Celtic chairman admits board 'accountable' for failure to win 10 in a row

Celtic’s chairman Iain Bankier has admitted the board should be held accountable for last year’s failure to gather a 10th consecutive Scottish league crown.

Ian Bankier. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Ian Bankier. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

The chairman was speaking in a pre-recorded interview ahead of the club’s annual general meeting at Celtic Park on Wednesday, alongside chief executive Michael Nicholson and finance officer Chris McKay.

Shareholders gathered having been sent the club’s financial results and accounting period to June, but for the same period on the field chairman Bankier admitted “frankly, it’s hard to see the positives”.

Sign up to our Football newsletter

Lamenting Rangers’ title triumph – secured in March and for the first time since 2011 – Mr Bankier admitted: “The reality is we didn’t achieve our primary objective and the bottom line is we as a board are accountable for that. We are accountable for that as we were accountable for all the other seasons and there is just no shying away from that

“We have analysed in great depth what happened and what went wrong And how we got into the position that we are in and there were lots of things outwith our control but there were lessons and we have learnt them.”

He did however praise rookie goalkeeper Conor Hazard for his impact on “one big highlight which we shouldn't forget”.

"We won the Scottish Cup which was delayed and played in December which was a record-breaking 12th trophy in a row. It was a tough old day [against Hearts] and we had to dig it out but we did and the star of the show for me was Conor Hazard. He stood up to the plate and block to penalties and we won the cup.”

Away from the pitch Chris McKay also discussed the key points of the accounts with Celtic TV host Gerry McCulloch before the shareholders’ event.

He added: “We recorded a loss of £11.5million before financing and tax last year compared to a profit of 0.1m the year before. Within that we generated gains in sales of 9.4m which was a conscious decision not to sell players the way we could have in the year.

“What was important was we entered the pandemic with a very strong balance sheet and what is crucial as we have emerged with a very strong balance sheet.

"If you look at the year end we have a £19.4 million cash position therefore strong liquidity and strong values and the playing squad all underpinned by a significant and unutilised banking facility and underpinned by one of the largest season ticket holders’ base in the UK Plus a long list of strong commercial partners including adidas.

“Player trading is crucial, not just to Celtic but to most clubs these days in order to support a competitive squad and play up to 60 games a season we need to generate earnings from player trading to actually support that infrastructure. Most self-sustaining clubs would say the same.”

Michael Nicholson, who replaced Dominic McKay following his three-month spell at the club, also discussed the club’s position ahead of the meeting of shareholders.

Get a year of unlimited access to all The Scotsman's sport coverage without the need for a full subscription. Expert analysis of the biggest games, exclusive interviews, live blogs, transfer news and 70 per cent fewer ads on Scotsman.com - all for less than £1 a week. Subscribe to us today.