The Celtic Board Should Take A Bow. This Is The Real Measure Of Where They’ve Got Us.

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For 80 minutes this team wasn’t just in this game but with a chance to grab destiny by the throat. But as usual we’ve flogged a great opportunity, and the minute it was clear that we had the roof fell in. I’m glad there is just one more game to go in this tournament.

I am sick of the “we played well … up to a point.” Tired of the hard luck story. Fed up with giving out plaudits for “doing alright.” This has become a chore.

The best decision I’ve made since the draw was made was to save the money for the home Champions League ticket package and to spend it coming here instead. Because this is a club which has simply stopped trying to be a Champions League level team.

Lennon is correct that we might be good enough at some point to win a European trophy, but the truth is that if we did it would represent a failure on some level … we’d either have exited the top tournament first or worse, flogged a domestic league title to qualify for the second tier tournament. A lot of people wouldn’t care. I wouldn’t complain myself if at the end of it was European silverware, but it grates me to know this isn’t our level.

And part of that, of course, is a board of directors with no genuine ambition to be.

That’s not even up for debate, and as long as they continue to behave like a board content just to be here, with no attempt to be or do more, they’ll never get a penny from me to watch a competitive game in this tournament.

A top class manager who is capable at this level is hamstrung by a policy that keeps us in the slow lane, and if he doesn’t grab it by the throat he’ll suffer for it.

Has he done that? He’s certainly tried to. He’s made his feeling crystal clear. He talks like a guy confident of getting the guys he wants, and whilst I’ll take him at his word I won’t be in the least bit surprised if the people in our boardroom fail to deliver on it.

Five games in this tournament and one point; they are completely to blame for that. Every single one of us expected quality in the summer of a level to significantly improve the team. Eight project players and three of them exacerbating the Asian Cup problem which we’d been talking about for months is what these people delivered instead.

That’s what happens when the football department is not run solely based on the needs of the team. It’s run to serve the needs of the “strategy”.

This is where the strategy has taken us.

This is where we’ve ended up, and part of that is down to us too by the way, down to the fans, because a section of our support is more interested in events on the other side of the planet about which they can do precisely nothing than it is about putting the pressure where it belongs here at home.

Self-indulgent armchair revolutionaries want to pick a fight with the club over flags and the perceived political leanings of the directors … that’s a joke at a time when there are obvious problems within our own walls. It was good to see that the Day Of Action let the board know it’s in a fight … by the booing of an ageing rock star for being a Tory.

We need this fan-base to be vocal and express its anger.

But that anger should be directed at the board for the way they fail to back the manager.

It should be directed at them for the scandals of nepotism and cronyism at our heart, and which have led us to this sorry result.

It should be directed at the people who think we’re some heirloom to be handed down to their kids and their grandkids.

The priorities are all so, so, so very wrong.

We are all entitled to feel cheated tonight, by those at our own club who saw the manager’s options from the bench tonight include Mikey Johnston and David Turnbull, two guys who might not have futures beyond this club in January. Holm is a project. Oh isn’t cutting it right now in Scotland, so he’s not going to take you to the next level in Europe … the rest of the bench included three centre backs, a right back and a couple of kids.

That’s the hand the manager has been dealt.

And yeah there are injured players who would be in this team if they were fit and Palma would have played if he wasn’t banned, and that offers a shred of mitigation for the poverty of that bench … but to have gone into this competition weaker in terms of the starting eleven than we were when we played the opening game against Real Madrid last year is on those at the club who have failed to deliver the goods.

That’s the story tonight.

Not the failure of this team, which you can excuse, in part, because these guys are the best we had tonight … the failures are in the directors box, men who have convinced themselves that they are geniuses, and they aren’t going to let a little thing like routine Champions League humiliation dissuade them of that notion.

More than being sick of this, I am heartily sick of them.

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  • Peter Cassidy says:

    The Celtic board Desmond and co are happy just to get in to be the cl group stages so the revenue of around 30/40 million keeps the investors happy and selling our best players that’s there goal every season .Even the stadium is in parts not the best what happened to the hotel project it’s all very depressing situation at Celtic stuck in a very very poor league I don’t know why Celtic supporters put up with such poor prospects every year watching that league just Celtic and the rangers mostly Celtic winning it most times .A with the problem with the ultras not a happy situation either plus the team not playing that great at present fans can be to loyal sometimes as big jock said football is nothing with out fans????????.

  • Mark b says:

    Agree with this articles 100%.
    Been saying for two years… two years we need a another Hamite CH a LB DM to free Calum to move forward and a CF. We also need a long term Gk.
    Should have spent 10m each on these position over last 4 windows and we’d nearly have all slots filled with one to go. Tonight was Ok. It our ten year CL record is abysmal. And our rivals reached a final in that time having had to start again. Shocking it truly is shocking. They didn’t support Brendan last time and we lost 10in a row. Step up or step aside. Lawe should go his time is last. Thank you but time to go.

  • Johnno says:

    So is this going to be the ongoing theme of just blame the board and excuse some of Rodgers decision making at this level?
    So where does a third of the squad, actually fit into a CL squad, with the 8 homegrown rule in play?
    Until there is a solution found to that massive problem, then we will continue to have to depend upon gaining no injuries for these games within the campaign?
    Yet the role of Calmac continues to go unaddressed in how this team is currently set up?
    In a must win game, did our captain, and inspirational player even make a forward pass all night?
    How many times were we even able to get more than 2 players in and around the scoring areas all night?
    Tonight was nothing more than trying to get a smash and grab victory, without really looking like achieving it, especially how the team was set up imo?
    How does this actually work with using Paulo in the more advanced midfield role like tonight, and yet nowhere to be seen within the SPFL in such a role?
    Plenty for Rodgers to ponder over, and until he can actually decide upon how he actually wants to set a team up for CL football, then blaming the board is nothing more than a lame excuse in trying to overcome the problems that CL brings with it, especially regarding actually forming a squad?
    The 8 homegrown rule will still be in play for next season, yet heard no-one say how or where the solution will be?
    Is setting the team up in a 4231 formation really the best for ourselves at CL level?
    Even changing to the 442 when chasing the goal needed, left us exposed, where we got punished?
    The confidence remains very fragile, away from home in CL, especially when we concede a goal, as little belief we can actually get back into the game?
    This campaign was as good as over, when we lost that last minute goal 1st time around against lazio, yet our response has been fairly mixed afterwards, and even Rodgers hasn’t crowned himself in glory either, along with some of our more experienced players at this level?
    So the continuation of blaming the board and using the newer players as scapegoats remains a cop out as far as I’m concerned.
    Rodgers is the manager, and some of his decision making remains very questionable, especially tonight.
    Some big decisions awaits as it does every season during CL campaign time, when failure remains the order of the day still?
    Yet still struggling to see where the solutions to the problems are currently within CL squads been formed and finding a formation that suits ourselves and can fit the 8 homegrown players within it, and still able to keep that going to win the SPFL title also?

  • Bigchunkylardass says:

    Couldn’t agree more – how many predicted this when the window closed at the end of August.

    And if ever there is an example of a fan group that’s lost its way it must be gb – where’s there day, week, month, year, as long as it takes, protest, ti bring about change in the boardroom, specifically Pedro the hun, but he’s by no means the only one….. But no no, we want ti set of fireworks and wave flags in support of a conflict that, let’s be honest, ½ oh them only support cos there’s green an white in their flag, as well as break inti stadiums – that’s what really matters ti the gb.

    Back Brendan, sack the board.


  • Chris says:

    This board are a disgrace.
    I would not be surprised if BR leaves at the end of the season,and I don’t blame him
    I am sure he would find a club without too much of a problem,
    Why stay in a football backwater,or as my mates in Australia call it ” the fizzy pop league “

  • Bob (original) says:

    But PL and the Board won’t get their @rses kicked out of the club,

    but maybe get another payrise?

    Whilst they are infuriating the paying punters with their lack of ambition,

    they must be doing EXACTLY what DD and the other main shareholders

    Chris Trainer and James Keane are wanting them to do?

    A strong Balance Sheet is maintained:

    yet it’s still an overcautious, underperforming football business.

  • Jimmy says:

    Only Celtic can go from Treble winners to near broken in the period of a few months. We should be sitting pretty in the league and should have had a much better go in Europe but instead apathy has replaced the excitement present at season start. In 50 years supporting our team
    some of my most enjoyable nights were in Europe an campaign’s, now it seems we accept mediocrity and get on with it. I agree with you James we all have a part to play. Get the message across to the board. We expect better.
    Where I don’t agree with you is your nadty cheap shot at Rod Stewart. A lot of Celtic fans like myself have really enjoy his music and the content of our club in his shows. I personally loved the Walk the line video him and our fans put on during lockdown. A real feel good Celtic fans video.

  • Pcelt says:

    I said it when Brendan Rodgers and Liewell came back that it was doomed to failure and one of them will go,this is Deja vu,and the worrying thing is I can’t see it being Liewell.if he and some of these other directors were true CELTIC supporters they would resign as they should now realise they are not capable of taking the club forward.

  • Peter Cassidy says:

    The same old outcome and Lazio not even a good team but we are even worse spl level that’s our standard piss poorfor years now .

  • Chris McDougall says:

    This is on the board, James. Heart sick of them and the dire consequences of their sabotage of our European efforts. I’ll not be attending European nights until the board take them as seriously as we, the fans, do.

  • Jim Duffy says:

    Well said Scud,I don’t know why Brendan took on this job with his hands being tied by the board ,that’s why he left the last time ,I just don’t get it,and as 60 000 turn up every second week the board sees nothing wrong,so we somehow have to get a message through to lawell desmond etc that it’s not good enough,but never mind we’ve got 72 million and counting in the bank ,what can go wrong eh, apart from outclassed and out of Europe before Christmas again.

  • Roonsa says:

    Yup. Agree with everything said on here including the comments.

    Celtic fans need to decide what they want from this club. Beating a piss poor tribute act every season (which we haven’t even managed) is no longer what I want to see.

    I also don’t want to hear the board telling us we have 10s of millions in the bank. Why? If our debt is serviceable then we don’t need a cash reserve. Invest it and do your job – keep the fans happy. I tell you something for nothing. I’m not (happy).

  • Devine says:

    The decision making from top to bottom at the club is at times quite baffling- if you want to experience success in the future you need to make good decisions in the present- it feels like Celtic systematically make poor decisions, in terms of blooding youth development, signing the wrong players, making poor tactical decisions on the park and at board level the obsession with the bank balance- all this combines to create a toxic culture of failure I think. The club has always needed a massive radical cultural shift away from past systemic failures- this of course was beginning to happen under Ange, but now that he is away and Lawell is back on the scene we’re again repeating the old patterns that ultimately culminate on what we see on the football pitch: individual naivety of players, a weak substitute bench and an overstretched underfunded squad with little experience at Champions League level.
    Rodgers cannot escape criticism: why did he drop Johnston on Saturday against Motherwell? Why, when we needed a goal, did he bring off Palma, our most creative player, Kyogo, out top goalscorer and main man- why didn’t he go for two up front with Kyogo and Oh? James Forrest wasn’t even on the bench against Motherwell and yet he jumped ahead of Mikey Johnston, Turnbull and Holm to get a game from the start- even a blind man can see Forrest is finished at this level. How does Bernardo, who didn’t feature against Motherwell, suddenly jump ahead of Holm and Turnbull to get a start? Where is Tomoki Iwata- why is Bernardo (another clubs player getting games ahead of him?)- what has happened to him after that brilliant cameo at Tynecastle and scoring that brilliant goal? Couldn’t Iwata play further in Calmacs position and let Calmac play further forward? I can’t understand how Bernardo and Holm are ahead of Iwata in the pecking order, it makes no sense to me- what is the manager thinking?
    Obviously things are not helped by having three top players in Maida, Hatate and Abada out at the moment but better decisions have to be made with greater consistency or we are going to pay for it at some point, even domestically.
    I have a terrible feeling these poor decisions will eventually lead us to by this Danish kid Kvistgaarden for 7.5m- who is a very small 21 year old who can’t score goals in the Danish league- and overlook Sydney Van Hooijdonk, who we could get for half that amount, and who has scored over 50 goals in two seasons in the Eredivison. Celtic should be signing players like Kasper Dolberg, who Anderlecht got on a free from Nice, and has now scored 9 goals in 12 games in Belgium/ or a player like Zivkovic at PAOK who they signed from benfica on a free- why are we not signing players who have shown glimpses of brilliance at the highest level but have not entirely fulfilled their potential in someway?
    Imagine we signed Livakovic and had him in goal instead of Hart or had pushed the boat out and signed Ferreira from Gremio or Podence, who went to Olympiakos (we can’t seriously compete with Olympiakos?) instead of projects like Yang or Tilio? Spent the 7 million for France u21 Quentin Merlin as a replacement for Taylor. How much would that have helped last night and in the other Champions league games this seasin- how much of that would eat into the 70 million we have the in bank now?

  • Rab Haw says:

    No Celtic fan should purchase their European package
    Until they publish the squad names of the players who will compete because we get told a pack of lies from the board

  • Sonny says:

    Aye, it’s the GBs fault

  • Peter Cassidy says:

    Just not good enough for European football more a laughing stock just the best of a shit league that’s our limit the board do a decent job but there no vision to be better just win the spl that’s it .

  • John S says:

    Serious concerns of tv image manipulation (edited) for VAR use in Scotland, Italy and France.

  • Jim Duffy says:

    No point commenting,never get posted , even though no foul language etc, maybe it’s because I agree with Scud,don’t really know ,any ideas James ,can’t seem to get past the moderator.

  • Celticfcman says:

    Short-term, injuries have killed us. Maeda, Abada, Hatate in the lineup healthy is a massive change from what was in there last night. Celtic are a club that need to have decent luck in Europe and right now, we aren’t getting it. Let’s say all important players are healthy for all 6 group matches. Then, combine that with the willingness of the Manager, players, and supporters to calm down and take what is given. What you’d be left with are 4 results out of 6 this season. Heck, even with the injuries this could’ve happened with calm and acceptance of reality. Both Lazio matches had draw written all over them, but we had to “go for it” late and blew both. Surely we would get at least a point versus Feyenoord, as we would’ve done at the tub if not for panicked players getting red cards. Defense is not even in the mindset of Celtic right now, and that is crushing us. Protect the point first, then smash and grab if a clear opportunity arises. This has to be the mindset in Europe for us to succeed, especially considering that we will not be getting proper help from the bean counters holding the purse strings. Think Shaktar Donetsk, and take those free points with an occasional win. Next season and beyond, this mindset will serve us well in the UCL League Phase where we will play an occasional softer opponent and a higher number of matches. Note that the Ukraine club defends well, stays calm, and looks to counter. That formula sees them through more times than not. We need to stop insisting attack-minded football is the answer in Europe and focus on getting a job done. Like JF stated at the beginning of this tournament, these games are to be endured, not enjoyed. I know he meant that from a supporter perspective, but everyone involved with Celtic needs to adopt this or we will never move forward. We have a tough slog of a job to do, let’s get on with it and grab whatever points are there for the taking. Dominate domestically, survive in Europe.

  • Ramon says:

    Fans are definitely waking up to the limitations and non European ambitions of this board, They are letting the manager, the team, and the fans down big time!. Fantastic article.

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