The satisfaction for chief executive Peter Lawwell can be gauged by figures showing a 47.7% increase in group revenues for the year ended June 2013 and a profit before tax of £9.74m. Celtic have since sold three players for a total of £20m and are now prepared to count the revenues for Champions League 2013/2014. However, the trick is to keep replicating the achievement of selling 40,000 season tickets, winning the league, buying players, then selling them on at a substantial profit, and keeping the in-house talent such as Neil Lennon, the manager who has guided them to the promised land of the group stages in consecutive years. Simple, eh?
Lawwell, though, is paid to worry. It sharpens the mind to deal with any financial storms on the horizon. The chief executive is welded to a reality articulated two years ago when he said the business model for Scottish football was unsustainable. His job is to make it sustainable.
To paraphrase Shakespeare, that assiduous chronicler of Scottish fitba', there is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Celtic have surfed on this for two seasons but the model has not become robust suddenly.
The chief executive was clear yesterday on how Celtic have prospered in the immediate past and how they must tackle the immediate future. It is a matter of maximising every revenue stream. He was blunt about the disposal of players. "We do need Champions League and we do need to sell players to keep the club at the level it is at the moment," he said. "I would still describe Celtic as a top-class European football club. In order to maintain that we need to supplement the mature revenue streams. So tickets, merchandise and other subsidiary incomes are under pressure. There is no Rangers in the SPL, so we have to supplement those streams by player sales and getting to the Champions League."
The sales of Kelvin Wilson (£2.5m to Nottingham Forest), Victor Wanyama (£12.5m to Southampton) and Gary Hooper (£5.5m to Norwich City) and the increased revenue from European ties have given Celtic financial fat to survive the rigours of any unsuccessful seasons but, of course, this does not mean players will not leave. As Lawwell pointed out several times, Celtic are not "pushing players out of the door" but there comes a time when players want to take the tide at flood and make their fortune. The difficulties of hanging on to players who can earn three times as much elsewhere are apparent but the market for recruits is extraordinarily difficult.
"We have a range or salary grade for players at particular levels," he said. "It is quite wide but we try to keep to it. If you have a £6m or £7m player, he would break the budget and creates problems in the dressing room. When you have £4m or £5m players, they would come in at the top end but, frankly, they don't want to come. That is the challenge. We need to find players who want to come and play in the SPFL.
"Look at Manchester City signing Fernandinho. It's a £70m deal when you include wages and he's 28. Even on our scale, we can't get into deals like that. We have to make sure there is a resale value. That's the Celtic job and Lenny's happy with it."
This brings the matter to the retention of the manager and the possible re-signing of such as Joe Ledley and Anthony Stokes. He will use the Celtic card, namely playing in the Champions League, winning titles and performing in front of crowds of 40,000 plus. But there must be something inside the card and it has to be more than birthday money from granny. "I hope both stay," said Lawwell, confirming talks continue with the players' representatives.
He also addressed concerns that turmoil at The Co-operative Bank, where Celtic have an overdraft and loan facility, could impact on the club. "We have a committed facility for another 16 years or something so we are comfortable with that," he said. " If anything happened, we would have a fall-back position. We are comfortable with our present banker and we are comfortable in a fall-back position if things change."
Pressed on reports suggesting Celtic had a huge loan at the bank, he said: "We have a long-term loan. That is our debt. We are not using the overdraft and we have enough money in the bank. Say that term loan is £20m - we have £23m in the bank so that gives you £3m [net cash at bank]. So we have more in the bank than our debt." He said the club could pay off the loan "at any time", adding: "We have no bank debt and money in the bank."
Celtic, then, are on firm ground. It is the next step that causes intrigue and some frustration. The tectonic plates are shifting in Europe with plans for regional leagues and hopes that clubs can escape geographical borders. This is the route to financial riches. It remains as yet impossible to navigate.