We Are Where We Are!


On Thursday night,MARGARET MCMGILL suggested that a post by SETTING FREE THE BEARS from 23/07/2018 was one of the most pertinent he had ever seen about Celtic,how we view ourselves,and where we really are. I remember reading it at the time,and sagely wondering why I hadn’t said that!

It also had me reaching for the razor blades,so be warned-here it is in all its provocative glory. I mailed SFTB about it,and like the modest and amenable chap that he is,he reluctantly agreed.


I sometimes wonder at the mineshafter’s evaluation of Celtic FC in Europe.

Especially in this post-Bosman, big league & TV dominated era, where a new elite has emerged exclusively from within the Big 5 Leagues and, even there from around 20 potential contenders for prizes. Spain have 5 clubs with potential to get to Q-F and beyond in the CL (Real, Atletico, Barcelona Sevilla and Valencia) plus a couple who could do well at Europa level. England too can provide 4 or 5 qualifiers who may achieve this (City, United, Liverpool. Spurs and either Chelsea/Arsenal though both are on the slide). Bundesliga have their big 2 in Bayern & Dortmund but Schalke and others might do relatively well in the EL though they would be surprise winners). France has PSG & Monaco with Marseilles and Lyon as potentials for bridging that gap. Italy have Juve, Napoli and Roma plus the 2 Milans but, increasingly, only Juve have pretensions to win CL.

Outside of these big 5 Leagues, we only have outlier teams like Basel, Olympiakos, Shaktar Donetsk, Porto, Benfica, Galatasaray and a couple of Russians vying to be the one team that breaks through to CL Q-F stage.

We, as the big team in a peripheral league, fulfill the same function as similar comparator clubs (Anderlecht, Ajax, Sparta Prague, RB Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb, Copenhagen, BATE, Maribor, Ludogerets, Cluj, Legia and Qarabag etc;) competing to fill 3 or 4 of the available pot 4 spaces which aren’t usurped by EL level teams from 2nd tier leagues.

Scotland is a 3rd tier or, excluding Celtic, a 4th tier league in Europe, if we realistically judge on 21st century results.

Where do we find a comparator club, amongst that group I cited that consistently outperforms Celtic on the European stage?

Where do we find the gall to describe AEK as a pub team?

It cannot be based on any neutral or professional evaluation of merits- just check the oddschecker site which has AEK at the most common odds of 500/1 to win it with Celtic most often priced at 1000/1 (our range of odds is from 250 to 1500 whereas AEK vary from 500 to 2500 if any of you are tempted by such a mug bet). The point is that the neutral and the professional do not share our fans’ evaluation of how good Celtic are or could or should be.

We were elite class from 1966 to 74 only. We then had over a quarter of a century losing to Zwickau, Innsbruck , Timisoara, Partizan, Neuchatel, and Zurich. In this millenium we have had the Seville run and 3 last 16 CL places (the last being in 2013 when we lost 5:0 on agg. to Juve). During that 18 year period, where we have retrenched to being in touching distance of being a 2nd tier team, we still contrived to lose matches to Rosenborg, Anderlecht, Artmedia, Copenhagen, Aalborg, Hapoel, Braga, Utrecht, Sion, Karagandy, Legia, Maribor, RB Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb, Malmo, Molde, another Hapoel, Astana, and Anderlecht again.

You can attempt to explain away this level of performance away by asserting the untestable hypothesis that we are just scared or lack positive psychology but the sorry realistic truth is that, in sport, the results don’t lie. This is our level – these are our achievements. There is no hiding place from them.

In presenting this to you I am looking at my club soberly and wishing it was different, but I do not take my frustration out against this reality by asserting that, if we spent a couple of million here or there, during this retrenchment period, we would have altered our stars by any significant amount.

I search in vain for an example of a club where I could say- Celtic should do that!

We cannot import mass Brazilians like Porto and Shaktar have done. We cannot even get some of the benefits that Ajax and Anderlecht have enjoyed during this period of having a golden generation of players who got their country to the final stages of the World Cup.

We have enjoyed the cream of players from a semi-skimmed country in Scotland and have had to persuade others to join us who look on Scotland and Celtic as a stepping stone.

Eveytime I post this form of rejoinder to those with high hopes but limited strategies for achieving them, I am accused of saying that “nothing can be done”.

That is far from my view. In fact I am saying that we have done relatively well to have achieved what we have and that many of our true comparator clubs (in the real world where we know that AEK is not a pub team) look upon Celtic as an example of a club who have been growing and consolidating quite well.

However, I fear that even our admirers have got it wrong. The challenge is getting harder, as I predicted it would several years back. Those elite rich clubs from the elite leagues want to maintain their position and are not happy with the existing level of monopoly and success they enjoy. They fear the freak result and want to guard against it by excluding the chance of other clubs from reaching their level. They may not bother too much with plucky old Celtic as they see us as cannon fodder anyway but there is genuine fear that Russian clubs, Portuguese clubs, some Dutch ones and maybe a cash rich Austrian or Swiss team could deprive one of the Big 5 league teams of their “rightful” position.

We are operating in a glass ceiling and distorted sporting environment. Without access to a more competitive league with more routine cash rewards, we face a future very similar, if not worse, than our recent past. Good players will be asset stripped as financial reality demands and their own wishes (KT excepted possibly) make inevitable. We, in common with all other peripheral leagues then try to replace with other projects (they are ALL projects) and go again. The much vaunted Ajax model has shown us how difficult this is to repeat. Even the Porto route, which is hard for us to replicate anyway, is struggling as the big 5 league clubs have now got less lazy about their scouting and will plunder S. America directly.

So I expect my message to be dismissed, yet again, as a message of doom or a recipe for making do and mend.

I regard it as an unflinching look at the realities around us. Yes, we can do better- we always can, but I cannot be persuaded that we can significantly change our position in this pecking order without a change in our competitive environment.

You can only stop being SPFL flat -track bullies and European cannon fodder when you play regularly in a setting that provides you with regular hard competition, forges your competitive play towards the elite standards, and gives you the financial rewards for success which allow you to better resist your advantaged “competitors” from the big leagues.

Otherwise, it will be groundhog day of “blame the suits” every transfer window from here on in. We sound like the Dixie Remembrance Society that believes that, if only Robert E. Lee had not gone doo-lally at Gettysburg, the South would have won, and then go on to aver if we just recreate the spirit of Stonewall Jackson, with his Presbyterian virtues, we can still win the last war.


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Mike in Toronto


Just in and saw your post. If there is anything I can do, don’t hesitate to ask … keep strong.

A Thing of beauty

An excellent summation of where we are. I think what I have been trying to say is that I feel we could stretch the budget a bit to spend say £4-6m on players but like sftb points out there is a difficulty in attracting players to our league. This is where we need to rely on the other clubs to become more ambitious and help make our league more attractive. It is hard for teams to go toe to toe when they are playing better players but the learning from that can only improve them and make their games against similar opposition more attractive. This would lift the league and attendances would follow. I find it interesting all the praise the stevie Clarke is getting at killie and he has been getting some superb results but the crowds have not really increased with the success he has brought and that is because the football they are watching is dull. Last nights game between hearts and killie could have made your eyes bleed and it’s similar with a lot of the teams in our top league. Livingstone have also had praise this season but when you watch their games the commentators talk incessantly about them getting a throw in and how they will have an opportunity to launch it into the box. Jeezo, it’s no plough lane in the 80’s but in reality it is because as a nation we are not moving our game forward. The referees are stuck back in the 90’s, that’s the 1690s btw. They allow challenges that are verboten in every other league in Europe yet were expected to get on with it. No wonder we cannot progress our game and players don’t want to come. If the board cannot raise the bar and attract better players because they won’t come then maybe they need to exert some influence in the sfa to make our league a more attractive place to play football. It would help us immensely but would also help the rest of our fellow supporters in that they’d have a better game to watch. And who knows we might even start qualifying for tournaments again as a nation. But that’s an argument for another day.

A Thing of beauty

Just read back from last night. Stay strong sir. You know the people who have contact with you from here and cqn will do everything they can to support you. It’s not much I’m sure, in the circumstances but it’s people to talk to.


Joined in to comment on the article only to find out about the sad news on The Exiled Tim’s very talented partner. For what little they are worth, my sympathies and thoughts are with you.

It’s a terrible, sad situation to be in.


I feel terrible about last night. I am useless at giving advice, if only some of you folk had been on instead of me. Thank God Gerry was here.

Going by his moniker I’m thinking he might live abroad. In which case his problems might be multiplied many times over without the support of the NHS at home. Financial too.

For what it’s worth I’ll be praying for him and his beloved and family. Hope he stays in touch with us.


Sorry to hear your awful news.
I’m sending my love to you and your loved ones.
If you feel that I may be able to assist you in any way, please let me know.
Hail Hail


Just read your dreadful news K.
You have much support, both here and CQN.
Hope and pray you find the strength to deal with this situation.
Your wife and you are in my thoughts and prayers.


Sorry to hear of your situation.
You are an honest and strong character so hope you find the strength in this tough time.
Love to you and your loved ones.



Like others, I have just read your sad news from last night. I wish I had the words to comfort you but I am inadequate tonthe situation. All that I can say is that I am thinking of you and your family.

Your situation reminds me of some of the dark moments in my own life. These include my brother contracting a fatal desease nearly thirty years ago and him asking me if I would help end his suffering when the time came. I remember a Christmas Eve in a church where I prayed and begged for help. This all from a man whose faith could best be described as a confusion of science and humanism. My brother is still with us and as cynical as ever!

I remember the passing of each of my parents, neither of which was easy. Yet, now mybappreciation of them and my love for them is even stronger than it was when they were here.

I could go on but this post is not about me, it is about you and your family.

What has helped me is that I feel that those that I have lost can live through me. I share my experiences with them, in my head. I shall never forget them, it is my final act of love for them.

Forgive my waffling if it has upset you,



While agreeing with the gist of SFTB’S post i find his happy clapping stance leaves him to embellish the negatives of the odd fan into the general supports view.
The last paragraph is like that of a deflective politician and the comparison disproportionate.
Celtic fans for the most part want a sensible spend to improve weak areas of the team.
The AEK pub team analogy is also trite as it’s a flippant term many supporters use without actually believing it to be true.
In my opinion AEK were a poor team who beat us due to coaching and our lack of personnel in vital areas which we had the financial clout to remedy ur present level so the reaction by fans was understandable.
One of our club anthems states With Hope in Your Heart so do we honestly accept our present situation or strive to be better?
While he makes many salient points this sounds like a board statement of expectation management.

BMCUWP, If your reading, the lady I asked you to pray for a few days ago is delivered of a baby girl, on Thursday. Mother and baby are fine and should get out the hospital today.

The little lady’s name is Mairidh Erin. A beautiful name. Who would have guessed daddy is a season ticket holder at CP and mummy works there?


The Gombeen Man


I’m very sorry to read about what you are all dealing with. Keep posting away and making sense on here and the other channel.

It’s amazing how a CEO can be so gratuitously rewarded for his role in a backwater league with very little prospect of European success.

It seems that the downsizing call can’t be heard in the Boardroom due to the din of the clapping of the happyclappers.

Anyway it looks like the Gangsters of Ibrox are 1 nil up courtesy of a penalty two minutes in…

Take Care.


The Gombeen Man

Two penalties for the Sevs and missed the second.

That won’t do.

A thing of beauty

Make that three gombeen. Jeezo I can’t recall Celtic ever getting three penalties in one game. Andrew Dallas is the ref and as a sage on cqn remarked, the orange never falls far from the tree. Laughable



Once again I find myself largely in agreement with your analysis. This has to stop, OR, we have to appear in the same room at the same time to demonstrate that we are not the same person.

My one quibble would be the last statement. It may sound like something that the Board would state, but I think SFTB arrived at it independently.

What needs to be done is an analysis of the incoming transfers from comparator clubs. If they are signing more purchases and at a higher spend than us, then Celtic has an issue.


Surprise Surprise.

Maybe Celtic will get 3 penalties tomorrow just to even things up?


Ah that Sftb article .
1500 words to say welcome to life in the slow lane 😉

I remember reading that and shaking my head and thinking thats an old man talking , battle scarred , been there seen it done it , now wants nothing more than to grow his olives and tomatoes .
If Alexander thought like that he wouldnt have took over half the world . The pride needs a young lion to roar and take control it seems 😉

Firstly the we cant do what Ajax and Porto do bit.
The domestic set up or authorities , for some reason I havent fathomed yet , are handing out work permits to exceptional talents , such as we just seen Bayo be granted . Ki was granted one back in the day .
Seems we can take players that dont meet the old tradition route . We should be crushing that market ,, outlying leagues and obscure talents . In fairness we just took four punts that could be described as what Im asking for .
History would tell us that 4 punts will probably equal one that proves value and three that dont but get covered by the firsts usage and probable sell on funds .
We have our own channels and they have theirs . Ours are worldwide , theirs ex colonies no ? Seems we have a bit of an advantage .

“ Significantly change our position in this pecking order “
Ali walked out and knocked the pecking order on its ass . If you listen or read pecking orders theres no point getting out of bed . The Lions and Leicester showed the pecking order were they can shove it.
While yes we wont win the Champs league no one is honestly asking for that .
Forward momentum with a clear plan would suffice for the masses no doubt. More bang for our buck and less punts more quality would satisfy many. A clean game would delight me.
We tread water with very little info on aims plus a Ceo / majority shareholder partnership that has us in a stranglehold .
We arent going to change anything quickly thats for sure , and the game seems stuck in a holding pattern right now . The latest window for the big 5 leagues shows the biggest just consolidating in the main ,, aiming to keep the status quo. Benelux league and Superleague are the only challengers to breaking the monotony anywhere near the agenda and they may or may not come about .
An upward movement in the pecking order would be over a long period of time and after a streamlining revamp that looks to improve all aspects of the club.
In the 80’s Real Madrid were finishing 6 and 7th for instance . It was a concerted long term approach that lead them to the top of the pile .

“ Without access to more routine cash rewards “
Build up a cushion ( check ) and become traders while keeping some of your goods longer term. Trade those commodities we have access to via the special work permit or allow our home grown to depart for more lucrative climates .
Cannot be depended upon as a given figure but the cushion alleviates this need and allows for poor years . Trade smartly and dont put all your eggs in one basket.
There is no guarantee they will even spend more cash rewards , and not bank it as they have done. I would up wage ceiling to attract Bosmans ( Joe Ledley for instance should have been considered for this ) or keep more of the mega loanee’s that hit it off and feel at home playing for the club , ala Odsonne and Sammi yes but with more regularity .
Perhaps we should have the discussion whats the stockpile for ? Let me know if interested.

“ Comparative club that consistently outperforms Celtic on the European stage “
Recently read a list that had us 7 out of 8 when ranked with similar clubs and the last decades Euro ( I believe ) results were tallied . Was on Cqn . You might have seen it. Will endeavor to find it if you didnt.

“ This is our level “
On paper we are better than Aek but a set of circumstances came about that lead to our downfall over two legs , primarily no having a stable defence , which could or could not be placed at the Plc’s feet or Brendan’s depending on where you stand .
Its wasnt our level that was found wanting , it was our planning . We are on the hoof all the time .
We as a whole need to be on the same page with one clear aim in order to find our / any level . A house divided isnt an indicator. I dont think we will find our level under this setup as its not conducive to maxing or even stretching out in growth ,, seems to strangle growth if anything .

“ I expect my message to be dismissed “
Certainly not by me its an excellent synopsis . Im on the same page but wish calculated affordable risks such as stepping away from the current scouting ./ buying system thats not conducive to a quality over quantity mantra . Revamp of scouting and possibly DOF should be considered who takes advantage of special talent permits more .
In essence old men out , young guns in with some dynamism and vision .

These are all normal problems however that many fans of teams comparable in size might discuss. Fact of the matter is for a percentage thats hard to quantify the internal domestic corruption is a much bigger issue than any of the above .
“ Not fit for purpose “ still rings true . We can bleat about the above normal issues all we wish but the national sport needs freeing from the grip of those with impure intentions if it is ever to thrive again .
Our current custodians have sadly shown no stomach for the fight .

Ironically it might be the quest for the never before claimed 10 thats shows up the corruption for all to blatantly see . Every trick in the book will be pulled out ,, and many might just say “ Hold On A Minute ! “ if operation stop Timmy succeeds by foul means .

Hope alls well Sir . Thanks for letting the site use your fine work .
Hail Hail

A thing of beauty

4 penalties in one game. Really?!! The fix is in bhoys and we are going to have to be at our very best in every game we play. Make no mistake.

The Gombeen Man


4? Even I find that hard to believe…I’m away to look up the match report.


A thing of beauty

Well done MIT, a weel thought out reply from a different view point. I’m more on the side of your argument but there is one denying that Sftb is correct when he says it’s difficult to attract players to this league. It’s a balancing act but I do not like this short term loan approach that we have taken this window and hope it is a strictly one off for whatever reason. It’s hard to form any proper cohesive team if half of them are not in it for the long haul. And in this modern day that means 18 months I would say.


Mit??? I draw the line at being compared to a lawyer. I’m not half that dishonest, and still have some scruples. And I can say boat properly unlike in Canada. Much better looking also. 🙂

Mike in Toronto


A thing of beauty

Oops. Apologies mahe. All that hard work and not even accredited.


MiT in good post shocker 🙂

Mike in Toronto

Did you not see the horse’s head? Do you not remember what happened the last time a lawyer had to fly out to deal with You California types?

Don’t make me come out there ….


Son of Dallas has awarded his beloved Sevco 6 (six) penalties in the 3 league he has has refereed this season.


In the Lanarkshire referee of the year award Son of Dallas is giving Cheatin Beaton a run for his money. Bobby Madhun will be next up to show us what he’s got. Hh

I didn’t post that for sympathy, I did it cos I was pissed and shouldn’t have, but your thoughts are very much appreciated, thanks.
The sad thing is that nothing will be said about the huns getting four pens, it will be spun that they even themselves out over the season, they can do this cos nobody challenges them,

Cracking goal by Valencia against Barca away.

Madden is the ref at the huns game at the sheep dome on wednesday.

Barca 0-2 Valencia


TeT If we continue to participate in an blatantly rigged competition in favour of one participant and fail to highlight cheating at every opportunity we will have little grounds to complain after the fact. Hh



“I didn’t post for sympathy I did it cause I was pissed” brilliant K, we know you weren’t looking for sympathy but you have plenty of support, take care

As for the Huns… all the penalties in the world won’t help them, the dandy dons will do them during the week, all we have to do is concentrate on us, starting again the morra

I know and it’s appreciated 😉

big packy

THE EXILED TIM, they are gonna do whatever it takes to stop us getting ten, cheating bassas .ynwa.hh.

The club have had chance after chance to highlight things, they choose not to cos they see the OF as their ticket to riches, they have little euro ambition imo, the OF is what it’s all about, I have always said that one reason we don’t complain is we would win everything year in year out with a level playing field and the game would wither away if that was the case,

Aye they will, they are not even hiding it now.


Good to see you posting today .
But stop complaining about this old firmy thing.
We plebs should be grateful for the huge bonuses it produces for the board and the condescending looks they give us from their ivory tower.
It’s something to look up to.

Sol Kitts

If “honest mistakes” even themselves up over the season, Sevco will be in serious trouble in the last 10 games. In all my days reffing, I have never seen a game where one team were awarded 4 penalties. Scottish refs know they’re cheat, Scottish fans know they’re cheating, the SFA know they’re cheating, no one has the balls to do anything about them so now they don’t even try to hide it.
Just wish our club would grow a pair and let them know they’ve had enough of this.

Not knowing my place has always been a problem for me, but i’m fecked if I am gonna change now 😉
For my sins I usually listen to Radio Clyde of an evening and Keevins last night said that we as a club are not interested in europe any more, for him to say that was a bit of an eye opener.

big packy

SOL KITTS, hail hail to your last sentence,

I was amused reading an article from News Now about a writer on the Scotsman in 2017 complaining about some of the crowd wearing football tops at the golf. Of course the photos were of Celtic boys.

Now there is a photo of a bhoy in his Celtic top at the cricket! England! What is the same reporter going to say now?

I have bad news for him.

I was watching the German Masters this afternoon in Berlin, and at the end there was a member of the audience leaving in a Celtic top! Snooker now! Mind you, Stephen MacGuire is playing tonight and I’m pretty certain he is a Tim.

Nae luck the Scotsman. Move over and share your country.


Not while the directors big bonuses keep rolling in.

big packy

FAN-A-TIC how are you pal, you keep us mineshafters going over on cqn, cap doffed, but you are 100 per cent correct.hh.


Big Packy

Just remember all the “mineshafters” also enjoy the trophy wins :-).

Surely you canny have your moans but also enjoy the celebrations, need to take the good with the bad

Only having a wee jest :-). Always a smiley ?


What a lucky bhoy.
I would love to be in Antigua, right now, watching the cricket.
# Fireinbabylon.
I think I enjoy cricket because I don’t care who wins, so I can enjoy it without getting worked up.
Hail Hail


‘He missed one on Alfredo so we could actually have had five’ Steven the world is against us Gerrard


He truly is a prick of a man.
I get the impression he is surrounded by sycophants ( that’s just the press) he has no self awareness or humility.
Hail Hail

I left scotland more than twenty years ago, was in Ireland for ten years and been here in Spain for just over ten years, as yet I have never clapped eyes on a hun top in the past twenty + years, can I claim a prize 😉

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