Starting As You Mean To Go On
It’s flag day for us on Sunday. And as it is against Aberdeen,I expect their fans to give it a body-swerve! Cheap stereotype gag aside,how many of us actually thought,a year ago,that we would be raising the championship flag this weekend?
Obviously,I didn’t-and I said so,often. That given the size of the rebuild required,I said that we should allow Ange a season to get some confidence back into his players,get them coached to playing with and for each other and learn his system. Don’t get me wrong,I had already been impressed by the little I had seen of his training methods and even his interviews. But we had already seen some preseason friendlies and European qualifiers. Only the match against AZ Alkmaar inspired much confidence.
Judge him on his second season,I said. As long as we can see obvious improvement,to the extent that we look capable of mounting a strong challenge to regain our title,that should be all that can be expected.
Well I’m rarely happy to be wrong. But I always hold my hands up when it happens. And Bhoy,did I get that one wrong! And yes,I was bliddy delighted too!!! Yet for so long,it looked like I was likely to be correct-which pleased me not one jot.
Despite some promising performances,our results were far from promising. An unlucky defeat in Seville was followed by a home thrashing from Leverkusen. Worse,after seven league games we had gained only ten points-seven behind the huns by middle of October. Oh,hell…
And then it all just seemed to kick into place. We hit form,hit our opponents for six,and went into the New Year break within touching distance of the leaders. A few weeks after the restart,we hammered them at home and followed it up by beating them in their ain midden anaw.
Out of sight,and with the League Cup already in the bag,that title-winning champagne must have tasted very fine indeed to our new hero.
Yet,having got so much wrong a year ago about how our season was likely to pan out,I also printed a much more optimistic article around the same time. Ange is hardly the first Celtic manager in my lifetime to have come into the club on the back of a dreadful season,yet win the league at the first time of asking.
If you had asked any Celtic fan in January 1965 if they fancied our chances of winning the league the following season,he would have damned you for a sarcastic bastert and spat in your eye-if you were lucky! Yet win it,we did. And added The European Cup the following season,as well as completing NINE titles in a row.
Jock Stein inherited a disparate bunch of young lads,lost in the wilderness.
Add some experience (and steely arrogance in the case of the latter!) in the form of Ronnie Simpson and Bertie Auld. Throw in a mix of player appraisal,encouragement and some proper coaching-with a ball,ffs!-and the players became the world beaters we remember them as.
But it all started from nowhere,when Jock walked through the door.
Sadly,Jock suffered from a serious run of disaster in 77-78. Losing Kenny Dalglish was bad enough. To lose Danny McGrain and Pat Stanton for the season almost from the start was disastrous. To see the rest of the squad drop like flies as time went on meant he was in fire-fighting mode. And the board joined the media in pouring petrol onto the flames. We finished FIFTH that year. Desmond White took great relish in firing our greatest ever manager. A shameful end for someone who has a stand named after him. I’ve named one of the urinals at Celtic Park after White. Good enough for him.
In fairness,he brought in our greatest ever captain as a replacement. And promptly allowed him to break the six figure transfer fee-three times in the summer-something that Jock had never been permitted to do. His only signing for decent money since the £80,000 on Ronnie Glavin-in 1974!-was Johnny Doyle at £90,000 two years later.
Having finished so far behind Rangers,and three other teams as well,few gave us any chance. That was probably still the case in March of 79 too,as a protracted big freeze hammered our title hopes almost as badly as some earlier performances had.
Few who were there on 21-5-79 will ever forget it. Another first season title into the bargain!
And he repeated the trick nine years later,in our Centenary Season. The arrival of Souness had put the afterburners on our rivals,and despite being miles ahead of them at Christmas 1986,we had faltered badly,losing a nine point lead to surrender our title by about the same amount. We also lost McClair,McInally,McLeod,and Judas. And Danny McGrain retired too!
Well,add in some replacements like McAvennie,Walker,Miller,Morris,etc. Get the best out of Mark McGhee. Ride your luck,rope-a-dope and hit them in the last minute and injury-time! Voila,a Centenary Season double-winning first season (reprise) return in triumph!
Then the wheels came off for a decade! Until Wim The Tim arrived-with Murdo McLeod in tow,btw. Operation Stop The Ten. It was vital for the fans,but it was vital for Fergus as well. We could see real strong progress. The team in the last year or two was as terrific to watch as any in my lifetime anyway-but he had sacked Tommy Burns. And allowed much of that team to leave,mostly somewhat acrimoniously too. And all we knee about Wim is that he was one of the Feyenoord team in 1970!
Well,we didn’t have the internet and wall to wall football a quarter of a century ago. Neither did the SMSM-yet many of us still fell for their trash. I know,but we did-by and large.
Fergus backed Tommy Burns all the time when he wanted a player,as far as I know. And David Hay was very capable indeed of pulling a rabbit out of the hat in that respect. But I think by then the relationship between Celtic and David had soured-largely due to Jock Brown. Appointed by Fergus for probably the right reasons,he was very much the wrong guy. Wim wanted Henrik Larsson,Jock didn’t. Wim wanted Paul Lambert,Brown told him the price was too high. Fergus overruled him,and told him to get him. Etc.
Wim had very firm ideas on how he wanted his team to play,and needed the players to achieve that. Fergus did his best to accommodate that,though I’m sure that not every approach to a player worked. Look at the list of players signed that year,via wiki.
· Darren Jackson – Hibernian – £1,250,000 – July 1997
· Craig Burley – Chelsea – £2,400,000 – July 1997
· Stephane Mahe – Rennes – £500,000 – July 1997
· Henrik Larsson – Feyenoord – £650,000 – August 1997
· Regi Blinker – Sheffield Wednesday – Exchange – August 1997
· Jonathan Gould – Bradford City – Free Transfer – August 1997
· Marc Rieper – West Ham United – £1,500,000′ – September 1997
· Paul Lambert – Borussia Dortmund – £1,900,000 – November 1997
· Harald Brattbakk – Rosenborg BK – £2,000,000′ – December 1997
Another famous title win,and won once again by a first-season manager against the odds! Sadly,Brown outlasted Wim,but he left a few months later,with Dr Jo the last manager to serve under Fergus. Murray hired Advocaat,piled the debts to the ceiling and left us trailing. No title for the good doctor,but I remember him well for giving us Lubo and Big Johann. And we made about £5m on Viduka-or alternatively,got Leeds to pay Chelsea for Sutton in exchange for him.
Bloody good deal that!
So we enter the 21st Century-and we’ve just lost the league by 21 points! Enter Martin O’Neill and co,along with The Evil Genius,Joos,Neil Lennon,Thommo and a couple of others,and we waltz away with a 15 point victory in his first season.
Gordon Strachan takes over an aging squad in 2005,told to cut the wage bill-we call it downsizing on here-and voila!
And via Ronny Deila and Brendan Rodgers,who were expected to win the titles-but who can forget the latter’s Invincible Season in his first attempt?-we were back at Square One with Ange only a year ago.
Well,if you know your history? I said a year ago that we have a history of our managers managing to win the title at their first attempt. And mostly against the odds.
I very much get the feeling that AP has achieved against the odds,that he has felt for much of his career that he will have to ram it right up them to prove them wrong. He will not rest on his laurels now,that’s for sure.
Enjoy the game on Sunday. I know I will. But show your appreciation all the more for the one man more than any who made it possible.
And maybe spare a thought for Dominic McKay,who backed his demands.
Above article by BMCUWP
Good article, thanks.
Good article, Mahe. Thank you.
The list of Wim’s purchases looks surreal today. Look at all those who cost more than Henrik. Wim has a justified slot in our Pantheon.
Enjoyed the reminisce of managers past and a trip through the years SeS would have been proud of.
Great scene setter too for what hopefully will be a season that will live long in the memory of Ange , his team and all Celtic supporters.
A brilliant Saturday morning breakfast read, thanks Mahe. SENCELPOTY@GMAIL.COM
Saturday Napsters,follow the link.
From JOBO re Player of the Year
*** PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2022-23 ***
**COMPETITION STARTING ON 31 JULY**
I’ve been encouraged to relaunch something that I used to do under the umbrella of CQN – an exercise to determining the Player Of The Year for the forthcoming season in real time. No end of season nominations but instead a game by game voting system.
My idea hasn’t changed and certainly isn’t rocket science – I will simply collate each of your individual opinions on who our best 3 players are on a game by game basis. You don’t need to decide which player was best, next best etc. Instead, just decide which 3 players (in no particular order) impressed you most for any given match. All three of your nominations will then have received a ‘vote’. I then tally up the total votes from everyone who takes part for that match and the player who gets the highest votes gets the Man Of The Match award and earns 5 JOBO POINTS. The runner up will get 4, next gets 3, then 2, then 1.
Of course, you don’t need to worry about the detail. All you have to do is nominate 3 players.
And how do you vote? Simply by sending me an email to SENCELPOTY@GMAIL.COM . You don’t have to explain your thinking or make specific detailed comments. All I need is an email from you, short and sweet along the lines of “Hi, for the Aberdeen game my 3 picks are Auld, Chalmers and Lennox”. And neither do you have to vote after every single game – just the ones that you actually attend or watch. Your votes remain confidential – unless you decide to mention on the blog or elsewhere who you went for. But there will be no leaks from me, I promise!
For each game voting opens after the final whistle and remains open until 10.00pm the following evening. I’ll do my best to then tally up the votes and post the results on here usually before 10.30pm.
For the first few games I’ll stick out regular reminders on the blog as each game comes around. You don’t need to sign up or commit to anything, and you don’t need to vote on every game (please just do so for those games that you actually see the whole 90 minutes!). Also, there’s absolute zero cost involved although, equally there are no prizes on offer!
Absolutely anyone is welcome to join in, whether you post on here, post elsewhere or just lurk. And feel free to encourage friends, family etc to join in too, whether regularly or just after certain games. Remember everyone’s opinion is equally valid and everyone’s votes carry the very same weight. If anyone wants to mention or promote this on any other sites I’m absolutely fine with that – copy and paste till your heart’s content! The game by game results will only be posted on Sentinel Celts but, again, I’ve no problem if they are then copied elsewhere.
This is really just a wee bit of fun to maybe give us another topic to discuss as the weeks go on. And I think that it gives a much fairer, real time assessment of how players are performing rather than just looking back at the year end. As the competition develops, I expect to notice certain trends – maybe players that didn’t catch the eye early season then developing into regular vote winners and vice versa.
So the competition will cover every competitive first team game during season 2022-23 starting with our Flag Day visit from Aberdeen.
Finally, if anyone has any other thoughts, ideas or just wants to check their email works please feel free to contact me at SENCELPOTY@GMAIL.COM . You might get an ‘automatic reply’ but I’ll try and send a more personal one over the coming days.
Thanks for reading this far.
From SFTB re Predictor Competition…
Payment details for Superbru
By cash in person to CRC at Celtic Park (CQN Corner)
By bank transfer to
Account name: Walk With Shay
Account number: 15326765
Sort code: 80-22-60
Bank: Bank of Scotland
Ref: Enter your name or moniker (not CQN predictor, as we cannot identify you!)
By paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org (please send as gift, so prize money pot is not diminished by paypal charges).
You can join the Superbru competition without making any payment as we have a few generous donors who have covered the cost of entries for others. The important point is to get entries at this stage- please add your real name so we can match up your payment with your entry (don’t worry we do not publicise any of this).
If you want to donate without playing, that can be done too. All monies raised will be going to Sean’s Trust which provides for local children with needs and is run by the partner of an ex-CQN’r.
Please encourage as many to enter before Saturday at 12.30 when Sevco play Livi. You need to make around 6 predictions every weekend (before each match is played) . You can predict weeks in advance and, provided you do not lock your predictions, you can change and revise them according to form.
We will announce the prize money once we know what we have collected.
So get busy entering, making a donation, and getting your predictions in. We had 60+ participants last season- We are nearing 50 already. The more entries we receive the bigger the sum handed over
Thanks from Ferry Tuckwit here for reminding me to post the competition links!
Made my picks on Superbru but not sure I’m on right site!
Excellent article Bobby. I think most of us were the same as you, in that we never dreamt that we’d win the league or even be close.
Can’t wait for tomorrow.
Ask ATHINGOFBEAUTY to ensure you have the app on your phone.
Good morning all. Great article Mick. Was up early, but forgot to put my ipad on charge, that’s it just ready. Bugger. Lol. HH
67 registered members of Superbru comp now- only awaiting predictions from Angel Gabriel and one from Paddy’s Maw
Thanks to every one for your generosity
I was enjoying that article until the end. Luckily I checked and didnae make an erse of masel in print. Game tomorrow. Fuck off
Of the 67 names in the predictor, I can’t see CCB’s moniker
Ok lets pick it up from where we left off
Mon the hoops
And a bliddy 430pm ko too. Ridiculous.
In time for brunch again? Nearly two months since my last roll and skwerr. The cold turkey isnae working!
Utter pish … wife`s eyeing up a shopping day
68 members- on Superbru- all picks in except Paddy’s Maw for tomorrow’s St. Mirren fixture
Good Morning everyone ( just in time)
Good Luck to all the napsters 🤞
Good Luck to all the predictors ☝️
Right time for Brunch , Bobby
Have a nice day, now 💚
1st Goal of the new Premiership season –
Livingston 1 Huns 0
Route one,great finish,shocking defending.
TRM…the sausage is a bit too wee for the roll and a fried tottie scone would just set it off nicely! It defo beats the vegan square and toasted tottie scones I have to rustle up for the girls…it’s an abomination of a proper Scottish treat!!
I seem to be ‘in’ on Superbru but wouldn’t bet on it!!
In the good old days,we could stand in front of the Rumbelows shop window.
You and me are gonny fa’ oot!
Robinson gives a free kick to the Huns when the Livi player makes a great, clean tackle.
1st Yellow card of the season, Kamara
Hopefully your posting 1st defeat for Sevco at full time 😀
I couldn’t resist bud
Just put me in the mood tae 🤪
Hopefully not too long til you can get a real one🤞💚
Here’s hoping Craig. Livi had nearly another a few moments ago.
I’m sat in the sports bar in irvine having a pint while I wait to miss my bus and there is a few anxious bears watching it 🤣
Sorry P- can’t see your application in ur pool but I’ve sent you another reminder
Looked like a handball by a hun at the edge of their area. No replay yet
Finally get the replay, should have been a free kick just outside the area for Livi. Robinson ignored it, just in case it was inside.
It took 44 minutes for Kent to dive in the area.
Joel Nouble causing the huns all sorts of problems. 3rd yellow for them
Hauf time. still 1-0
Big Joel Nouble absolutely tormented the Sevco defence in first 45mins
Quite a few Hun players have got “wish I wasn’t here” written all over them. 😎
Livi keeper hasn’t had to make a save. Hope it stays like that. Nouble bossing the Huns defence.
Just seen the goal…Souttar doing exactly what he’s built his career on – caught watching the ball, too slow to react then tries a wee handful of shirt to put the player off. And he was booked for exactly that on the touchline later in the half. A perfect signing for them in many respects!
Big Nouble causing all sorts of problems when they get him on the ba’ but my feeling is TRFC are seeing too much of the ba’ not to get a goal!
Don Robertson had a reasonable game so far – Sol, I didn’t think it was a hand by Kamara I thought the ba’ came off his head and dropped onto his hand, and it was just outside the 18!
Have Livi got any supporters in the ground 🤔
According to the wireless Craig it’s 75% huns
Hun’s goal OFFSIDE!!!
Ha ha ha ha 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣😀
They’re now saying it might have been on side! LOL 🙂