Celtic’s European Adventure Will End Tonight. That’s No Longer Our Biggest Problem.

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The Record today published one of its dafter articles, laying out the seven teams with smaller budgets than ours which have done better in the Champions League than we have.

It’s daft because it can only list single campaigns where they’ve managed to qualify from their groups, and doesn’t take into account the draws they got or anything else.

But the point is was trying, and failing, to make isn’t really the thing. It is obvious to all of us that Celtic are chronically underachieving in Europe and it’s not so much that we aren’t quite getting there in so much as we’ve just stopped trying to.

Copenhagen is the best case in point. They’ve finished second in their group and they are often found punch which is far better than we’ve managed.

We can all point to much smaller teams which do better than us, this is not a new thing. But the criticism of our club, from our own fans, is sharper now than it’s ever been.

It’s because we’re watching an almost annual procession towards trophies and titles and want something more. It’s because failing to prepare for Europe this season has actually harmed us in terms of this league race.

On the one hand, we want a greater challenge, but on the other we are aghast at how this board has failed to adequately arm us against the one sitting right on our door.

We brought back a top-class coach, that was as far as they went. They certainly did not make our starting eleven stronger, even as far as the SPFL was concerned.

To fully understand their folly and the way they’ve slept at the wheel here, you need to ask yourself a seriously grim “what if?” question; what if the Ibrox club had gotten their summer business right? Most of the media thought they had.

Most of them looked at The Mooch’s form last season and drew the conclusion that their team was obviously stronger going into this one and so there was going to be a serious challenge to us.

Some of us weren’t convinced, but we might have been wrong.

What if we had been? What if The Mooch, with his own team in place, his own footballers, playing in his own system, had gotten it right? It wasn’t impossible. This is the SPFL after all and when a team spends that much money they should be able to get the job done.

If they had, and we’d had this same stuttering start, we’d be in a really bad place right now instead of worrying about being only slightly ahead of them.

In bringing back Rodgers we thought we’d seen a statement of intent. But our board lamentably under-resourced him. They failed to consider the full implications of the Asian Cup.

Had they done this right, had they taken Europe seriously, had they truly wanted to reach for the next rung on the ladder, we wouldn’t have signed eight permanent project players and two on loan, we’d have signed three or four players of real quality who took us forward as a team.

We could have done that for little more than we actually spent. That we’re probably going to have to spend a tidy sum in this window, when this window should not be about that, is damning. And it comes too late for this European campaign, which will end tonight.

And because this board couldn’t care less about Europe, because they failed to reach for that next rung, because they won’t look at how other clubs, with lesser resources, can do it better than us on the continent, we’re in the perverse position of playing a game tonight which does not matter a damn and going into a January window where the priority now is saving the domestic season.

That’s how bad this is, and that is the real scandal here.

We should not forget this, nor let the people who allowed it to happen.

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  • Thomas Cochrane says:

    I shall be glad to see this European fiasco over, the league and cup is the thing now, this shambolic situation must end, and start to fund the manager for the run in and the next season.

  • Martin says:

    The more I see of this season, the more I wonder about the theory that our board nibbles us every few years to keep the zombies alive. It’s a stupid idea, but as a unifying theory it explains a lot, which is in itself compelling.


      Martin, it’s not a stupid idea. I’ve been supporting Celtic for 55 years and you could set your watch by the machinations of our Boards. It’s more prevalent now since the Auld Club self- imploded.
      It’s not Celtic that needs any ranjurs. It’s the Celtic Board.

      Without the competition(sic) over the last 11 years our revenues across all sources would have flatlined. Revenues have to grow so people like Lawwell can earn massive bonuses and a salary that when he was a CEO would have put many an EPL Senior Executive in the shade.
      Last years figures proves the point. The Board awarded themselves a whopping increase from £25.000 to £40.000 pa for about 6 meetings a year.

      We cannot get too far ahead of the ‘debt dome’ and tooling up for Europe would give us that added edge. That can’t be allowed to happen just like the Board was terrified that we would have won the 10 IAR. If we had won it the sevconuts would have disappeared like snaw aff a dyke. Even the most deluded over there would have realised there was no way they were ever going to match that run and as it would also have meant that they would lose their’ most successful Klub in ra Wurld’ Cup’ ( self awarded while plenty of evidence to the contrary).

      It’s also why we’re sitting on £72 Million CASH in the Bank. We are meant to sit out next years CL Campaign in favour of the Klan.

      Celtic doesn’t do the obvious downsizing where the punter, you and me, can see the lack of investment or players being sold from under the managers feet. No our Board are mair sleekit than that. Naw drown the Manager in players he didn’t want, won’t use and will not be sold off at the price paid to get them in the door. Sell at a loss, nae probs. Offset the losses against next years profits and pay less tax and still earn your bonuses.

      To the Tory Board we are not fans or supporters we are just repeat customers addicted to the product that only they can sell.

      It’s now 20.50 and it’s half time.
      I haven’t watched the game. After 55 years I’m frightened to. I don’t want to see us embarrassed on the Public Stage any more.

      That’s what a Tory Board of a PLC does to you. You’re just a punter, a repeat customer, an addict and they don’t care because they know that you’ll just keep coming back for more punishment.

      So the answer to your wondering is yes. Our Board would have no problem nobbling us.

  • Tony B says:

    I agree with everything you say James, but have no idea about how we effect the necessary change at board level, particularly to get rid of both Lawwells.

    Any ideas that might work?

  • John S says:

    Team performances have become concerning, something is not quite right. The manager and board, too, are hardly inspiring. Celtic have the best squad in Scotland but games need to be won with desire and effort.

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