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Verging on the ridiculous- Glasgow Times deputy Sports editor vents his anger at Celtic policy

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Kenneth Ward wants the SPFL to reduce the number of substitutes allowed in matches, claiming that it is verging on the ridiculous how Celtic make use of the rule.

The Deputy Sports Editor of the Glasgow Times is upset about the way Ange Postecoglou has built up a quality squad that allows the Celtic boss to make changes without reducing the standard of play. Between the 60th and 70th minutes Celtic performances often improve as substitutes come on.

Apparently this is killing off the prospects of younger players coming through from the Celtic Academy although no names are given on the players denied their chance.

The reality is that there is nothing in place to bridge the gap between u-16 football and the Celtic first team. If there were decent prospects coming through being able to use five substitutes from nine would increase their chances of getting first team minutes.

In less than two seasons Postecoglou has completely overhauled Celtic with a squad deep in quality and hopefully ready to progress in Europe.

Two years ago under Neil Lennon Celtic’s only winger was Moi Elyounoussi- on loan from Southampton. James Forrest and Mikey Johnston were injured with play stifled.

Postecoglou works with four wingers involved in every match with Forrest still an option although currently injured. In midfield there are similar options with David Turnbull, Tomoki Iwata and Matt O’Riley featuring and trying to get in the starting XI.

Sharing his frustrations at Celtic’s success this season, Ward explains to Glasgow Times readers:

Take this season as a case in point: Celtic have only dropped five points in 28 games so far – two of those were against Rangers (40 per cent). Their city rivals, meanwhile, have let 14 points slip – five of those against the league champions (over 35 per cent). Reduce the number of times they face off, reduce the points dropped over the course of the season.

As ever, it’s the number that follows the £-sign that really counts, not the number of teams occupying the fixture list. But does Celtic and Rangers raking in Champions League money, which filters down the SPFL pyramid, deliver for the Scottish game, when it’s used to bolster squads already teeming with talent?

One meaningful change that could be made to address the gap, especially to Celtic, is to reduce the number of permitted substitutions back to pre-pandemic levels.

Just look at the Parkhead side’s bench in their most recent Premiership match, the 3-1 victory over Hearts at Celtic Park: Alistair Johnston, Sead Haksabanovic, David Turnbull, Jota, Yuki Kobayashi, Oh Hyeon-gyu, Tomoki Iwata, Scott Bain and Reo Hatate.

The ability to bring five of that contingent on to replenish an already superior side to their opponents is verging on ridiculous. One of them, Haksabanovic, providing the killer third goal against Hearts only illustrates the point.

This squad depth has been a common theme in Postecoglou’s side’s success this term. In their previous league fixture, another comeback victory against St Mirren, three of the substitutes coming on, Liel Abada, Oh and Matt O’Riley, all scored in the 5-1 win.

In the game before that, a 4-0 win over Aberdeen, Abada scored off the bench again. Before that, a 4-1 win at St Johnstone, Turnbull netted after coming on. It’s been a prevalent theme all year.

He concludes with:

A reduction in the opportunities afforded to substitutes through a reduction in the permitted number during a Premiership match would surely see a number leave for more game-time elsewhere. This would force Celtic to look to their academy or to offer top talents from within the league the chance to come and prove themselves at Parkhead – as Taylor has done since joining from Kilmarnock in 2019.

If the SPFL is committed to growth and the development of players capable of reaching the top level, there is one change that can be made easily to benefit the many that will only adversely affect the well-off few. What’s stopping them?

Perhaps if other clubs worked on a scaled down blueprint of what Postecoglou has achieved they might be able to put in better performances.

Tonight clubs from Cyprus, Bulgaria, Sweden and Norway will be playing in the UEFA Conference after qualifying through their groups.

Dundee United and Motherwell had that opportunity after finishing in the top six last season. This weekend, under their third managers of the season they’ll be trying to get away from the relegation zone.

In season 20/21 Celtic won 23 of 38 matches, presumably Ward was much happier with that.

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  • Magua says:

    The pain of this hurting Hun is obvious. He pretends to care about the good of the game, but is only interested in boosting the 2nd Ibrox franchise to the detriment of Scottish football…as if things aren’t bad enough.

    Hail Hail.

  • UlyssesGunt says:

    Hunbelievable …. no Celtic fan ever should buy this rag … no Celtic blogs should ever link to their online stories , or that of their cousins in Football££ Scotland , just enabling them with an oxygen to vilify us . Starve the Fuc£€rs ….

    What’s next … Celtic should close one of their stands to limit the capacity, as all those extra seats seemingly generate more income than their rivals ?

  • John Keown says:

    OK find a way to handicap us!,or tell the rest of clubs to make they’re bench better!!,would it not be better for team.s to gradually build there side’s!!!!!

  • Duncan says:

    This is effectively what UEFA does whenever Clubs from England start to take over their Competitions.
    They change the rules or setup in order to make it more difficult for their Clubs.
    Take FFP for example we had decades of Spanish and Italian sides being Financially doped without a single blink from UEFA.
    Then we had the Foreigner Rule and now we have a total shake up coming.
    In Scotland it all revolves around one Club as per usual.

    Same old ,same old.

    • Saulgoodman says:

      I’m astonished anyone anywhere would still buy a paper in the world – most of the journalists simply do not exist , an insider said – a source said blah blah blah ts all made up !

  • Scud Missile says:

    Lol aye Ward he has the right name alright the Looney Bin Ward.
    Just where was this BAWBAG when the auld Rangers had been signing all those EBTs for players they could not afford.

  • Joseph Mcaleer says:

    Living in Aberdeen and not a buyer of the “papers” there is a biased narrative going on in the central belt, against the Mighty Celtic.

    • Thomas M Daley says:

      Living in the Northern area of rural Thailand.
      No bars, no KFC or fish and chip shops.
      Just browsing Scottish media reports it stands out.
      Celtic are not admired, appreciated or wanted.
      Their achievements are flawed by the unseen Fenian hand from outside Scotland.
      I am so glad that the best wee country in the World gets on well without me.

  • Charles Callaghan says:

    I don’t understand what his gripe is the substitute rule has been put in place for all club’s or is it just because of the talented player’s celtic have. Surely you would want to have a successful football team in Scotland to promote our game at European level hopefully next season

  • Thomas McNairn says:

    Verging on the ridiculous Mr Ward I take it you would rather Celtic were losing matches instead of winning.I wonder who you support!!!!!!

  • Captain Swing says:

    See, the odd thing is I was an adult in the 1990s too, and I have no recollection whatsoever of any suggestions from the press in those days as to why it was necessary to curb Rangers ‘power’, or how to go about it. They didn’t seem to consider it to be an issue.

    One club dominating Scottish football only seems to be a problem when it is a particular club….

  • JOHN O'LEARY says:

    Kenni you ok kid?

  • mhiguel66 says:

    The Times has the same article up on Twitter, well; it was an hour or two past. Bitter hurting huns trying to find a way, someway, any feqn way to handicap the best team Scotland has seen in possibly 20 years. I wonder where Ward was when le merde were cheating for over a decade… R.Sole.
    hun tears should be sold in gallon buckets, there’s plenty of that liquid as they’re never done moaning and greetin…. Nectar fae Paradise

  • John Garland says:

    These ‘journalists’ are in denial. The rules are the same for every club. Sevco has a larger net spend on playing staff than Ange has. Celtic spend and sell wisely and as a result, they should be put in their place…only in Scotland.

  • Sambit says:

    Panic now coming from all angles,

    Hun refs have thrown objective credibility under a bus, measurably moreso with VAR as a reference,
    Hun AND diddyteam hun managers can’t shut up about budgets,
    Hun ex-refs want players retrospectively banned (never mind the rules),
    Hun SFA want more dead rubbers and less dropped points to help hun FC,
    Hun journos want to ‘level’ the effects of a strong bench- all to stifle the champions.

    Skint and skitter scared of Ange’s next 2 windows- they can smell another dynasty period.


  • Joe says:

    To be honest, I probably get greater satisfaction knowing that bigots like this idiot are outed and more importantly, hurting, at the success of Celtic.

    There were no complaints during the corruption years when the SFA actually assisted the old rangers with their corrupt methods to allow them a huge advantage over every other club in the country, to succeed on paper.

    The big difference of course between then with the old club, and now with Celtic, the only really big club in Scotland is that Celtic are successful abiding by the rules while the old club now extinct, were assisted breaking every possible rule in the process, getting their name on trophies handed to them illegally.

    Where was the concern for corruption, as opposed to the concern for intelligent use of rules as used by big clubs all over the world?

  • Richard mccole says:

    More anti celtic agenda from the media. When celtic lose they so enjoy it.

  • John says:

    How come money and squad strength are only an issue when Celtic are on top? When the cheats from fraudulent towers were scamming their way to titles and cups, not paying the tax man and having their players on dual contracts, not a peep out of these succulent lamb half wits. David Murray was a financial genius and the cheats were on their way to floating parks and three teams. with Brazilian Ronaldo leading the line.

    Now Celtic, the best run club in Britain, are on top and strong wee stupid whining Sevco supporters are greetin’ about it being ‘no fair’. So the rules of the game need to be changed to handicap Celtic. Just have the games start at 0-1, 0-2 at Celtic Park. Celtic could start with 9 men? when Celtic score they need to with draw a player? what would suit the new rangers more. Because make no mistake that is who they are concerned about. Postecoglu must be stunned at this nonsense.

  • Jack says:

    Yes glasgow times not favourite read of celtic fans I thought in any sport it’s the cream comes to the top nor in scottish football most leagues when they have a team playing up games in Europe try and help the team representing there league they try and help by moving games spl do opposite I always think referees try and help smaller teams by allowing them to time waisting form the first minute of the game look at hampden pitch it’s not up to international attender in fact it’s standard in fact it brings the level of football to a lower standard same with artificial pitches and not forcing teams to water before and at half time break which should be mandatory to all dry pitches football and entertainment always be first and foremost not to give advantage to the non footall sfa officials should make condition best for football that means the team that wins cause they are a better footballing team should always be on the minds not to let clubs not waterering so the ball slows up and bobbles to hinder the the good footballing team sfa are chairman of smaller clubs it should be the clubs that bring in the most cash that should chairing top table not the ones trying to hold the big clubs from getting ahead you have to have the top people funding the head of football not old duffers that can’t run there old clubs

  • Jim Flynn says:

    Another hurting hun!! Get a life why don’t you.

  • Jim says:

    It’s strange that the quality of the Celtic squad is now an issue. I don’t remember any negative comments from the media when Rangers were bringing in quality players, through the EBT scheme.

    As far as I recall they were congratulated in encouraging these players to play in Scottish football, in fact it was commented that, during that particular time, they were congratulated by having possibly enough players to field three different squads of players for various competitions, namely the league, domestic cups and European competitions.

    Surely it is up to other clubs in Scotland to raise their game with a view of improving their chances of success. Does this reporter really want to penalise Celtic for attempting to increase the quality of football in Scotland?

  • Kevin lee says:

    Why shouldn’t celtic have 5 subs the same for all clubs but only celtic play their games against 15 starters

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