Looking Back


Annually, every close season, I attempt to reflect upon the top flight season as a whole, in order to assess how the national sport is coming along. 

Despite the overall outcome and the fact the league title destination wasn’t settled until the penultimate fixture, and even with one club making it all the way to a European final, it wasn’t a vintage season.

Not in these eyes.

The biggest disappointment is up for debate, but I’ll be awarding the Dandy Dons that particular honour.

Aberdeen were looking good, on paper.

It didn’t translate to the pitch though.

Scott Brown flopped there, couldn’t even last a season, which is a sign he was retained too long by Celtic although the quest for ten also played a part in that decision. 

Their big name striker Ramirez didn’t set the heather on fire either. Ten goals is a paltry return for an International striker in his prime years playing in a poor league. I expected double that at a minimum, with interest from the league’s giants to follow.

Twas a foolish notion I now understand.

Usually the manager is the most important person at a football club, and poor old Aberdeen got their appointment wrong. Stephen Glass was given less than a year in the job, meaning he was the wrong man at the wrong time, or just wasn’t very good at his job. Or both.

He was a young man with an aging squad (Considine, Hayes, Brown, and Ramirez are all in their thirties now) and wasn’t even afforded the opportunity to mold the squad over the course of several transfer windows. The board has moved for Jim Goodwin, but he shall face the exact same problems, however in Ferguson and Ramsay they have two saleable assets to help with the war chest.

He has a footballing philosophy, no more boring games he exclaimed two days ago, but shall need luck alongside effort if he is to succeed at that club.

I hope he gets it, as the league could really do with a strong Aberdeen.

Hibs were almost as equally disappointing last season. Shaun Maloney’s managerial career in his homeland simply did not go as planned and he’s now damaged goods, even if turning Hibs around was mission impossible. Their home fans aren’t a happy bunch, watching their city rivals get stronger as they regress has helped many make the choice of staying away, very little spend didn’t help either.

In an effort to rejuvenate the club they have turned to Englishman Lee Johnson, but he’s hardly vastly experienced at forty years of age. He’s a better choice than Roy Keane, but somehow I just can’t see him fixing all that club’s problems, such as a drinking culture. I hope he does, but I suspect it shall be another period of obscurity for the Hi-bees.

One manager did impress, but unfortunately he’s not a very likeable character. Ross County’s sixth place finish was a very impressive piece of work, and their manager clearly has something other than racist tendencies, but his past history precedes him and as such opportunities shall be very limited. Our rivals wouldn’t care, he could end up there someday.

Speaking of 40 year olds, the man who guided the Tangerines to an extremely respectable 4th place finish in his debut year as a head coach, and upon their return to the top flight, should have been in with a shout of manager of the year. Infact, should Ange not have claimed the title, I suspect he would have been the majority choice. Tam Courts is doing a wonderful job, but it will be hard to repeat. It’s nice to see Tony Watt torment defenders again, hopefully his manager gets the best out of his talent, and he is talented. Tams career path shall be interesting to watch.

Our rivals in light blue had a mixed season, which they shall file under successful, though I believe when a league winning squad is bested by a newbie things didn’t really go well, cup win or not.

The much predicted riot (I admit I anticipated one) didn’t materialize despite the very testing circumstances, while putting Scotland back on the footballing map by reaching a major European final.

That truly is a feat, credit where it’s due and all that.

Of course it wasn’t all good,,,for a start there’s risking the entire leagues sponsorship income due to a personal dispute with the company involved. Songs of hate are still aired, their support still ignore laws, they are still thuggish on the field of play assisted by their twelfth man who wears black. That’s before the cost to each and every tax payer, which continues to rise. 

It’s ironic their board are desperately clinging to the Old Firm label, even insisting upon the name being used for the proposed Australia derby clash, after their club went and killed the fixture in the first place. This situation reminds me of a bickering couple, unable to get along yet unwilling to break up. 

“I’ll go if he says,,,”

“I’m not going if she says,,,”

Foggy and Nora Batty eat your heart out.

Do I expect serious challenge from that direction next year? I’m not sure.

Their ‘keeper is flirting with retirement while the decent Bassey is being touted around.

Their Colombian striker is the biggest hype job going, and clearly Goldson doesn’t want to be there, hence attempting to move on.

Even if they make it through the qualifiers, most of the money won’t be going towards the warchest, we all know this and their manager certainly does.

There remains the bones of a decent team at Ibrox, and with a few quality additions qthey could be a force, but this Celtic team are young, relentless, and improving constantly,,keeping the pace with them will not be as ‘easy’ next time. 

Not easy at all.

Referees remain an issue. Their assistance couldn’t stop the green and white Hoops emerging victorious, but they tried hard. With VAR to shield them I’m not expecting their ways to change. 

Hampden is still a cesspit. Not much more needs said.

As for our beloved Glasgow Celtic, while they got it right on the pitch, issues did arise. 

The Higgins appointment was contained before major disruption, but it’s still evidence of a philosophical split between support and boardroom. The latter have attempted to forge some type of supporter relationship by initiating supporter forums, but these are mostly football based with Ange and some team members the main focus. 

That our board sanctioned the first ever derby clash overseas tells us a lot regarding their priorities,,that it backfired is a blessing in disguise but it still displays a split. 

We hired a good manager, but the club remains a reactionary puppet on a string for an absentee landlord.

Given that the season just ended went almost to the wire, allied with the fact the cups were shared and one team made it to the UEFA cup final, it could be called a success, a good season overall.

But it certainly wasn’t all good.

The Tims had to endure a torrid time outside Tannadice where a crush almost developed, the whistlers still have an agenda as do the cops and the media, there’s still no drug testing nor financial fair play regulations, and some poor punter in The Vogue suffered a bad beating for the crime of being a Celtic fan.

The national sport is clearly not trying to improve nor right it’s many wrongs, those calling the shots look to be more interested in personal power and jollys rather than leaving a legacy. 

In many ways, the season just past was a very typical Scottish football season, providing a little bit of everything. Plenty of talking points, drama galore, dodgy calls, some actual football at times, there was a little bit of something for everyone.

Perhaps that’s the aim. 

Other leagues would put the SPFL to shame with their professionalism, many must roll their eyes dumbfounded by the numerous unsavoury incidents that accompany being a football fan north of the border.

Even still, some four million souls crossed turnstiles last year, a sure sign the passion for football remains strong.

Most would have opinions on how the game is being run, yet no one asks.

Most would wish for better, yet no one cares.

Most have sorry tales to tell involving attending games, yet no one listens.

August shall begin the cycle again, millions will go out and support their club, and the problems that haunt the game shall reemerge.

As the old saying goes, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

~~~~~~

By Mahe

19 Comment authors
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BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

Good article indeed,MAHE. I’d say that last season,only Celtic,Dundee Utd and Ross County can consider last season to be a success. Hibs and Aberdeen certainly have to arrest their decline very quickly,as do St Johnstone.

But we have to build on our successes of last season. Which will be a first! And this time,with that guarantee of CL payments,we have no excuse for not doing so.

CFC

A poor Aberdeen, inspired by Broonie still managed to take 4 vital points off the Huns.
I agree, a competitive league needs a strong Aberdeen, Hibs, Hearts, D U.

One correction- Goldson has signed on for 4 years. Saving them £10m in getting in an adequate replacement, according to the laptop loyal.
Like their “history” they obsess with hypothetical valuations of journeyman players. Makes them feel relevant, I guess.

CFC

A further observation:

I’m being a bit churlish here, and get what you are intending, but “Four million souls”is a bit misleading.
More like 200,000 or so multiple footfalls over the season.

PedanticCSC🍀

fan

Mahe
REALISTIC ARTICLE.

(As the old saying goes, the more things change, the more they remain the same.)

There in lies the rub.
A continuation of an outdated league and thinking.
Coaches will be hired for immediacy.
No long term planning or strategy will be attempted.
Glass and Maloney were both hired due to the popularity of outdated possession based football ideals.
That either side struggled for goals was no surprise as constant backwards and sideways passing makes it difficult to reach opponents goals.
Courts will be a loss if he goes as he had the wherewithal and pragmatism to make a cohesive team out of his player pool.
McKay at County did likewise.
Goodwin will improve Aberdeen.
GVB will make them a counter attacking team as that’s what brought him best results.
Referees will still continue with their 60’s style officiating for 11 teams while saving unique interpretation for their favorite team in orange or blue.
Football Authorities will continue their support of one team.
Wont be surprised if huns again better our European performance as their ultra defensive style is suited to playing against tippy tappy possession opponents.
Our midfield requires a personnel and tactical rethink before we have any chance of competing on the European stage.
We have skill in abundance but lack the team cohesion to compete with quality opponents.
Of some suggested SPL based incomings?
Seigrist-good shot stopper but prone to error.
Barron-i like he reminded me of Murdo McLeod so with right coaching and teammates could be good.
Hope to see some youngsters given a proper run this season and will be disappointed if we sell Scales as i think he has skill and composure for a young defender.

BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

CFC

Good point about the 200,000 repeat visitors,but that is still around 4% of the population. England has around eleven times the population of Scotland,but the combined totals in EPL and Championship were only around 22,000,000-or around half of the %age attending there compared to Scotland.

I’d say that the attendances in Scotland are still fairly healthy,even if there are numerous other problems which need confronted and put right.

CFC

BMCUW

Of the 200,000 or so half are Glasgow( West of Scotland) centred, including a strong representation from Ireland.
No doubt someone will have the demographics to hand.

Fan

I notice Barron is being linked with us. Don’t know anything about the player.
A modern Murdo type would not go amiss in our midfield options.

Auldheid

McCaff

I agree totally with you on tone and have taken that into account in my thinking.

I see bridge building as an important step and there are signs Celtic are not happy with the annual conflict at the AGM.

I have something better in mind and also recognise the emotional attachment many have to Celtic.

In fact I would argue that what I’ve been seeking over the years , because dont forget Celtic gave every indication that what became Res12 was in their interests to pursue , is something supporters like yourself would benefit from which is watching a game free of outside malign influence.

Surely you would support that objective if the ability to do so was created?

What I am testing is whether it is worth my time pursuing something that does not matter to supporters who have settled for unethical wrong doing which to me is an affront to why Celtic were created.

Of course I’m changing approach a bit, circumstances have changed since 2012 and only a fool would continue with the same approach.

BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

FAN

Our midfield is definitely a concern. Who plays where,and is that their best position anyway? Hopefully Ange will have it sorted for August.

For me,it’s O’Riley on the right,CalMac on the left and A N Other playing deep. There’s plenty of cover around for those positions.

CFC

Auldheid

What any sports fan wants is a level playing field and a may the best team win ethos.

Playing Devil’s Advocate here but
perhaps the majority of supporters don’t recognise malign influence as a major determining factor in support of Celtic because of the successes enjoyed over the last decade or so.
10 league wins, multiple trophies won.

The only major success The Rangers have enjoyed ( last years League) was not down to malign influence but due to a complete lack of competitiveness( for various reasons) by our Club.

If we continue to get it right off the park and improve as we look like doing does this make a campaign redundant?

As I have said before, I subscribe to the view that Only a sustained period of failure will change hearts and minds of the majority required.

jpm88

Great article

Auldheid

CFC

That policy was described to me in the words ” as long as we are winning nothing else matters” by a high Celtic official many years ago.

However Rangers since David Murrays arrival changed the goal posts, going way above and beyond honest behaviour that sunk them, but here they are back again as competitive as ever with Celtic due in part to financial behaviour that is only possible because of lack of unaccountable governance and so a risk to ongoing success at Celtic not to mention the discontent if we lose.

That to me is a crazy way to run a club to let a rival to the same revenue stream be run unfettered by the consequences of their financial recklessness on the game as a whole.

That is no way to run a business, especially a football business and I would argue it is in the best interests of Celtic to challenge anything that undermines winning, like referees with a Rangers leaning refereeing games involving the club they support.

I think all supporters care about that regardless of a result but especially if we lose. It is the talk of the steamy then.

What Celtic need is encouragement to address the issue of governance and that encouragement need not be hostile , being rational should suffice.

Waiting until things go belly up is the wrong time to pursue change, it will be portrayed as sour grapes. The time to pursue is when we are winning.

Auldheid

Mahe

Spot on as long as we settle for the Ibrox/Hampden axis status quo.

What we think is what we get.

CFC

Auldheid

I totally agree with your last sentence. And as I have intimidated before you have my minuscule shareholder support.

It is an honourable quest but if there is limited support there is no traction.
I see a situation where treading water will be the order of the day til sustained failure changes the landscape.

fan

BMCUWP
It’s not just solely down to personnel in my opinion.
Spacing and mindset/game intelligence of some players has to be better.
Big bugbear of mine is distance between forwards and defense.
Our midfield area is a vast canyon.
Lack of pace in centre backs and no sweeper keeper has us retreating early and often just sitting too deep.
McGregor wether in a defensive or forward role has to change his negative and safe mindset.
Scotland were mince against Armenia and Calum contributed to that by constantly playing backward passes when there was space ahead of him.
He could learn from McGinn who is willing to take creative risks and gamble in final third.
I can’t see based on last 3 seasons what Calum could bring in a forward role?
I think we should try a versatile 4-4-2 —-4-2-4 with Guchi or new guy and Hatate as anchors.
Hatate has a good forward passing range and can shoot from central areas.
Maybe young Robertson could be used as a defensive mid as well.
Though in all honesty in SPL we probably rarely require a pure defensive mid but we have to strike balance of playing in league and Europe to have a consistent system.
Conundrums?

Auldheid

CFC

It is an honourable quest but if there is limited support there is no traction.
===
Exactly which is why I am looking for responses here when I put forward a possible solution.

The quandry will be if it were to go ahead and fail it will give Celtic carte blanche to carry on unfettered by supporters views.

If successful it changes how supporters can effectively communicate with Celtic.

There is a book by John Powell SJ called The Secret of Staying in Love – Communication.

Fingers crossed.

St tams

Excellent article Mahe.
One thing I noticed throughout the season, was the poor condition of most of the away playing surfaces. There is absolutely no need for this.
A lot of clubs , Aberdeen, St Johnstone, Motherwell, just to mention a few need to spend more money improving their pitches.

On the midfield. I think our biggest issue is, when we don’t have the ball, we don’t press or defend as a unit. This needs to be worked on for CL games on particular.

JimmynotPaul

This is the promotional image for Artur Boruc’s final goodbye to Legia – Celtic are confirmed opponents on 20th July. https://t.co/yqVNkjuOJe

Made me smile.

fan

St tams
Pretty sure our opponents spend plenty cash preparing their pitches for games against us.
Extra growth fertilizer to make sure grass is long enough to negate any chance of a football game breaking out.
Plus extra personnel hired to help to cut up field to resemble a ploughed one all sanctioned by the footballing authorities.

As far as the work needed off the ball.better game intelligence and a more compact and cohesive structure would help.
HH

JimmynotPaul

Joe Hart, enjoying life and telling us, who he rates.😎
https://t.co/u9mxUT9wen

fan

JimmynotPaul
I felt he chose that song over other Celtic songs as it suited his vocal range😉

McCaff

Fan…I think you’re over critical of McGregor. As ATOB always points out Calmac is available almost constantly throughout a game, he is the man who recycles. Your criticisms that he’s not productive enough is valid as is your assertion that he’s not defensive enough but he is critical in our team at the moment and I doubt Ange will have any plans to replace him. The system may have to be tweaked to accommodate him as we do make progress but I think his worth to the team, maybe not the system, is invaluable. Another massive point to remember is that we are less than 12 months into a new manager with an almost brand new squad, we are most definitely a work in progress. Not only that, we are also well ahead of schedule in terms of how Ange has moulded the team and adapted them to play to his style. The recruits we sign in this window will inform us better as to what our expectations should be for next season!

fan

McCaff
As Auldheid often says, We shall see?
Not sure he is always available as you and ATOB SAY.
When he plays deep defensive role and is meant to be the pivot who links defense to attack he often refrains from taking responsibility.
He is busy pointing for defenders to pass elsewhere and makes no attempt to move clear of his marker.
On the odd occasion he receives the outball he usually returns it to where it came from.
My post was more about him moving to a more forward position when he has not shown much positive attacking play since BR’s first season.
Unless he changes his mindset i just can’t see him being a good fit in that area with his preference to slow proceedings and take easy side or backwards pass.
He has the tools as he showed under Brendan and RD to be dynamic but has developed into a neat and tidy safety first player.
Can he turn the clock back if played in a more forward role?

JimmynotPaul

Fan. 3.45.
😂😂😜😜
Just as well, he’s a better goalie than he is a singer.

fan

JimmynotPaul
🕺🏼😂😂💥

JNP

Frank Haffey had the opposite problem. Sure, wasn’t he singing in the bath, after the 9-3 game at Wembley? 😀

JimmynotPaul

https://t.co/rXWpNrqrU8.
CCV a done deal.

bada bing1
BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

Glad to hear CCV signed at last!

Craig76

1 down 1 to go
C’mon Celtic you know what we all want 😉

Absolutely delighted with that news. The fact that the deal is for four years is also significant. C’mon Jota son. Follow the big fella’s lead.

Hail Hail.

Craig76

Got a good feeling about this transfer window, Craig. The CCV signing, is a statement of intent that Ange will be backed to the hilt. Hopefully, more good news to follow in the coming months…big Peter must be tearing his hair out. Swine that he is.

Hail Hail.

Craig76

MAGUA
I think Blue Peter not taking the CCV contract well. As the contract got announced the heavens opened and we had 1 almighty downpour ⛈😀

Craig76

😀

JimmynotPaul

🇩🇰 Denmark 0-1 Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

What a goal Stephen Kelly!!!

Just as we approach HT Kelly puts Scotland ahead with this incredible finish 🎯⚽

https://t.co/xQqC50UaUL

Craig 76

When you forget your scarf and you have to improvise 🤣😃

https://twitter.com/Luiseach/status/1535189931156508674

BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

MAGUA

I’d feel a lot better about Lawwell’s resignation last year if he had left the building completely. Lingering like a bad smell is not a good look.

BMCUW

Granted. It seems though, that the feckers never-ending pursuit of filthy lucre, has led him to Europe. Not nearly far enough away for me…such a pity that EUFA do not have a branch office in Antarctica. That would do me.

Hail Hail.

Mahe

I thoroughly enjoyed today’s leader.

Hail Hail.

big packy

EVENING ALL and JIM, yes jim is still here only lurking but still here, quiz question, how many of the celtic board are freemasons, one,,more than one, two, more than two ,THREE, more than three, and was a celtic board member ever involved with the infamous glesga rainjurs 55 titles and counting, cyber pint for the right answers,

Rebus67

I know this is a bit late for the party…i.e. the debate from yesterday. Let’s hope that it is not a day late and a dollar short!

Some of the posts from yesterday seem to suggest the evils of capitalism and that profit is a dirty word. Yes, I agree that profit taking can be crass but without it organisations such as Football clubs would not exist in their current form. Yes, we do live in a Society that reeks of inequity when entertainers(including footballers) can earn more in one week than a hardworking care worker gets in a year.

However profit taking is not the sole reason for these inequities. After all, investors have a right to earnings just as each of us earns a wage(profit) from our sweat/skills. The real sin is the crazy inequitable rewards placed on some jobs.

Most modern organisations realise that they serve different publics and not just one. For example, football clubs serve fans, shareholders, employees, various regulatory bodies like the SPL, SFa, UEFA, and Various government departments including HMRC(think Rangers). Smart organisations set objectives and strategies to deal with these diverse publics. Amongst these objectives will be those set for shareholders and for the football department. Revenue streams fund these objectives and some of these funds need to be directed towards shareholders, else few will invest in the club. The problem is not that funds are directed to shareholders. Rather, it is that there is an oligopoly controlling the holdings. If DD et al want to increase their rewards, they have the clout to do so. However, these oligarchs cannot completely ignore the needs of the other publics such as the football department. Failure there threatens the profit flow to shareholders.

So where does this meander take us? Profit, in itself, is not undesirable. In fact, it is necessary, otherwise No Celtic. What is crucial is how the Board balances the objectives that are set for each of the publics. This is why it is important that some form of fan representative finds its way onto the Board. At present only one public is well represented there, namely, shareholders.

Tried to put this together yesterday but the demon alcohol got in the way. The perils of Zinfandel!

Rebus

Big Packy

I’ll go for 7… that’s always been my favourite Celtic-minded number.

Hail Hail.

big packy

MAGUA cyber bottle of buckfast on its way, plus 2 bottles of eldorado courtesy of JIM,.another true story 😎 👍

Big Packy

That’ll do. 😀

Hail Hail.

big packy

MAGUA, its on its way👍 noticed you have not posted lately, hope you are ok pal,,another true story,👍

Rebus67

Reflections on the season gone. Interesting topic but here is a slant on the theme. Most clubs in the SPL have to deal with churn…the best players leave, managers and coaches leave. It is not untypical for a team like Motherwell to lose a third to a half of a team every season. Aberdeen was a victim of churn….new manager, new players. Even Celtic had to deal with a high level of churn but selected the correct manager to deal with it. Was that just luck?

I often wonder how a Klopp or Guardiola would cope with managing a team that has few resources and is subject to losing much of the team every season. Do Courts and McKay have different skills from Klopp, Guardiola and others in the EPL? Could Guardiola be successful managing Dundee United, or does he need a substantial budget in order to compete?

I know it will never happen but I would love to see these top dollar spenders manage a resource poor club for a season. In reality, who is a better manager, Courts or Pochettino with his 1.1 million euros per month?

Rebus

Big Packy

Will not be on as regularly during the close-season, but will pop in every now and then. Got a whole backlog of books to get through. Hope you and Joan are well.

Hail Hail.

big packy

MAGUA, yes we are both ok, thanks for asking,get into those books pal👍 have I ever told you the leeds united story at hampden 1970 🤩 but it can wait till another day,HAIL HAIL

Chairbhoy

Good Summation MAHE,

An odd and surprising season in many ways.

Totally Agree on Aberdeen big disappointment and Scotland needs a strong Aberdeen.

Yet will the league change when while the old firm are stronger than the sum of their parts – the bigots had a blinding season and honours were split. You can see the money men wringing their hands with glee…

I wasn’t surprised Goodwin got shot of Scott, I would say I’m in a minority of one but think MiT was with me on this one.

Scott Brown was the most highly overrated footballer at Celtic – he seems to have had a shining career on the cult of personality.

If he was such a force in the dressing room, then maybe doing so from the bench in the twilight of his career was best.

Good to see Auldheid hit the campaign track again, we all know it’s a huge uphill struggle but getting the Celtic ownership model that facilities the Club to; follow it’s origins and ethos, concentrate on being the best football team it can produce is hugely important.

Certainly since our CEO retired a ubiquitous malign force has been lifted from our Club.

Yet the structure remains, the aims and objective of the executive haven’t changed nor have the personalities.

The Celtic support have to be a force within the Celtic Park set up.

We have a huge challenge in that regard, we have to get our support to be as smart, informed, motivated and focused as the Germans.

Disinformation and plc propaganda abounds, banter and old firm bigotry is paramount among the support.

Bayern Munich has 359,510 registered members, not all attend all the matches, but all are passionate about what Bayern are.

An ownership model that competes with the most jacked up, financially doped, modern super Clubs.

Hail Hail

Margaret McGill

I don’t think it’s the legitimate modus operandi of a capitalist institution that’s in question but the sleekit encouragement and maintenance of corruption and the hypocrisy and dishonesty dealing with their customers afterwards that’s the issue