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mjaferrie

[FM17] Project Brave - Youth Only at Paradise

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Caught up! Hopefully you can get the goalkeeper situation sorted. Working wonders in Europe as well.

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Hopefully that keeper has a few surprises in store.

 

At least the goalkeeper looks decent enough. Hopefully he isn't injury prone. I feel like his mentals should improve to a reasonable enough level

 

Caught up! Hopefully you can get the goalkeeper situation sorted. Working wonders in Europe as well.

I've got him straight into the Reserve team so he'll play in League One next season and the cup games for us, and we'll see how he looks in a year or so!  Thanks for reading folks :) End of season update coming soon...

 

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3 hours ago, 1967 said:

Excellent work. Really enjoying this!

Cheers!

Season Review 2018/19

Despite scoring that 'vital' away goal in Greece, Olympiakos took the lead in Glasgow and a 1-1 draw in the end wasn't enough for us to progress.

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A bit frustrating, as I thought this was a tie we should really be winning.  Still, last 16 of the Champions League is no bad!  The shock of the tournament was Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool putting 4 past Monaco, 5 past Atletico, and 6 past Chelsea to reach the final in Vienna.  Unfortunately it wasn't to be 7 against Real Madrid as the Spaniards lift the trophy after a 2-1 win over the Merseyside team.

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In the Scottish Cup, we had a really easy route to the final with only Ayr United causing us problems.  A team made up of mostly reserves looked to be taking a 3-0 victory over Ian McCall's men, but two goals in the 81st minute set up a really nervy end to the match.  In the final we came up against Hibernian for the sixth time this season, and a hard fought 1-1 draw ended in a penalty shootout victory for the Hoops and we secure the domestic treble!

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We walked the league this year which was unexpected after Rangers pushed us to the penultimate game of the season last year.  Their year of absolute chaos resulted in a 4th place finish in the end, securing European football for next season, but ultimately their poor showing on the field means we finish 24 points clear of second placed Hibernian.  Meanwhile, after taking the Hearts job when they were down in 6th or 7th place in the Premiership, Brendan Rodgers guided the Jambos to 3rd place and the Europa League 3rd Qualifying Round.  Here are our results since January - much more convincing than last season!

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So on the park we've been running smoothly, especially since Craig Gordon's return from injury.  Off the park we look to be heading for a difficult summer with Arsenal declaring their interest in Kieran Tierney and West Brom bidding £16m for Moussa Dembélé.  It will take a lot more than that for me to part with our star striker, but Tierney has requested a transfer and I have a fight on my hands to try and keep him here.

Already on the chopping block though is Stuart Armstrong who has joined Watford for £7.5m.  It's always a kick in the teeth when you immediately see that value jump up to £15.25m after a move down south, but the emergence of Liam Henderson as a first team player along with the return of Ryan Christie from Aberdeen means that he was getting pushed down the pecking order.

Let's have a look at how the youngsters are getting on:

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If that is a total head-**** to read then let me know what you think would be better!  Basically I'm trying to keep a two-season comparison of our most promising under 21 players, with a start and end reading for Personality as well.  Values read n/a where the player wasn't at the club yet.  

Nice to see a few of the guys jump up to the first team, with Anthony Ralston spending the first half of the year at Hamilton before being recalled due to the sale of Cristian Gamboa in January.  Max Potter and Tommy Caffrey have also seen huge increases in time on the pitch with the reserves.  It's good to see some positive changes in the Personalities, and the determination values still on the up - Ally Andrew's rapid change is almost as impressive as his shrinking belly.

Edited by mjaferrie

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Scenes from training at Lennoxtown this morning as new goalkeeper R. Kelly YP3b looks to push his way into the first team:

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Edited by mjaferrie

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That's a lot of Wnt... The big absence from that list though is Kieran Tierney - I rejected Arsenal's first offer and they dropped their interest so Tierney doesn't want to leave any more, happy days!

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Summer Transfer Window and Season Preview 2019-20!

Well, the sad news is that a four month injury to Scott Brown up until the end of last season has had a serious impact on his stats and he's just hit another 3 months out as we go into September.  He already has a contract as a player/coach, so he'll move into our backroom team upon retirement and it seems like that will likely be at the end of this season or next.  After returning from that horrific injury in the first season to make 54 appearances in the second year, scoring 13 times and setting up 10 more in the process, it seems like the last few periods out have taken their toll.

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In terms of transfers, we managed to keep ahold of the squad in the end.  The interest in Tierney got dropped when I refused an offer, while Kristoffer Ajer and Olivier Ntcham have agreed to stick around as long as we win some silverware this season.  We've been through three seasons together, winning two trebles and a double and 'they're getting to the stage in their career where they're craving some silverware'.  Lads...

 

So the only major departure this summer is Stuart Armstrong who leaves for Watford for £7.5m - like I said before his value has more than doubled since the move and he's made 5 appearances for them in the Championship so far.  Might turn out to have been a mistake but we have a lot of strength in midfield so I'm not too worried about it!  Joining Armstrong in heading out the exit door are Ross Doohan, Kevin Byrne, George Chalmers, Grant Savoury, Mark Wilson, Ciaran Diver, John Clark, Martin Robertson, Kieran Williamson, Chris Brockie and Keiran Campbell who depart for a grand total of £102k - most of those deals were expiring contracts or free transfers, and none of them have been making a name for themselves here.  

On the park, thanks to our exploits in Europe and our move up in the coefficient rankings, we kick off the Champions League this year in the 3rd Qualifying Round against Crvena Zvezda.  We had the first leg at home, but 72 minutes had passed before the deadlock was broken with Liam Henderson opening his account for the year.  Tom Rogic followed up around 10 minutes later to give us a better than deserved 2-0 victory.  Over in Serbia, Dembélé and that man Rogic again gave us the same scoreline, and a Playoff Round tie against Scottish football's historic European bogey team NK Maribor.  A 1-0 defeat in Slovenia in the first leg was fully deserved, as our young line up couldn't get out of 2nd gear.  With a strong win required in the home leg, we named our strongest team and were rewarded with a 3-0 victory thanks to goals from James Forrest, Olivier Ntcham and Tom Rogic.

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As you can see from these images, Anthony Ralston has more or less replaced Mikael Lustig as our number one choice at right back, with plenty of our other young players getting a lot of game time throughout the preseason.  How's this for a group of death though:

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We've defied expectation before, but I think this one maybe a step too far for us.  I'm hoping to scrape 3rd and drop in the Europa League, if we get any better than that I'll be absolutely delighted!

In domestic football, it's four wins and a draw so far in the league without a single goal being conceded, while we again needed a penalty shootout to secure victory in the League Cup first round.

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Robbie Kelly made his debut for us between the sticks against Motherwell, and hopefully he'll develop well in the cup games this season!

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Squad Review

Goalkeepers

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No changes here, Craig Gordon is now a player/coach (he might have been already last summer, I don't remember).

Full Backs

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A strong mixture of youth and experience, with Kieran Tierney ticking both of those boxes.  We're in a bit of trouble at right back when Lustig retires, so I've got Josh Hughes YP3a retraining in that position from LB.

Centre Back

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Again, no change here.  I might look to move either Sviatchenko or Simunovic on to give Max Potter a shot in the team.

Defensive Midfield

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We haven't had much in the way of defensive midfielders coming through in the intakes so far.  Kris Ajer and Scott Brown can also play here which is grand, but we'll have to retrain players in this position or then have a rethink about our tactic somewhere along the line.

Central Midfield

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Broony is out for the next 3-4 months so with Armstrong leaving down south I thought it was a good time to bring young Benny into the fold.  He's already got 19 caps for Zimbabwe and has been absolutely sensational with the Reserve team - average ratings of 7.86, 7.57 and 7.50 over the last three years.  On top of that, he's impressed when given a chance in the first team and he can certainly do a job for us at the moment!

Wingers

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Jack Aitchison gets his chance, coming into the first team to replace the injured (as ever) James Forrest.

Strikers

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Our deadly duo up front are unchanged - Jack Aitchison will do a job on the right wing for now but hopefully will get a few games up front too.

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AGH FFS.

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How does this keep happening?!  Squad's down to 20 men, thankfully Calvin Miller and James Forrest have just returned from their own spells out.

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Gordon Strachan got the sack after failing to qualify for Euro 2020.  I'm in two minds about this, the Wales job bored me stupid in my other save and the international management side of things just felt like a distraction rather than an actual investment.  However with the youth only, and in Scotland, slant this time around it could be fun to take my Celtic squad to the World Cup or Euros.

I'm going to save now and sleep on it, what do you's reckon?

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The squad is seriously injury prone! That's a few now for Dembele too, anything in his report about being injury prone? Get a decent striker through and get him sold! I got £25m and 10% of next sale for him (Lazio so a chance for another step up) in mine but it did leave me very short up front.

 

Not sure about the International job... if it was me I'd say no (not yet).

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I'd probably not bother with the international job, it's quite draining unless the goals for the save involve the country developing.

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Short update - I turned down the Scotland job (since when are they offering £52k a week by the way?!) and I also subsequently turned down the Leicester City job.

Anyone know why on your career history overview it says that even though I've signed 0 players, it says I've spent £825k?  Is that signing on fees for new contracts or what?  I'd have that it was way more than that by now...

Anyway, I've been playing through a bit today but probably won't have time for a proper update until tomorrow or Friday.  I might end up just doing one at the end of the season for this edition, it's been a bit crap :D Briefly, we won the League Cup 1-0 in extra time against Rangers, and in Europe despite a 4-1 win on the final day against AC Milan, 2nd placed Man City's win over 1st placed Bayern means our victory wasn't enough and we drop into the Europa League.  That's a bit of a disappointment after reaching the Quarter Finals and 1st Knockout Round in the last two years but it was a flipping hard group!  Beating Manchester 1-0 and AC Milan 4-1 both at home were our best results, a 5-0 defeat to Bayern was certainly our worst... Hopefully we get a good run in the knockout stages of the Europa.

In other news, Brendan Rodgers left Hearts to take the Northern Ireland job... :rolleyes:

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That 825k, is it agents fees?

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10 minutes ago, BoxToBox said:

That 825k, is it agents fees?

Seems more likely than the player's ones - I seem to remember being pissed off at having to form out about £1.2m for someone recently so I was sure the 825k was too low for that.  It says ' - ' for total fees paid to agents though?

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Edited by mjaferrie

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Incredibly odd. Maybe it only counts towards youth players signing on fees, as they're technically joining from trials.... but then it seems like way too large a number....

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10 hours ago, BoxToBox said:

Incredibly odd. Maybe it only counts towards youth players signing on fees, as they're technically joining from trials.... but then it seems like way too large a number....

9 hours ago, 1967 said:

Staff compensation?

Could be, the other thing I thought was if we were paying a monthly fee for someone earlier on.  We're not now anyway, so if it continues to rise I know it's not that.

Transfer window has been basically pressing "Reject Offer" about 1000 times from AC Milan - it seems that after consigning them to fourth place in the Champions League groups they've decided they want to buy us. 

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2019/20 - The Season So Far

We're coming up on the youth intake day so I thought it was a good time to have a look at how the year has been before we get our new bunch of youngsters through the door.  As I previously mentioned, we defeated Rangers 1-0 in extra time in the League Cup final, in what has been one of our toughest fought derbies since the 1-0 defeat to them in the Scottish Cup fourth round in 2017/18.  All in all, the competition was a bit of a hard fight for us this year - we needed penalties to beat Motherwell in the 2nd Round, and St. Johnstone twice pegged us back before scoring an own goal to give us a 3-2 victory in the semi final.

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One trophy in the bag for this season and that makes it four out of four wins in the League Cup.

In the Scottish Premiership, we've played 25 games and sit top of the table by seven points with two games in hand over Glasgow rivals Rangers.  The surprises of the season so far have been Dundee and Dundee United, with the Taysiders battling it out for 3rd and 4th place.  We've been defeated twice this season, 3-1 to Dundee and 1-0 to Rangers both away from home, but we're currently on a seven game winning streak so hopefully that continues!

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Highland League side Fraserburgh were first up for us in the Scottish Cup, as they reach the fourth round of the competition for the first time in this save (and possibly in their history?).  It was a good chance for us to play some youngsters in an easy cup tie, with Robbie Kelly YP3b, Josh Hughes YP3a, Max Potter, Anthony Ralston, Daniel Church, Kundai Benyu, Jack Aitchison, Tommy Caffrey and Calvin Miller starting for the Bhoys.  The North-East side kept us to a 0-0 draw at half time, but 4 second half goals from Forrest (2), Sinclair and Aitchison sealed our passage into the 5th Round and a tie against Championship side St. Mirren.  I fielded much the same lineup as in the Fraserburgh game and we secured the same scoreline at Celtic Park with two goals either side of the break.  In the Quarter Final we put three past Aberdeen at Pittodrie, and we will face the winner of Hibernian v Inverness in the Semi.

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Europe was an absolute 'mare for us this season, with a really difficult group in the Champions League.  We were out of the blocks slowly, with 1-1 draws at home to Bayern and away to Milan followed up by a 2-1 defeat in Manchester leaving us with just 2 points on the board at the midway point.  Fortunately Milan had managed the same set of results, however defeat by 4 goals against City gave us the advantage.  An early goal from Erik Sviatchenko gave us an incredible 1-0 victory of Manchester City at Parkhead, and it could have been two if Nir Bitton had put his penalty kick in the back of the net.  Bayern put us to the sword next though, with a 5-0 victory in Munich, which left us and Milan on 5 points in 3rd and 4th with Manchester City in 2nd with 6 points.

If Manchester City lost to Bayern, then either a win or a draw would put us through to the last 16 of the Champions League given our head-to-head with City was better (2-2 with us scoring 1 away goal).  If Manchester City beat Bayern, then a win or a draw would see us drop into the Europa League.  Either way, if we lost to Milan then we'd come 4th in the group so we needed an historic result at Celtic Park regardless of what happened in the other tie.  I was feeling pretty confident given our draw at their patch, and that confidence was rewarded as we went 3-0 up.  Milan pulled one back, but Erik Sviatchenko sealed the deal and it was time to look at Manchester City's result.  Unfortunately, a 2-0 victory for them at the City of Manchester Stadium means we drop into the Europa League, and we face Dynamo Kyiv in the First Knockout Round.

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January Transfer Window

Fortunately we managed to get through January with zero players leaving us on permanent deals, despite AC Milan trying to buy half our team and their dog.  They were in for Kristoffer Ajer, Olivier Ntcham, Tom Rogic and Nir Bitton - midfield problems much?  A couple of guys went out on loan but I'm absolutely delighted to keep the team together - with Craig Gordon likely to retire at the end of this season (injury has meant that he's only played five games so far) and Scott Brown and Mikael Lustig not far off it either we're going to be short of numbers pretty soon.

Anyway, youth intake day is coming up and hopefully we get a star or two!

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Youth Intake Day!

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James Leighton sounds interesting... and he's a goalkeeper!!! :hammer:

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That is absolutely incredible news, we have a 5 star goalkeeping prospect who's technical and physical stats are already a notch above Robbie Kelly and Leo Fasan.  His mentals are absolutely terrible, but we've got tutors for that!

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Nice to get the keeper. The FM gods have rewarded you for persevering despite the ridiculous injuries

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5 hours ago, Keano16 said:

Right when you needed one!

 

5 hours ago, BoxToBox said:

That keeper!

 

1 hour ago, kidthekid said:

Nice to get the keeper. The FM gods have rewarded you for persevering despite the ridiculous injuries

Gave him 6 appearances at the end of the season + 5 for the reserves, if he can improve on his mentals then he will become our new no. 1 very quickly.

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Eesh, IRL Leo Fasan has just signed for Bury from Celtic. Glad I started this save when I did or that would have made life a bit tricky :lol:

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Hi guys! We've got folks staying with us for the next week so this'll be quiet until next weekend! I'll try and get this seasons update up before they arrive :)

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6 hours ago, mjaferrie said:

Eesh, IRL Leo Fasan has just signed for Bury from Celtic. Glad I started this save when I did or that would have made life a bit tricky :lol:

Heard him mentioned in the Sunderland game last night, and thought the same thing.

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Europa League 2019-20

We've had an unbelievable run in the Europa League this season!  Joining us in the First Knockout Round are Hibernian who came 2nd in their group, so we have two Scottish representatives in knockout competition for the first time since Rangers progressed to the same stage two or three seasons ago.  There are a few horrendous ties on the table, with Barcelona, Manchester United, Roma, Inter and several others posing a real threat to us.  Hibernian were on their way to Italy to face Fiorentina, while we were drawn against Dynamo Kyiv, as both of us avoid one of the 'big' names in the first round. 

Currently we are 11th in the coefficient table, and depending on results in the knockout stages we looked to be moving up past Holland and Turkey into 9th.  If we could secure two positive results against the Ukrainians, their last representatives in European competition after Shakhtar came bottom of their group, then it's possible we could also leap past them into 8th.  Moussa Dembélé, recently returned from injury, gave us the lead in the Ukrainian capital but it was quickly cancelled out by Junior Moraes and we went into half time at 1-1.  We were level with an away goal, so I thought it was better to go all out for the win knowing that if we slipped up it would be more than possible to overturn back in Glasgow.  After 58 minutes, Sergiy Sydorchuk was sent off and the numerical advantage led to an unmarked Nir Bitton making it 2-1 for us on the night, a cracking result!

Back in Glasgow, three early goals from Sviatchenko, Eboue and Dembélé saw us 3-0 up by the 22nd minute, but Junior Moraes again pulled one back and at half time we were 3-1 up and 4-2 on aggregate.  We played out much of the second half with not much action, before an 85th minute strike from Ukrainian legend Andriy Yarmolenko meant the last few minutes of the game would be incredibly nervy - concede, and we were out.  Fortunately we managed to hang on and a 4-3 aggregate win sets up a 2nd Knockout Round Battle of Britain tie against Stoke!

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We kicked off the first leg in Glasgow, with Moussa Dembélé again giving us the lead - he's quickly returned to his talismanic best up front for us since returning from injury.  An own goal from Ryan Shawcross meant that at half-time we looked to be cruising, but Troy Deeney's 69th minute penalty gave Stoke an important away goal heading into the 2nd leg.  It all comes down to - can we do it on a cold, rainy night in Stoke?  We started out in our usual attacking variant of the 4-1-2-3, but Christian Benteke - how/why Stoke signed Benteke and Deeney for the sum total of £60m I'll never know - gave them the lead in the 14th minute.  That meant we were going out on away goals, but Stoke were a serious attacking threat and I wanted to make sure that one goal didn't turn into two.  We edged back on our intent, and switched to a more patient, passing play.  We were rewarded with a Tom Rogic goal in the 43rd minute, and a Niklas Stark red card in the 44th which meant that at half time it was 3-2 on aggregate to us and we had a man advantage for the second time.  Anthony Ralston gave us another goal in the 65th, before Kristoffer Ajer got himself sent off in what was turning into a fiery tie.  We were 4-2 up though, with two away goals to our name, and we stuck it out to the final whistle.  We were through to the Quarter Finals!

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Next up, a chance for revenge against Fiorentina who had knocked the Hibees out in the FKR.  A Simunovic thunderbolt and a Jack Aitchison strike either side of half time gave us a 2-0 victory in an otherwise dull first leg in Glasgow.  In the second leg the tie came alive as Gaston del Castillo opened the scoring, with Fiorentina not going out without a fight.  Dembélé levelled the tie going into half time though, and the Hoops were having a party.  Olivier Ntcham put us ahead on the night, while Ianis Hagi's late equaliser wasn't enough to dampen the mood as we sail into the Semi Final 4-2 on aggregate! 

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Spartak Moscow win against Porto, Inter beat Gladbach, and Barcelona put 4 past Manchester United...  

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I certainly knew which tie I'd prefer, and luckily the FM Gods were on our side as Spartak Moscow came out of the Champions League Sorting Hat, with the first leg to be played at Celtic Park.  Jamie McCart gave us the lead just before half time, but Luiz Adriano's equaliser meant we were heading to Russia needing a win or a better score-draw.  Quincy Promes opened the scoring after just 4 minutes, and again we found ourselves dropping back into our more defensive tactic as we needed to survive an onslaught.  Moussa Dembélé popped up with an incredible goal out of nowhere for Celtic, as we were back on level terms completely against the run of play.  In the 40th minute, a Robin Zobnin strike had put Spartak ahead again and at half time it was 2-1 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate. 

Olivier Ntcham wasn't having a great game on the right wing, so I took him off at half time and threw on Jack Aitchison, we also went back to our usual 4-1-2-3 as we chased a goal in the second half.  A quick look at Spartak's formation at the beginning of the second half suggested that they were happy to play for this result, switching to a 5 man defence with a DM.

50th minute... no change.  60th minute... no change. 70th minute... no change. 80th minute! ... no change.  Time was running out and Spartak looked to be heading to a final clash against Barcelona, who had beaten Inter 3-0 in the first leg and were currently goalless in Italy.

87th minute...

Tierney takes the throw in on the left hand side, it's short to Scott Brown.  He tries to play the cross but it ricochets off Makeev and the ball falls to Leigh Griffiths just outside the box.  GRIFFITHS SHOOOOOTS!  OOOOOH, Selikhov with a WONDER save!  But it's only as far as Mikael Lustig! LUSTIG WITH A SUPER-SWEDE HEADER INTO THE BACK OF THE NET!  MIKAAAAAEL LUUUUSSTIIIIGGG!  THE MAN, THE TACHE, THE LEGEND! With 3 minutes to play, it's 2-2 in Moscow and Celtic are heading through to face Barcelona in the Europa League Final!

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What would you know.  Celtic were heading back to Lisbon for a European final - Celtic vs Barcelona on the 20th May 2020, at the Estadio da Luz.  What a story it would have been if Inter had beaten Barcelona and we had a repeat of '67!  But nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and Celtic drawing Barcelona in European competition.

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The first half in Portugal was end to end stuff, but neither side could break the deadlock until Neymar launched a rocket into the top peg in the 41st minute.  At half time it was one-nil to Barca, but we certainly weren't being blown off the park!  That is, until Jamie McCart put the ball into our own net in the 86th minute.  Time was running out, and we were in a desperate search of a goal to level the tie.  Unfortunately McCart planted it neatly in the wrong end, and a consolation strike from Dembélé three minutes later wasn't enough as Ernesto Valverde's side lift the Europa League trophy!

Runners up in the Europa League, not a bad effort at all lads!

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Season Review 2019-20

An unbelievable effort in the Europa League was matched on the domestic front, as 1-0 nil wins over Rangers in the League Cup and Scottish Cup finals saw us lift the treble in Scotland, conceding only 4 goals in cup competition.

League Cup:

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Scottish Cup:

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In the league, we were a comfortable 21 points clear of second placed Rangers who couldn't take advantage of beating us twice this season.  It's a bit worrying for us that we are starting to lose important games to the likes of Rangers, Hearts and Hibs, but fortunately for now they aren't capitalising on our decreasing form.

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Motherwell go straight back down, while Inverness come straight back up.  Those two have been swapping places between the divisions over the last few seasons which is a bit dull, hopefully someone else will push for promotion to the top flight next year.

Captain Scott Brown hasn't yet given any indication to retire but he was on a £20,000 per week contract as a player/coach for us, which was expiring next season. I offered him a new deal and he only wants £4,400 p/w, so that could be a pretty good indication that he's heading in that direction.  Luckily he's already on the coaching contract so he'll move straight into our backroom team on retirement.  Meanwhile, 37 year old Craig Gordon only made 7 appearances this season, but he's in the exact same boat in terms of being on a coaching contract as well.  33 year old Lustig made 30 appearances this season, so we might get another one or two out of him yet.

On the youth player front, here's the progress made this year in our under-21s: 

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I'm probably going to move Regan Hendry on this summer, as despite making 17 appearances for us in the first couple of seasons as well as being a stalwart of the Reserve side, he's not really progressed more than an average player for the division so he'd be better off somewhere the likes of Partick Thistle or Kilmarnock where he'd get regular game time than here.  He made 40 appearances for St. Johnstone this season so he's an alright player for the Premiership, just not quite good enough for us.  Kundai Benyu's appearance stats are a bit deceiving here, as he missed the last 4 months of the season with a damaged achilles tendon.  He would have likely reached at least 20 appearances for the First team, and will certainly be making a lot more in the coming seasons with Scott Brown's retirement looming.

Our reserve side had a tougher time of it this season in League One with the Rangers Swifts being promoted and the Old Firm youngsters battling it out for the first time since their days in the Lowland League, however they managed to retain the title after the Swifts and Airdrie fell away towards the end of the season.  With the Crusaders and the Swifts coming 1st and 2nd though, Airdrie gain the automatic promotion place to the Championship.  Next season our Reserve side will be joined by Hibernian Colts who after beating Aberdeen Colts in the promotion playoff last season, went on to win League Two this year.  Aberdeen Colts however were beaten by Stirling University in the playoffs this year, and for the first season so far this save we don't have a promoted side from the 5th tier.

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1 minute ago, BoxToBox said:

Amazing run in Europe.

Thanks!  Don't really feel we deserved it as our only convincing result was the 2-0 win over Fiorentina, but I'll take it! :D 

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Fantastic stuff. I don't know what Barcelona were doing in the Europa league

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Great stuff in Europe, man!  It's all coming together.

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15 hours ago, kidthekid said:

Fantastic stuff. I don't know what Barcelona were doing in the Europa league

Came third in their Champions League group behind Chelsea and Young Boys... :eek: Young Boys got knocked out 7-1 on aggregate by PSG in the next round.

12 hours ago, ManUtd1 said:

Great stuff in Europe, man!  It's all coming together.

Likely going to be a case of rebuilding the squad this summer:

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Gordon is off, Broony is off, and six of our first team players are wanted men.  The squad is going to look quite different in the coming season!

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This window has been brutal so far.  Lost Scott Brown and Craig Gordon to retirement, Leigh Griffiths has signed for Hull City for £8.75m and Erik Sviatchenko is off to West Brom for £10m.  Meanwhile, I've had to break the £40,000 per week mark to keep Olivier Ntcham (£42k p/w) and Kristoffer Ajer (£40k) at the club.

We did finally get details of the stadium expansion though, which I forgot to post here.

stadium.thumb.png.cb53681f5f0767721ba21c71026e06a2.png

We'll be playing in Edinburgh for the time being while the expansion takes place, with a capacity of 75,000 by this time next year.

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20 hours ago, mjaferrie said:

This window has been brutal so far.  Lost Scott Brown and Craig Gordon to retirement, Leigh Griffiths has signed for Hull City for £8.75m and Erik Sviatchenko is off to West Brom for £10m.  Meanwhile, I've had to break the £40,000 per week mark to keep Olivier Ntcham (£42k p/w) and Kristoffer Ajer (£40k) at the club.

We did finally get details of the stadium expansion though, which I forgot to post here.

stadium.thumb.png.cb53681f5f0767721ba21c71026e06a2.png

We'll be playing in Edinburgh for the time being while the expansion takes place, with a capacity of 75,000 by this time next year.

Odd choice that.  There's a serviceable stadium on the other side of the city you could use, surely?

In all seriousness though, for only 14000 seats, you'd imagine they'd just close part of the stadium.  Worst came to it, surely it'd be Hampden?  You're not allowed in Firhill, you'll only set fire to it or rip up the chairs.  Again. :p

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Yep odd. I'd have said Hampden. Very expensive too but the big one for me is 75,000 seats. I like that it's a nice round number but another 1000 would have made it bigger than Old Trafford...

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23 hours ago, forameuss said:

Odd choice that.  There's a serviceable stadium on the other side of the city you could use, surely?

In all seriousness though, for only 14000 seats, you'd imagine they'd just close part of the stadium.  Worst came to it, surely it'd be Hampden?  You're not allowed in Firhill, you'll only set fire to it or rip up the chairs.  Again. :p

21 hours ago, 1967 said:

Yep odd. I'd have said Hampden. Very expensive too but the big one for me is 75,000 seats. I like that it's a nice round number but another 1000 would have made it bigger than Old Trafford...

Can you imagine the chaos if we ended up at Ibrox for the season... :onmehead: I've had a few saves where we ended up at Hampden, and I'm pretty sure in my Lisbon Lions save on here the expansion ended up costing a fair bit the wrong side of £100m...  At least here it's a bit cheaper and Murrayfield is a lot bigger.

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Summer Transfer Window 2020/21

It's been a busy summer!  No one in, but there has been a pretty significant overhaul of my backroom team with 14 new members of staff as well as Mikael Lustig agreeing to a player/coach deal.

In terms of players leaving us the squad is looking quite different.  Erik Sviatchenko signed for West Brom for £10m and Leigh Griffiths is now on a £61k p/w deal with Hull City after leaving for £8.25m (I think I wrote £8.75m before, remembered wrong).  These are huge losses for us, as both were first names on the teamsheet week in, week out.  Sviatchenko is on £71k a week, and Griff not far off it and we just can't compete with those wages here, so we cashed in and with Scott Brown and Craig Gordon hanging up their boots we can promote some of the youth team.

Meanwhile Regan Hendry has joined Partick Thistle for £250k and PJ Crossan is up the road to Inverness for £89k, both players looked to have a bit of promise early in the save but haven't hit a standard high enough to break into the team.  Four youth team players move on to clubs lower down the Scottish pyramid for between £2k-40k, while 22 youth players leave us for free after being released or coming to the end of their contract.  They weren't progressing, and were clogging up our reserve and youth teams so I've let them move on to give those with more potential more game time.

For the first time in this save, we haven't had European football in the summer as we've risen high enough in the coefficient rankings to gain an automatic spot in the Champions League Group Stages.  This is fantastic news - we've qualified every year but it's good to know that the place is guaranteed for the coming years, provided we keep winning the league!  Another first for this save is having three Scottish teams in the Group Stages of European football, with Dundee and Rangers both qualifying for the Europa League.  Here are our first few results of the season:

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Next up we welcome Tottenham to Murrayfield (not going to get used to that..) in our first game of the Champions League group stages.  We've got a tough draw, with PSG and FC København the other two sides in Group G.  In the Europa League, Dundee have got Villareal, Spartak Moscow and Girondins de Bordeaux, while Rangers come up against Sevilla, Hertha Berlin and Red Bull Salzburg.  Both were 4th seeds, but hopefully they can get some points on the board and help with the coefficient now that we don't have qualifying games to win.

FIRST TEAM SQUAD

Goalkeepers

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Leo Fasan has improved a lot after more or less two full seasons as our first choice 'keeper but James Leighton is almost a better option already.  He's being tutored by Fasan at the moment so hopefully his mentals improve a bit and he'll get a lot of game time this year. 

Full Backs

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No real surprises here, Lustig and Ralston have been struggling with injuries so Josh Hughes has been promoted to the first team to fill in there.  He's another recent convert to the Irish national team, with a cap for the U21 side.  Hopefully Daniel Church will push his way in to the first team as well.

Centre Backs

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With Erik Sviatchenko leaving, Mikael Lustig, Kieran Tierney and Anthony Ralston are filling in a bit at centre back.  It's a good opportunity to promote Max Potter to the first team though and depending on his development I'll probably do that this season.  Kristoffer Ajer is our utility man, playing regularly at CB, DM and CM, he's also our new captain since Broony left.

Defensive Midfielders

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No change here with Bitton and Eboue both solid - we're going to need to retrain some players for this position though with no one coming in so far in this area.

Central Midfielders

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Kundai Benyu had already been promoted to the first team, but with Broony retiring he will get much more opportunities now.  He's just back from a 5 month spell injured, so hopefully he gets up and running quickly.

Wingers

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Age is creeping up on Forrest and Sinclair!  With Griffiths signing for Hull, Jack Aitchison will be spending more time in a striker role so we needed some cover here.  Johnny Waters has been progressing really well for the reserve team and has also had a couple of spells on loan at East Kilbride and Clyde.

Strikers

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Jack Aitchison will be an able backup here and the young Irishman Tommy Caffrey is developing really well.  Hopefully we'll see more of him in the first team this season since Griffiths has made some space.

Edited by mjaferrie

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Manchester United want to sign James Leighton - I finally get a goalkeeper in who looks half decent and six months later the big teams are after him... bollocks.  

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Shouldn't kick up a fuss since he's 16, think the board would interject if a good(in their minds) offer came in?

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17 minutes ago, BoxToBox said:

Shouldn't kick up a fuss since he's 16, think the board would interject if a good(in their minds) offer came in?

I gave him a new contract and I'm basically playing him and Fasan 50/50, hopefully that's enough to keep him happy for the time being.  26 appearances since the intake day between Celtic/Crusaders, not bad for a 16 year old!

I'm really excited to get ahold of this guy for next season, he's on loan at Sheffield Wednesday the now.  He could be a really good striker for us, needs to work a lot on the technical side of things though.  He hasn't made any appearances for the first team yet, but 19 for the Crusaders, 28 for Stranraer and 53 for Raith Rovers on loan in the last couple of years plus 17 for SW so far this year is pretty good for an eighteen year old.

1ebccb161cc0ba967dc269da3e89838c.png 

Edited by mjaferrie

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15 minutes ago, mjaferrie said:

I gave him a new contract and I'm basically playing him and Fasan 50/50, hopefully that's enough to keep him happy for the time being.  26 appearances since the intake day between Celtic/Crusaders, not bad for a 16 year old!

I'm really excited to get ahold of this guy for next season, he's on loan at Sheffield Wednesday the now.  He could be a really good striker for us, needs to work a lot on the technical side of things though.  He hasn't made any appearances for the first team yet, but 19 for the Crusaders, 28 for Stranraer and 53 for Raith Rovers on loan in the last couple of years plus 17 for SW so far this year is pretty good for an eighteen year old.

1ebccb161cc0ba967dc269da3e89838c.png 

Ohhh! I really like him, would make for a cracking defensive forward.

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2 hours ago, BoxToBox said:

Ohhh! I really like him, would make for a cracking defensive forward.

He's ideal for how we play at the moment!

1 hour ago, Johnny-Trotter said:

A bit before my time :D I have vague memories of him at Aberdeen when I was a kid.  Some career!

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Mid Season Update 2020/21

We lift the first silverware of the season with a 1-0 victory over Dundee United in the League Cup final.  In other saves, this is a trophy that has been pretty elusive so I'm delighted that this victory makes it five wins from five seasons.  We've been making it difficult for ourselves by forgetting every year that the Crusaders are in the group stages, so when the knockout stages come around half our team are cup tied, but fortunately we've got enough strength in depth that it's been fairly straightforward - this season we dispatched Hibernian, Falkirk, Rangers and Dundee United without conceding a single goal.

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Our 4-0 win over Hibernian is our ninth win from the last ten games against them, so we've blown away our early struggles in this fixture.  Neil Lennon has moved on to take the Liverpool job (yeah, seriously...) and has taken his 4-3-2-1 with him, thank goodness!

We've just hit the January transfer window and our reserve team are struggling in League One.  Despite winning the division in the last two seasons, after 22 games they are bottom of the table with 14 games to avoid relegation.  It'll take a ten point overhaul to avoid the relegation playoffs, but only 4 to avoid automatic so I've recalled any players out on loan at League One level and below and a couple that were in the Championship.  Guys that were on loan at other Premiership clubs or Lee Gribben in the English Championship have been allowed to stay at their loan clubs, but I may reassess that at the end of January depending on how results look from now on.  It's important for the development of our players that they're playing at as high a level as possible, so relegation to League Two would be a bit of a backwards step there.  At the moment, Hibs' and Rangers' reserve teams are up there challenging for the title so hopefully we can turn things around and get back to where we should be.

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With the first team it's business as usual however, as we're 11 points clear of Rangers at the top of the table.  That's quite impressive given Rangers have spent north of £12m on players since the start of the save and we've not spent a penny.  I'm going to do a full round up of transfers and financial analysis at the end of this season, as it will be the end of 5 years in charge at Celtic Park (/Murrayfield) and we will hopefully secure 10 in a row.  It will also be a good opportunity to do a 'where are they now' of the 38 players who have been sold so far.

In the Scottish Cup, we'll play Lowland League side Berwick Rangers, who were relegated from the senior setup a couple of years ago after losing to Hibernian Colts in the playoffs.  They're currently 4 points clear of East Stirlingshire, with Stirling Uni, Albion Rovers and East Kilbride all in the mix as they look to secure a place against Aberdeen Colts in the playoffs.  Aberdeen are 13 points clear in the Highland League, so it would take a significant loss of form for them to miss out on a 5th successive Highland League title.

Here are our results so far in the Premiership:

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The story of the season in terms of youth development has been the incredible form and progress of Max Potter and Tommy Caffrey, both have been pushing their way into the side with Caffrey even displacing Moussa Dembélé as our first choice striker.  He's been helped by a 3 month injury to Dembélé, but 17 goals in 14 appearances is some way to announce yourself and he's also now made his first appearances for the Irish national team.  He already looks fantastic, and hopefully he can improve on his work rate and the defensive side of things a bit.

6f93e2db8fa9e401a01960301b915dd2.png 

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Champions League Update

Oh yeah!  There were some European games to attend to as well... 

We kicked off with a 2-0 victory over Tottenham at home, before getting trounced 5-1 in Paris.  We managed to inflict the same scoreline upon FC København in Denmark, but not before they'd held us to a 1-1 draw in Edinburgh (eurgh... Murrayfield).  A 4-1 victory for Tottenham at the New White Hart lane saw Pochettino's side claim their revenge, but a famous 2-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain for the Hoops sees us clinch 2nd place in the group and we qualify for the knockout stages!

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We've been drawn against Unai Emery's Manchester City in the first knockout round.  It's a fixture that could go any way, with our competitive history against each other in this save currently at 2 wins apiece.  In 2018/19 they beat us 4-1 before a 2-1 victory at Celtic Park, and the following season a 2-1 loss in Manchester was followed up with a 1-0 win in Glasgow.  We've also come up against each other twice in friendly matches, a 3-0 win for the Bhoys in 2017 and a 4-2 loss this season.  So who knows.  I'm hoping for a strong showing in Glasgow (Edinburgh... seriously I'm not getting used to it), but expecting to drop out of the competition over the two legs.  Here is the draw in full:

a2eb60a014f8e707351a51418bdb5be1.png 

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