A Little Respect

I have noticed a few Celtic fans on twitter starting to question why some Celtic fans are interested in goings on at Rangers. It isn’t enough that the ‘obsessed’ patter is the standard response for fans of the newco, when some fans of Celtic begin to argue that way you know there is a disconnect between some who care and some who don’t.

If you don’t care what happens at that basket case of a new club, who are never out of the news for all the wrong reasons, that’s fine but don’t lecture people who reserve the right to be wary of a team formed out of the ashes of the previous occupiers of Ibrox.

The reason some Celtic fans, and fans of other Scottish teams, pay attention to the goings on at Ibrox is that there is still a perceived bias that they got, and still get, an easy time of it in the media.

One argument I have read recently is the comparison between the coverage their new manager, Pedro Caixinha, has received and the coverage received by Dr. Jo Venglos back in 1998. Dr. Jo was criticised for being a nobody much like Caixinha. A few have argued, however, that things have changed in 20 years. That may be so but football fans have long memories and it isn’t a stretch to be critical of coverage received in one era to a change in reporting now. That would be like saying, ‘Margaret Thatcher’s reign was over 20 years ago, surely Glasgow can move on and begin to trust the Conservatives now?’ Of course they can’t because that legacy was so toxic and so far reaching that myself, who was born in the mid-80s, would never vote Tory based on the experiences of my parents in the 80s under Thatcherism.

I don’t understand how the media works. I am the first to admit that as I don’t work within it but that doesn’t mean I can’t make judgements about what I see and what I read. I saw the media in this country perform the ultimate U-turn when it came to the reporting around the formation of the new Rangers. Some people might not like that assertion but everyone knew at the time what each aspect of the demise of Rangers meant and the inability of them to achieve a CVA. Since 2012, those who don’t believe the ‘survival myth’ are treated with disdain amongst those in the media so is it any wonder why those media outlets are questioned at all times?

I have read the argument also that media companies in Scotland will pitch their news stories for Celtic fans to react. We should stop falling for it is the advice and to concentrate on our own team. I do concentrate on my own team. I consume as many Celtic articles, blogs, podcasts as I can but I also read articles about other Scottish clubs. I wouldn’t want to apply an absolute filter to my news feed to only see pravda-type news articles about Celtic. If I wanted that, the only account I would follow would be Celtic. I want to be enlightened more about what is going on in Scottish football as a whole and that is my prerogative. My twitter account is mine and I choose who I follow and what I comment on. As I said earlier, I don’t care if you aren’t interested in the goings on at Ibrox but don’t criticise those who do want to know.

The downfall surrounding that club was one of the biggest stories in the Scottish sports media and it is still an ongoing saga. The outcome of the ‘big tax case’ decision in the supreme court is one I hope brings some finality to that side of the story. Some Celtic fans may not care that the club out of Ibrox used tax avoidance schemes to achieve an unfair sporting advantage but I do. I want the SFA to apply the rules of the scottish game without fear or favour.

I am as excited as the next Celtic fan that we are on the verge of six-in-a-row. I am so proud this year that we are able to celebrate the winning of the ‘Big Cup’ 50 years ago. I hope we can win the treble. An international weekend without Celtic is so boring and I can’t wait for domestic football to return next week. I am extremely positive about this team that Brendan has built and how we are progressing both on and off the park.

All of these things will be shared by all Celtic fans but just because some do glance at what is happening across the city, at their convicted criminal chairman who seems ‘obsessed’ by Celtic, it does not make you any less of a Celtic fan than one who isn’t interested at all. We are not a homogeneous support and there is space for all manners of views to exist. It is disrespectful to question the credentials of a Celtic fan if they decide to comment not just on Celtic.

 

A Pointless Exercise

Two weeks without domestic football is not something I look forward to at the best of times but with Scotland struggling at the moment it makes supporting the national team even more difficult. Scotland play Canada at Easter Road tomorrow night followed up by a World Cup qualifier at Hampden against Slovenia on Sunday.

Who at the Scottish Football Association made the decision that £22 for an international friendly against Canada would constitute value for money?

With only 5000 tickets seemingly sold so far it is patently clear that this has been a gross misjudgement by someone.

I hear the argument a lot when ticket prices are mentioned that if you drop the price by half then surely you will get double the attendance for an event. I am not sure how practical that is to measure every time but clearly on this occasion making a game against a team who are ranked 117th in FIFA world rankings £22 has been an error.

If the game had been £10 for example, then it is realistically something that I would have gone along to and I imagine many other Edinburgh residents would have done the same. There are aspects to take into account for the SFA like the cost to rent out Easter Road for the game but sometimes a common sense approach is needed.

Canada are 50 places below Scotland in those FIFA rankings but I am of the opinion we probably shouldn’t be playing friendlies of this type at all. Wales went two years between 2014 and 2016 without playing a friendly match and as such rocketed up the FIFA rankings which helped their seeding for future tournaments. Scotland playing a team as low as Canada does little to help our ranking even if we win so it is better to not play friendlies at all. Of course the important aspect of that is actually winning competitive games and these friendlies are meant to prepare us for that but Gordon Strachan has intimated he wont be playing many of the players who will start against Slovenia so that doesn’t really make sense.

At a time when the national team is on the brink of elimination from qualifying for the World Cup in Russia next year then surely trying to attract new fans with a reasonable ticket price would be sensible?

Scotland play an ‘important’ qualifier on Sunday, against Slovenia in what has been termed a ‘must win’ game but even that game itself, the SFA want to charge you £40 for the privilege. These prices are beyond ridiculous and it doesn’t surprise me that this game isn’t a sell out either. Perhaps if Scotland had a realistic chance of qualifying then there may be more of an uplift in sales but the pricing decision will have been taken after the England loss in November.

Hampden is a such a poor stadium for the spectator and if you asked the opinion of many Scottish football fans they would tell you they would be happy to mothball the stadium in Mount Florida. Having a national stadium is good for cup finals as that means it is unlikely that a team will ever get home advantage (sorry Queens Park) but the design of Hampden is always one fans are critical of so a serious conversation needs to happen when the lease of the stadium runs out in 2020.

I am in favour of games taking place around the country, such as the one on Wednesday night, but there has to be realistic prices associated with it for it to be a success.

It will never happen but a purpose built stadium in between Edinburgh and Glasgow, with excellent transport links with minimum 50k capacity would be the ideal scenario but we all know that the SFA don’t deal in common sense.

What Is Scottish Football Worth?

I read today, with interest, that BT Sport want to be the exclusive holders of the rights to broadcast Scottish Football from 2020.

At the moment, a joint Sky/BT contract gives the SPFL £21 Million per year to broadcast 60 live games. That equates to £350k per live game shown. It was an increase from what was given in the previous deal where the SPFL was given £15 Million per year, but that was to broadcast 30 games so the amount per game shown has in fact decreased. None of it is to be scoffed at but it pales into insignificance when compared to the riches on offer in the English Premier League. Their last deal signed gave them £5.136 Billion over 3 years, or £1.712 Billion per season. With 168 games shown live per annum, it equates to £10.19 Million per game. So for the same price as Stoke City vs Hull City and Bournemouth vs Sunderland matches, Sky and BT get 60 live Scottish games, which include up to four Celtic vs Rangers matches. Undersold much?

I welcome the news that BT want to secure these rights solely but the numbers being mooted, while a vast increase, are just a drop in the ocean compared to those on offer down south. There has been suggestions that the TV deal will exceed the highest deal paid by Setanta in 2008 which was £31 Million per year but even that amount, if it was offered, would not reflect the true value of Scottish football.

I love Scottish football and I get frustrated at those who look to disparage it and knock it from a position of ignorance. It usually comes from fans of English clubs blinded by the afore mentioned BT/Sky deal who have seen their clubs lavished with crazy amounts of cash or pundits of radio stations who are only out to increase their listener ship using click bait style headlines and manufactured arguments.

Scottish football is colloquial and retains its local feel but this is the reason so many of us follow it. Recent UEFA benchmarking figures stated that 37% of all revenues received by Scottish clubs are from ticket sales which is the highest in Europe. Compare that to the English Premier League, where gate money accounts for 16% of all revenue. The current broadcast deal for the SPFL accounts for 13% of all revenues received in Scotland as opposed to England where broadcast revenues account for a whopping 49% of total revenue.

The fact that broadcast revenue makes up so little compared to the amount fans pay to watch their team is a constant source of frustration when games get moved to be broadcast live. Celtic and Rangers, almost never have a game away from their respective grounds at 3 pm on a Saturday. Perhaps when the TV deal is renegotiated BT might carry on their trend of spreading the TV games around the teams in the league.

If BT do wish to negotiate as sole broadcasters that is a positive, not least the fact it may create some competition between the two companies and in turn secure a larger amount for the league. Their style and their positive presentation of games has been universally welcomed compared to the way Sky present the league.

The way in which Sky treat our game with disdain has left many of us, including me, choosing not to renew their package so I do hope BT are successful in their bid. I only hope they look upon Scottish football with the same value that many of us do when they decide to choose what it is worth.

 

What a State They Are In

This article was written for Football Commune on the 02nd March 2017 but as that site will no longer be producing content, I will transfer the articles that I have written to my JustBhoy WordPress account.

Oh what a state they are in. They need something, anything to take the shine off how far ahead Celtic are just now.

We all know the story and the twitter account responsible. It chucks out malicious allegations regarding Celtic and land deals between themselves and Glasgow City Council. These allegations of state aid have been investigated by both Audit Scotland and the European Commission who rejected any suggestion of collusion and whether Celtic received any unfair advantage provided by the council.

The summary of the issues surrounding the deals are all in the public domain. The council got fed up of spurious freedom of information requests that they published all of the documentation relating to the transactions on-line for all to see. The twitter account that has obsessed over it for over four years essentially is taking screengrabs from these publicly available documents and posting sections out of context to make it look bad for Celtic and Glasgow City Council.

It has cost council over £300k so far defending against the claims. The people instigating the suggestions of wrongdoing are concerned that the council hasn’t received enough money for land acquisitions by Celtic but have themselves cost the Glasgow taxpayer money defending their wild accusations. This equates to almost half the amount that Celtic paid for one of the pieces of land in question as the council had to create a dossier to defend against these contrived allegations of state sponsored help.

So in essence, they have got a worse deal for the council through their actions.

The rumours in question used to be perpetuated by a twitter account that has been recycled more times than toilet roll, but more recently a board member of the Rangers fan group, Club 1872, has got involved. He seems to be getting himself into a bit of a state regarding it too with three posts about the issue which eerily are similar to the twitter account I mentioned above.

Most Celtic fans have had the ‘obsession’ phrase thrown at them over the last five years. Usually this happens when someone is fed up of us taking the absolute piss out of Rangers fans for laughing so much at the trials and tribulations of the new club who play out of Ibrox.

When questioned by his own support, about whether they should focus on their own club and not obsess over Celtic, the reply was pretty ironic…

Whenever anyone is called obsessed that image is all you need. That is one of the most senior Rangers fan representatives clearly saying that he is OK with being obsessed with my team while ignoring his own club’s issues – which seem to be increasing day by day.

It is one thing an anonymous twitter account continuing to slur Celtic with these allegations, it is another when someone who is an elected fan representative, peddling the same state aid nonsense that has already been thrown out by the European Commission.

Is he doing this because he believes the allegations? Or is it more to do with this fan rep trying to take the focus away from his own club’s failures on and off the park in the hope of making Celtic the ‘negative’ story.

Even after two thorough investigations proved no wrongdoing, to perpetuate these claims is malevolent in the hope that some mud sticks to Celtic. It is borne out of a sense of retribution and desperation to try to counteract the downfall of their own club.

It can’t be that Celtic are successful through legitimate means, there must be something else to it and just stinks of bitterness after they were caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

What a state Rangers and their fans are in.

Celtic are Reaching New Heights

This article was written for Football Commune on the 01st March 2017 but as that site will no longer be producing content, I will transfer the articles that I have written to my JustBhoy WordPress account.

Following the wonderful 4-0 victory for Celtic in the Highlands this evening, Celtic moved onto 79 points. We have now surpassed our own points record with this win.

The original record came in the 2003-04 season where Celtic drew the first game of the season and then went on to win the following 25 league games, setting a record for consecutive league victories in the process. Celtic drew the 27th league game of that season, against Motherwell, to reach the 77 point mark. This evening against Inverness Caledonian Thistle, however, Celtic reached the 79 point mark to exceed that record set in 03-04.

Celtic won the first four league games of this season and then drew the fifth game against Inverness. Since that game in September, Celtic have won the next 22 league games and all but secured the Premiership title.

The next four league games for Celtic are Rangers, Dundee, Hearts and Partick Thistle and if we win those four, the record for consecutive wins will be beaten also. Within that run of fixtures the premiership title will be secured, most likely against Dundee at Dens Park. That would represent a title win on game 29 of this season and if you compare to the 2003-04 season, the title wasn’t secured until game 32. To win the league so early will also be a record in the ‘three points for a win’ era.

The Celtic squad of this season are reaching new heights and breaking records many of us thought couldn’t be eclipsed.

When The Sun Is Shining…

This article was written for Football Commune on the 22nd February 2017 but as that site will no longer be producing content, I will transfer the articles that I have written to my JustBhoy WordPress account.

Celtic fans have been (rightly) critical of the club in the past when we have perceived the club to not be ambitious enough. To not build from a position of strength.

Examples of this are the January 2009 transfer window, or the ‘Willo Flood Debacle’ as I have heard it termed. We could have signed Steven Fletcher to ensure we won the league that year but didn’t. The major signing of that window was Willo Flood from Dundee United and the SPL title, as it was then, went to old Rangers. They went on to win the league for the next two seasons after this before they ran out of money. There is a school of thought that their bankruptcy might have been expedited if Celtic had been ruthless that transfer window and secured the players to win the league thus depriving Rangers of access to the Champions League.

The ruthlessness has absolutely changed this season. With the decision to appoint Brendan Rodgers and the subsequent qualification to the Champions League, and riches associated, has given us a platform to ‘fix the roof when the sun is shining’.

In the January transfer window, Celtic spent £3 Million on Kouassi Eboue, the 19 year old Ivorian, from FC Krasnodar of Russia. The transfer took a little while to complete due to work permits and visas and Eboue also had an illness scare but he finally put on a Celtic top in a SFA Youth Cup game last week. He is quite possibly one of the most expensive players to ever play in that competition. He will be eased into the first team in a few weeks with the plan for him to be up to speed by season end.

His capture, as discussed here, showed that Celtic are planning for the future and don’t want to just consolidate but build from a position of strength with the first team.

The success of the first team drives revenue for the club and allows us to make announcements like Celtic have just done.

The news that Celtic are planning to submit an application to Glasgow City Council for the intention to build a Hotel and Museum Complex near Celtic Park has been widely celebrated by Celtic fans. It continues the regeneration of the area that happened as part of the work done for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and continues to implement a legacy from these games.

The hotel and museum complex, which will contain the club shop and ticketing facilities, will increase the revenue available to the club. While it is a significant investment it will be a significant revenue generator and continues to develop the stadium surroundings. A lot of the major stadiums around the world, like the Camp Nou in Barcelona, have a museum in the vicinity of the stadium which draws tourists to the area even when there are no games on.

One criticism I have about Celtic Park, which is in no way Celtic’s fault,  is the poor public transport links to the stadium. Perhaps we can ask Glasgow City Council if they fancy building a new underground line to the East End of Glasgow? In all seriousness, it needs to be dealt with as the new parking restrictions coming in to force for match days will make it even more challenging for fans to get to the stadium. We will have a world class stadium and surrounding area that will be sought after by event organisers but to utilise it, a fully integrated transport hub will be needed somehow.

For now though, I am immensely proud of my club for planning this development. Celtic are not just improving the first team from a position of strength, we are putting plans in place that will ensure the gap between ourselves and anyone else in Scottish football is truly insurmountable.

A Modern Way of Letting Go

This article was written for Football Commune on the 15th February 2017 but as that site will no longer be producing content, I will transfer the articles that I have written to my JustBhoy WordPress account.

How long, will we go on with a modern way of letting go, tell me how long will we go on with the modern way of letting you go?

– A Modern Way of Letting Go by Idlewild

Rangers Managing Director Stewart Robertson has announced that the club plan to bring in a Director of Football (DoF) to oversee football strategy as part of an ‘overhaul of the management structure at the club’.

The appointed DoF will be tasked to implement a modern football organisation which will ensure continuity in the football structure rather than when a manager leaves, as we have seen with Mark Warburton, having to start from scratch every time.

It isn’t innovate as such but is always seen as suspicious from British football fans perspective. As ever the devil will be in the detail but I applaud the notion to attempt to break from the typical mould.

For a long while, the ‘Director of Football’ position has been treated in British Football with such disdain; treated as something foreign teams do; as something that doesn’t work in Britain because a ‘manager should have the final say on signings’. Those people wouldn’t question the success Southampton have had with it though and quote examples like Damian Comolli at Spurs. There are clearly poor Directors of Football, the same as managers. It is about appointing the best one rather than just an older figure who happens to ‘get’ a club. If that is the route Rangers go down, and I don’t think it is,  I don’t believe they have understood the potential of it themselves.

What people who dismiss DoF’s also don’t understand is that football clubs need to modernise otherwise the ones that don’t will be left behind. We are talking about multi-million pound companies that need to head-hunt the best people to perform a job. Just because that job happens to be football doesn’t mean they shouldn’t utilise employment strategies that you would see in other companies.

Clubs should have an index of players they might sign, scouted from around the world and when it is required, they move to sign a player that will fit into a structure, not the other way around. It might also be that they have multiple players identified for those specific roles as things change quickly and ‘first choice’ players may not be available. There tends to be a transfer committee with the Director of Football, a chief scout and others who all decide which players to approach. It is the modern way.

In Scotland, the football recruitment strategy of many seems to be just having a ‘black book’ of contacts is all that is required. It is frankly embarrassing and seems to be the main reason for Frank McParland’s limitations when it came to signings at Rangers. They signed players who did well against them or players who had played for teams Mark Warburton and McParland had been involved with.

Celtic have a vast array of scouts based around Europe and beyond and that lets them scour many markets looking for the right players. They also have a top class manager who does have a vast array of contacts in the English game but we aren’t reliant on that.

Celtic had a form of Director of Football of sorts when John Park was at the club but he has since departed. The structures we have still remains and we still receive the benefits of them. Celtic will likely fill this chief scout role soon.

The news that Rangers want to implement a modern football management approach is to be commended. It will be interesting to see how that works. It isn’t a cheap option if done correctly and it is also not one that brings with it instant success. They are not in a position to try to recreate a cheaper version of a model utilised by Celtic so this way they can innovate using a different approach to maximise their revenue.

When Gary Locke was sacked as Hearts manager and Craig Levein put in place as Director of Football they were lambasted but have since shown this was the correct way to go and as such have done really well with that strategy. It meant that when Robbie Neilson left for MK Dons and Ian Cathro was appointed, he fit into the structure that was already there. It took Cathro a little while to get up to speed but after Craig Levein brought in numerous players that Cathro could work with, the results have improved, certainly in the short term.

I am also really looking forward to reading Kris Boyd’s article when Rangers essentially copy the Hearts model. Will he criticise Rangers if they sign a relatively inexperienced coach to work under a Director of Football? I highly doubt it but considering his own choice for Rangers manager is Billy Davies, I suspect he might not approve or not understand what a DoF does.

The other candidates who have been mentioned for the Rangers manager’s job are of a traditional manager-type like Alex McLeish, Tommy Wright and Derek McInnes, none of whom would fit in with a modern management structure. They are all too ‘British’ in style to want to adopt this model. Even on BBC Sportsound, and after Robertson of Rangers had intimated they would go down the DoF route, you had pundits still clamouring for McInnes due to his experience and contacts. I genuinely think they fail to realise that the Director of Football role takes recruitment out of the hands of the ‘manager’. I don’t believe any of the people mentioned would entertain or excel in that type of structure.

I commend the Rangers MD and board for going down a modern route if that is the way they go. It is interesting to see how vastly different it is from the way Warburton/Weir/McParland operated considering only 8 months ago, Warburton won Manager of the Year and the football played and signings made were being lauded for trying to implement a modern style. How quickly a narrative can change.

I wouldn’t want to speculate that they are using this as a way of deflecting from their failures by implementing this new structure. It sounds like its been in the offing for some time. I hope Warburton/Weir/McParland didn’t get wind of that and that is why they wanted to look elsewhere…

Could it be that this strategy is to actually lower the expectations of the Rangers fans? Implementation of this type of management structure is unlikely to garner overnight success and with fans of the Ibrox club notoriously impatient then the club will have to be vocal to maintain sufficient transparency to manage those expectations.

Whatever structure that is implemented, it has to compete with the behemoth that is Celtic. That is a daunting task but if they are serious about it they wont just try to rush it due to the fear of 10 in a row and actually take the time to overhaul a failing football model. I don’t think that patience will exist amongst the Ibrox faithful but time will tell.

The Strictest of Liabilities

This article was written for Football Commune on the 15th February 2017 but as that site will no longer be producing content, I will transfer the articles that I have written to my JustBhoy WordPress account.

Not a weekend goes by without fans of Celtic and Rangers watching their ‘rivals’ and subsequently complaining on social media about the songs said rival fans had sung. Whether it is complaining about Rangers fans singing sectarian or racist songs such as ‘The Billy Boys’ or ‘The Famine Song’ or complaining about Celtic fans singing songs in support of the IRA.

At the moment, there is nothing the Scottish Football governing bodies can do to the clubs so anyone complaining is wasting their time. There are legal ramifications of singing those songs but as the Chief Executive of the SFA once famously said ‘You cant arrest a whole stadium’. He is right but this shrug of the shoulders, we are doing everything we can attitude is not good enough.

I have written previously about crowd issues within Scottish Football. Whether that is sectarianism, racism, homophobia, crowd disturbances and the displaying of pyrotechnics. If fans from a particular club misbehave, there are no ramifications if the club can prove they did all they could to prevent it. The Scottish Cup Final in 2016 is case and point in that regard. For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth from Rangers regarding lack of punishment bestowed on Hibernian, not once did they allude to the introduction of Strict Liability which would have allowed real punishments to be levied.

Strict liability would make clubs responsible for all conduct associated with a game taking place in Scotland. This includes players, officials and perhaps more pertinently the conduct of fans.

Nil By Mouth, the Scottish based charity set up after the murder of a Celtic fan because of his religion, have launched a survey designed to gauge a response from fans as to whether they agree with the introduction of a form of strict liability.

The survey can be found here.

Some argue the survey has focused too much on sectarianism. Fundamentally, that is Nil By Mouth’s raison d’etre so for them to comment on the application of Strict Liability for any other disorder issue would be inappropriate.

I have long supported the introduction of Strict Liability but understand the reticence some have. There is a fear that we are using a ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’ but to do nothing is to be complacent in the fight against fan disorder.

Most people go to football games just to watch their team. Some argue, why punish the majority for the actions of a minority. It might be unfair but the current method employed by the governing bodies and clubs is not deterring people.

In my opinion, if strict liability was introduced in Scotland, there would have to be a few things implemented for it to work:

  • It would need an extensive framework that could be referred to that would detail exactly what actions would result in disciplinary procedures being applied. This would need a list of any offensive songs in a proscribed list. This is something that the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act falls down on as that law is very subjective.
  • It would also need an independent panel of observers that would be tasked with instigating disciplinary action. The requirement for independence here is especially prescient in Scotland as the suggestion of bias is always at the forefront.

I also would prefer the government to not have to legislate for strict liability. I would prefer the SPFL, SFA and the clubs to be adults about it and realise there is a problem and follow the lead of UEFA and other governing bodies such as the FA and the IFA but that doesn’t seem likely.

The governing bodies seem quick to accept government funding but seem to be unwilling to accept the government holding them to account when fan behaviour becomes unacceptable. They can’t have their cake and eat it.

If you are dead against strict liability, let your feeling be known in the Nil By Mouth survey and also take part in James Dornan MSP’ s public consultation. Get involved and let people know what could be done as an alternative but for me there isn’t anything else that would work.

Instead of complaining week in and week out about the sectarian and racist songs we hear in our grounds, lets implement a policy that will go some way to forcing clubs to act properly and rid Scottish football of its shame once and for all.

Celtic hit a Century as the Treble inches closer

This article was written for Football Commune on the 11th February 2017 but as that site will no longer be producing content, I will transfer the articles that I have written to my JustBhoy WordPress account.

Celtic left back, Kieran Tierney, scored the 100th competitive goal of a wonderful season for the club, followed very quickly by a Scott Brown goal to make it 101 goals scored as they trounced Inverness Caledonian Thistle 6-0 in the Fifth Round of the Scottish Cup.

Brendan Rodger’s side have played 42 competitive games this season comprising of 24 League games (65 goals), 4 League Cup games (11 goals), 2 Scottish Cup games (9 goals) and 12 European games (16 goals). That works out as 2.4 goals per game.

With 14 League games remaining and a potential 3 Scottish Cup games left assuming Celtic reach the final, a tally of 141 based on the goal per game ratio as it stands is a reasonable target. Bearing in mind 6 of those games that Celtic played were in the Champions League, the ratio of goals scored I suspect will be higher so 141 is on the lower end of amount of goals I expect.

By comparison, Celtic hold the ‘world record’ for total number of goals scored in all competitive games with 196 goals scored. This happened 50 years ago when Celtic triumphed in all five competitions they entered, culminating in the much celebrated final of the European Cup in Lisbon in 1967. Celtic won’t reach that amount this season and it is a record that may never be broken by any club, but if Celtic surpass 141 goals for the season it would be a fantastic achievement.

I wanted to see how this season compares to other seasons to see how many times Celtic have scored more than 100 goals per season. The 9 in a row era is a different level for goals scored so it would be unfair to try compare to that time in Celtic’s history. In only two of the title winning seasons during that period, Celtic scored less than 150 goals in all competitions.

In the table below, I have listed the goals scored from the last 20 or so years from the point when Fergus McCann came into Celtic.

Season League Goals Total Goals
2015-16 93 126
2014-15 84 138
2013-14 102 122
2012-13 92 128
2011-12 84 109
2010-11 85 117
2009-10 75 97
2008-09 80 97
2007-08 84 105
2006-07 65 89
2005-06 93 107
2004-05 85 111
2003-04 105** 143
2002-03 98 103
2001-02 94 128
2000-01 90 148*
1999-00 90 112
1998-99 84 106
1997-98 64 101
1996-97 78 98
1995-96 74 94
1994-95 39 56

*Highest total goals scored since 9 in a row era ** Highest number of league goals in a season

There are some interesting figures in there not least the amount of goals scored under Ronny Deila. Last season, for example, Celtic scored 126 goals in all competitions and even the previous year scored 138 goals were scored. Deila’s first season eclipses all of the seasons Neil Lennon and Gordon Strachan were in charge for.

For Brendan Rodgers team to have 101 goals already with those potential 17 games left, it makes Martin O’Neill team’s tally of 148 in 2000-01 an achievable target.

The Genesis of a Celtic Dynasty

This article was written for Football Commune on the 10th February 2017 but as that site will no longer be producing content, I will transfer the articles that I have written to my JustBhoy WordPress account.

Brendan Rodgers has stated that he doesn’t know how long he will remain at Celtic. For me though, as long as Brendan remains Celtic manager, I don’t think we will be caught by anyone in this league.

We are currently 27 points ahead of our nearest challengers Aberdeen and if we continue to qualify for the Champions League this cycle will continue for as long as we want it to.

Our half season revenues are astronomical and that is without having to dispose of any of our growing number of saleable assets. We are in such a strong position where we don’t need to sell hence the way we handled the Craig Gordon affair in the January transfer window.

I am not naive to think that no major players will never leave Celtic but when they do, I imagine Brendan already has an idea of who would replace them and we will be compensated greatly which will allow us to reinvest.

Brendan Rodgers is building a football dynasty at Celtic. He has mentioned Celtic possibly breaking their record transfer fee of £6m. There has been talk of that before, but I believe it likely if the player fits in with what Brendan wants to achieve.

Any player would need to improve the squad as I would imagine he has his eye on achieving more in next season’s Champions League provided Celtic qualify. Who is to say Celtic can’t make the last 16 or with a group stage finish of third, a Europa League run?

The media in Scotland, however, love to find a way to twist something and put a negative slant on a comment. It may be perhaps that they hope Brendan will leave sooner rather than later as they also see how dominant Celtic have become under Brendan.

What Brendan was actually talking about was the nature of football means that you can’t just assume because Celtic are all conquering this season that it will continue into perpetuity. I think it looks likely that this will happen but there are no guarantees in football. He spoke about his time at Liverpool where he had finished 2nd in the EPL, signed a new contract and then a few months later, fans wanted him sacked.

My own opinion regarding Brendan is that he will stay for 10-in-a-row which will mean he will give fiveyears to Celtic. He won’t be in any rush to leave a club he clearly has such affection for just to return down south at the first opportunity.

There has been a softening of how the English media are looking upon Rodgers’ time down south. With Jurgen Klopp having the same win ratio as Brendan at Liverpool, as a few are reassessing his performance and realising he did a good job. This concerns me a little as he will now be linked with every EPL job that becomes available but given he is a Celtic fan, it puts us in a unique and strong position given he has stated he is building something special and that he has such an affinity towards the club.

I am also of the opinion that when he does leave he will be looking at a team of the level that he managed before in the Premier League. He wouldn’t leave Celtic just to go to a Stoke or a West Brom, no disrespect. I suspect Brendan would have ambitions of a club such as Arsenal perhaps or more likely a Chelsea given his history there. He wouldn’t be accepted as a Manchester United manager due to his Liverpool credentials so that seems unlikely. With Rodgers being fluent in Spanish, a managerial post in Spain wouldn’t be out of the question either.

I don’t want Celtic fans to look at this piece as me wanting to lose Brendan. It is the complete opposite of that.

He has the potential of eclipsing Martin O’Neill and becoming the best ever Celtic manager for fans of my generation. His eight months in charge so far have been the best it has been for us for a long time and based on what Brendan has been saying, he feels that this is only the beginning.

That is music to the ears of any Celtic fan and long may it continue.