The Ex Files – pt2

It’s a very strange quirk that of our rearguard during the 14/15 Ronnie season many went on to have good careers and most could make the claim they moved upwards after leaving Celtic, not something you read often.
Even though Izzy was playing his best football in the Hoops Ronnie handed Kieran Tierney the jersey twice that season, despite his tender years. The lad might just be moving to one of the worlds biggest clubs, if rumours are correct.
We all know Virgil is considered amongst the best defenders on the planet but the player alongside him didn’t do too shabby either.
I thought Jason Denayer a little bit short, and he had to make up for that with better movement and anticipation off the ball. He didn’t shirk, was a naturally strong lad, with decent pace. Playing next to Virgil your flaws stand out given his near perfection in most aspects, but Jason wasn’t overawed, he wasn’t the ugly sister and also became a good defender in his own right.
Of course he’s still playing, he’s only 26! It’s hard to believe it was eight years ago now, or that he was only 18 while winning leagues in the Hoops. He graced the EPL with a poor Sunderland team, played 39 games in Turkey for Galatasaray, and has just broken the hundred appearances barrier for French giants Lyon. It’s fair to say he’s done well in the game, I like to think we helped in that regard.
That season Master Lustig got injured, only managing 15 appearances which opens the door up for a new right back. Adam Matthews gladly stepped up to the plate. It’s debatable if he went on to bigger things, but it’s a fact he became a solid English Championship player with a brief spell in the top flight, alongside Denayer for Sunderland actually.
Darnell Fisher was the back up to the back up, he was given the nod eight times that year presumably to give Adam a rest.
He’s still young at a spritely 27 years, but unlike the others didn’t thrive much, and is hardly playing anymore. I guess he was cheap/free and impressed aka worked hard on trial, and Peters told Ronnie why not eh?!
That’s a pretty solid defense, who in theory had a strong midfield to protect them. We had a plethora of stars back then to choose from,,
Scott Brown
MacKay Stevens
Stefan Johansson
Liam Henderson
Kris Commons
Stuart Armstrong
Calum McGregor
James Forrest
Yet all I seem to recall was Johansson failing to shine when given an extended run, then the boring Brown and Bitton years began in earnest.
There’s two players missing from the above list though which brings us up to 14 midfielders and maybe 15 as big Charlie Mulgrew tended to play left midfield originally, giving Izzy a bit of extra cover. Two midfield punts that went the typical way at our club.
The first never played again, retiring with us due to injury at a tender age.
The other was the complete opposite and is truly a real footballing journeyman.
His CV boasts Rubin Kazan
plus more and currently at 31 and in his prime years he plays for Shenzen in the Chinese League, and has 61 International Appearances to his name.
Derk Borreighter and Mubarak Wakaso were clearly a couple of Peter specials. I understand Derks circumstances but the latter only being handed the jersey five times remains a mystery.
There was clearly something there or he would have a Darnell Fisher style career, and his direct competition on the left wing (Derk) hardly played. So why not an extended run or more of a look-in for the lad?
So defense was given one punt (Fisher) and midfield thrown the two mentioned above, not too bad at the moment you might say.
That’s because we haven’t reached the forward line, which was more punts than players, I make it 4 to 3.
Of the four punts at least Teemu Pukki actually had something as he later proved, but he was much too raw and timid to be handed a starting jersey. He needed slowly introduced, confidence built up, instead he was flung in at the deep end. A rabbit in the headlights is my overwhelming memory.
Stefan Scepovic I shall file under punt, we mentioned him on Saturday as never getting a real chance to shine. The other two ‘strikers’ truly took the biscuit though, so much that Danny had to ask was one an actual professional footballer.
Yet Amido Balde scored against Liverpool in an early preseason game which only enhanced the mystery of ‘is he a player’?
They called Craig Beattie ‘Bambi’ back in the day but I reckon that nickname was very apt for the big man.
He was gangly, awkward, and looked like the chap playing down the park for his local team this weekend.
Somehow he put one in the net against a good ‘Pool team and the more he didn’t play, the more his reputation grew, that strange football phenomenon.
Like I say he scored in the Hoops, and has a story for the grandkids. The last punt can’t even make that claim.
When you have a Scandinavian striker called ‘the Fridge’ there’s bound to be a large degree of mystery at the very minimum.
Hombert Fridjonsson didn’t garner a single minute that season, and in doing absolutely nothing, got far more chat than he deserved. He’s still playing, having just about managed a hundred appearances since leaving the club.
You’ll recall during the 14/15 season our business rivals had been placed elsewhere post death, so Ronnie had a free hit, as much of one as possible. Yet he ultimately failed his task as evidenced by the top tiers being empty and covered.
It’s easy to see Peters influence on the squad, not least via the seven punts mentioned above. It’s true we discovered Virgil and did well from that deal, but as we now know even the significant number of seven incorrect speculations never made our DeFacto Director of Football stop and think.
It’s a shame the club decided to merely drift and tread water during their free hit years rather than embark on some type of strategy. I’ve always maintained we should have assembled a team of really talented youths supplemented by some experience (Wakaso and Johansson) with the aim of having an entire starting eleven of home grown heroes with a hundred games each under the belt and a settled style of play developed by the time our rivals reentered the top flight. With one of their worst managers ever in order to sell the continuity myth, and a rag tag bunch of a squad, the new quality street gang could have toyed with them and enhanced their price tags in doing so.
We lost a trick farting about with punts and Peter’s preference for a pliable manager who definitely doesn’t hold all the cards, ever.
We lost the opportunity to let our kids play regular games without fear of dropping points, to develop their swagger and develop into men while wearing the hoops.
We lost income due to the closed stands, and I’ve heard Ronnie lost the respect of the squad after locking himself in his room with a blonde for an entire training break.
He was separated at the time in his defense, and no it wasn’t a crime, but it seems players want a leader not just a man. One could never imagine Martin or Ange countenancing such activities, and that’s probably why when they speak they get silence then intently listened to.
If the players see you as just one of the boys, perhaps had a dressing room row with you before, they are likely to hold you in lesser regard. I suspect that’s why the player/manager quickly became a thing of the past.

By Mahe

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March 14, 2022 7:47 am

Interesting look back Mahe 👍 My view:
. KT only got in the team due to Izzy injury
. Denayer is a player, and made Van Dijk…
. Matthews also was class until he was brutally taken out by the Ibrox mob (I think), and never recovered his mojo
. Johannsen did well for us I thought.
. Fisher had potential, but never got game time.
. I was there in Dublin when Amido Balde scored against Liverpool, nuff said…
. As for Ronny, he was not supported by the Board, when badly let down by senior players, including Broony (allegedly). He was ahead of his time (imo of course). His aim to introduce modern dietary and lifestyle regimes has been since borne out.

Thanks for the reminisces.


March 14, 2022 8:06 am


In one paragraph towards the end of your article,you’ve just scuppered my planned Friday article on a missed opportunity with our youth system! Bastert…

Although mine was mainly based around NL’s first tenure,so I’ll probably rehash it.

Re Darnell Fisher,I met his youth coach from his Reading days. (He asked me if Stevie Clarke was a dour bugger even at school!) I told him Darnell really impressed me when he got a chance to play,but that I reckoned he should be moved to a defensive midfield role.

He said that was probably his best position,but would be too much effort for him. That Darnell was probably the best player he had ever coached,but maybe just didn’t want it enough to make it to the very top. A fairly accurate summation,as it turned out.

Re Adam Matthews,I thought he was a terrific player for us,but the move to Sunderland-and the timing of it-done for him. I don’t think anyone has seen their career improve at that club since the days of Kevin Philips,Niall Quinn et al. Some bloody singer as well!

March 14, 2022 8:32 am

Peter Lawwell’s decade of the cheap punt has hampered any progress Celtic may have made for for the immediate future.
As has he and DD’s love of the Old Firm partnership and it’s a anchor weighing down any chance of progress
We are still losing talented youth due to his lack of foresight and little structure in the footballing department.
Also our European whipping bhoys tag ever grows.
While we still have the same myopic owners and yes men directors we will still be hampered by greed and shortsightedness and i still think Lawwell is ominously still playing a part we will be dependent solely on the talent of our coach.
We still have a long way to go before the horizon clears.

March 14, 2022 8:35 am

Jeez Fan,
Don’t bring horizon into it or we’re back down the flat Earth rabbit hole. 😀

March 14, 2022 8:51 am


Amido Balde scored in his debut in a friendly against Brentford. We are privileged to have each witnessed the guy scoring,I don’t think there will be many who can say that!

March 14, 2022 9:02 am

Oldfirmism, in all its insularity, is holding us back from being the best we could be.
The hope is In Ange we apparently have someone with a less myopic vision.

If he is backed in the next window with the 4/5 needed, assuming CCV and Jota leave, we should be better equipped for the European challenges ahead- in the CL!

March 14, 2022 9:11 am

Aye, indeed 🙄😉🤣

Jobo Baldie
March 14, 2022 9:30 am

Good morning, friends and Happy Matchday. And I expect a tough test tonight as we continue our bid to win a 5th Treble in 6 years!

Big Audio Dynamite
March 14, 2022 9:39 am

5 trebles in 6 years has a lovely ring to it.
Make it happen Celtic!

March 14, 2022 9:52 am

Morning all,

It seems like ages since our last game.

No excuses as we should be well rested.

Dundee Utd 0 Celtic 2


HH 💚💚

March 14, 2022 10:00 am


Dundee Utd will be well rested too.

March 14, 2022 10:14 am

True Bobby,

But they’re shite ????????


March 14, 2022 10:32 am


One point off fourth place. But not won in their last four. I’d be happier if they were still managed by Micky Mellon!

March 14, 2022 11:00 am

Sadly,the site won’t be running a Cheltenham competition this year,as I literally cannot spare the time to compile the results. But just for fun,I will post my selections the day before the racing. When I say just for fun,I mean that you can all poke fun at me,same as last year.

Imagine picking a 70/1 winner and leaving it off my Lucky 15!!!!









March 14, 2022 11:44 am

Morning all & Packy.

Yes I like the look of that Jonbon in the first race tomorrow Bobby. Form – 5 wins! Decent price @5/1. Love the colours too! I’ve used my free £5 bet with Paddy Power 🙂

March 14, 2022 11:45 am

I’m off to Cheltenham on Wednesday.
I’d appreciate it if one of you experts can tell me the winner of each race.
I would appreciate it even more if you can tell me each winner before the race starts. 🙏🙏🤞🤞

March 14, 2022 11:58 am


Maybe TWISTY will pop his head in here early each day.

Good luck with the day out. And best of luck getting served at a bar on course or in town!

March 14, 2022 12:01 pm

Cheltenham? Every year, high hopes. Friday night, skint again. 🙄

March 14, 2022 12:15 pm

I sent you an e mail earlier.

March 14, 2022 12:19 pm

Bobby, a crowd of us used to go on Champion Chase day when it was a 3 day festival. Used to get there very early and prop the bar up so nae bother getting served. Problem was that even after each race I couldn’t tell you who won.

Bada Bing
March 14, 2022 12:20 pm

Fisher signed for Middlesbrough last season from Preston

The Real McCoy
March 14, 2022 1:05 pm

Stefan Johansen was a product of Bodo/Glimt youth system. Played 73 times for Celtic, scoring 12 goals . Won PFA Scotland Player of the Year and Celtic Player of the Year 2014-15.
Now captain of The Breadman’s QPR.
Good servant to Celtic IMO. 💚

March 14, 2022 1:25 pm


Good luck at Cheltenham Wednesday and get a few winners.
I’m hopeless at picking winners so any help from fellow bloggers, would also be appreciated 👍


big packy
March 14, 2022 2:28 pm

AFTERNOON ALL and JIM, where is that frodsham chap, took the dugs to castle park in frodsham today, then went to the four seasons chippy for lunch, boy has that place gone down,the chips were half cooked and the fish was overcooked, never again ,frodshambhoy ye can keep yer chippy 🤩🤩 another true story

big packy
March 14, 2022 2:39 pm

JIM went to the odeon in renfield street in glesca last night, tae see that new james bond movie dr no, that sean connoly was brilliant he will go far that guy tall dark and handsome bit like masel 🤩and with that name definately a celtic supporter, can you imagine him supporting rangers🤩

March 14, 2022 2:41 pm

BP my wife and I sat outside Costa having a coffee in the sun. As you know it’s always sunny in Frodsham.
Pity I didn’t know you were in the vicinity

big packy
March 14, 2022 2:53 pm

FRODSHAM BHOY, yes nice today, next time im in frodsham ill give you a shout🤩 you can buy the beers,🤩or coffees

March 14, 2022 2:56 pm

BP 👍
I prefer buying beers rather than coffees

big packy
March 14, 2022 3:05 pm

FRODSHAM BHOY, that will do me👍

Saltires en Sevilla
March 14, 2022 3:19 pm


Good subject to raise and weel done on this item … and the previous one.

At the 125 game v Barca Miku played very well and Kayla on as a sub.. both good players who were badly let down by Celtic for different reasons.

The number of players who have barely had a chance due to the way we play the game. I’m not talking about the Celtic Way btw!!

Been busy and will eventually get time point out a few others that were wasted at Celtic!

You will have the usual by K.O. Tonight buddy – apologies for delay

Here’s to a 1-2 in Dundee and no more injuries


March 14, 2022 3:21 pm

Good read until the Ronnie locking himself in a room with a blonde.
He turned out to be a good coach,his problem was dealing with a few egos in the team.
In my opinion BR saved Brown from being an okay player to being a good player but him and a few others are to blame for the situation. IMO

Colour Blind Bhoy
March 14, 2022 3:32 pm

Good afternoon everyone.

Mahe, great read, I had a lot of sympathy for Ronny, I don’t know all the detail but I have a suspicion quite a few of our squad from that time showed questionable levels of judgement and professionalism towards him. I hadn’t heard the story about him being locked away with a blonde in his office or when that was but I suspect at least 4 of the senior players made their minds up very early on that they were not going to make life easy for him.

big packy, thanks for your message, you should hopefully have a reply in your Inbox.

Away to ponder the options for our starting eleven tonight, see if I can get closer to Ange’s way of thinking.

Craig 76
March 14, 2022 4:05 pm


March 14, 2022 4:06 pm


March 14, 2022 4:07 pm

Ah good posts coming through now (sorry folks)

big packy
March 14, 2022 4:12 pm

COLOUR BLIND BHOY you are a star👍

March 14, 2022 4:13 pm

Tried to post this earlier but never got through, you can split your free £5 bet form Paddy Power so if you want to put it on a lucky 15 or say 5 individual bets you can 👍

March 14, 2022 4:17 pm

Cheers Craig that’s good to know. The guidelines are a bit vague, I read it as on a single race. I’ll use it for a 4 horses bet on Wed. & Thu.

big packy
March 14, 2022 4:19 pm

JIM, would you believe colour blind bhoy e-mailed me a photo of his mum and dads wedding in 1959, and guess who was the best man, my uncle tony, when i looked at him it brought a lump to my throat, spitting image of my dad,,another definately true story,👍

March 14, 2022 4:20 pm

That’s brilliant Packy! 🙂

March 14, 2022 4:49 pm

An account I’ve started following lately is this 1.
But like all tipping accounts not all tips win (that’s my escape clause if anyone doesn’t win )

Only bet what you can afford when the fun stops STOP.
Craigyboy® (@craigyboy_1991) Tweeted: Cheltenham day 1 GL

1.30 – Mighty Potter 13/2
2.10 – Haut En Coleurs 7/1
2.50 – Corach Rambler 11/1
4.10 – Stormy Ireland 6/1
4.50 – Prairie Dancer 20/1

Big Audio Dynamite
March 14, 2022 4:51 pm

With it being a cup game against a decent United team, can we not expect a more open and exciting game tonight? Here’s hoping!

Also wondering what qualifies you as a WONDERKID?.
Seems everyone who trains twice with the big boys actually qualify as one.

1-3 The Tic.

March 14, 2022 4:53 pm

Seems Ben Doak could be on his way to Liverpool

Big Audio Dynamite
March 14, 2022 4:56 pm

Craig76. Unfortunately, we can hardly complain. Shame though.

March 14, 2022 5:17 pm

Still time for Ange to change his mind but if he can’t see a path to 1st team then as you say can’t complain if he wants away.
Ange must of seen something in him to put him in the team

Big Audio Dynamite
March 14, 2022 5:20 pm

Craig76. I wasn’t even considering the possibility he wouldn’t go …I was just assuming he’d be for the off.

HH, mate 🍀

Prestonpans bhoys
March 14, 2022 5:22 pm


Was Ben Doak not the teenager we played against DU at the beginning of the year?

March 14, 2022 5:25 pm

Prestonpans bhoys
Yes he played 22mins against UTD and got a couple of mins against the Huns
He has also made 7 appearances for the the B Team

Prestonpans bhoys
March 14, 2022 5:30 pm

Ok remember the DU game but not the huns, not surprising as I pished at that game. Surprised I got into the game😂😂😂

March 14, 2022 5:40 pm

Re Ben Doak I liked what we saw of him in his brief appearances. Looked like a big unit with some pace and aggression.

I don’t get that his reason for leaving may be that he can’t see a path to the first team. I think Liverpool have been a wee bit better than us in recent years. How then will he see an easier path into the Liverpool first team.

Another possibility is that Liverpool will pay him more than we will. Apparently he has refused to sign the contract we have offered.