Apr 042016
 

Recent Steps in the Right Direction

 

 

A little more than a month ago, in the wake of Celtic’s goalless draw with Dundee in Glasgow, I wrote the following paragraph as part of a larger article (the entirety of which is available here): “For a variety of reasons, many people – some of whom still attend matches it must be said – feel disconnected from the Club which they hold so dear. Whether their main grievances involve the standard of football on offer; ticket pricing; kick-off times; the lack of public response from the Football Club to date regarding the scandal which has engulfed the Scottish game over the last few years; the effects of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 (which the Club opposes) or anything else besides – the disconnect is there and if anything, instead of intensive efforts being made to narrow the gap, it has been allowed to widen. Focusing solely on the first of these matters, it is my belief that whilst the Celtic support can accept poor results every now and again, we cannot accept performances seemingly devoid of fight. The present team seem to capitulate with relative regularity at the first sign of adversity and as a result of this, there is a small part of me which feels oddly content with two points from our last two matches, because there were times in each tie when I thought a defeat was forthcoming. The much larger part of me, of course, is frustrated at the four points dropped during those two contests…”

Now, whilst I stand by what I said at the time, I feel I must now readdress the issue of “performances seemingly devoid of fight”, because the team have overcome significant adversity in each of their three most recent league matches to great aplomb. Prior to this trio, a home Scottish Cup fixture against Morton also presented a somewhat clichéd – if not entirely baseless – “no-win situation” for everyone at the Football Club. After all, the certainty of the uproar which would have followed an unlikely victory for the visitors was just as inevitable as the relative apathy which would accompany a comfortable home victory against lower league opposition whom Celtic were rightly expected to defeat. Regardless, the Celts did all which they could do that day, competently ensuring the Club’s progression to the semi-final stage of the tournament where further lower league opposition await.

The three league clashes which have taken place since then have each tested the Celts’ individual and collective mettle in different ways, and to their credit, they have won the day on each occasion. Firstly, a Glasgow Derby against Partick Thistle on a poor surface at Firhill saw the visitors patiently compile a seemingly comfortable lead, before a soft penalty (remarkably Thistle’s first in sixty-nine matches) gave the home side hope of snatching a point from the fixture with five minutes plus stoppage time remaining. However, the Hoops held on and secured an important victory, as Aberdeen would go on to defeat Kilmarnock by the same scoreline at Pittodrie later in the afternoon, again narrowing the gap to a single point (with Celtic having played one match less than the Dons). Celtic had won each of their two previous league meetings with Partick Thistle this season – although one of these was decided by a dramatic last gasp winner from Leigh Griffiths – and so perhaps this victory was to be expected, but tougher tests were yet to come.

 

 

On paper, our subsequent visit to Rugby Park to face a Kilmarnock side occupying eleventh place in the table should have been a simple affair, but when one considers that the Celts had failed to get the better of the Ayrshire side in either of their previous encounters this season, any blasé overconfidence would have been misplaced in my opinion. As it happened, this third meeting had several overtones of its predecessors, with Celtic having the better of the play but struggling against a determined, well-drilled Kilmarnock defence. The Hoops spurned a few chances, whilst Killie also went close on occasion, and as I stood there at Rugby Park watching the clock quickly ticking towards full-time, I could not help but feel that another goalless draw was on its way. Thankfully, I was to be proven wrong, as an absolutely wonderful strike from Tom Rogic sent the travelling supporters at Rugby Park into a state of positive rapture, the likes of which had not been seen for some time.

As the final whistle sounded, I imagine the ecstasy felt by the Celtic supporters around the world was only replicated by the agony endured by the Aberdeen fans, many of whom would have been en route to Fir Park. Had the Hoops drawn, a win against Motherwell would have seen the Dons move to the top of the table by a single point, albeit having played one match more than the Glasgow side. It is, of course, impossible to say whether or not Aberdeen would have defeated Motherwell had Celtic failed to score at Rugby Park, but had that been the result of the lunchtime fixture, the encouragement which it would have given them would likely have been enormous. Instead, the last gasp Celtic winner must have had some psychological effect, and by that evening, with Aberdeen having lost, the Hoops had established a four point lead at the top as the international break began.

 

 

Lastly, Celtic welcomed the third best team in Scotland, Heart of Midlothian, to the East End of Glasgow on Saturday. The attendance figure fell just short of the fifty thousand mark, signifying the importance of the occasion. The away side went ahead early on and Celtic found themselves faced with the task of coming from behind to win a football match, something which they had not done since the fourth of October 2015 away at Hamilton. Indeed, the only other occasions upon which such a comeback took place this season arrived in July and August, against FC Stjarnan (A) and St Johnstone (H) respectively. Yet, the Celts did just that at the weekend, eventually securing three points by virtue of a three-one scoreline.

Statistically, it was a slightly quirky match, against a Hearts side who played well for large periods, displaying some clever passing and movement whilst lacking some refined finishing. According to the BBC, Celtic only had 43% of possession – the first occasion this season wherein any of our domestic opponents have dominated the football – and the visitors had one more shot than we did, with their fourteen attempts just bettering our tally. Critically though, ten of our thirteen attempts were on target (77%), whilst Hearts’ only managed four such efforts (29%). Regardless, putting my love of statistics aside for now, the most important numbers this weekend were those representing our scoreline, and it was a great pleasure to see Celtic secure the win once again. Of course, Aberdeen eased past Hamilton at Pittordrie to narrow the gap to four points once more, but this was not a big surprise.

Whilst it can correctly be stated that the results which Celtic have achieved of late do not solve all of the concerns which many supporters have regarding the Football Club, it has been encouraging to see the team stand tall in the face of adversity, holding on for tight victories; producing some magic when it was required most; and overturning a deficit to secure three vital points. Make no mistake about it, with every poor performance or bad result, the pressure around any Football Club will grow, and had Celtic conceded a late equaliser at Firhill or failed to beat Kilmarnock at the third attempt, the inevitable nervousness and anxiety around the next match would have increased exponentially. If Aberdeen had led the league table throughout the international break and Hearts had scored early at Celtic Park just as they did on Saturday, it would have been very easy for the players and coaching staff to panic, particularly as the atmosphere would have had the potential to turn rather sour. I am well aware that these scenarios fall into the realms of “ifs”, “buts” and “maybes”, but I have mentioned them simply to highlight the consequences which could have followed had they come to pass. This Celtic side may not be perfect, but recently they have shown their capability to dig in and fight when it matters, and they deserve great credit for doing so. Indeed, it would be wrong of me or anyone else to only criticise our Football Club whenever something warrants it, rather than being appreciative when praise is undoubtedly due.

Big challenges lie ahead as the 2015/16 campaign runs its course, but one would hope that confidence will breed confidence in the weeks to come. Our most important fixture will continue to be our next one, whatever it may be. The importance of Celtic’s trip to Den’s Park tomorrow evening – which will finally see our long discussed game in hand take place – cannot be overstated, so here’s hoping for another victory.

 

 

Mar 312016
 

Twitter Quiz 4

 

 

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the next installment of our monthly quiz.

Below, any of you who missed the quiz on Twitter will be able to find all of the questions as always.

The answers can be found at the very bottom of this page, so as not to ruin it for anyone who wants to show the quiz to a family member or friend etc.

Also, should anyone who missed the earlier quizzes fancy a go at them, they can be found by clicking the following links: Quiz 1Quiz 2 and Quiz 3.

Thank you, as ever, for your participation.

 

Questions

 

1. Who was the first Celtic manager never to have played for Celtic Football Club prior to his appointment?

 

2. Which Celtic manager was also the first gentleman born outside of the U.K. or Ireland to manage a club in the English top flight?

 

3. Who is this?

 

quiz8aedit

 

4. Scott Brown attained his 50th Scottish international cap this week. Only 9 ex-Celts have surpassed the 50 mark. Name as many of them as you can.

 

5. True or false – Kieran Tierney now has as many international caps as Joe McBride.

 

6. Who is this?

 

quiz8bedit

 

7. The legendary Johan Cruyff played at Celtic Park just once during his illustrious career, but in which year did he do so?

 

8. Ronny Deila won just one major piece of silverware during his playing career, the Norwegian Football Cup in 2000. Who did he play for?

 

9. Who is this?

 

quiz8cedit

 

10. In which year did Celtic first wear their now iconic green and white Hoops?

 

11. The site of which football stadium did the “Old Board” consider as a potential location for the new Celtic Park in the early 1990’s?

 

12. Who is this?

 

quiz8eedit

 

13. Celtic were knocked out of the 1991 Scottish Cup at the semi-final stage, but which man picked up a winners’ medal that year and also when the Celts completed their domestic treble in 2001?

 

14. Which Scottish player – never a Celt – was a member of the losing sides in both the 1991 and 2001 Scottish Cup Finals and featured for St. Johnstone as Celtic recorded a historic 2-0 win to secure the Scottish League title in 1998?

 

15. Who is this?

 

quiz8dedit

 

 

 

Answers

 

 

 

1. Who was the first Celtic manager never to have played for Celtic Football Club prior to his appointment? – Liam Brady (1991-93)

 

2. Which Celtic manager was also the first gentleman born outside of the U.K. or Ireland to manage a club in the English top flight? – Dr. Jozef Venglos, Aston Villa (1990-91)

 

3. Who is this Celt? – Callum McGregor

 

quiz8aoriginal

 

4. Scott Brown attained his 50th Scottish international cap this week. Only 9 ex-Celts have surpassed the 50 mark. Name as many of them as you can. - Kenny Dalglish (102), Paul McStay (76), Tom Boyd (72), Kenny Miller (69), Danny McGrain (62), John Collins (58), Roy Aitken (57), Gary Caldwell (55) and Alan Rough (53).

 

5. True or false – Kieran Tierney now has as many international caps as Joe McBride. – False, but not for long. Joe McBride played twice for Scotland during his career, whilst Kieran Tierney has only made his debut international thus far.

 

6. Who is this? - Tom Rogic

 

A-League Rd 5 - Central Coast v Sydney

 

7. The legendary Johan Cruyff played at Celtic Park just once during his illustrious career, but in which year did he do so? - 1982, Celtic 2 Ajax 2 (he also featured as Ajax took on Celtic in 1971, but the match was played at Hampden Park – Celtic 1 Ajax 0).

 

8. Ronny Deila won just one major piece of silverware during his playing career, the Norwegian Football Cup, in 2000. Who did he play for? - Odds Ballklubb, more commonly known as “Odd”.

 

9. Who is this? - Darnell Fisher

 

quiz8coriginal

 

10. In which year did Celtic first wear their now iconic green and white Hoops? - 1903.

 

11. The site of which football stadium did the “Old Board” consider as a potential location for the new Celtic Park in the early 1990’s? - Hampden Park (yes, seriously) – Discussing a few of the reasons why this did not ultimately come to pass, “The Celtic View” told us: “Stadium Director Tom Grant said: “We placed a great deal of emphasis on access and road links, which with Hampden are particularly bad, although the rail links aren’t bad. Also, the site wasn’t ours and negotiations with Queen’s Park were taking too long.”” I guess it’s off to Cambuslang then folks!

 

12. Who is this? - Leigh Griffiths.

 

quiz8eoriginal

 

13. Celtic were knocked out of the 1991 Scottish Cup at the semi-final stage, but which man picked up a winners’ medal that year and also when the Celts completed their domestic treble in 2001? - Tom Boyd

 

14. Which Scottish player – never a Celt – was a member of the losing sides in both the 1991 and 2001 Scottish Cup Finals and featured for St. Johnstone as Celtic recorded a historic 2-0 win to secure the Scottish League title in 1998? – John O’Neil (who played for Dundee United, St. Johnstone, Hibernian, Falkirk, Gretna, Cowdenbeath and East Stirlingshire during his career).

 

15. Who is this? - Kris Commons.

 

quiz8doriginal

Mar 032016
 
Consecutive Draws Lead to Growing Dissent but Hope Must Spring Eternal

 

 

Having run this website for more than five years now, I can confidently state that it is a rare day whenever the Celtic support agrees entirely on any one topic online. Whether it’s who should fill a particular position on the field, which formation is best suited to our squad or who would feature in our “all-time Celtic elevens”, large scale agreements are not common occurrences, but I do not believe this to be a bad thing. After all, without differing opinions, the game which we all love would be significantly less interesting and we would not have a great deal to talk about. Now, whilst I could not – and would not – ever claim to speak for the fan base as a whole, I feel it is relatively safe to assert that the vast majority of Celtic supporters currently believe something is seriously wrong with their Football Club. Indeed, many people have felt like this, albeit to varying degrees, for months, if not years now. As individuals, we may not be able to put our respective fingers on the precise roots of these problems, but we are very aware of their existence nonetheless.

As the final whistle sounded in the East End of Glasgow last night, I stood for a minute by my seat and watched the remainder of the crowd disperse. Anger and frustration were prevalent emotions in the air, understandably so, but so was that of anxiety. For the first time in several years, Celtic find themselves in the midst of a serious title race. I, for one, will admit to the fact that whilst in 2012 I believed one of our competitors – perhaps Aberdeen, Dundee United or Hearts – would eventually challenge us for the Premiership title whilst there was no club playing their matches at Ibrox in the top of flight of the Scottish game, I did not believe that it would happen so quickly. Indeed, I also presumed that it would occur mainly due to one of our competitors seriously improving (which it must be said Aberdeen and a few others have done, to give them their due) rather than significant regression on our part. In this sense, I was certainly wrong, and perhaps somewhat naive also, as many of the problems currently facing Celtic have not simply come as a result of Ronny Deila’s tenure.

Before addressing some of these issues in more detail, I feel I must also discuss the aforementioned Norwegian. Upon Deila’s arrival in Glasgow, a relative wave of excitement spread across the Celtic supporting world, and not without good reason. Much of the football played during the 2013/14 season – the last of Neil Lennon’s charge as Celtic manager – was not of a particularly good standard, nor was it massively entertaining to watch. One may reflect on this as an inevitability of sorts when considering that it directly followed the famous successes of the previous 2012/13 campaign as the Hoops secured a double and progressed to the last sixteen of Europe’s top continental competition.

 

 

Regardless, as the familiar figure of Neil Lennon departed, the virtually unknown Ronny Deila took his place to much aplomb. First impressions are important in any walk of life and Deila won a lot of people over very quickly, including myself. Promises of fast, attacking football and almost superhuman fitness levels were appealing to the Celtic support, especially when they were delivered by a man who is an excellent speaker. Having had the opportunity to listen to Ronny discuss his footballing philosophy in person on one occasion, I too bought into his vision. Even amidst the current gloom, I will not change my opinion that I have never heard anyone speak as well about football from an ideological standpoint as Ronny did that evening, but talk and producing the results to back it up are two entirely different affairs.

The slow start domestically, including the debacles against Legia Warsaw and Maribor, were rightly forgiven when Ronny’s side seemed to turn a corner around the turn of the New Year, as consecutive domestic victories mounted up and Inter Milan narrowly eliminated the Celts from the Europa League. We should never forget that only a shambolic officiating decision of the highest level of stubborn incompetence prevented his double winning Celtic side from a potentially historic Scottish Cup Final clash with Falkirk, but it wasn’t to be.

This season, a campaign in which we all hoped the Club could push on and begin to move in the right direction with some consistency has instead brought significant helpings of frustration and disappointment. Another push to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League ended in relative ignominy, with the previous season’s optimism being stripped from many supporters upon the scoring of Malmo’s second goal late on at Celtic Park. Whilst walking along the streets away from the stadium that evening, there was an evident feeling not of victory – which the 3-2 scoreline did bring us – but of defeat. This pessimism was cemented, of course, during the return leg in Sweden. A Europa League campaign wherein some encouraging performances were tinged with self-induced moments of madness then followed, whilst two abject showings against Molde left a bitter taste in the mouths of many. A dramatic late goal from Leigh Griffiths won the New Year derby with Partick Thistle, and one could not help but wonder if – in a manner somewhat similar to last year – we may finally turn the illusive corner and begin to push onwards to success in the Spring. However, this has not been the case, as although victories over Stranraer, Dundee United, Hamilton and St Johnstone meant we had won five consecutive domestic matches for only the second time since April 2015, back to back defeats against Ross County and Aberdeen hurt us all badly. Subsequently, our most recent two draws have taken us to our current position – four points clear of Aberdeen with a notably superior goal difference.

 

 

Make no mistake about it – we are in a serious title race and the fact that large numbers of people have actively considered the previously referenced goal difference is indicative of that fact. With ten matches left, the Hoops will have to play Hearts twice (a side whom we have not beaten in the League this season), Aberdeen once (having defeated us twice at Pittodrie whilst losing at Celtic Park), Motherwell once (whom we have beaten once this year whilst losing the most recent fixture at home), Kilmarnock once (a side whom we have not beaten this season, despite the fact they currently sit in eleventh place in the table), Partick Thistle at least once (having won both matches against them thus far), and a selection of sides depending on who makes the top six. Of course, the Dons have a similar run-in, but in any other season this would be considered a tight race which could go either way, and therefore we must treat it as such. The fact that our challengers do not wear blue should not skew anyone’s opinions in this regard. With so much on the line – the chance for Celtic to win five league titles in a row for only the third time since the Scottish League’s inception in 1890 – Celtic Park should be near to capacity for every remaining home match, and yet this will not be the case. Therein lies one of the major problems not simply for Ronny Deila, but for those within the hierarchy at Celtic Football Club.

For a variety of reasons, many people – some of whom still attend matches it must be said – feel disconnected from the Club which they hold so dear. Whether their main grievances involve the standard of football on offer; ticket pricing; kick-off times; the lack of public response from the Football Club to date regarding the scandal which has engulfed the Scottish game over the last few years; the effects of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 (which the Club opposes) or anything else besides – the disconnect is there and if anything, instead of intensive efforts being made to narrow the gap, it has been allowed to widen. Focusing solely on the first of these matters, it is my belief that whilst the Celtic support can accept poor results every now and again, we cannot accept performances seemingly devoid of fight. The present team seem to capitulate with relative regularity at the first sign of adversity and as a result of this, there is a small part of me which feels oddly content with two points from our last two matches, because there were times in each tie when I thought a defeat was forthcoming. The much larger part of me, of course, is frustrated at the four points dropped during those two contests, but again this is indicative of where we now stand.

Having been as patient as I personally can be with Ronny, I would not be disappointed if he were to now leave the Club behind him. The same can be said for several members of his coaching staff and the playing squad. If he does remain in charge until the end of the season, which appears likely since there has been no movement today to the contrary, he will continue to have my support and I sincerely hope his side win each of their remaining fixtures. However, as I said earlier, the problems which we are now facing are not solely of Deila’s making. They are the result of long-term strategical failings by the decision makers at Celtic Park. The malaise of mediocrity present around Celtic Football Club, both on and off the park, is not simply due to the adherence of a tactical decision to play a certain formation, it is the symptom of an unwillingness to alter a faltering system of governance. Three months is a long time in football, and with at least eleven games remaining in two competitions, the team deserve our utmost support during each of our remaining fixtures. A domestic double would be an enormous boost for everyone and could begin to heal numerous wounds, but it’s best to focus on our next match, whatever that may be, from now until the end of May. There’s still a lot to play for, and whilst that is the case, hope must spring eternal.

 

 

 

Feb 292016
 

Twitter Quiz 3

 

 

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the next installment of our monthly quiz.

Below, any of you who missed the quiz on Twitter will be able to find all of the questions as always.

The answers can be found at the very bottom of this page, so as not to ruin it for anyone who wants to show the quiz to a family member or friend etc.

Also, should anyone who missed the earlier quizzes fancy a go at them, they can be found by clicking the following links: Quiz 1 and Quiz 2.

Thank you, as ever, for your participation. Here’s hoping for a successful end to the 2015-16 season.

 

Questions

 

1. Only two of Celtic’s ten most expensive signings to date occurred in the 1990’s, but which players were involved?

 

2. Who is this?

 

quiz7e

 

3. Which Celtic player, now known by another surname, was initially named “Byrne” whilst an infant?

 

4. True or false – Celtic have never lost a Scottish Cup tie by more than a three goal margin.

 

5. Who is this?

 

quiz7c

 

6. Which ex-Celt was nicknamed “Mad Dog”?

 

7. Prior to Henrik Larsson’s 35 league goals in the 2000/01 campaign, who were the last three Celts to finish as the competition’s top goalscorer with a total of 30 plus?

 

8. Who is this?

 

quiz7a

 

 

9. Gary Hooper scored all five goals in a league match against Hearts, but who was the last Celt to score five or more goals in a competitive match prior to the Englishman’s feat?

 

10. True or false – Lee Naylor and Efe Ambrose have made more appearances for Celtic combined than Bertie Auld did alone.

 

11. Who is this?

 

quiz7b

 

12. According to the Celtic Wiki, only four Italians have ever played a senior competitive match for Celtic – can you name them?

 

13. True or false – Willie Maley managed Celtic Football Club for a longer period than current boss Ronny Deila has been alive.

 

14. Who is this?

 

quiz7d

 

15. Henrik Larsson made more appearances than any other Celt hailing from outwith Scotland, England, Ireland or Wales, but which overseas player is second to the Swede in this regard?

 

Answers

 

 

1. Only two of Celtic’s ten most expensive signings to date occurred in the 1990’s, but which players were involved? – Eyal Berkovic (£5,750,000) and Alan Stubbs (£3,500,000). N.B.: For those of you who said Rafael Scheidt, Wikipedia has the transfer listed as going through on the first of January 2000.

 

2. Who is this? – Wakaso Mubarak

 

quiz7eoriginal

 

3. Which Celtic player, now known by another surname, was initially named “Byrne” whilst an infant? – Anthony Stokes, originally called “Anthony Byrne”.

 

4. True or false – Celtic have never lost a Scottish Cup tie by more than a three goal margin. – False. Although this is listed as being the case on one of Celtic’s official Wikipedia pages, Scottish Cup hammerings have been known to happen, with a 4-0 loss to Rangers in the Scottish Cup Final of 1928 perhaps being the most prominent, although some older readers may recall the 4-0 semi-final defeat of 1959 against St. Mirren.

 

5. Who is this? – Billy Stark

 

quiz7coriginal

 

6. Which ex-Celt was nicknamed “Mad Dog”? – Stephane Mahe

 

7. Prior to Henrik Larsson’s 35 league goals in the 2000/01 campaign, who were the last three Celts to finish as the competition’s top goalscorer with a total of 30 plus? – Brian McClair (35, 1986/87), Bobby Lennox (32, 1967/68) and Joe McBride (31, 1965/66). N.B.: Joe McBride shared this accolade with Alexander Ferguson of Dunfermline at the end of the 1965/66 season, so if we were to exclude him based on this, the next Celt to win this title outright whilst scoring 30 plus league goals would be James McGrory (50, 1935/36).

 

8. Who is this? – Jo Inge Berget

 

Celtic v Maribor - UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play-Offs Round: Second Leg

 

9. Gary Hooper scored all five goals in a league match against Hearts, but who was the last Celt to score five or more goals in a competitive match prior to the Englishman’s feat? – Dixie Deans (6), versus Partick Thistle, 17th November 1973

 

10. True or false – Lee Naylor and Efe Ambrose have made more appearances for Celtic combined than Bertie Auld did alone. – False, but not by as large a margin as you might think. Bertie made 279 appearances in all major competitions for Celtic, whilst Lee Naylor made 100 and Efe Ambrose has made 159. However, should Efe go on to make 21 more competitive outings in the Hoops, this statistic will fall.

 

11. Who is this? – Frank Haffey

 

quiz7boriginal

 

12. According to the Celtic Wiki, only four Italians have ever played a senior competitive match for Celtic – can you name them? – Massimo Donati, Enrico Annoni, Paolo Di Canio and Rolando Ugolini.

 

13. True or false – Willie Maley managed Celtic Football Club for a longer period than current boss Ronny Deila has been alive. – True, whilst Willie Maley managed Celtic for more than 42 years, Ronny Deila is just 40 at this moment in time.

 

14. Who is this? – Shaun Maloney

 

quiz7doriginal

 

15. Henrik Larsson made more appearances than any other Celt hailing from outwith Scotland, England, Ireland or Wales, but which overseas player is second to the Swede in this regard? – Stiliyan Petrov. Whilst Henrik turned out 315 times for Celtic, the Bulgarian ran him a very close second, eventually finishing his Celtic career with 311 competitive outings for the Celts.

 

Feb 042016
 

Another 2-1 Loss at Pittodrie Narrows Gap to Three Points

 

 

In light of Celtic’s defeat last night at Pittodrie, I would expect that the Celtic support will not be short of opinion pieces to digest in whichever form of media is their respective preference today. With this firmly in mind, I intend to keep this article fairly short.

Currently, taking an average from the start of this season until now, Celtic are conceding one goal for every 7.55 attempts which their opponents achieve. However, at this stage last season, with forty games having been played in all competitions, the equivalent statistic was one goal conceded for every 10.97 attempts an opponent may have. Whilst it would be naive to blame the team’s results on any one aspect of their play, I cannot emphasise the importance of this statistic enough. Celtic are not only conceding more goals than they did this season, they are conceding them far more easily, and this is a matter of the utmost concern. Don’t forget, in sixty-one competitive matches during the last campaign, the Hoops conceded forty-four goals. This season, we’ve now lost forty-two goals in forty competitive matches, and it’s only the start of February. Indeed, in our last two matches, our opponents managed a combined total of fourteen attempts, ten of which were on target, with five resulting in goals. The Celts, on the other hand, had twenty-two attempts, eleven of which were on target, scoring just twice.

 

 

Conversely, the team’s attacking department (although far from perfect), have marginally improved their performances this season, scoring ninety goals in forty matches whilst they managed eighty in the same period last time around. However, this is not only down to them being marginally more prolific in front of goal in terms of taking chances (one in 7.23 attempts scored this season versus one in 7.91 at this point previously), but also because they have managed to have produce attempts and shots on target than they did last season. Critically though, attempts are one thing, but clear cut chances – which were sorely lacking last night – are something else entirely. After all, Celtic had eight shots last night whilst Aberdeen managed seven, but who do you think posed the biggest threat going forward?

The irony of all this is that worries are rife within the Celtic support whilst our main striker, Leigh Griffiths, is on course to have the best goalscoring season of any Celtic player since Henrik Larsson. Of course, with the greatest respect to Griffiths, I would not put him in the same class as the Swede, but the point stands. He is just three goals away from equaling the best season returns of both Gary Hooper and Scott McDonald in the Hoops (thirty-one goals in fifty-one and fifty-two appearances respectively), With a remarkable twenty-eight goals in thirty-four appearances, Griffiths either scores or assists once for every 75.88 minutes (on average) he plays this season, whilst his twenty-one league goals represent a higher total than that of his four nearest teammates combined (Tom Rogic, six; Nir Bitton, five; Kris Commons, four; and Nadir Ciftci, four; a total of nineteen in all). No Celt other than Griffiths has hit double figures in the goal charts in all competitions during the 2015/16 campaign, with Kris Commons being the closest with nine. Granted, Leigh Griffiths may not be perfect, but I dread to think where we would be at present without him.

 

 

Celtic’s remaining SPFL fixtures, prior to the split of the league, are as follows: Ross County (H), Inverness Caledonian Thistle (H), Hamilton Academical (A), Dundee (H), Partick Thistle (A), Kilmarnock (A), Heart of Midlothian (H), and Motherwell (A). There will also be a trip to Dens Park to face Dundee, although following the postponement of the original tie, a new date is still to be confirmed. Celtic have yet to defeat Hearts or Kilmarnock in the league this season, whilst Motherwell have already beaten us at home, Ross County triumphed in the recent Scottish League Cup semi-final fixture, and Partick Thistle lost only to a last minute winner in the New Year. On paper, these should be eight games wherein we target eight victories, but when one considers that we have only managed to keep four clean sheets in all competitions since we hammered Dundee United by five goals to nil on the twenty-fifth of October (a total of eighteen matches), this could prove a very difficult task. Unless we can find a way to solidify the defence, particularly whilst Jozo Simunovic is out for approximately six weeks, we will continue to rely on the attack and Leigh Griffiths to get us through the months ahead.

Something is wrong at Celtic Football Club, but in all likelihood that “something” is a conglomeration of numerous factors. Personally, I do not believe Ronny Deila will be sacked presently, although that it is simply speculation on my part. However, I do feel that he is on the proverbial brink, and should – for argument’s sake – Celtic lose their next league fixture and Aberdeen win to bring themselves level with us on points, this may change. Fundamentally, the hierarchy at Celtic Park must know all too well that if the unthinkable were to happen and the Hoops were to fail to win the league title, there would be widespread calls – quite correctly – for their departure from the Football Club as well as that of the manager. They will not allow that to happen without throwing the dice and changing the manager, but this will all depend on when they believe the severity of the situation to be so great that they have no choice but to gamble.

I still maintain the sincere hope that Celtic will retain the league title and win as many of their remaining matches as possible, but hope can only get us so far. The pressure is building at Celtic Park, and whether it’s results, form, attitude, strategy, the manager, the coaching staff or the hierarchy, something must change to allow this pressure a release. Let’s hope it’s the former.

 

Feb 012016
 

A Brief Look at Celtic’s Recent Striking Transfer Dealings

 

 

Throughout the vast majority of Ronny Deila’s tenure as Celtic manager, his team have played with a solitary striker, much to the chagrin of numerous supporters. At present, Leigh Griffiths is undeniably the main attacking threat at the Football Club, with Colin Kazim-Richards apparently inbound before the transfer window closes later tonight. Kazim-Richards will be one of three strikers currently at the Football Club (excluding youths and development squad players), alongside Carlton Cole and the aforementioned Griffiths. Three strikers are currently out on loan also, with Nadir Ciftci headed for Turkey, Anthony Stokes at Hibernian, and Stefan Scepovic with Getafe in Spain. Understandably, many would fear how the present squad would cope should a serious injury befall Griffiths, who has proven himself to be a far better striker than I, and perhaps many other people, thought he could ever be when he signed for Celtic a couple of years ago.

However, the primary purpose of this article is not to cover these topics in-depth, but rather to consider Celtic’s recent history in the transfer market when trading in strikers, a good example of whom is most certainly a valuable commodity in the modern footballing world.

 

 

From the time of Tony Mowbray through to the current day, Celtic have signed fifteen notable strikers, whilst bringing another four in on loan. In total, these moves have cost the Football Club approximately £20,900,000 in transfer fees, each of which is listed below.

In: Morten Rasmussen (£1,300,000), Marc-Antoine Fortune (£3,800,000), Tony Watt (£100,000), Anthony Stokes (£1,200,000), Gary Hooper (£2,400,000), Daryl Murphy (£800,000), Mohamed Bangura (£2,200,000), Lassad Nouioui (Free), Leigh Griffiths (£1,000,000), Holmbert Fridjonsson (£100,000), Teemu Pukki (£2,400,000), Amido Balde (£1,800,000), Stefan Scepovic (£2,300,000), Carlton Cole (Free) and Nadir Ciftci (£1,500,000).

In (Loan): Robbie Keane, Pawel Brozek, Miku and John Guidetti.

Conversely, ten of these fifteen men have now departed Celtic Park, bringing in £9,950,000 in transfer fees, with each of the loan quartet also heading back to their parent clubs and another three being sent out on loan themselves.

Out: Marc-Antoine Fortune (£2,500,000), Morten Rasmussen (£250,000), Mohamed Bangura (Free), Lassad Nouioui (Free), Gary Hooper (£5,500,000), Daryl Murphy (Free), Tony Watt (£1,200,000), Amido Balde (Free), Holmbert Fridjonsson (Free), Teemu Pukki (£500,000).

Out (Loan): Anthony Stokes, Stefan Scepovic, Nadir Ciftci.

 

 

This represents a financial loss of almost £11,000,000, but there is much more to these lists than that. Firstly, they highlight that we have only made a profit on two of these players, Gary Hooper (£3,100,000 profit) and Tony Watt (£1,100,000 profit), with the rest culminating in losses, or parity in the case of Lassad Nouioui. Indeed, the signings of Amido Balde, Holmbert Fridjonsson, Mohammed Bangura and Daryl Murphy were particularly disastrous, with a total of £4,900,000 being spent without a single penny being taken in return. The last of these men is now proving his relative worth by scoring regularly in the Championship with Ipswich Town, but no matter.

Of course, the success of strikers cannot merely be quantified, even amid the so-called “moneyball” strategy, in terms of transfer fees paid and received. There is also their on-field endeavours to be considered. After all, that is why they are signed in the first place.

Of the fifteen strikers brought in permanently, only Gary Hooper (82 goals in 138 appearances), Anthony Stokes (76 goals in 192 appearances) and Leigh Griffiths (54 goals in 88 appearances) can be said to have been significant successes, racking up a total of 212 goals in 418 outings between them thus far. Having paid £4,600,000 for the trio, we can calculate that their goals have come at a cost of £21,698 each (in terms of transfer fees alone, ignoring wages etc for this simple analysis).

 

 

However, of the other twelve striking purchases, they each represented examples of relative mediocrity, a lack of opportunities or complete failure. Only one of Morten Rasmussen, Marc-Antoine Fortune, Tony Watt, Mohamed Bangura, Daryl Murphy, Lassad Nouioui, Holmbert Fridjonsson, Teemu Pukki, Amido Balde, Stefan Scepovic, Carlton Cole and Nadir Ciftci have scored ten goals or more for the Football Club, and that was Marc-Antoine Fortune with 12 goals in 43 appearances. In total, these men (who cost £16,300,000 in all) bagged just 52 goals between them in 263 appearances. To be fair to Holmbert Fridjonsson however, he was never given the opportunity to display his talents in a senior match, so he can be discounted, bringing the total cost of this list to £16,200,000, leaving us with an average price of £311,538 per goal.

Considering the four loan strikers momentarily, it can be said that both Robbie Keane (16 goals in 19 appearances) and John Guidetti (15 goals in 35 appearances) were relatively successful stop-gaps, whilst Pawel Brozek (0 goals in 3 appearances) and Miku (2 goals in 14 appearances) did not particularly impress.

Therefore, it can be said that one in every four or five strikers brought to the Football Club in recent years turn out to be a success, whilst half of the loan signings do enough to be worthy of some admiration. The big question, particularly with regards those forwards brought in on a permanent basis, should be “Is this good enough?”

Of course, it can never be expected that every acquisition will be a successful one. Signing good strikers – and holding on to them for any significant length of time – is not an easy task in the modern game, particularly with exorbitant transfer fees and wages being paid south of the border for average players on a regular basis. However, that being said, it must be clear to the hierarchy at Celtic Park that the current strategy is not working and something needs to change. In the last few seasons, we have seen an unknown goalkeeper in Fraser Forster developed to the point that he is now well on his way to establishing himself as one of the best stoppers in the English Premier League, whilst both a defender (Virgil van Dijk) and a midfielder (Victor Wanyama) who now play alongside him at Southampton were also sold for large sums. Critically, aside from the relatively minor profit made on Gary Hooper, no Celtic striking prospect has managed to break through and be sold for big money. Indeed, many have failed to enjoy much success at Celtic Park at all, let alone to attract interest from clubs with access to larger financial resources.

Will Colin Kazim-Richards be the answer to a problem which has plagued us since the days of Keane-Rasmussen? Personally I doubt it, with Feyenoord actively happy to see the back of him following the latest in a long line of disciplinary issues, but he should be given the benefit of the doubt and judged on his successes or failures in the green and white of Celtic. At 29 years of age, this is not a move with any great future resell potential. Clearly though, and more importantly, there are bigger issues than any individual player regarding the transfer policy at Celtic Park. Something must change, but it is up to each supporter to draw their own conclusions about what it should be.

 

Jan 142016
 

Twitter Quiz 2

 

 

 

Happy New Year ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the first quiz of 2016.

Below, any of you who missed the quiz will be able to find all of the questions.

The answers can be found at the very bottom of this page, so as not to ruin it for anyone who wants to show the quiz to a family member or friend etc.

Thank you, as ever, for your participation, and I wish you and your families all the very best for the year ahead.

 

Questions

 

1. Who is this?

 

quiz2covera

 

2. Who was the last player, other than Leigh Griffiths, to score a league hat-trick for Celtic?

 

3. Which Celtic player’s name does the following anagram disguise? “Loreal Lox”.

 

4. Which great Celtic striker was nicknamed “The Duke”?

 

5. Who is this?

 

quiz2coverc

 

6. Which English side did Celtic sign Zheng Zhi from in 2009?

 

7. Which Celtic player’s name does the following anagram disguise? “Mr Gum Cog Recall”

 

8. Which Celtic player was nicknamed “Prez” and “The President”?

 

9. Who is this?

 

quiz2coverd

 

10. Which squad number did Henri Camara, Daryl Murphy and Aleksandar Tonev all wear during their respective stints at Celtic Park?

 

11. Which Celtic player’s name does the following anagram disguise? “Rent Norway”.

 

12. Which Lisbon Lion was nicknamed “Danny Kaye”?

 

13. Who is this?

 

quiz2coverb

 

14. According to “The Celtic Wiki”, who was the last goalkeeper to play in every competitive match over the course of a season?

 

15. Two men scored on their competitive debuts for Celtic during the year of 2013, who were they?

 

 

 

 

Answers

 

1. Who is this? – Vidar Riseth

 

quiz2a

 

2. Who was the last player, other than Leigh Griffiths, to score a league hat-trick for Celtic? – Anthony Stokes (6-0 v Inverness Caledonian Thistle, April 2014)

 

3. Which Celtic player’s name does the following anagram disguise? “Loreal Lox”. – Alex Rollo

 

4. Which great Celtic striker was nicknamed “The Duke”? – Sandy McMahon

 

5. Who is this? – Tommy Coyne

 

quiz2c

 

 

6. Which English side did Celtic sign Zheng Zhi from in 2009? – Charlton Athletic

 

7. Which Celtic player’s name does the following anagram disguise? “Mr Gum Cog Recall” – Callum McGregor

 

8. Which Celtic player was nicknamed “Prez” and “The President”? – Jim Kennedy

 

9. Who is this? – Tosh McKinley

 

quiz2d

 

 

10. Which squad number did Henri Camara, Daryl Murphy and Aleksandar Tonev all wear during their respective stints at Celtic Park? – 27

 

11. Which Celtic player’s name does the following anagram disguise? “Rent Norway”. – Tony Warner

 

12. Which Lisbon Lion was nicknamed “Danny Kaye”? – Tommy Gemmell

 

13. Who is this? – Lassad Nouioui

 

Soccer - Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League - Aberdeen v Celtic - Pittordrie Stadium

 

 

14. According to “The Celtic Wiki”, who was the last goalkeeper to play in every competitive match over the course of a season? – Gordon Marshall, 1995/96

 

15. Two men scored on their competitive debuts for Celtic during the year of 2013, who were they? – Rami Gershon (away against Inverness Caledonian Thistle, February 2013) and Teemu Pukki (away against Heart of Midlothian, September 2013)

 

 

Dec 202015
 

Comparing the Class of 2014/15 with the Current Celtic Team

 

 

Yesterday, Celtic lost by two goals to one at home to Motherwell.  This was our third loss in eight matches, all of which came by virtue of a 2-1 scoreline. As a result, there has been even more speculation about the future of Ronny Deila, his backroom staff and Celtic Football Club in general. One only needs to look at a medium such as Twitter for a few minutes in order to determine there are significant differences in opinion within the Celtic support at present. There has been much discussion regarding whether or not we are progressing, stagnating or regressing as a Football Club, and therefore I have decided to briefly consider where we are presently compared to the same point last season from a statistical standpoint. Before I do so, I would like to make it clear that statistics rarely, if ever, provide the whole picture regarding any football team. By their very nature, they are rigid, and even the finest or the worst performances can be notably misconstrued by the statistics they can produce. Results and performances do not necessarily go hand in hand, but I’m sure you’re all perfectly aware of that.

 

 

Overall

After 32 matches last season, we had won 19 times, drawn on 5 occasions, and suffered 8 defeats. After 32 matches this season, we have again won 19 matches, 7 fixtures have ended in a draw, and we have lost 6 times.

After 32 matches last season, we had kept 12 clean sheets as a team, with those shut-outs being shared between Fraser Forster, Craig Gordon and Lukasz Zaluska. After 32 matches this season, we’ve also kept 12 clean sheets, although all of them have been kept by Craig Gordon on this occasion.

After 32 matches last season, we had scored 64 goals and conceded 31 times. After 32 matches this season, we have scored 67 goals and conceded 32.

After 32 matches last season, our opponents were scoring one goal – on average – for every 9.39 attempts they had against us, whilst after 32 matches this season, they are currently averaging one goal scored for every 8.28 attempts they have. This represents a significant fall. However, there is a much less notable difference between the equivalent statistics for the goals which we score, with one in every 7.95 finding the net at this point last season and one in every 7.78 doing so currently.

 

 

League

After 18 league matches last season, we had attained 39 points. After 18 league matches this season, we currently have 42 points to our name.

After 18 league matches last season, we had a goal difference of +22. After 18 league matches last season, we presently have a goal difference of +31.

 

 

Europe

Having fallen in the Champions League Qualifiers during each of the two seasons under Ronny Deila, we must consider our performances in the Europa League.

During last season’s Europa League group stages, we won two home matches and lost one, whilst drawing away from home on two occasions and losing the other. This gave us a points total of eight, which was enough to take us to the knockout stages, where we lost narrowly against Inter Milan.

During this season’s Europa League group stages, we lost two home matches and drew once, whilst again drawing twice away from home and losing once. As a result, we finished with a points total of just three and were eliminated from the competition.

 

 

Conclusion

From a statistical standpoint, and I would again highlight that statistics do not always tell the full story, there has not been a tremendous deal of difference between where we were at this point last season and where we are now. The only significant differences have come in the form of two home Europa League victories during the last group stage campaign, which propelled us forward to post-Christmas European Football, something we would all long for at present.

That aside, the similarities between the two overall campaigns (in all competitions) to this point have been remarkable. Whether or not the performances have been better, worse or similar is another matter entirely.  Personally speaking, I wouldn’t sack Ronny Deila at this point, but do feel that if poor results continue into the New Year, the pressure may mount to such a degree that action could be taken by the hierarchy at the Football Club.

However, nobody should fall into the trap of thinking the poor form of late is all a result of Ronny Deila’s decision making. From the days of narrow wins over Elfsborg and Shakhtar Karagandy, the Club’s strategy of dancing with death (whether we individually feel it to be the correct or wrong attitude) has been a risky one. We are now seeing the results of the consecutive seasons away from the pound signs of the UEFA Champions League in a footballing climate which is increasingly geared towards clubs in a few select leagues.

As is outlined above, we are conceding goals more easily than we were last season – although there has not been much difference in the number of goals we have conceded overall. Having lost both of our first choice centre-backs in the summer, one through a sale and another through an inevitable return to his parent club, this may not be a big surprise. Craig Gordon too, has looked suspect on occasion, whilst continuing to produce some excellent saves at other times. Several other players, and not only those primarily tasked with defence, have under-performed also. It is for every supporter to decide whether they think this is the manager’s fault, his players’, or indeed that of the people running the Football Club (or a combination of several things).

Regardless, our focus for the rest of the season must, first and foremost, be of a domestic nature. Should we attain success here, we can begin to dream of Europe once more.

 

Dec 032015
 

Twitter Quiz 1

 

gonzo

 

Earlier this evening, I carried out another Celtic quiz on Twitter, featuring fifteen questions in all. I plan on making this a monthly feature, rather than doing so sporadically as I have done in the past. Also, I’ve decided to put all of the relevant quiz data on the website so please feel free to check it out.

Below, any of you who missed the quiz will be able to find all of the questions.

The answers can be found at the very bottom of this page, so as not to ruin it for anyone who wants to show the quiz to a family member or friend etc.

Please note that as some statistics are subject to change over the course of a season, a few of the answers contained herein will only be valid at the time of publication.

Thank you, as ever, for your participation, and well done to you all.

 

Questions

1. Who is this?

 

quiza1

 

2. Can you name the 3 men with surnames starting “Do…” to have played for Celtic competitively since 1990?

3. Which Celtic player’s name does the following anagram disguise? “Enhance Loon Log”.

4. Who is this?

 

quiz2a

 

 

5. Who is the only man from Sierra Leone to play for Celtic Football Club?

6. Which Celtic player’s name does the following anagram disguise? “No Cot Recall”.

7. Who has scored more goals this season in all comps? Leigh Griffiths? Or Kris Commons, Tom Rogic, Dedryck Boyata & Nadir Ciftci (combined)?

8. Who is this?

 

quiz3a

 

 

9. Just five defenders have played 900 minutes or more (the equivalent of ten full matches) for Celtic this season in all competitions, name them.

10. Which Celtic player’s name does the following anagram disguise? “Aging By Wines”.

11. Who is this?

 

quiz4a

 

 

12. Six Celtic players were sent off during the treble winning 2000/01 season, name them.

13. Which Celtic player’s name does the following anagram disguise? “A Curtain Had Jib”.

14. Which pairing have played more competitive minutes for Celtic this season (combined)? Kieran Tierney & Scott Allan or Saidy Janko and Anthony Stokes?

15. Finally, only three Celts scored a solitary goal in competitive matches last season (2014/15). Can you name them?

 

 

stein1

 

 

 

Answers

1. Morton Rasmussen

 

quiz1a

 

 

2. Simon Donnelly, Robert Douglas and Massimo Donati (N.B. Several of you suggested Jean-Joel Perrier-Doumbe as a potential answer to this question, and although his surname technically begins with a “P” (which is why I didn’t notice this issue in advance), he did wear the name “Doumbe” on the back of his shirt so feel free to consider yourselves correct if you said him!)

3. Eoghan O’Connell

4. Jim Goodwin

 

quiz2b

 

 

5. Mohammed Bangura

6. Carlton Cole

7. Leigh Griffiths (19 goals to date, whilst Commons (7), Rogic (5) Boyata (4) and Ciftci (2) have netted 18 times between them)

8. Stuart Gray

 

quiz3b

 

 

9. Dedryck Boyata (2332 minutes, the most played by any outfield player this season), Emilio Izaguirre (1621), Mikael Lustig (1610), Efe Ambrose (1096) and Virgil van Dijk (900)

10. Wayne Biggins

11. Aiden McGeady

 

quiz4b

 

 

12. Jackie McNamara, Chris Sutton (twice), Bobby Petta, Alan Thompson, Lubomir Moravcik and Didier Agathe

13. Bahrudin Atajic

14. Saidy Janko and Anthony Stokes (787 minutes combined, marginally bettering Kieran Tierney and Scott Allan’s present total of 753 minutes)

15. Liam Henderson, Wakaso Mubarak and Adam Matthews.

 

Nov 042015
 

A Football Scandal of Epic Proportions

 

 

Earlier today, it was confirmed that Rangers Football Club (now defunct) had lost their so-called “Big Tax Case” battle with the folks at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. This verdict has, of course, enormous ramifications on several levels, but for the moment I would like to focus on the effects it has on the average Scottish Football supporter. Before continuing, I would like to highlight two things.

Firstly, Rangers cheated. Although this has been well known for some time, today’s verdict simply adds to the proof of that fact. If for any reason you disagree with this point, I’d advise you not to bother reading the rest of this article. Secondly, this is not a “Celtic-Rangers” issue, nor should it be construed as such, because Rangers cheated Scottish Football as a whole, with victims across the length and breadth of this country.

Now, if we now consider the financial aspect of all of this from the supporters’ point of view, the devastating impact of this scandal begins to emerge. For the sake of clarity, allow me to state that the following figures are estimates. Should anyone wish to attempt a thorough and detailed investigation of the true cost of this sordid affair, I would very much encourage you to do so as I have no doubt it would make interesting reading.

Say the average season ticket between 2001-2010 at Celtic Park cost £400. There were cheaper and more expensive seats, but I’ve chosen this nice, round figure as a happy medium. Adding in the extra cost of travel, food, programmes and perhaps the odd home cup match, I feel it is safe to assume that the average fan will have spent at least £600 per season attending Celtic’s home ties.

In many cases, this individual expenditure will have been far higher, as long distance trips and away match costs cannot be easily estimated. During the period in question, the average attendance for league matches at Celtic Park was about 58,000. Therefore, a quick bit of maths suggests the total spend of Celtic supporters to watch their team compete in home ties during the decade of debauchery could have been about £350 million. I’m aware this calculation presumes all 58,000 people are adult season ticket holders, which would obviously not have been the case, but even to make a very conservative estimate it is apparent we have spent over £300 million watching home matches in competitions which did not boast a level playing field.

One can only speculate about the true total cost of this affair, but if we add in the potential impacts of each of the following factors: Celtic fans attending away matches, Celtic fans attending domestic cup matches away or at Hampden, fans of every other Scottish team attending their own home and away matches as well as domestic cup ties, corporate ticket costs, television subscriptions, travel expenses and many other such costs, we are easily entering into the range of several hundred million – if not a billion – pounds.

Make no mistake about it, the average Scottish Football supporter will never see any of their financial investment from this time repaid. Nor indeed, will the agonising memories of league or cup final losses be erased. However, the historical record can and must be set straight so as to ensure the deceptions of this decade are not forgotten and are never allowed to repeated by any other club. The perpetrators of these crimes and anyone complicit in them should be publicly shamed for their role in a scandal of epic proportions, and they should never be allowed any future official role in Scottish Football.

 

rangersfc

 

It is abundantly apparent to all but the most blinkered individual that Rangers’ intentional tax evasion allowed them to attain players whom they would otherwise not have been able to afford. Pictured above is the Rangers squad of circa 2004. Every player with a red dot over their face received one of the much fabled – and illegal – EBT’s, and therefore were ineligible in each and every professional match they took part in whilst enjoying benefiting from these payments. This, I would suggest, is an undeniable image of a “sporting advantage”. Therefore, it is entirely just and valid to wish to see all of the honours which the defunct club “achieved” during those years expunged from the record. In simple terms, they should be stripped of their titles and cups. For such cheating to go ignored in many other sports would be considered sacrilege (see drug use in athletics and cycling as prominent examples), and as such, we cannot allow this shambolic tale to be quietly swept under the carpet (again). It must be dealt with openly, fairly and honestly.

Regardless of whether my crudely estimated calculations are particularly accurate or not, it is certain that a mind boggling amount of money was spent by fans of all clubs to watch a game which, fundamentally, was not fair. That alone should cause an uproar from every Scottish football fan, be they a Celt, an Arab, a Don, a Hibee, a Jambo or whatever else. As a Celtic supporter, I predominantly like to read and write about Celtic, but this matter is of such importance I felt compelled to discuss it today.

Gracefully, our national sport will survive and hopefully enjoy a bright and transparent future, unlike the Football Club whose sins ultimately sent them into a financial abyss from which they could not escape. They are not, and shall never be, missed.

 

Marquee Powered By Know How Media.