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Two excellent articles at the weekend from JIMBO67 and JOBO gave us a break from the World Cup,and respectively a review of a brutal time in our history as well as a detailed rundown of how our players performed individually in Europe. Thanks,lads-we needed that!

Today,I’ll continue with the domestic theme,this time focusing on the way ahead as,it seems,Ange sees it. He has already advised us that he sees our way forward as an evolutionary process rather than a revolutionary one,with new players being added and current ones being allowed to leave as and when it suits.

Now,there is little doubt that the way forward for him and the club was a revolutionary one last season,but necessity is the mother of invention. There was a massive rebuild required fifteen to eighteen months ago which,along with the January additions,wasn’t just a revolution. It was damn near to a miracle! Last season’s success,for me,was as unexpected as the one in The Centenary Season. You may remember that we had lost Brian McClair,Judas,Alan MacInally and Murdo McLeod to the usual board ineptitude. We had also lost Danny McGrain when he retired. Our chances against the big-spending huns of Souness and co seemed minimal.


What a year that was,and what a delight to share it. Martin’s first season wasn’t actually such a surprise for me,even if it was a much more comprehensive doing that he handed out. In the process,handing his hat to Advocaat,a much unexpected bonus. Martin.of course,had a similar rebuild required,even if I thought much of it was unnecessary as he had clearly underestimated the incumbent talents of Petrov,Mjallby,Lubo,and MacNamara,as well as possibly Lambo and Henrik. He,however had little intention of building a team only to dismantle it as he went along. And since none of the players appeared willing to leave a happy and successful side,that was fine by all of us.

It was only perhaps a couple of years later that the necessity to balance signings and departures seemed to become the order of the day. And that is a game plan that Ange has picked up on-with the clear intention of refining and improving it! We saw two years ago how the performances of good players can fall off a cliff when they would rather be elsewhere. Edouard and Christie,in particular,spring to mind. In this one,I’m willing to give Ajer a pass as his performances were well up to standard,even in a failing team. But AP is clearly hell-bent on avoiding that trap in the future!

In the summer,he strengthened us on the wing with Haksabanovic,who has IMO been excellent for us so far. Capable of playing on either wing or even in midfield,and chipping in with a healthy number of goals and assists. The midfield saw the addition of Mooy and Abildgaard,and at the back we brought in a young Argentinian left back as well as competition/back-up in goal with Siegrist. Additionally,we took Jenz on loan with an option to buy,and Matt O’Riley’s old pal hasn’t let us down either

Indeed,of the summer signings,I would only hesitate to question the performances of Abildgaard. The others have been well up to the task,and continued Ange’s Midas touch. And yet,he hasn’t finished! He speaks of buying players to improve the team,then when the time is right,buy more players-but at an even higher level than before!-and move on those he had previously signed to make way for them. And at a huge profit,given their improvement during their time with us.

On the face of it,this isn’t much different from the Lawwell Moneyball experiment-except that Lawwel was only interested in kissing frogs and hoping that one of his managers could perform a miracle. Which didn’t happen often enough to balance out the dross that he signed. Already we have tied up the deal for the lesser-spotted left-sided centre back,in Yuki Kobayashi. He will join us on freedom of contract on Thursday to get to know his team mates and our pattern of play. 6’2” and 22yo,all we need is for him to match up to Ange’s current record and we will have a new favourite at the back. Alastair Johnston has all but signed up for us,and he is currently playing right back for Canada at the world cup. Add in Bernabei and Jenz,and that is a deliberate policy of refreshing each position along the backline,and at a combined cost of between £4-5 million.

Peanuts,in the great scheme of things,and I doubt if Ange’s combined spend since his arrival has yet matched the money we received for Ajer,Christie and Edouard. Which is some going! Yet he intends,it seems,to finance future squad refreshments by moving on any players who are showing dissatisfaction in Glasgow,maybe won’t listen enough to what he is saying,or who he simply thinks are surplus to requirements. While this will become more common as time moves on under him,I think he has earmarked Juranovic as one who is surplus to requirements,and he is probably correct.

Now,for the avoidance of doubt,I really like the player. He has it all. Pace,tackle,dribble,cross. He takes a mean penalty too,with a much higher success rate than others in the squad. But what he seems to lack is defensive awareness,too often caught out of position or on the back foot. Ralston can do what Jura can,but just not quite with as much quality-but he is caught out of position etc,less often. And Alistair Johnston is likely to be a step up as well. All good so far,if all goes to plan!

I’m not sure that we need any additions in midfield at the moment,we are well off in that area. Though we have seen how that can change with just a couple of injuries. On which,I expect CalMac to be back in full training either this week or next,with the intention of returning against Aberdeen on 17/12. We are equally well off on the flanks,but there is little doubt that our central strikers are struggling to match their achievements from last season. Maeda and Kyogo have both discussed it,in fact. And G-Mak seems to be bloody cursed at the minute! They are still doing everything right,just as last season,but it hasn’t quite clicked yet,bar on occasion.

Am I concerned? No.not really. Form is temporary while class is permanent. Once they get back into gear,I expect them to batter at last season’s goals tallies. And when the support players know that the strikers are back on form,that just makes everyone’s job so much easier!

And don’t forget-we are still nine points clear after only fifteen games of the season gone. Despite that,we haven’t actually been performing quite up to standard,not like we did earlier in the year anyway. The huns have hit the panic button and hired a new manager again-I need to take my shoes and socks off to figure out how many they have had in their existence!-but with no money to spend in the first place as well as these new FSR rules to negotiate or subvert. And damned little in the way of talent to raise any,either.

So the players are back in training and looking forward to the rest of the season. The manager is scheming away at fiendish plans to consolidate our supremacy. The board,it seems,are 100% supportive. The fans certainly are,and I think it’s safe to say that the squad as a whole is too. Hard to believe that this time two years ago we were preparing for a League Cup tie against Ross County at home. Where we would be humiliated.


Above article by BMCUWP

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November 29, 2022 9:51 am

Apologies for delay in new article,as I had a bit of bother accessing admin.

November 29, 2022 9:52 am
November 29, 2022 10:36 am

Former Celt Kolo Toure takes over at Wigan,becoming the first African international to manage in senior English football.

November 29, 2022 10:43 am


Another good read.

On the subject of replacements … I’ve heard a direct source, close to players, say Yuki is being mentioned (whispered) in the same breath as Virgil … not intending to put a dampener on this, but at (reported) 185 cm this lad isn’t even 6′ 1″ even allowing for some wishful thinking, he isn’t adding height to our defence – not really – but he may add some power and aggression. Tho’ not really seeing that from his fellow Japanese already in situ…

Virgil is 1.95m (6′ 4″+)

We need a batch of bigger players to match opponents’ aggression in this league and in ECL

St tams
November 29, 2022 10:44 am

Great article Bobby.
Would like to add , that we need another quality centre forward , the 2 at present , don’t look good enough for CL .
I would actually move G G on and bring in 2 strikers.
1 experienced and a young one .

November 29, 2022 11:10 am


I get the concern on height in defence but noticed Brazil’s two centre backs are both smaller than 185cm.
Positional ability, and physicality are as important as a couple of extra cms to match others aggression.
Hopefully Yuki brings both attributes- along with an ability to play out from the back confidently.

I’m looking forward to his match up with CCV.

Also, agree St tams – the centre forward positions need improvement.

November 29, 2022 11:13 am

CFC – good point buddy – I’ve still got high hopes for Yuki alongside CCV

November 29, 2022 11:35 am


Do you anticipate our centre back options will be – in order- CCV Yuki CS and Jenz( option to buy taken up?)
If so Stephen W and Liam S will be moved on?

I guess this is the type of squad churn Ange has indicated.

November 29, 2022 11:52 am

CFC – yes I’d go for those 4 and retain Welsh too as a Celtic lad in the group – see Ralston in same context – lots of opportunities to play them and believe playing a,ongsde better players will help them develop

Big Audio Dynamite
November 29, 2022 12:03 pm

SeS, I definitely share your concerns, but would admit that the game has moved on from the game we watched in our teens? The ball now spends 99% of the time on the grass (Unless you are watching Sevco), and heading just isn’t as frequent as it once was. We also don’t get anything like the credit we deserve for our recent defensive record …it’s been brilliant. I’m sure CCV isn’t much over 6′, if he is, and he is so comfortable playing that position.

Btw, I still want every Celtic player built like Roy Aitken! I’d now rather the players put on a stone in muscle mass, rather than a couple of inches in height. If you wanted to see the difference in player acquisition philosophy, look at old vids of Jinky trying to get passed Davie Provan (The Hun one from land of the giants, not our shin pad free winger) 😊 We always went for pure talent over size, hence why – At times – we may have been beaten physically.

We will be ok, my friend HH

Cosy Corner Bhoy
November 29, 2022 12:08 pm

The fact that Kyogo and big GG have not been scoring as well as last season is surely not a reason to off load them! What happened to class is permanent?
In any ‘hitman’ an element of luck has its place
Two goal scorers of their calibre don’t grow on trees! Gg’s goals are normally of the don’t think just hit variety, hence why he is a shite penalty taker! Hopefully relieved of that permanently.
Kyogo moves onto space anticipating the pass and shot He’s not getting one or other as he expected, therefore less goals
That’s not to say we don’t need another striker as we do Relying on two and using someone like Abada Haksobanovich etc is not a good idea imo
The arrival of Slippy G’s assistant seems to have spooked some on here. His record is worse than GVB’s!
Some think the zBig Bad Wolf is coming… I think Ange will blow him away.

November 29, 2022 12:14 pm

BAD – aye some timely reminders about quality over big lumps – well described too and had a good chuckle as I recalled Jinky twisting Provan into the Ibrox mud

Definitely need an Aitken type – I’d probably settle for a modern version of big Shirley

Maybe too obsessed with big lumps pushing our lads about in our box at set-pieces… that huge Canadian lad absolutely powering over our £20m rated Right-sided defender – wow!

Some goal but our lad didn’t stand a chance …even with a 15 yard start

November 29, 2022 12:21 pm

Good day from G20

Thoughtful article Boss much of which I agree with. Shaksa has been very good and I expect Bernabei to kick on after this interminable break. Abildgaard is though a mystery- he’s come on , what, 10 times and been on the pitch for 200 minutes or so and has made no impact-‘ positive or otherwise.

Not having seen Johnston I cannot comment – just that his likely arrival suggests Juranovic is on his way out. Probably best for both parties if the Croat leaves- although I’d play him at Ibrox as he has absolutely mastery of Kent.

As for Kobyashi I hope he does well , obviously, and I like the sound of a naturally left sided defender- Starfelt has never looked 100% comfortable on that side ( although his pace allows him to recover most of his occasional howlers) so I am hopeful the new man is going to be an improvement on what we have. If he is good enough his perceived lack of height won’t be an issue and 6’1″ is hardly short. Same height as Sonny Liston and not many people called him ‘wee man’. To his face.

Lawwell’s strategy was kissing frogs though? If only it had been so self-less.


November 29, 2022 12:25 pm


Interesting summary of where we are — not sure that I agree with it all but we are playing a totally different game regarding squad development that we ever were with the second-rate property bean counter’s attempts to go by the moneyball book.

AP is a man on a mission and a man in a hurry — he has a growth agenda and isn’t afraid to use it.

He has 6 games of evidence to see how the Scottish / SPL cringe hurts us when we have to step up a gear — the squad ethos built on SPL plenty does not allow us to make the most of the chances we made in the CL. We have the talent but not the hunger / focus / belief.

My thoughts are that some of that he can instil but some he will need to buy.

Reading between the lines — the JJ bonus was on offer during the summer but jhe passed on it.
Probably say it as a level of change that we did not need to get involved with.
He did need the money but decided to stick with who he knew / what he had.

That is not the case now.
Sell a player who has well financed admirer.
Buy a replacement with more potential for half the cash and invest the rest where we need improvement.

The CL results — not performances — show how much is still needed.
More belief / more drive / more winning experience — so I think he will change things.

Looking at the squad.

We need succession planning at GK.
We need a lot of coaching in both FB positions — AB / AR even GT.
We need 2 new CBs — one in the post another needs to be scouted.
MoJ is two years away from being a CL starter and it will be a steep climb.
We need more energy in the MF — AM will be a better player in the 2nd half of the season but he is 32.
We need succession planning for CMcG — find someone who can tackle and keep the ball moving.
We need another CF / striker — younger but with lots of potential — 2018 version of OE / 2020 version of IT.
No need to spend £9mill but we should be willing to if the right person is scouted.
RW / LW — the MJ bus is back on the road for the prince across the water.

Big bucks offers — JJ plus A.N.Other(s) — I would take the money and re-invest.
The WC is showing how much talent is out there — North Africa is the new Balkans / the ME is the new Scandinavia.

Finally we really need to work our B team to the max.
Tough gig with the MIB influence but we need to deep clean the squad and search for more talent.

November 29, 2022 12:34 pm

SeS @ 10.3

Size is not the same as aggression.
We need more dig in the team — size is secondary to attitude.
This is football not egg chasing.

The Leopard’s Rimshot
November 29, 2022 12:34 pm

Good article, Bobby.

CFC, scroll by my posts from now on unless you can respond with the decency in which they’re written.

November 29, 2022 12:36 pm

Mad Mitch

Thanks for that info.

November 29, 2022 12:42 pm

Mad Mitch

‘2020 version of IT’ . Can you please tell me who IT was or is


November 29, 2022 12:43 pm

Sorry did not mean to post twice

Big Audio Dynamite
November 29, 2022 12:47 pm

I definitely wouldn’t be up for selling GG.

The Leopard’s Rimshot
November 29, 2022 12:49 pm

I was wondering who IT is also, Jimbo.

Madmitch, you write good stuff but it hurts my head trying to figure out half of what you’re trying to say with all these abbreviations.

As a safeguard against your alleged ‘bad spelling’, which is perfect elsewhere, you can just open another tab on your device and it will Auto Correct the names you put in eg, Odsonne Edouard, footballer, then you can just Copy & Paste it onto here.

You make incisive points but it’s headwrecking reading as it’s like being forced to figure out code.

The Leopard’s Rimshot
November 29, 2022 12:52 pm

No chance I’d sell GG!

One of the best instinctive scorers in all the British leagues and a handful of a nuisance for every defence in the land.

Just keep him away from taking the penalties though as he always looks nervous.

November 29, 2022 12:55 pm

The lesser spotted IT was seen in and around L/town in the summer of 2020.
300 miles north of his then natural habitat — Ladbrokes in Peterborough — he was in the building but we signed AA instead.

Ivan Toney …

November 29, 2022 12:56 pm

Bobby et al,

Good analyses of the squad. Also, it cannot be stated enough how far we have come in a relatively short time.

However, it is the nature of football fans that as the team does well, expectations rise. I(we) experienced that in the CL.

IMHO, the way forward is, firstly sorting the requirements to succeed domestically, and then build for Europe. If we can find a signing that satisfies both, so much the better. Continuing that thinking, the priority is glaringly obvious. Fix the striking issue. A couple of additional goals against Shaktar and the Germans would have improved our results considerably and resulted in Europe after Xmas.

I am not sure that all of the problem lies at the door of the current strikers. Kyogo and Daizen need particular types of pass….both feed off through balls. GG needs a partner playing along side him to pick up his knockdowns. So, at least part of the issue is the ability of the midfield and the formation that Ange favours.

Simply buying another striker will not completely solve the issue if I am correct.

Johnston will explode in the SPL. Neck stuck out prediction.


The Leopard’s Rimshot
November 29, 2022 12:57 pm

Right, cheers, Mitch.

So you can spell Ivan Toney but not Albian Ajeti?

November 29, 2022 1:00 pm

Mad Mitch



Big Audio Dynamite
November 29, 2022 1:07 pm

Tims worried by Beale’s appointment? Where? I Haven’t seen a single Tic fan state they’re worried.

And there is a world of difference between a coach and a manager …I’m sure Mick already knows that 😉

40% win rate? He ain’t exactly off to a flyer!

November 29, 2022 1:08 pm


I wondered about the IT ref. I thought, how can Information Technology help the striker issue? All is clear now, and I agree. What a miss!

It shows up the critical strategic flaws present in the club at that time. PL saving 1-1.5 million and throwing away north of 15 million. Further, the club had an inside source who had direct experience of Toney, yet his opinion seemed to carry as much weight as his laptop.


The Leopard’s Rimshot
November 29, 2022 1:11 pm

Exactly, BAD.

And the fact QPR were more than happy to let Wolves try to nick their new manager then likewise happy to let the Huns nick him proves they’d spotted a weakness in his alleged abilities and were more than happy to get him off the books.

Maybe the fact he’d lost 4 out his last 5 games with only 9 wins and 8 losses.

Yet still the Huns gave him a 4 year contract, meaning they’ll have to pay him a full 3 and a half years after they sack him in May.

Big Audio Dynamite
November 29, 2022 1:14 pm

Lovely words about the club from big Victor to our new Canuck Bhoy.

Welcome to Paradise, Alistair 🍁

Big Audio Dynamite
November 29, 2022 1:15 pm

TLR, now that would be funny!

November 29, 2022 1:17 pm

Maybe Toney’s addiction problems were being talked about and Celtic decided to put it on the back burner…a wise move if so!
The form of Kyogo and GG, in fact our seeming lack of goals compared to last season – or rather our lack of free scoring – may have something to do with Ange tweaking his system that cost us goals last season. A feature last year was the number of goals scored from low crosses across the 6 yard box which saw Kyogo, Maeda, GG, Abada and Jota all coming in front or back post to finish. How many one-touch finishes did we witness from these positions last season! But we were also wide open to the counter attack which did cost us. We are less susceptible to the counter this season but it does seem to be at the expense of the free-flowing stuff we enjoyed last season.
Just a thought!!

Big Audio Dynamite
November 29, 2022 1:20 pm

Beale going to Ibrox for the Aberdeen game while his fellow manager was under severe pressure, was like watching a vulture sitting waiting for prey to die before feasting.

As the QPR fans are saying, a snake of a man 🐍

November 29, 2022 1:22 pm

Lets beware of over rating a player who has not played a game for us. I do not think Yuki will be a starter initially. He will have to displace both Jenz and Starfelt before he starts. Remember Du Wei, anyone? It will be mid February before we see him, I suspect, unless injuries dictate. Starfelt intends to stay in the team long term.

It will be interesting to see if Jenz is retained. Scales is gone. I think Welsh has been OK when he has played but I do not attend games so I cannot see clearly how he plays off the ball.

The fact that we are having discussions about choices shows how far we have come from the leaky defence days.


November 29, 2022 1:25 pm

R67 @ 1.08

Nothing regarding the second-rate business brain that is PL would surprise me.
His efforts over 17 years are a lesson in sloth / ignorance / ego.
Monkey manager of the worst kind.

The club has been poorly run for years.
DD was engaged when he had the EPL prize to aim for.
Now that it is gone it is back to the Glesga normal — badly run bowling club.

AP has to his credit tried to deliver something different.
He has a growth agenda for himself and he has been happy to share it with us.

The tarmac prairie around our 26 year old stadium with its 93 year old main stand shows the level of basic business competence that we are currently stuck with its penny pinching and its second hand ideas.

However we do not as a club / team / support help ourselves.
We have only regained our interest in CL/EuL football because of the efforts of our friends in Govan.

Far too many parroted the PL party line that the CL — even the EuL — was not for the likes of us.
Until they started to win games in the EuL and got into the CL.

We need to re-discover our appetite for the best.
Tough gig but to me worth the effort.

November 29, 2022 1:30 pm

CFC CB trials …

SW + MoJ vs LS + OU.
The squad vs the loanees.

B team CB trials …

BL + DM vs LH + LM
The stay behinds and the get-aways — to LU and BM respectively.

November 29, 2022 1:33 pm


I had not thought of that re Toney. Maybe that was Strachan’s input that decided it.

Still, like the rest of us footballers have flaws. Some clubs tolerate addictions so long as the player delivers. LG’s behaviour was tolerated until it impacted his performance on the park. Still, the outlay on him was modest and the club did get value in the early years.

Interesting problem……invest and try to help, or the barge pole?


November 29, 2022 1:34 pm


The main stand was rebuilt in 1971,and has been updated since. Also,I think the frontage is listed-could be wrong-which further limits development.

More importantly,its low height allows the sun to flood the pitch,which helps the playing surface.

November 29, 2022 1:37 pm


“Far too many parroted the PL party line that the CL — even the EuL — was not for the likes of us”

Expectation management,and Lawwell’s major success. Of course they are too far ahead of us-if we face up against them with dross.

November 29, 2022 1:43 pm

Interesting piece on Ange’ signing for Celts …

Surprisingly it wasn’t the New CEO after all … it was the Dynamic Duo

They are warming it up nicely … that seat…

November 29, 2022 1:48 pm

McCaff again,

That reform or ditch problem that I mentioned? Just had a trip way down memory lane.

I had to deal with a similar problem. Well respected lecturer was turning up drunk to class. (Sometimes it is called for!) It was an MBA class full of heavy hitters who held important positions. This guy’s problem was known to some but not to me. It had been hushed up but no help had been given, no effective help, that is.

Nice guy too!

I had to intervene and remove him from the course…in fact, all courses. When he was hired, he did mot have the problem but he sure developed it. Little to no help was given, apart from the shape up variety, so I understood.

Learnings? We were not equipped to deal with this type pf problem. To believe that we could help was an error of judgement, IMO. What do you do when the subject will not accept the offer of professional help?

Yes, if known addiction problems exist, few organisations are equipped to deal with it, so people do not get a chance to sort it out while employed.


November 29, 2022 1:51 pm


And by all means follow your own advice re mine.

There wasn’t much “decency” in your replies.
They were childish attempts at belittling, a tactic of yours in conversation when your impotent rage gets the better of you.

November 29, 2022 2:18 pm

Rebus…I understand the conundrum, if the employee is yours there’s a duty of care, Celtic did more than required to help Griff with his issues. Unfortunately, and I have excellent local knowledge of what he was up to but would never share it on a blog, he was not able or prepared to help himself leaving Celtic with no option but to cut him loose. Toney on the other hand was a prospective employee, if his issues became knowledge during routine background checks then it’s got to be a barge pole situation. Also, if it did become obvious to Celtic under no circumstances could or should they publicise it, it’s someone else’s problem!

November 29, 2022 2:26 pm

BMCUW @ 1.34

The Main Stand was built in 1929.

It was re-roofed — badly going by the engineering issues — in 1971 when the paddock was turned over to seats.
The frontage was renewed / extended in 1988 — very much a creature of its time — in a Barrat House style.

The frontage is not listed — bargain basement Leitch design.
Lighting rigs do the hard work regarding looking after the grass.

The whole stadium needs upgrading.
However the most pressing issue is the rebuilding of the South / Main stand.
Not a case of if — case of when.

We are now well behind the curve regarding stadium facilities.

November 29, 2022 2:35 pm

The next time you have a good comment about Celtic will be the first.
Amazed at the amount of posters who understand his comments, i catch a few.

November 29, 2022 2:41 pm

Madmax!! 😁
On completion of the rebuilt stadium in 94/95 the grass on the South stand side started to die. This meant removing the front panelled section of the roof and replacing them with transparent panels, they’re still there, allowing natural sunlight and daylight to reach the grass. It was an unforeseen error in the plans for the new stadium.
It may have been the last time Celtic’s groundstaff last received an award for best playing surface – I seem to remember the Head Groundsman regularly received the award late 80s early 90s…of course, I may be talking manure! Wouldn’t be the first time!! 🥴

November 29, 2022 2:54 pm

TLR,CFC et al.

MAHE and I prefer to keep the site civil,and that is largely adhered to by our contributors. Mainly,I think,because they too prefer it that way. Obviously,when two or more posters are suggesting that others simply scroll past their posts,then something has gone wrong. Nothing wrong with a disagreement-or even an “animated discussion”-as my friends will testify,but it is not how a blog works.

In fact,when that happens,it soon becomes a free-for-all,as we have seen elsewhere. Which isn’t pretty.

If anyone disagrees with a comment from another,then of course they have the right of reply. It does not include getting personal. And this post isn’t aimed at either of you in particular,as it is a general point,largely agreed to by us all.

16 roads
November 29, 2022 2:59 pm

A video just popped up on my YouTube recommendations – Dundee 5 – 1 Celtic.
Didn’t click on said video, however it looks like it’s from sometime in the 80’s.
Hit not interested, and now it’s gone.
No idea why it appeared, unless they are trying to troll me on purpose. 🤬

Big Audio Dynamite
November 29, 2022 3:00 pm

16 roads, I just watched it again the other night. One crazy game!

Big Audio Dynamite
November 29, 2022 3:03 pm

Btw, Celtic scored first (Roy Aitken)

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