Celtic Diary Friday August 16: The Only Way Is Up

Celtic Diary Friday August 16: The Only Way Is Up

After what was possibly the worst week in the clubs recent history, we can either keep moaning or we can try to put things right. Maybe one day we’ll look back on this and laugh.

Then again, maybe we won’t.

But that doesn’t alter the fact that there are a few games coming up that will define how we approach the rest of the season.

And that has to be where the manager must focus.

First up are Dunfermline in the League Cup tomorrow. On paper, a mere workout for the players, but in reality a game fraught with danger.

Not that the Pars are any great shakes, one win in four in the League Cup, over East Kilbride, isn’t exactly anything to worry about, but if Celtic don’t get their act together quickly, and restore that early season confidence at the first opportunity, it might not go the way we want it to.

The dilemma for Neil Lennon is whether or not to give fringe players a run out, and rest some of Tuesdays starters, although it would probably make more sense to try and achieve some sort of consistency of selection, given that half of the team on Tuesday played as though they’d only just met the other half.

Scott Bain won’t play, he’s got a poorly hand, which clearly didn’t happen against Cluj as he never got near enough to the ball to touch it.

If he was carrying that injury into the game, however, and that kicked clearance from a free kick suggests he may have been, then someone , somewhere should be clearing his locker or desk this morning.

That could mean a return for Craig Gordon, who has suffered a crisis of his own during the week, as his girlfriend Summer Harl explained on instagram. The poor dear had to cancel a birthday party for one of the kids after the defeat, and we have to sympathise with her, as many of us have had to cancel our trip to the Hearts game which has now been moved to the Sunday…

 

There will probably be a run out for back up full backs Tony Ralston and Johnny Hayes, and possibly a start for Christophe Jullien, who for some reason was left on the bench on Tuesday. Jozo Simunovic could partner him, with maybe even a midfield trio of Henderson, Ntcham and Christie ahead of them.

That could allow Lewis Morgan a start in his ongoing quest to find a Celtic player with a cross, perhaps with Maryan Shved and Leigh Griffiths up front. And there’s always Scott Sinclair..

Or maybe not.

Whatever the line up, a convincing win and a fluid performance are crucial. We could really do without any more problems.

After that, it’s AIK Stockholm on the Europa League. They’re not a great side, but then again, neither are Celtic.

Knocked out in the second qualfying round by Maribor on away goals, they can probably count themselves unlucky, and with a European football free season waiting for whichever side crashes out, there’s a lot at stake.

The question is, can Lennon and Brown handle the pressure. Cluj suggests they cannot. Incidentally, there was no row in the dressing room pre match, and thats even more worrying than if there was.

That means we were bloody awful for no reason whatsoever…

 

For now, cool heads are the key. The Cluj debacle is what it is, it cannot be changed, but the rest of the seasons story is still to be written.

 

Elsewhere, and it may have gone largely unnoticed that Ladbrokes have dropped their sponsorship of Scottish football…

Neil Doncaster-yeah, he’s still in a job-confirmed;

“Ladbrokes’ parent company, GVC Holdings, recently announced a reduction in the visibility of their betting brands during football matches, including within SPFL matches in season 2019/20.

“As a result, they have confirmed that their title sponsorship of the Scottish Premiership, Championship, League 1 and League 2 will not be renewed once the current agreement concludes at the end of this season. 

“We’re proud of the tremendous partnership we’ve enjoyed with Ladbrokes since 2015 and, given the growth of Scottish football over the past four years, with seasonal crowds up almost 20% to 4.9m, we’re in great shape to attract significant interest from new sponsors, both nationally and internationally.

“Working with our 42 clubs across Scotland has been hugely beneficial for Ladbrokes, with enormous brand exposure and media value.

“We’ll no doubt have strong interest from potential title sponsors in light of the unrivalled level of nationwide coverage, passion and drama that the SPFL consistently delivers, plus our live TV coverage confirmed up to 2025, and we expect a busy period of discussions over the coming months.”

Asked what next, the bumbling fool admitted he hadn’t got a fucking clue, though it’s not clear of that referred to the sponsorship problem or his general suitability for the job.

When even the bookies don’t want to be associated with your product, you’ve got a problem, Granted, the parent company has been in a bit of trouble of late… (Guardian, July 31 )

Ladbrokes Coral hit by £5.9m penalty over vulnerable gamblers

Systemic failings resulted in consumers being harmed, says Gambling Commission 

Ladbrokes Coral will pay a £5.9m penalty, one of the largest imposed by the Gambling Commission, over “systemic failings” to protect problem gamblers who lost hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The regulator detailed a litany of transgressions by Ladbrokes Coral between 2014 and 2017, finding that it failed to fulfil its obligations to “protect customers from gambling harm” and prevent money laundering.

When the company became aware of the problem, it simply reduced the number of its customers it deemed “high risk”, rather than investing to protect them the commission’s investigation found.

“These were systemic failings at a large operator, which resulted in consumers being harmed and stolen money flowing though the business and this is unacceptable,” the commission’s executive director, Richard Watson, said.

The failures include neglecting to ask one customer who lost £1.5m over three years about their source of funds, despite clear signs of problem gambling such as logging into their account 10 times a day and losing £64,000 in a month. 

Ladbrokes did not ask any questions of another customer who lost £98,000 over two and a half years, had 460 attempted deposits declined and even asked the operator to stop sending them marketing promotions.

The bookmaker, owned by Isle of Man-based firm GVC, also failed to intervene when customer who deposited more than £140,000 in the first four months of their account being open.

The commission said that in one case Ladbrokes identified “significant concerns” about a customer but continued to allow them to place large wagers.

The failings continued even after the company and its management should have known about them, the Commission said, adding that it was still investigating individuals who could lose their licence to operate in the industry.

As part of the settlement GVC will pay £4.8m towards responsible gambling causes and will forfeit £1.1m to “affected parties”.

It will also review the top 50 customers for the years 2015-17 to consider whether any further failings can be identified.

Its chief executive, Kenny Alexander, said GVC discovered “historic compliance failures” after buying Ladbrokes Coral for £3.2bn in 2018.

“These historical failings were unacceptable and since the acquisition I have overseen a systematic review of the enlarged group’s player protection procedures and the individuals responsible for these problems have exited the business.”

The Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who leads a cross-party group on problem gambling, said she didn’t think the failures were isolated cases.

“I believe that the industry does not act in a reasonable manner in how they deal with problem gambling or excessive gambling.

“Every day I hear from individuals and families whose lives have been blighted by the industry’s quest for profit and its disregard for customers. Although this is a substantial fine, to Ladbrokes Coral it’s loose change and I doubt they will learn any lessons.”

They’re not daft, these bookies, and are , of course profit driven. Thats why you can’t get a bet on “rangers ” getting a penalty or their opponents getting a player sent off.

But there’s something else.

The Guardian article suggests the company is concerned about it’s image, and one has to wonder if that concern spreads to lending its name to a set up that outside of Scotland and in the global business world is now seen as toxic, largely due to one club flouting the rules, ignoring business contracts and trading whilst insolvent, and also a governing body allowing them to do so.

If Doncaster doesn’t secure a new sponsor, with a suitable investment, we’ll know that this is the case.

One other thing….did Lawwell collude with the SFA in order to play down and ultimately remove Resolution 12 from the agenda ? There are one or two whispers that may well be the case.

Apart from making a complete arse of the playing side for a number of years now, could Lawwell also be standing over shareholders , legs wide open, minus his breeks, having taken a laxative ?

The next AGM should be a pisser…

 

The Etims gang got together last night and recorded a podcast, to be found on the home page. We discussed a number of subjects, and it’s well worth a listen, and don’t take my word for it…

“Brilliant ” , “Excellent ” “What a wonderfully witty guy that diary chap is ” are among the reviews you’ll never see,

Finally, it’s Friday, and that means its time for

Knob of the Week 

Do I have to say his name ?

I think it goes without saying to be honest, in light of the Cluj game and quite possibly the single most stupid and ill thought out decision in the history of football management, right up there with the time the captain of the airship Hindenberg told his co pilot just to chuck his fag out of the window when he was done..

Calum MacGregor at left back.

Image result for neil lennon

Still, it looks like he’ll try to make up for it by bringing Fraser Forster back to the club…as presumably Frank Haffey isn’t available.

 

 

Yesterday, we had this…

Image result for celtic v cluj

Southside Bhoy August 15, 2019 at 10:01 am · Edit · Reply →

Caption:
Amid the confusion as to who is allowed to handle the ball in the box -Captain or Goalkeeper, a scouting Steward points out the person PL has identified as the next left back. 

Today…

Image