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A Squad Building Exercise - Celtic

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part I


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I have decided to document the process I go through building a squad, this will double as my annual Celtic save. It will be heavily focused on player and staff recruitment, stemming into how they fit into the philosophy I am trying to implement. I will try to touch on everything from scouting, loans, transfer polices, tactics, training at some level. I hope to give you an insight of how I play the game and my thought process as opposed to just what I have done.
 
As the focus of this is my squad building process, here are the guidelines I will stick to:

  1. Build an extensive scouting network similar to that of Udinese, regarded as one of the best in the world. A network that became so successful their owners had to buy another club to farm them out. Like Chelsea/Vitesse I plan on linking up with a club on the continent to get some players first team football.
  2. I will build two 22 man squads, first team and u20s, with allowance for 8 players I will send out on loan. Once I reach the magic number I will operate a ‘one-in-one-out’ policy. Key to this is point #1 to identify the target first.
  3. Minimise player turnover as to avoid disruption, obviously the first two season will not apply.
  4. I will mainly focus on players 16-24, a mixture of first team ready and raw talent.
  5. Avoid signing players over 24, unless they will be a key player that significantly improves the starting XI. Players over 29 will only ever be a free transfer, a la Kolo Toure.
  6. Arranging future transfers will be avoided, Bosmans exempt. However Bosmans will be limited to 1 or 2 and should be an exceptional prospect or starting XI player.
  7. I will try to avoid the ‘player search tab’ except for expiring contracts/free transfers/transfer listed players. Instead I will use the ‘all scouted’ tab.
  8. Be profitable – every player has their price.
Edited by Sean1967

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Good luck, will check your progress. 

My longest save from last year was Crewe and bringing through the youth. There was a lot of turn over due to bigger club bids and player aspirations but that shouldn't affect you quite as much. 

From what I see this year there is a lot of promising young players at Celtic

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3 hours ago, Godfarmer said:

Good luck, will check your progress. 

My longest save from last year was Crewe and bringing through the youth. There was a lot of turn over due to bigger club bids and player aspirations but that shouldn't affect you quite as much. 

From what I see this year there is a lot of promising young players at Celtic

Thanks, hopefully I can keep it going at least a few seasons.

Yeah the talent at the club is great at the moment, between Kieran Tierney and Moussa Dembele we have some potentially world class players. Good time to be a Celtic fan!

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part II


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So game loaded with the following leagues including players from the top division clubs in Europe. This set up should give me a good pool of talent to search from.

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I have started with Celtic for a couple of reasons; (a) I am Celtic supporter, (b) some of the young talent at the club is unbelievably good and (c) Scottish football is in a weird place right now [I will go into this in greater detail later].

The goal is to help improve the reputation of Scottish football overall, do well in Europe with Celtic and win 10IAR with a business model close to real life.

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So how do they measure up against the first three points mentioned in the previous post?

  1. The scouting network isn’t great, with just 25% of world knowledge. For a club of our size it should be much higher. My target is to reach around the 50% mark after a couple of season. We only have 5 scouts at the moment so I will be looking to add here as well as bring in a few extra coaches to aid player development. We have a few affiliate clubs but none that we can loan players out to.
  2. We currently have 69 players on the books, from the math in the first post I’m looking to have between 50-55. A lot of players will leave next summer and don’t expect to sign to many. I expect to be in range within a season and a half, then implement the one-in-one-out policy.
  3. Player turnover will be considerably bigger in summer 2017 as transfer budgets are disabled and a lot of players will go out on loan this season to ‘put them in the shop window.’

Backroom Staff First Team
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First order of business was to bring in my own coaching team. Nick Harvey [fitness], Bobby Mimms [goalkeeping], Neal Reynolds [physio] and Kenny Crichton [physio] were brought in and Colin Meldrum [u20 GK] left by mutual consent. This leaves me with plenty of improvement to be made, but this along with scouting will be improved when a transfer budget is available for staff compensation.

I will look to bring in a technical coach and an attacking coach, along with scouts from several regions. I could probably also find a better HoYD and am lacking a u20 set up.

Transfers
Like I said there won’t be much activity here other than players leaving on loan. Off the top of my head the likes of Ambrose, Cifti, Boyata will hopefully get first team football elsewhere and attract bids at the end of the season. I will have a brief look at the free transfer market. I will try to avoid the loan market, unless it is a loan-to-buy or short term emergency. 

Tactics
A dedicated post to this will be up after pre-season but I will most likely be using the 4-2-3-1 wide in an attacking/controling sense and looking to assert dominance in domestic competition.

Edited by Sean1967

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part III


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First glance of the squad was just as I expected. A bloated squad, more quantity than quality really in the first team. The u20s look like theres a few gems to be polished. I plan on bleeding a few in at the end of the season. 

Goalkeepers
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We could improve here, however Craig Gordon is more than adequate at the moment. Doris De Vries/Logan Bailly/Leo Fasan will do as back up for now but I would like to bring in better eventually. Ideally I want my keeper to be with the ball at their feet.

Defenders
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The defence looks solid. At full back you have experienced Mikael Lustig and a phenomenal talent in Kieran Tierney. Tierney, if I can keep hold of him will be top class when he is developed. We have decent back-up in Cristian Gamboa and Emilio Izaguirre. Izaguirre might end up wanting to leave due to his age and being 2nd choice to young KT. 

The centre backs are solid. Erik Sviatchenko is a starter with rotation between Kolo Toure and Jozo Simunovic. We also have Eoghan O'Connell who looks more than capable of stepping in a a talent going forward. There is also Efe Ambrose and Dedryk Boyata who probably won't be around long. The worry is finding a long term replacement for Kolo.

Midfielders
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In my opinion we are one top class playmaker away form a very good side. This is likely to be my priority target in January along with a AMR at the end of the season.

The two starting holding midfielders will likely be Scott Brown (c) and Nir Bitton. Brown is Mr. Dependable, however I suspect he may miss a few games through suspension due to his role so adequate back-up will be necessary. I plan to utilise Liam Henderson this season as he looks exactly the sort of player I want in my side, for his age he has all the right attribute to make a great playmaker. Callum McGregor can work as an engine room player when Brown is out. Kristopher Ajer is also knocking on the door for a start. Stu Armstrong and Tom Rogic should fit in fantastic behind the striker and hope to see big assist numbers. There is also young Ryan Christie who I don't quite know what to do with. He will most likely be a utility player this season to maximise game time.

On the wings we have some real quality. New Bhoy Scott Sinclair is a class above, used as an inside forward I expect a few goals from him. Loanee Paddy Roberts is his opposite number on the right and had bags of tricks. James Forrest and Gary-Mackay Steven can step in when needed, more-so Forrest who I want to get the best of.

Strikers
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Up top we are light but have two fantastic options in wondered Moussa Dembele and 40 goal striker Leigh Griffiths. I expect both of them to score a-lot of goals this year. I hope I can eventually accommodate both of them at once. Young Jack Aictchson will also feature at some point. 

Other players we have but unlikely to feature are Kris Commons [I'll maybe give him a send off in the cups] and Nadir Ciftci.

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Edited by Sean1967

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Ahhhh, Celtic thread. I had struggled with them a lot on 16 domestically. I guess it's because I am not a master of attacking tactics, and they are just the team for that. You are stacked with creative players, and no improvements are necessary there, IMO. Now, Brown needs help in the butchery section.

Edited by Bunkerossian

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Good start. 

 

On the subject of Forrest - I play a similar structure to yourself, and with Roberts having left at end of season 1, I found dropping the right side position to MR (winger) and putting Forrest there has worked very well. Gives him space in behind to run at, and he's chipping in with a few goals too. 

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14 minutes ago, donnelly67 said:

Good start. 

 

On the subject of Forrest - I play a similar structure to yourself, and with Roberts having left at end of season 1, I found dropping the right side position to MR (winger) and putting Forrest there has worked very well. Gives him space in behind to run at, and he's chipping in with a few goals too. 

Since Lustig is a slower, defensively solid full back, this makes sense. I used this setup myself. I never had sufficient goals from players cutting in, so Roberts was used as a left winger.

Edited by Bunkerossian

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i got rid of a number of players to bring through some of the promising youths and then supplemented with three signings and shifted some of the deadwood.  im running with a first team squad of 22 (two for each position), and then ill look to address the u20's in a similar fashion, but probably aim to have about 50 players on the books in total to account for having some players out on loan

team currently looking like this;

semper
gamboa, kolo, lustig, KT
brown, bitton
bentivegna, schaub, sinclair
dembele

gordon
ralston, erik, o'connell, church
ajer, rogic
aitchison, christie, roberts
griffiths

bentivegna was brought in from palermo for 6m.  thats pushed roberts to backup for the LW slot, and after this season ill be looking to bring in zekhnini to replace him.  schaub was a steal at 1.5m.

ill look to play ralston as much as i can over the season to try and develop him as much as possible. church is another youngster who looks like he could be a top LB in the future (although only ever a backup as long as KT is here).  aitchison has been sensational, 8 goals from 8 games playing on the right wing, a position im training him in.

next step is to start addressing the u20's, anyone have any suggestions?

sean1967 - you mentioned you would look to bring in a technical coach - i brought in Paul Scholes on my save, could be a good option for you

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On 16/11/2016 at 22:39, callamity said:

Looks good 

Thanks. 

On 17/11/2016 at 11:04, Bunkerossian said:

Ahhhh, Celtic thread. I had struggled with them a lot on 16 domestically. I guess it's because I am not a master of attacking tactics, and they are just the team for that. You are stacked with creative players, and no improvements are necessary there, IMO. Now, Brown needs help in the butchery section.

Yeah they squad looks right up my street, fast attacking a good technically. 

That is the problem with Brown in this. In reality he has only had 5 red cards in his career. However I seemed to get 3/4 a season in FM16. Hopefully this isn't the case in FM17. 

23 hours ago, donnelly67 said:

Good start. 

 

On the subject of Forrest - I play a similar structure to yourself, and with Roberts having left at end of season 1, I found dropping the right side position to MR (winger) and putting Forrest there has worked very well. Gives him space in behind to run at, and he's chipping in with a few goals too. 

Throughout matches I tend to switch between wingers/IF and RM/RAM. Just depends on opponent/how the game is going. I will go into this more when I cover my tactics. Above is just a genreal line up an average league game. 

21 hours ago, michealhill said:

i got rid of a number of players to bring through some of the promising youths and then supplemented with three signings and shifted some of the deadwood.  im running with a first team squad of 22 (two for each position), and then ill look to address the u20's in a similar fashion, but probably aim to have about 50 players on the books in total to account for having some players out on loan

team currently looking like this;

semper
gamboa, kolo, lustig, KT
brown, bitton
bentivegna, schaub, sinclair
dembele

gordon
ralston, erik, o'connell, church
ajer, rogic
aitchison, christie, roberts
griffiths

bentivegna was brought in from palermo for 6m.  thats pushed roberts to backup for the LW slot, and after this season ill be looking to bring in zekhnini to replace him.  schaub was a steal at 1.5m.

ill look to play ralston as much as i can over the season to try and develop him as much as possible. church is another youngster who looks like he could be a top LB in the future (although only ever a backup as long as KT is here).  aitchison has been sensational, 8 goals from 8 games playing on the right wing, a position im training him in.

next step is to start addressing the u20's, anyone have any suggestions?

sean1967 - you mentioned you would look to bring in a technical coach - i brought in Paul Scholes on my save, could be a good option for you

I've disabled budgets in the first window, always do. Squad looks good though. 

As for the u20s I plan on getting rid of most of the not so good players. Hopefully to other clubs in Scotland rather than releasing them. Because I'm a good guy like that. Then take the best Scotland has to offer spplimented with quality youth from around the world. Seems to work for Barca. 

Good shout with Scholes, will defiantly be considering him. 

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part IV


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We have established the rules I will follow, my initial thoughts on the squad/transfers/tactics and a more detailed analysis of the squad. I will play high pressing, high tempo football building the attack from the goalkeeper. As the tactics aren’t completely set-up yet I will discuss training and player development first.
 
Common stats I will be looking at are passing, stamina, technique and teamwork. As the will all be key to how we play. Obviously player position will dictate the level required, but in relation to position will be vital. I will tend to avoid players who lack in more than one of them or those who do not look like they can improve [see Part I Rule #4].
 
Team Training
I will most likely use the ‘ball control’ as a default setting here changing it if needs be. 
 
Individual Training
This will run in three cycles fitting in with the three sections off attributes; 1. Physical will run July-October (covering pre-season and the beginning of the season); 2. Technical training November – February – this is the longest section as I believe it is the key area; and 3. Mental running March – May. 

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Players will also be trained in the position/role that they will be playing, I fully expect this to minimise/eliminate flaws in a player’s game with relation to my tactical philosophy. Centre backs will all be trained as ‘CD’ and in the future developed into ‘BPD’ and full backs ‘FB’ and eventually ‘WB’. Centre midfielders the will be trained as ‘DLP/AP’ and ‘BBM’ as for wingers they can be either ‘Winger’ or ‘IF’ and the CAM will be a fluid role. Up top I intend to have all ‘CF’

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If they do not meet my standards they will be swiftly moved on. This method will be tedious and time consuming but ultimately worth it. Once the first team is set up similar methods will apply to the u20s. I plan to use the in game notes system as a reminder. 
 
Kieran Tierney, Liam Henderson and Moussa Dembele will be used as examples at the end of the season.
 
Tutoring
This will be a reoccurring task throughout the season as I believe this is the most efficient way to boost mental attributes and we have some very good tutors in the squad e.g. Kolo Toure, Scott Brown, etc.
 
The first set of tutoring assignments is;
| Craig Gordon - Leo Fasan | Mikael Lustig - Tony Ralston | Kolo Toure - Eoghan O’Connell | Emilio Izaguirre - Daniel Church | Nir Bitton - Kristoffer Ajer | Scott Brown - Liam Henderson | Scott Sinclair - Ryan Christie | James Forrest - P.J. Corssan | Leigh Griffiths - Jack Aitchson | 

Ralston, O’Connell, Ajer, Henderson and Aitchson will be used as examples at the end of the season.

Edited by Sean1967

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On 19/11/2016 at 17:26, weeryan67 said:

Hi mate, would you mind posting the tactics you use? I'm doing a Celtic save this now and it's going terribly.

Coming up mate, more developments will follow as the tactic progresses.

 

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part V


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Philosophy
As you will know from a previous post, we will be lining up with a 4-2-3-1 similar to the way you see Celtic at the moment. Focus will be on build from the back, win the ball back quickly and dominate possession.

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Very Fluid: This is important for me as it better describes the style of football I want to play than any of the mentality settings do. I want the whole team playing as a unit; defenders contributing to the build-up, midfielders pushing forward and overloading defences and the forward dropping back and linking up play.

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Standard: As I haven’t yet had much experience with a very fluid mentality I will stick with this at the moment and monitor.

Team Instructions
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Player Instructions
*All default unless stated
GK: Distribute quickly, distribute to CB, and roll it out
DLP: Close down less
AM: Hold-up ball
Pre-season

After a poor start, pre-season turned out very well. Moussa Dembele looks to have cemented his place in the starting XI come the first competitive fixtures. We looked good throughout; dominating possession and had some quick breaks leading to goals.

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The next thing on the agenda is to step up the staff recruitment process, particularly the scouting team in order to get a pool of players to look at if required in January.

Edited by Sean1967

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part VI


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Initially I was going to share my plans for scouting and staff recruitment, but I have yet to pass the first transfer window and have funds for compensation yet. Another point is that I should probably identify the type of players that I will be targeting.
 
Looking at the initial squad – just considering the starting XI – what I need long terms is the following;
 
Goalkeeper
Right back
Centre midfielder x2
 
All of the players I will be looking to bring in are what you would consider complete players, along with one or two ‘specialists’. Goalkeepers should be first and foremost good shot-stoppers but good with the ball at their feet or at a level that can be improved. Defenders should be able to defend but good passing and vision would add to the squad.
 
My wingers should have pace and be able to cover the length of the pitch comfortably when playing with three at the back. I like well-rounded midfielders, but each should have a stand out quality that makes them unique, as well as a good playmaker. Up top I like to have a striker who can do it all, drop back, hold-up play and also deadly in the box.
 
There will be many factors behind decision making when signing a player as well as outlined above.
 

  • As stated in a previous post I will be avoiding the player search function, instead relying on my scouts and own real life knowledge of the game. To do this I will look to build an extensive scouting network as stated in Part I, this will be explained in more detail in the next post.
  • Player age will be a deciding factor. We won’t be paying for old rope. Key age range for the first team will be 20-24 with obviously some exceptions.
  • Career appearances and caps/youth caps. Players with more of these tend to be more developed already and first team ready.
  • Player personality will be a huge factor if a senior player – youth players will be brought in and moulded.
    Most importantly. Will they improve the starting XI or bench?


 
Transfer Activity (Budgets Disabled)
So far I have only brought in one player in Diego Poyet. This lad looks great, possibly a key player in the future in the playmaker role. He looks a certain improvement on Nir Biton and after a year out on loan should come back with some top-level appearances under his belt.

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A lot of deadwood left on loan to free up the wage budget and put them in the shop window. I purposely avoided sending u20 players out on loan as I would rather focus on selling the ones who won’t make it in January.

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Edited by Sean1967

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27 minutes ago, Sean1967 said:

 

Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part VI


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Initially I was going to share my plans for scouting and staff recruitment, but I have yet to pass the first transfer window and have funds for compensation yet. Another point is that I should probably identify the type of players that I will be targeting.
 
Looking at the initial squad – just considering the starting XI – what I need long terms is the following;
 
Goalkeeper
Right back
Centre midfielder x2
 
All of the players I will be looking to bring in are what you would consider complete players, along with one or two ‘specialists’. Goalkeepers should be first and foremost good shot-stoppers but good with the ball at their feet or at a level that can be improved. Defenders should be able to defend but good passing and vision would add to the squad.
 
My wingers should have pace and be able to cover the length of the pitch comfortably when playing with three at the back. I like well-rounded midfielders, but each should have a stand out quality that makes them unique, as well as a good playmaker. Up top I like to have a striker who can do it all, drop back, hold-up play and also deadly in the box.
 
There will be many factors behind decision making when signing a player as well as outlined above.
 
As stated in a previous post I will be avoiding the player search function, instead relying on my scouts and own real life knowledge of the game. To do this I will look to build an extensive scouting network as stated in Part I, this will be explained in more detail in the next post.
Player age will be a deciding factor. We won’t be paying for old rope. Key age range for the first team will be 20-24 with obviously some exceptions.
Career appearances and caps/youth caps. Players with more of these tend to be more developed already and first team ready.
Player personality will be a huge factor if a senior player – youth players will be brought in and moulded.
Most importantly. Will they improve the starting XI or bench?
 
Transfer Activity (Budgets Disabled)
So far I have only brought in one player in Diego Poyet. This lad looks great, possibly a key player in the future in the playmaker role. He looks a certain improvement on Nir Biton and after a year out on loan should come back with some top-level appearances under his belt.

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A lot of deadwood left on loan to free up the wage budget and put them in the shop window. I purposely avoided sending u20 players out on loan as I would rather focus on selling the ones who won’t make it in January.

AppkSbc.png

Good shout on Poyet. Never thought about him when I have been managing Celtic. Will follow with keen interest!

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On 24/11/2016 at 21:13, Anaconda Vice said:

Good shout on Poyet. Never thought about him when I have been managing Celtic. Will follow with keen interest!

Aye he looks a player, hopefully he develops.

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part VII


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A huge part of how successful this turns out will be down to the scouting team and how I utilise them. This is due to my reluctance to use the basic player search function, except for bosman deals and to see who is transfer listed. 
 
I play to expand the scouting department in phases.

  1. Scotland, rUK and Ireland along with a Chief Scout being sent out on specific assignments.
  2. Scandinavia and Central Europe
  3. Eastern and Southern Europe
  4. The Americas and the Caribbean
  5. Africa/Asia/Oz

Each phase will be scouted slightly different form the last, I will go into this as I manage to recruit for these areas. As a general rule assignments will tend to last for 3 months.
 
Phase 1

  • Chief Scout will be sent out roaming in order to find a player with a specific skill-set ready for the first team. This will wait until I have a budget available as I want the best possible candidate.
  • Development league and the UEFA Youth League scout; John McGlynn will be my man on the ground at both the u20s and the UYL, he will also e tasked with scouting next opposition.
  • A scout looking for the most promising players in England; Michael Murphy will be on the hunt for the next Moussa Dembele to slip through the net down south.
  • Someone looking for first team ready players in rUK and Ireland; David Moss is tasked with finding me first team ready players in the UK, focusing mainly on the Championship and Premiership.


 
The remaining phases will be carried out as and when scouts are identified but summary posts will follow. Another way of increasing global scope that I will be looking into is through affiliation. We already have informal partnerships in Ireland, NI and Mexico. I expanded this by requesting a club with successful youth development. 

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I had a few options from England, Romania and Spain but the Germans seemed like the best option. I plan on using them the way Chelsea use Vittese to blood in players.

  • 2 Bundesliga is playable so players send on loan will get opportunity to play
  • The standard of the league is probably better than SPFL
  • They have some talented youngsters in their side
  • We get a foothold in German football

Tactics seem to be working out well, the one tweak I have made though is dropping back to a DM and two CM. I have now just found out after all these years that starting formation represents your defensive shape.

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And other news...

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part VIII


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I added to our rather depleted backroom team with a host of additions, filling up most of the first team roles. More will come in over the course of the season, but for now I am happy. Mick Halsall comes in as Chief Scout and looks a steal at only £40k from Notts County, he has already been tasked with finding us a new CM. Phase 1 complete.

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I made a few more tweaks; instructing the CB and CF to play a shorter passing game. Slight increase in pass completion but sample to small to tell. Breezed through to the CL groups securing at least £15m in prize and TV money. Changed too many players in the Aberdeen game as the team was tired due to fixture congestion. 

First Rangers game finished 9-0, yes 9-0. It couldn't have went any better, we dominated the match containing them in their own half. We had 14 SoT and managed 6 CCC to their ZERO.

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Following this, especially the scouting portions. Always been a bit overwhelmed about scouting and, like you, feel that player searching isn't the most realistic way to play. Keep it up. :) 

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On 01/12/2016 at 00:30, tyler16 said:

Following this, especially the scouting portions. Always been a bit overwhelmed about scouting and, like you, feel that player searching isn't the most realistic way to play. Keep it up. :) 

Thanks mate, I just base it on my own knowledge and scout usage when looking for players. A bit more on that coming in the next 2/3 posts.

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part IX


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Being a Scottish side we don't generate a great deal of revenue, intact we rely heavily on both season ticket sales and UCL qualification. Prize money for the Scottish Premiership is terrible and TV rights even worse. However we have the advantage of a 60k seater stadium and a he fanbase. On the back of this we raised £19 million from season ticket sales.

Qualifying for the Champions League meant and extra £14.4 million in prize money - with a game to play and TV money still to come. Leaving us with a healthy bank balance. Due to this I am in no hurry to sell any key assets. 

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Being in such good financial health meant that there was funding available to improve the equality of the squad. The full amount will not be spent in January and an effort will be made to move a few players on to reduce the wage bill. Upon the news of my January war-chest I immediately stated to identify who fit my criteria for the players that my scouts found.

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I had a look at the players who will likely leave in January/July I decided that midfield will be the priority. But what do I want in a midfielder? Firstly the must be able to pass a ball. They must have high work rate/determination and be able to last a high intensity 90 minutes. This criteria left me with 3 players. In terms of personality they all fit what I am looking for and can fit the BBM and CM role.

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We went on a great run of form that seen us unbeaten domestically since the loss to Aberdeen, we won the League Cup, can still quality for the last 16 of the UCL and score 74 goals in 29 games. The highlights of the season so far being a 9-0 win over Rangers, 2-2 draw with Juve (conceding in the 89th) and 7-1 win over Spurs. All this sees us with a domestic treble available and 9 points clear with a game on hand.

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Edited by Sean1967

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11 hours ago, Black and Yellow said:

Loving the depth in here so far - and I look forward to seeing how this develops over the next couple of seasons!

 

10 hours ago, jorgvandervloed said:

@Sean1967 Great thread man! Keep up the good work; love the detail:lol:

Thanks guys!

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part X


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A factor in how successful this save will be is how other Scottish sides do in Europe. The better they do the easier it is for us to reach the last 16 and avoid a group this this years. There are many factors that will come into this, a good home scouting network to identify the best home grown players and monitor their transfer activity.  A good worldwide scouting network means I won’t have to rely on making myself stronger by wakening domestic rivals.
 
Guidelines for Improving Scottish Football
 

  1. Avoid hovering up all of the Scotland’s best youth prospects and have them rotting in the u19 when they played 18 first teams games the previous season. Or just as bad singing 6 players 18-20 and loaning them to English league 2 sides. Instead focus on cherry picking the best and brightest, who can play a part in the first team or be loaned to another Scottish Premiership side with guaranteed first team football.
  2. Control the number of players in the squad, there is no sense in having an u20 squad of 50 players with only 10 of them having any chance of making it. This has a threefold negative effect; (a) it’s a drain on resources, (b) it limits playing time for more talented youth players and (c) they could be moved on and get game time. For players identified in this category there will be a four-step plan. Try to move on with sell on clause, try to move on for free, try to loan and finally release.
  3. Domestic teams will now have first option on players for sale/loan. This will be on a case-by-case basis. For example I am not going to loan Aberdeen a striker who is capable of scoring 6/7 goals from January if they are only 6 points behind. However if they need him on a 6 month loan in August and are trying to qualify for the Europa League then definitely. For each of the lower divisions I will also focus on one side per season in terms of loans/frees in order to help them gain promotion.


With relation to point 1 above I started to implement Phase 2 and 3 of my scouting department development plan.

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Phase 2

  • Erik Larsen was brought in to build up an in depth knowledge of you Scandinavian players and snap them up young and cheap similar to the Ajax model.
  • Countries such as Spain/Portugal/etc. Will be scouted by forma Clermont Foot manager Helena Costa. She will be assigned to spend 2/3 months in each building a profile of the players available there.
  • Stephane Pauwels came in to assist Sjaak van den Helder in covering the more central countries like Holland and Germany. This is where I expect to have the largest pool to choose from.

Phase 3

  • Lech duo Tomasz Wichniarek and Jacek Terilowski have been brought in to find the brightest young players in Eastern Europe. This is market I expect to be littered with gems. Like the Central Europe scouts the will spend around 2/3 months in each nation to build a profile.
  • To complete my coverage of Europe Christos Orkas will be scouring Southern Europe in the likes of Greece and Turkey.

A few more members of staff came in to fill out the available positions. Improvements will be made to the coaching set up when I can.

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Edited by Sean1967

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As a Celtic fan I'm following this with interest :)

Amazing results against Rangers and Spurs! And still in shock seeing Lawwell splash the cash for facilities improvements and increased transfer budget, haha.

Funnily enough, I've also recruited Mimms, Pauwel, Deane and Bunn for my staff at Strasbourg in Ligue 2.

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12 hours ago, happyhoopy said:

As a Celtic fan I'm following this with interest :)

Amazing results against Rangers and Spurs! And still in shock seeing Lawwell splash the cash for facilities improvements and increased transfer budget, haha.

Funnily enough, I've also recruited Mimms, Pauwel, Deane and Bunn for my staff at Strasbourg in Ligue 2.

Thanks mate! Looking to improve the squad very gradually.

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part XI


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Upon starting the game I didn’t really have a long term plan just a general goal of dominating Scottish football  and progressing through Europe. So here is what I have come up with in my 5-year-plan.
 

  1. Set the tone for the save with a domestic treble and reach the group stage of European competition.
  2. Champions League group stage.
  3. Champions League group followed by a good Europa League run.
  4. Champions League last 16 or win Europa League.
  5. Complete 10-in-a-row and a Champions League semi-final.

To reach these goals I will have to be smart in the transfer market and tactically astute. Back to the first point, we can’t constantly be losing money in the transfer market. Making a profit most years is a reasonable target. Should be possible for the coming season considering the amount of deadwood we have out on loan. Each season wills see the arrival of a project player; someone who will be around for a season or two and (hopefully) be sold for profit. You could even say Diego Poyet falls into that category; our affiliation with Kaiserslautern should be a useful tool in developing these players. 
 
Wage Structure

In FM16 as a general rule I used the generation of income from season tickets and gate receipts as a guide to my real wage budget. With 40k+ season ticket holders and average attendances of 48k so far this season my estimation is over £20 million. Next year I will have an exact figure to work to. 

Here's how it works out just before the January transfer window opens with my estimates. Luckily I like to work with a small squad. 

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Now you might be thinking how is it possible to profess limiting myself to such a budget. Well once direct entry to the Europa or the Champions League group stage is guaranteed through coefficient (not after qualification rounds) this will be added to the formula. Allowing a significant boost, from here we are pretty much at a ceiling however. Not to worry, as I won't be paying players six-figure weekly sums anyway. And the type of player demanding such will probably not be interested in plying their trade in Bonnie Scotland.

Tactics

I decided to change things up tactically, I wanted to try a flat four in midfield to see how it turned out. I also wanted to play more 'the Celtic way'; as in quick attacking football, and very attractive to watch. Player instructions very simple at the moment and a work in progress. Only notable changes is GK to distribute short, LW to push further forward and AM to hold the ball up.

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Edited by Sean1967

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part XII


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Slow Centre Halfs
We lost a few goals with the opposition striker playing off the shoulder of one of our centre backs, I came up with a temporary solution to combat strikers with pace. I played with a deeper defensive line and used Lustig in the middle (acceleration/pace 14) and set his parter to cover. Ideally I want to bring in a quick defender. 

This showed particularly in the game against Leverkusen (when it was highlighted). Javier Hernandez had a field day netting a hat trick, the return game in Germany we had him covered. The result 3-1 win to take us through to the Europa League knockout. I forgot to set it up to combat Kris Doolan to Partick Thistle and paid the price, he's not the quickest but  inical. relatively quick and absolutely clinical. Despite dominating we lost to a single goal.

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I came up with a shortlist of three players, red flags with Jerry St. Juste and Suently Alberto is low determination. However I do have Kolo Toure (18) to tutor them, so that shouldn't be an issue long term. The red flag with Rob Holding is obviously the cost, I imagine Arsenal will want a pretty penny for him as well as significantly higher wages. 

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Results were good in December, Partick Thistle result completely my fault. We came from behind twice to beat Hamilton 3-2 and reached the last 32 of the Europa League; overall a good month. Looking forward to dipping my tops in the January transfer market. 

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part XIII


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OK. So I know I said I wanted to bring in a quick central defender and a box-to-box type player for the middle of the park. Neither happened, their clubs just wanted far too much really. Lets talk about the defender first, Jerry St. Juste is still on my radar but sc Heerenveen were having none of it. They simply just didn't want to sell. Arsenal accept a loan offer for Rob Holding, with a £3.5 million option to buy - GREAT. Then Swansea swoop in a sign him in a £5.25 million deal. He would have been ideal; 6"3', quick and decent with the ball at his feet. His height made him my presence over St. Juste. As for Suently Alberto, the more I thought about it the more he didn't look like he would cut it. 

Hibs were taking the **** with John McGinn (as were the other two targets clubs), they wanted over £5 million for him. Not a chance was I going to pay that money for a player in the Scottish Championship. Lorenzo Crisetig and Conor Hourihane deals couldn't happen because the ridiculous fees demanded, despite both players only having 6 months left of their deal. I will look at them again as the season comes to a close.

Julian Green was originally signed on a pre-contract. After I thought about it, it made more sense to buy him early. He wasn't playing at Bayern, meaning he wouldn't develop and I was lacking a 3rd striker. He also gives us that extra option on the wing. 

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Linus Wahlqvist joined hours later. Quite the expensive purchase – costing a cool £3.8 million. The cost subsidises by the sale of Cristian Gamboa who had become unhappy with lack of opportunity. Wahlqvist is a long-term singing and a natural replacement for Mikel Lustig. At 6"1' he is quite tall for a full back and can cover the heart of defence. 

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Quite some players left; mostly youngster on loan. Only four players left permanently; Cristian Gamboa and Nir Bitton both left for Marsellie, I couldn't have paid anyone to take Efe Ambrose off my hand and Kris Commons' broken ankle meant he would miss the end of the season so no one would take him off my hands. We finish the season in the black in terms of transfers.

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Tutoring
In terms of tutoring there wasn't any massive success'. Nir Bitton significantly helped improve Kris Ajer's technical skill but his determination dropped (17>13), I plan on setting hi up with Scott Brown to boost this back up. Eoghan O'Connell's mental's massively improved from the help of Kolo Toure; notably determination (11>15). Tony Ralston made all round improvements under the influence of Mikel Lustig.

Edited by Sean1967

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Wahlqvist will prove to be worth many times more than that outlay.

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Really interesting thread! Just how I like to play my games so I will follow this one.

I like the way you are not using the player search options outside your shortlist, will use that in my current Feyenoord save.

One small tip I will give you, wich will help you earn some extra cash negotiate monthly fees when you loan out players. When a player is 4mil or less you can ask up to 10% of what there worth. Wich will add up to 100% of there starting transfer price when you loan them out for a full season. Every now and then I'll sign a bosman just to loan them out for 1 or 2 seasons, then you can sell them for a small fee to a scottish team. They in turn can make a good profit on said player.

Edited by Feddo
Typo

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On 12/12/2016 at 01:53, tyler16 said:

Julian Green. :)

Interesting update, shame about Holding.

He looks like he could be a bargain, bags of potential. 

On 12/12/2016 at 02:00, BoxToBox said:

Wahlqvist will prove to be worth many times more than that outlay.

I'm hoping so, doing well so far. lustig out for a few weeks so will get his chance. 

On 13/12/2016 at 22:29, Feddo said:

Really interesting thread! Just how I like to play my games so I will follow this one.

I like the way you are not using the player search options outside your shortlist, will use that in my current Feyenoord save.

One small tip I will give you, wich will help you earn some extra cash negotiate monthly fees when you loan out players. When a player is 4mil or less you can ask up to 10% of what there worth. Wich will add up to 100% of there starting transfer price when you loan them out for a full season. Every now and then I'll sign a bosman just to loan them out for 1 or 2 seasons, then you can sell them for a small fee to a scottish team. They in turn can make a good profit on said player.

Cheers man. Funnily enough I also have a Feyenoord save running. 

I plan on doing that next season with the loans. Couldn't do it in the summer due to budgets being disabled. Could turn out to be a real money maker. 

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part XIV


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January and February went extremely well for us. We picked up maximum points in the league to take us and incredible 18 points clear meaning we can win the league in the next moth if results go our way. However we are still in both the Europa League and Scottish Cup, so that might delay it as we chase the domestic treble and European glory. If you look at the goalscorers you can see the headache that Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembele are giving me.

The Club Brugge result seen us progress to the last 16 of the EL and face an in-form Schalke.

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I noticed we were losing the possession battle more often than I would have liked and our passing stats had dropped. To combat this I changed up the game plan slightly. We kept the shape fluid but shifted from attacking to control. Higher pressing and play from the back remained, however direct passing was replaced with retain possession. Another small tweak is the GK has been instructed to distribute to the FB rather than the CB.
 
These changed were made before the home leg against Club Brugge and then Hamilton. They have got off to an impressive start. In the games we had 55% and 61% possession and completed 88% (486/551) and 91% (740/786) of passes respectively.

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I arranged two pre-contracts for the end of the season. First was Lovre Kalinic who will battle it out with Crain Gordon for the jersey next season and young Matt Knox. I could have signed Knox for pennies in January but he's playing regularly and will likely go on loan next season. 

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part XV


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We progressed again in the Europa League and now face Fiorentina in the Quarter Final. We almost blew it, in Germany we were up 3-1 and ended up losing the match. We eased through another two rounds of the Scottish Cup on the march towards the treble. Another win over Rangers kicked out a 100% league record for this month. One very important thing I learned in terms of tactical adaptability was to always keep the opponent formation open in the match screen.

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In terms of stats, we seem to be missing a load of penalties. Despite have some good finishers in the squad. However here is the good news. Look at out league table. We are netting 2.8 goals/game and conceding 0.8 goals/game. We are the best passing side and since changing the tactics up we have climbed form 5th to 3rd in terms of possession. Hopefully we can make up the 0.05% between us and Dundee. 

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Really enjoying your post. My Celtic save was similar to yours in terms of dominating the SPL (beat Rangers 8-0 in first Old Firm game) but not as good in Europe. Benfica beat me home and away in the Europa league. I tended to change tactics away from home and I left all the training to my assistant manager so i'm sure the way you're going about things has already made a big difference.  I eventually had Dembele (comp forw supp) and Griffiths (Poacher) playing as a two and the goals were flying in but then i'd play Dembele as a lone striker in bigger games which led to Griffiths being unhappy and not being as effective as the season ended. Find it interesting the way you're methodically building the squad. The new save I've started you no doubt will not approve of as it seems to be the complete opposite of what your trying to do! The main thing that frustrated me about the save was the lack of a challenge from Rangers so I've edited things a little using Steam. Frank De Boer is now the Rangers manager and I've added a few young talents to their squad (ZIvkovic, Cerny, Reine-Adelaide) and also increased their transfer budget and given them a "Sugar Daddy" in the finance section.  As I say I can appreciate this wouldn't be the way you'd go about things but i'm intrigued to find out how this will change the SPL as I only tend to play  two-three season games. Looking forward to following your save and in particular how the younger players improve.  Cheers.

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3 hours ago, Baltimore76 said:

Really enjoying your post. My Celtic save was similar to yours in terms of dominating the SPL (beat Rangers 8-0 in first Old Firm game) but not as good in Europe. Benfica beat me home and away in the Europa league. I tended to change tactics away from home and I left all the training to my assistant manager so i'm sure the way you're going about things has already made a big difference.  I eventually had Dembele (comp forw supp) and Griffiths (Poacher) playing as a two and the goals were flying in but then i'd play Dembele as a lone striker in bigger games which led to Griffiths being unhappy and not being as effective as the season ended. Find it interesting the way you're methodically building the squad. The new save I've started you no doubt will not approve of as it seems to be the complete opposite of what your trying to do! The main thing that frustrated me about the save was the lack of a challenge from Rangers so I've edited things a little using Steam. Frank De Boer is now the Rangers manager and I've added a few young talents to their squad (ZIvkovic, Cerny, Reine-Adelaide) and also increased their transfer budget and given them a "Sugar Daddy" in the finance section.  As I say I can appreciate this wouldn't be the way you'd go about things but i'm intrigued to find out how this will change the SPL as I only tend to play  two-three season games. Looking forward to following your save and in particular how the younger players improve.  Cheers.

Thanks, I tend to change something most games. Usually just something as simple as player role or add/remove a TI. Europe I tend to analyise a little more than domestic games. 

The way I intend to play it is build up the league overall. Strengthen teams Scotland has in Europe (excluding Rangers). In the hope reputation goes up and they can attract good quality from overseas and develop good Scottish youngsters. 

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part XVI


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As it is the tail end of the season I decided to get a few more youth players out for first team football. The selection process in deciding where they go is as follows; squad status, league status, competition in position. Tony Ralston is the most interesting one here for me as he joins Jamie McCart at Dundee Utd. McCart tipped to be a star for the future is impressing at Dundee Utd and coaches informed me that he is now a ‘good Scottish Premiership defender’. A season a Kaiserslautern may be in order next season, something I am eager to utilise.
 
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Three more transfers have been arranged for the end of the season. Marco Friedl and Jai Quitongo will come and a most likely be loaned out to gain first team experience. The real gem here though is Emerson Hyndman who will cost £4mil from Bournemouth. He will join former teammate Moussa Dembele (and hopefully Paddy Roberts) in the first team squad.

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This month was all about prioritising. Hearts result was unexpected as we had a full strength side, but these things happen. We wrapped up the title in the following match at home vs. Partick Thistle, a beauty from Captain Scott Brown securing the title. In both Kilmarnock and Ross County games we heavily rotated to prioritise the Fiorentina (3rd in Seire A) and Scottish Cup Semi. In Italy we lined up 4141 and held out won then went 4411 in the home leg and dominated from the off. Up next in our European adventure is a tough tie vs. Athletic Bilbao.

The most interesting tactical change here was using Scott Brown as a DM, CM or BBM as opposed to BWM. His aggression sees him booked/sent off far too often, compared to real life figures its insane. His yellow cards went form 6 in 8 games to just 1 in 8.

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This is pretty sweet. I can definitly relate to your ideas on squad development, and your writing and layout are great, keep it up!

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On 22/12/2016 at 22:39, TheJanitor said:

This is pretty sweet. I can definitly relate to your ideas on squad development, and your writing and layout are great, keep it up!

Thanks! 

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part XVII


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A great end to the season to set us up for two big cup finals. We fought hard to get through against a solid Bilbao side sitting 7th in La Liga. With Hearts in between the only player who started the 3 games in a row was Craig Gordon, I rested the starting XI. Once that was sealed we came up against Rangers and finished the season with a 100% record over them thanks to a Leigh Griffiths hat-trick to take him to top of the goal chart. Have a look at the stats from the game. Again the full squad was rested for the Dundee game.

We finished the season on 96 points, just incredible. We romped home with a lead of 18 points, scoring an impressive 92 goals. I not only overtook Dundee we finished top in the possession charts. What I noticed about Dundee was they play with a narrow 5 man midfield, meaning they get quite good pass stats and possession. Another interesting one was the cross completion, I always thought it was poor - obviously not in comparison. 

Its good to see Hibs come up and Killie go down, this means we will have a much stronger league next year.

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Fantastic thread, the layout is great and the level of detail is incredible. I'm really interested to see how your progress will affect Scottish football as a whole. Scottish football is in a bad state right now, the fact a cretin like Malky Mackay got the performance director role for the SFA is a testament to that.

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On 25/12/2016 at 08:18, AceAvenger said:

Fantastic thread, the layout is great and the level of detail is incredible. I'm really interested to see how your progress will affect Scottish football as a whole. Scottish football is in a bad state right now, the fact a cretin like Malky Mackay got the performance director role for the SFA is a testament to that.

Thanks mate, hopefully I can make a difference to the league rep! 

Yeah its a joke how he got that role, not a guy who should be influencing children. 

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part XIIX


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On the run up to the final I kept an eye on the Man Utd line up. I figured they would line up in a 4411 formation so to counteract it I was initially going to two with a 4141. The. I thought about it, there was going to be a lot of space in-between defence and midfield to exploit. So I pushed James Forrest and Tom Rogic up to try and work some magic. 

At half time I noticed Forrest was very isolated, he only attempted 11 passes. So I brought on Callum McGregor as a wide midfielder. We eventually equalised an Rogic became a CM and Scott Sinclair pushed up in the hope his pace could get us a winner. It wasn't to be, we stretched the game out to penalties but poor finishing cost us.

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Celtic | A Squad Building Exercise | Part XIX


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End of Season Review
Scottish Premiership
We were outstanding, we racked up an incredible 96 points. We won all but 7 matches and the majority of them were what I call a tactical loss. By that I mean before or after a CL/EL fixture where the squad was heavily rotated. Another loss came in a run of 10 games in December. But enough about losses. What about the highlights? A 9-0 win over Rangers costing Mark Warburton his job, and winning all 4 derby fixtures. A 3-0 win up at Pitodrie over the runners up. Leigh Griffiths netting 4 agains Ross County. 

Domestic Cups
Not much to say on these, both wrapped up relatively comfortably. Partick Thistle gave us a scare in the Scottish Cup as it took us a replay and a last minute winner from Moussa Dembele to send us into the quarter final. 

Champions League
We coasted through the qualifiers and into the riches of the group stage. The first round of fixtures made it look as if we were there to make up the numbers but in the final 3 games we drew with Juve , spanked Spurs 7-1 and put Leverkusen to the sward in Germany to progress to the Europa League last 32.

Europa League
What a run this was, we just never seemed to get the luck of the draw. We played to 4 sides from Germany, Italy, Spain and England. And somehow managed to reach the final. After and incredible comeback from 2-0 down we eventually lost on penalties .

Squad
Incredibly there wasn't a single poor player in the whole squad, no-one averaged under 7.00. This as you can imagine is a managers dream problem. Even the back-up keepers made the step up. I had two strikers who scored over 30 goals each and Scott Sinclair managed 23.

Finances
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Awards
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Edited by Sean1967

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That has been a really nice season! Tough to beat that but I look forward to see the progress next season.

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