, the hard of thinking seem unable to join the dots and realise their leaders employ the same tactics as Sevco- the latter vilified the BBC, the former vilify the English.



    Same tactics.



    As I said, who’s the scapegoat if/when they can’t blame the English?



    It’s YOU, Timmy.



    I digress, if you’re going to panic, panic early.

  22. P8DDY on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 9:08 PM




    So why did the SNP government think it was appropriate to publicly commend the huns?



    What specifically was it about their behaviour that they regarded as commendable?

  23. Just saying. If there are rules about having your phone switched off at training or match day then Elyanousi deserves punishment. If there are no clear rules then it’s a management issue.

  24. Regarding paul67 Header



    1. It was not 3 at back that won us league , it was the two up front that Changed from


    Dire November and December to happy January and feb


    2. If ever you doubted that Paul67 was peters poodle ( IT contracts falling into to place ) then this is your article to change your mind . Autocratic mangers like PL don’t admit their wrong , sacking NL would make him admit that



    All that happens to Celtic happens because Peter lawell says so




    I watch a Celtic state of mind every day and another Paul on that was also a NL fan


    But as he does not have a piece of silver in his pocket , he has changed his mind



    Paul67. Time for you to look in mirror

  25. ERNIE LYNCH on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 8:27 PM


    P8DDY on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 8:06 PM



    Sturgeon is a product of her environment. She will see things from a particular perspective. When a perspective is deeply ingrained the person is unaware of it, which makes it all the more insidious






    So to strip away the pseudo intellectual prose, basically Ernie, you’re saying she’s a hun even though she doesn’t know it, cos she’s from Ayrshire and went to a non denominational school?



    Now that is, insidious. You, not her.


    You’re CQN’s very own Daniel Defoe, but you’re better than that.


    Please ask for that post to be deleted. It shows the blog and you in a very poor light.



    HH jg

  26. squire danaher on




    Stop being coy.



    We should know better.

  27. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    Piss off Jamesgang and tell all what you do and how government funding pays your fat salary.




  28. JAMESGANG on 6TH NOVEMBER 2020 9:28 PM



    The first law of debate is that you do not misrepresent your opponent’s argument and then argue against the misrepresentation.



    It’s dishonest, pointless, achieves nothing and is a waste of eveyone’s time.



    That’s what you’ve tried to do ‘So……, basically Ernie, you’re saying’.



    Nice try, but no cigar.



    As for the faux outrage, do me a favour.

  29. Most have speculated on the reason for the team’s faltering form & results.



    My own opinion at this stage, based on what little I know…..



    Why is the same team & coach that was near invincible from January last season in the league & in the Europa league (until Copenhagen) now struggling to get results or even register convincing performances?



    We’ve lost players/personalities since last season – Fraser Forster, Jonny Hayes, Craig Gordon & Jozo Simunovic. I believe that Forster was a big voice in the dressing room while Hayes, Gordon & Simunovic were lively & heled the banter. Fraser’s form was spectacular & arguably was our player of the season. Hayes was our utility left sided player – left wing of left back – he didn’t mind. Gordon’s departure was sealed after his dalliance with Summer but his ability was never in doubt. Simo was often criticised but how steady does he seem now. None of the new signings will have any real impact on replacing the morale deficit. Duffy might have done but he has his own demons to fight.



    By the manager’s own admission some players don’t want to be at Celtic. Media comment & speculation leads us to conclude that those players expected/wanted a move to other clubs who were waiting in the wings with offers. Edouard, Ntcham, Rogic, Christie were the names associated with moves away from Celtic but no one knows for sure. All we know is what the manager said after the Ferencvaros defeat AND body language plus unsigned contracts. This means that some players are playing for Celtic who feel frustrated by the way the club has treated them & this must erode their morale & of some others.



    Celtic signed several players in the last window but only Duffy, Laxalt & Elyounoussi regularly start games.


    Turnbull joins Soro, Klimala, Connell, Henderson, Ralston & now Taylor in rarely if ever getting a start. At the same time, Scott Brown & Moi start more games than their form would necessarily justify. In addition Moi shows up for European games but not always for league games. This is Neil’s choice but NOT making the best use of your squad leads to frustration for those that don’t start AND exhausts & leaves more open to injury those who play too much. Neither of these consequences helps maintain or build morale.



    When the “leaders” in your team are playing poorly but are still indulged by the manager & get selected regardless of their form, their credibility as leaders falls away. I do not see leaders anywhere in the Celtic team now – no senior player to help a struggling new player settle in, no geeing up by anyone during spells under pressure. I see a man who chooses heads or tails & talks in the huddle. No leadership on the field is bad for morale.



    Neil Lennon dictates the shape & tactics of the team but for me we’ve only played convincingly against lesser SPFL sides or sides that play expansive football – Hibs, Aberdeen in the Cup game 1st half, Lille again in the 1st half. In other games it doesn’t appear that the team have confidence in what they’re being asked to do. As others have said, they haven’t become bad players – but even good players playing in a system that they don’t understand or isn’t working will start to look average. This is not good for dressing room morale.



    Lastly Neil’s own media interviews are a puzzle. At times he’s keen to deflect any blame from the players yet at others he appears happy to throw them under the omnibus. I know that both of these responses are often used as man management tools to get the best out of some players but, with Duffy, Edouard, Brown often the worst offenders for poor play, selecting them for every game regardless of their form is both counter intuitive & counter productive. It’s also guaranteed to demoralise the squad.



    Neil talked last night of the need to change the culture, wanting us to assume that it’s the players’ culture, but the culture is one that he’s helped create – and for which he has to shoulder much of the blame.


    There are several factors outline above that seem to have contributed to that, but I can only speculate. The truth lies behind the doors of Celtic Park. I do know that low morale quickly saps confidence which in turn leads to poor individual & team performances.



    We’re a team with no game time morale or confidence but this has led to the more serious problem: the disconnect between the coach & the players.


    If only we had a trip to Dubai scheduled for this Sunday.