Menu Close

Celtic Board Strategy – The Good, The Bad & The Foolish

It’s been a busy summer of wheeling and dealing at Celtic Park. Eight new players have arrived and an astonishing twenty one have departed, albeit nine of them are youngsters on loan. See attached table:


Summer transfers 2015

Some underachieving attackers formally away, many youngsters out for much needed regular first team action elsewhere, a cut in the inflated squad size and an overall profit of £6-7m in the transfer market. What’s not to like?

When presented like that Pistol Pete can proudly puff out his chest and prepare to count next years English PremierLeague sized chief executive bonus. Then when you delve into the detail a bit deeper there are many concerns to consider…

There’s no denying Celtic’s squad has been far too large in recent years with a focus on quantity rather than quality in many areas. Balde, Pukki, Scepovic, and Boerrigter. All four vastly underachieved at Celtic with three now thankfully away (one on loan) and the other looking for a compensation package before we can rip up his contract. While it’s great to see deadwood depart serious questions have to be asked of the clubs custodians on why they spent in the region of £8m on these players and will be lucky to return 20% of that should we get a fee next year for Scepovic.

With every penny being a prisoner at Celtic Park it’s quite astonishing, bordering on sacking all those involved, that we should see such wastage. EIGHT MILLION BLOODY POUNDS. Just let that sink in after you add their combined wages which would at an educated guess be in the scale of £40-50,000 per week or £2-2.5m per year. Clearly those scouts who are looking overseas for attacking options are not fit for purpose and other scouts who have a proven track record in working with the European or global player market should be brought in. Do we even have a South American scouting network to tap into the considerable talent there who are available and in most cases have European passports?

Ach, that was a rhetorical question…

Buy the best of good young Scottish players?

I’m a big fan of this and I do applaud those at the club for this strategy. Griffiths, Armstrong, Mackay-Steven, Allan and Christie have all joined the club in the last 18 months and already you can see many positives. Scottish youngsters find it easier to adapt for a number of basic old common sense reasons. They know the football having played it, they know the climate having lived it and they are surrounded by family and friends. They also don’t get itchy feet as often as others who use the club nowadays as a stepping stone due to the significant differential in wages compared to the Larsson, Sutton and Hartson era and have no emotional attachment here.

The five players listed above are all talented and cost us a total of around £3.5m. Value for money is already very high with the added bonus that they have major scope for improvement. What’s not to like?

Sell our best players every summer

There’s a heart and a head element here from me. The heart says keep all our best players and build a team that can compete in the Champions League.

Ki Celtic






Forster, Van Dijk, Ki, Ledley, Wanyama and Hooper – crikey I feel like crying now – are all first class players and if we somehow managed to retain them there’s no doubt whatsoever we are in the Champions League every season – quite probably pushing for the last 16!

The harsh reality (stupid head talking now), this goes back to my earlier point, is these young players have came to Glasgow and seen it as a stepping stone to the riches of the English PremierLeague. We benefit by getting their services for 2-3 seasons before making a handsome profit of almost £40m on the six players mentioned. They benefit by getting European experience, winning trophies and then earning £30-50k per week and a significant signing on fee with their new clubs.

It hurts but right now it’s a reality of our situation.

Can those running the club do better?

Desmond and Lawwell

Of course they can. It would be childish not to applaud the major profits made on the players and the focus on the best Scotland has to offer. Where my concerns lie is with the last minute panic to buy players AFTER the Champions League qualifiers when they should be bedded in well before. With the club correctly saying we do not have the riches to compete with Europe’s top leagues it’s criminal (not in a Green and Whyte sense – Ed!) how an amateurish effort is so often made in preparation to win a cash cow of £25-30m. Using good old parliamo Glasgow….it disny make any sense!

Yes, it’s crap that arguably our biggest games of the season are before many European leagues even commence but this is where we are right now and there’s no excuses for not being prepared. We needed a good striker and good left back in before the qualifiers and the board / Ronny didn’t deliver. They must do far better.

I then reference back to the player movement table at the top of this article and it concerns me greatly.

We have not signed one good experienced player to supplement a very young developing squad something that Ronny Deila was crying out for just last week.

Deila “Scott Brown is a fantastic leader but we need more than him, we can’t depend on one. We need more players who take responsibility but that will come through experience. It’s a policy within the club to bring in players we can develop and be worth more afterwards. But we have to find a balance between experience and youth. Look at (Markus) Rosenberg – he is from Malmo. He wanted home. He would never go to Malmo if he wasn’t from there. So it’s about players from Celtic getting back and wanting to play for Celtic. We haveto look for experience and combine it with young talent. We can bring in players with experience but we don’t spend a lot of fees on that because you don’t get your money back. It’s ‘dead’ money effectively.”

The transfer window has now closed until January and we have not signed good experienced players because it’s “dead money” according to our manager. This is where the board are really letting down Ronny Deila and the Celtic support by their lack of pragmatism in bringing a balance to the team by cutting their nose off to spite their face as it’s impacting our ability to qualify for the Champions League.

With Lustig injured we probably now have a backline of Janko, Simonic, Bouyata and Blackett. The four have never played together, never trained together, speak four different languages, have hardly played any games and are all kids in football terms.

All this before we play our next match away to Aberdeen. A team who improved significantly last season and have won all their league games so far this campaign and just before an away tie to Ajax in the Europa League. I don’t call that good planning – I call that appalling preparation.

Yes, I’m concerned.

The irony in all of this is the Celtic boards ‘low risk’ approach is actually a ‘high risk’ one and needs to be re-assessed and changed in time for January and in time for next years European campaign or else they are failing their KPI for the majority of the fans….backing the manager and putting as good a Celtic team as possible on the pitch.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 years ago

Concerned.. No that emotion left me several years ago; I just feel resined to losing our best, the club will always sell on our top talent- don’t get me wrong you make compelling and sensible arguments against this approach but like you say the better players are using us a stepping stone, we’ve tried in the past to hold onto talent The Three Amigos anyone they’re eventual exits all ending in acrimony..

Buying the best in Scotland is a good move ay least they have a basic understanding of what we’re about..

8 years ago
Reply to  Joebhoy


8 years ago
Reply to  deadhead67

I believe the word you are looking for is “talent”.

Each of the young men who have joined the Great and Glorious Celtic have more talent in their little toes than within your entire form – whatever that may be.

All Celtic players have my support from the get go.

8 years ago

It’s regarded that in building a football team you start from the back. RD has addressed this by bringing in four young quality defenders, he has also scooped up the best of the rest of the Scottish talent available. I don’t think there are many too Celtic supporting players with the experience required to operate CL level and that are prepared to take a wage cut (Fletcher/Snodgass). Can the team make the step up from the SPFL to compete at Europa level? Not if they perform like they did against Malmo in the second leg. HH

8 years ago

Celtic are a selling club now, always been that way really, it’s just more prevalent now. Unfortunately we are near the bottom of the money pyramid, thanks to TV money.

For Example: Wolfsburg spent £30M on ONE player, it’s not just English money although they are inflating the market across Europe with their madness.

Don’t agree with the age argument/excuse … young player play with a no fear and generally give 100% and passion … that for me that is missing, real desire to put your body in the line of fire for your team. ONLY with total commitment from all on the field can technically weaker team!!! overcome those with the experienced and expensive players.

Secondly there is a lack of a playmaker in the middle of the park, there is no real creative player in the team (Ludo ish)

Quote” you can’t win anything with kids” ….. AYE REALLY

8 years ago

The problem at Celtic is Desmond and Lawell, as you state, again in the black with transfers, even when vast amounts of money are squandered on poor players. The money wasted would have brought in Fingaborsson, or kept Hooper. The hardest part of a team is to find a good poacher/forward.
Our next three games could see the team struggle with all the new players being brought in, untried and untested.
Let’s look on the bright side 13 Million for Van Dyck, good business as he struggled with European football, the signing of Christie and Simonic will pay big time, the others only the future will show especially Ciftci.
The problem with Celtic is that they are a big fish in a small pond and poor EPL teams have money that is obscene.
Television is to blame for this as the money poured into Scottish Football by BT,Sky and the BBC is farcical.

8 years ago

Perhaps if we had a decent manager and not a fitness coach,we would do a lot better

8 years ago
Reply to  deadhead67

… and perhaps if you fucked off we would get some peace!

james mcgillin
8 years ago
Reply to  Monti

agree monti, he has the right name deadhead a zombie me thinks

8 years ago
Reply to  Monti

Language timothy,you really thick enough to rate RD, oh well he,s only lost us between 35-40 million in just over a year,the boards cheapest option and pirate pete,s lapdog

8 years ago
Reply to  deadhead67

You are a fucking moron who shouldn’t be on here, fuck off back to Hunsville where you belong!

Charlie Saiz
8 years ago
Reply to  deadhead67

Timothy……. 😉
Fuck off back to swallow swallow ya wank.

8 years ago

A fine article on Celtic’s Wheiling and Deiling.

One name missing from the list of outgoings that I noticed… Eoghan O’Connell…. something just bugs me that he should have been given more first team exposure at CP.

Ach I don’t know sod all, but against Dundee Utd the other week he was the most composed player on the pitch and when we did our customary last twenty crumble, he was strong, confident and skilful in tackle, in the air and going forward.

Still I accept that since he hasn’t acquired a ‘reserved book value’ he probably is for the moment surplus to requirements.

Aye ….cynical as they come, that’s me.


8 years ago

WE ARE a stepping stone for the EPL that is a sad fact not much anyone can do about that except stop paying for Sky and BT. Imagine if all the strikers we signed were not duds but had got sold on for £12 million.If that was the case we would be in a decent situation so what the f**k is it about us and strikers at the moment.We cannot sign a foreign stiker to save ourselves. Who ever recommended sicknote should be shot

8 years ago

did we let O Connell go?

jpm 88
8 years ago

It has to be pointed out that , irrelevant to transfer policy, this club is massively under-achieving re- CL qualification.
Gone are the days when we have to play Arsenal or Ajax to qualify.
Now it’s Kazakh’s , Azerbaijani’s , Slovenian’s and Swedes.
And we’re seeded.
We are supposed to be the BIG club out of that lot, even with current economics.
The fact that we are now consistently failing ( effectively 3 times in a row ) is surely at the manager’s door.
Of coarse the club should make sure we go into these games as strong as is possible;but we should have been able to beat Maribor and Malmo with what we had.
This guy Deila talks a great game , but has been found wanting in Euro games,CL and EL .(remember Inter were beaten H&A after they put us out, and only Gordon’s heroics got us to that game).
I maintain that DD is the problem overall re- Celtic .
He seems dis-interested in “doing” anything with the club,lacking intent and ambition, and seems perfectly happy to plod along until a club from Ibrox turns up and normal business is resumed.
His comments re that club being “same great club” show how frighteningly out of touch he is with our fanbase, or reality.
He’s watched 50m CL money lost in last 12 months yet appears to be doing nothing about it.
There’s the lack of intent.
I don’t believe we’ll do anything but go backwards with ever dwindling crowds unless he “shit’s or get’s off the pan”, if you’ll excuse the french.
Get involved ,or pass the baton onto someone who will,- is my message to DD.
A start would be addressing the 3 CL failings of RD. If he bombs in this EL he has to go ,giving a new guy 6 months to prepare for getting us through qualifiers of “champions of smaller leagues” for the first time in 4 attempts.

8 years ago

The only thing that I can say without being negative is that we have a pretty decent midfield.

Without Griff we would be snookered at this point, within “The System”

A brand new back-line – yes. At this point in the season – no!
What happened to that summer of Euro preparation?

On a lighter note – I see that BBC Empire is doing its best not to say “Green and Whyte”; it is always “Whyte and Green” – cannot say those colours in relation to the Zombie team.
Additionally, the BBC shows its colours by picking Zombie home games at any opportunity it can – damn the rest of Scottish teams! Ready to give them a cash injection at any time.
Weird how they keep getting home cup games – very strange or is it?

8 years ago

A couple of things guys.Falling into the press trap of blaming Ronny for 3 failed attemps.Give the guy a break last year had nothing to do with him. The other thing is everybody says we buy our players after CL and not before ,well surely this gives them a year to bed in and still they cant Qualify,so what difference would a couple of weeks make unless they are superstars we are signing.Hail Hail

8 years ago
Reply to  Tamdee

The jury is still out on Deila as far as I’m concerned, I support him and want him to succeed.

jpm 88
8 years ago
Reply to  Tamdee

Not falling into any press trap ,Tamdee .
He was our manager in 3 attempts.
I’m sure if you’d asked Deila before both the Legia and then Maribor ties, he’d have believed he could win them ; otherwise , what was he there for ? To get managerial experience at our expense ?
He was brought in ( and took the job) with a view to getting us to the group stages.He was luckier than most in that he got 2 bites of the cherry. I’m willing to concede that the Legia tie came too soon,but we should have got past Maribor. And Malmo. I mean , at what point or after how many failed attempts ,do we start to question if this guy is up to the job? Winning the league proves little. We and our manager are defined by what we do in European terms. We can’t fairly compete at Group Stage level , but we need to at “champions of smaller leagues”qualifier level.
We all want whoever is our manager to succeed . We don’t care who our manager is as long as he succeeds. It’s not anti-Deila , it’s anti-failure.
We desperately need that CL money.It has to be the no 1 priority of the club and manager to get to the Groups.
After that we know we’ll be outpowered , but we need to regularly get to the groups , to have a strong future as a relevant club.
I’m thinking Celtic future , not Deila (or- anti Deila ) career.

holy sea
8 years ago
Reply to  jpm 88

I’m with you jpm.
Always had my doubts about RD.
Forget Europa’s,the league will be the hardest one to win,for many a long year.
This time next year,if we’re in CL Groups,then great.If not,likeable guy Ronny,I’m afraid,has had his 3 strikes…and he’s out !!

8 years ago

We do need another striker but that aside happy with the business. Team of

janko, boyata,simunovic, izzy
broon, biton
Forrest,commons (no 10),Armstrong
the griff

Allen, Christie, GMS, cifti, Johansson, blackett.
I’m judging this team at year end, could be start of a great young side. ‘mon the hoops

8 years ago

Time people woke up and smelled the sky deal …
Naismith worth more than 8 mill
Mccormack more than 10 , the list goes on and on , we can
Compete financially, our league is guff , negative boring football
Our manager likes to take youth and mould them , I defended him loads last year , he has made mistakes this.
We have a squad of well paid international players , they are where the buck stops , and the fail when push comes to shove .
I love broony but he has massive limitations mas do all our player thats why they play here and not treble there dough , oops im doing it now quadruple and more , down south,

Charlie Saiz
8 years ago

Aberdeen for me…..


8 years ago

I honestly don’t know. Ronny brought in GMS & S Armstrong in Jan. Good timing I thought. Then early in the transfer window Chee Chee, although I wasn’t sure about that one.

I think there’s something wrong in the changing room. Last Tuesday was inexplicable. And things haven’t been right since the start of the season. Too many defence errors, too many chances up front squandered. Something is wrong.

8 years ago

@Jimthetim…Chee Chee??? Fek me, did we go and sign a pandaw when I wasn’t looking?

8 years ago


8 years ago

We have a multi millionaire who people say owns the club, but to my knowledge hasn’t put a thin dime into the club, then you look at other clubs round the world that have multi millionaire investors and you see them giving money to help the club buy quality players.
On the other side off the border you have the mega rich English leagues wher you have 1st division clubs offering £6-£9 million for players & you have premiership clubs like Chelsea who have 31 players out on loan plus youth players up to 1st team squad that must add up to over 100 players on there books, so how do we compete with that.

jpm 88
8 years ago
Reply to  Buckie1967

We don’t need to compete with that . That’s the point.
We just have to qualify through from the pot of “champions of smaller leagues” by beating Slovenians or Swedes or Kazakhs .If we can master that , (and if we can’t we might as well shut up shop)then everything will take care of itself.

Barca Way
8 years ago

If we had a non-profit ownership structure then we could re-invest every penny we make back into the team and facilities without worrying about profits and dividends and p/e ratios.

It’s shocking, if true, that PL’s bonus is more dependent on weakening the team (selling the best players) than success on the pitch.

8 years ago
Reply to  Barca Way

Great point on the non-profit status Scooby Doo. Sounds good to me!

Follow us on Twitter @ETimsNet

Discover more from eTims

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading