FORMER SPL Chief Roger Mitchell is as outspoken as it gets when it comes to Scottish football. The Celtic fan believes he is in the minority when it comes to the Celtic ‘tribe’ and has no truck saying he doesn’t care about SPFL title wins unless the Hoops are achieving things in Europe.

There are many camps within the Celtic support; some of those lines are drawn through support or lack of support for Peter Lawwell – our former chief executive.

There are fans who cannot believe we’d have a bad word to say against Peter for what he delivered for the club — making Celtic the dominant side in Scottish football. There are others more in tune with Mitchell — wondering why Celtic weren’t reaching for the stars in Europe when The Rangers had to start again back in 2012.

I fall somewhere in the middle; domestic success is our bread and butter and the memories I have throughout the past twenty years when it comes to Celtic’s title wins will live with me forever. I can’t relate to Rodger when he says he can’t get excited about Celtic winning trophies. However, I can relate to the frustration he feels when it comes to the European stage. Celtic appear to be satisfied over the piece by being just better than their nearest domestic rivals and have a ‘we’re just happy to be here’ vibes when it comes to Europe.

Celtic is a European club built on some fantastic stories and triumphs abroad. Not winning a latter stage knockout tie since 2004 is a damning indictment of the club. What’s more, Celtic Park is treated like an attraction by visiting opposition in Europe. They all rave about the atmosphere, but they’re not scared by it because the team on the pitch rarely push their buttons or give them something to think about.

There has to be an attitude shift when it comes to Europe and it’s not an overnight thing. Ange Postecoglou has the desire and the drive to make something happen — but he needs to be backed by the men in suits — even when some of the figures to bring in real quality make them uncomfortable.

Asked about if he’d ever take on a role at Celtic — Mitchell told Graham Spiers on the Press Box podcast that would never happen while Dermot Desmond remains in charge:

“First of all, Dermot is not the kind of guy that wants somebody opinionated and awkward like me. 

“That’s that’s the first thing out the block. 

“The second thing is that I am not in tune with the bulk of Celtic fans and that I have a little truck with Quadruple Trebles when you’re getting knocked out by diddy teams in Europe while you are still on the summer time zone.

“You know, that’s not me. 

“So those years that most of the Celtic fans were lording it up in bragging rights about 12-11 tournaments or cups in a row.

“I was just looking at the European results and dying. So I’m not representative of the tribe if I can say that.”

Roger is a very intelligent, articulate and astute individual. He knows all about Glasgow’s mucky fish bowl and the scrutiny anyone taking a role at Celtic comes under.

The future for Celtic has to be outside the SPFL — whether that ever happens is still a source of debate. Celtic and The Rangers leaving the league at some point — paying a dowry to the clubs in Scotland on the way out could breath new life into European ambition.

I’m sceptical that can ever happen — the way the Super League was introduced then attacked by hypocritical UEFA and Premier League pundits shows there’s going to be a resistant to any sort of major change in the footballing landscape.

Ultimately — I’m as frustrated as Roger when it comes to the Hoops potential — we know Celtic can be a powerhouse given the right ingredients. For now — it’s about making progress — there are three European Competitions up for grabs. There’s no reason Celtic shouldn’t be in the later conversation of at least one of them.


  1. It all comes down to money! We ‘need’ to live within our means, and Dermot Desmond ensures we do that, as did Peter Lawwell, though Peter (acting under Desmond) did get a bit carried away with the penny pinching at times which led to some probably unnecessary downscaling of first team quality and managerial appointments.

    I’m sure the club would love to be able to throw all their eggs in one basket to have a crack at the Champions League every season, but they need to be practical to ensure the club always operates at a profit.

    …there is a middle ground that i don’t think they’ve quite found yet. We’ve seen teams operating at a fraction of our income do well in Europe and against us, teams with players earning less than ours do who we’d welcome into our own with open arms.

    There are some really talented players suited to particular playing systems out there we could afford, but who are often overlooked by us.

    European football in general you need two things; the ability to defend systematically and the ability to hit teams quickly and efficiently on the counter attack to create goals.

    The defensive side you tweak to suit your opponent to best nullify their attacking strengths, similarly in counter attacking where you need players who can cause damage, preferably pacey ‘team’ players with good passing vision and the ability to beat a man, and obviously the opposing goalkeeper.

    Playing the right players in the right system you give your team the best chance of taking on any opponent…Martin O’Neill did something similar in his time with us, a system he learned from his mentor Brian Clough when winning two European Cups with Nottingham Forest…Real Madrid just won the Champions League final doing something similar.

    We might’ve found a manager in Angelos Postecoglou who knows how to ‘play an opponent’, he certainly looks the part so far, but its down to him and the club now to bring in players to play his system in the most efficient way possible.

    The Super League was never going to get UEFA’s approval as it’d cost them, similarly the EPL would likely lose its status as the most viewed league, so were always going to oppose it.

    One system that could work, though would mean tweaking every nations league, would be to have clubs who win their domestic league enter a European League for the following season, meaning they don’t get to play in their countries league in the same season…at the end of this European league season they dropback into their domestic league for the following season, giving the new domestic winners the opportunity to play in the European league, and so on.

    Itd help spread the wealth about, but would come at a sacrifice as you’d no longer have one club dominate domestically, no more two + in a row title wins, and likely only see Glasgow Derby’s every second year if you
    do something similar with domestic runners up spots entering 2nd tier Euro Leagues for the season.

    All this would of course need UEFA approval.

  2. Peter Lawwel refused to leave Therangers behind, he wanted nothing more than the new entity to survive and thrive, by the way it was this entity (Therangers) who started at the bottom because it would simply be impossible for the original one to, it’s deid and awaiting burial as we speak.


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