A Monday squint at the spiffle

I know who I think  will be lifting that league title (again) come May , but the up and downs of those who joust for positions in and around us at the moment has turned out more interesting than I expected .

If viewed from a neutral perspective then I could see the case being made that its the best its been for years as far as a title challenge or challengers are concerned .

When viewed from an informed fans perspective then one team thats close has a great manager that is over achieving probably , and the other team has been put together with money the rules should prohibit spending and have a rookie manager learning on the job .

Regardless of what happened at Celtic Park on Saturday , Killies gaffer deserves credit for having his team in and around top spot at the moment .

He is surely putting “ Stevie “ under pressure , rather than the other way around , and I for one would not bet against his charges finishing above the Ibrox team , long shot though it may be , even with the refs on their side . After playing Celtic they have four easy enough league games to help their task and should still be in the top 3 come next year . Their first match back after the winter break see them host the Ibrox men and that will go a long way to showing us who will finish where between the two . A few new signings for either and it could be a thigh rubber for the neutral  ! Both sides rested , would love the win , throw in a plastic pitch , anything can happen .

The table can be deceptive if viewed from a certain angle also .

For instance the Dons might seem as if they have had a bad start to the campaign and should be doing better , but they are only 7 points off Killmarnock with 2 games in hand , not  a very poor position and one Derek himself may well be pretty relaxed about . They just faced the top three teams in recent weeks and won 2 lost 1 which I imagine would give heart . They will fancy Killie slipping out out the top 3 and will no doubt have ambitions to claim the empty slot . 4 relatively easy games in a row next may well help that cause .

Hibs have been disappointing though and it looks increasingly like  Lennys last season at Easter Road.

Having failed to register a win in their last 7 outings before facing Hamilton , Neil’s men face a very tough run of fixtures with Celtic , Rangers twice , and an Edinburgh derby thrown in for good measure all before the end of the month . If they are going to finish top 6 its months like this youve gotta stand up and be counted . Just like he always did .

Stevie Gee’s men failed to take their big chance at claiming the summit but were missing their main striker at the weekend . Its true they have scored the most goals in the league but December is not an easy month for them by any stretch with a double header against Hibs and the Celts to visit their stadium , with a much reduced support ( or possibly none ) .  They have already tasted defeat in December via Hearts and chances are will taste it again . Im expecting a bad month to be followed by many calls for a “ Warfund “ to help put them where they belong etc

They probably will buy someone , or loan anyway , despite Ffp rules . I find their strikers amazingy poor and they seem to score by default almost . Morelos is soo strange ,, misses more than he scores and can be volatile ,, yet walks around with Im the man syndrome .

He reminds me of Diouf , the sewer rat .  If he finishes top scorer in the league everyone should have a good look at themselves .

As for our team of choice , just when we needed a resounding performance they delivered and chances are we are not leaving that summit again this campaign .  Although we are in a strong position to clinch another title , the team is in a state of flux and should be addressed .

The gaffer was clearly frustrated with the man above him but I am glad to say remained professional and has put the task ahead first and foremost . That is commendable and I am sure we all agree that each side bitching about the other via their journo of choice is the very last thing we would have wanted . Whether he will stay for another 2 years after this is a guess and I doubt many know that answer .

The team though needs surgery . Funds must be spent and the Ceo is surely aware of this yet the will he stay or will he go question comes into the equation again , as a new manager would need backed and on the flip side why back a manager thats leaving .

Also there is the wage bill , its high and many are not in or near the first team , which is said to have been in the mix when it came time to flash the cash .

Rock and hard place it seems and its a mess of our own making thats for sure.

However assuming the gaffer is going to get backed what might we see in terms of ins and outs in a couple weeks time ?

Heres my take for what its worth on those around the first team picture ,,, who stays , and who should be going .

Between the sticks,,,, Craig isnt getting better with age which ususally oocurs with keepers although we have had more than enough service already to be able to state he’s been value and was a good idea moving for him those years ago . His distribution is lacking though .

Being a domestic member , if he were to lose his spot he would have to chose between backup and playing for a lesser side , a question most pros will no doubt face at some choice .

An offer of a coachng position may well come into play for Craig though to consider .

Bain is younger and gets the Cup games which amount to roughly 8 or 9 usually .

He must fancy his chances of becoming first choice at some stage surely ?

I would start him next season , switch roles essentially with Craig the new cup keeper .

See how he pans out and make a call to keep or cut one of them and invest in a newbie .

Central Defence is paramount though and simply must be addressed in the next 2 windows .

The current central defensive pairing look likely not to be here next season . Thats rare and naive , to lose both starters at once  is not what a well run organisation should be looking at .

Jozo has been one great mystery and after 4 years or so the fact hes not first choice when fit should tell us everything . I actually realised I had forgot about him the other day , thats how important  he seems to me . The big Croat should be the first name out the door imo .

Ajer has talent and has done what has been asked of him , and I didnt see any bitching when he was dropped so credit there son . Hes a keeper and could well captain the side one day .

Hendry ,,, no big deal to keep but is ideal to cut if you profess to the small squad of high quality mantra.

Verdict,,, 3 of our central 4 we must / should be aiming to replace ,,, not a good start .

Left Back,,,KT is a nailed on starter and as long as he’s at the club will be . I dont even wanna think of him going anywhere for a while . Izzy doesnt play much and is convenient so the left back slot could be considered covered . Johnny Hayes is filler and could easily be cut. Left back is fine.

Right back however could be looked at . Mik seems to divide the support a little and I personally think he’s had his day and should either be back up next season or allowed to move on . He has been a fantastic servant and I am fond of him , dodgy moustache and all , yet time waits for no man and wing back is one of the most important positions on the pitch these days demanding energy sapping outlet runs and overlaps . Its a young mans game these days and while he has great positioning I could only see that flank being targeted more and more should he remain in situ . Gamboa is clearly not Brendans type of player and seems a PL mystery bargain bucket special that has not paid off .

Being in the year of his contract does give big Mik a pretty good hand to play though , and with it being his last big contract ( one would imagine ) I doubt he will agree to be back up or anything less than a two year extension . As a pure free agent he would command a fair whack in wages on the open market and an experienced international on a free would suit many clubs .

Those in his homeland must surely fancy bringing him home should he let this contract run down .

Mikey Johnson will return from loan at seasons end and will need accesssed as to whether he could fill one of those slots , that would be ideal actually on all fronts .   

So my verdict , one possibly two new faces needed.

Midfield ,,, the big one is the Captain isnt it ? I recall Paul Lambert not playing but being the skipper ,,, it kinda depends on how old fashioned you are and whether you put much stock in the armband . I dont . His contract runs out at seasons end and I expect him to sign an extension with a possible coaching role at the end of it . I think Scott will gracefully accept hes not going to play every game and when we do see him it will become a bit of an event . Should he lead the club to 10 still as Captain he should retire the next week .

The center of the park is our strongest area and needs the least tinkering . Biton is still around and it seems like forever since he last graced the Hoops . Theres a decent mix of years and experience , and we finally seem to have found a system that works of Calmac , Tam , Ryan who has taught more than a few a lesson about grabbing chances . Tam has actually played more than his standard 70 recently , and does look trim , perhaps his fitness regime has been tweaked ?   If Olivier is not first choice would he agitate for a move ? Hes still young and does need games to improve . If a Ligue 1 side came calling with an increase on what we paid you would imagine thats him gone . Sinky would be the obvious example to move on and get some return . We probably wouldnt be hard to deal with as hes in the top tier of earners I believe and if hes not playing or producing then really should be moved on . He will listen to Brendan no doubt and if he hears you may leave Im sure he will . That would leave us without a natural left winger who are a hard specimen to find .  And begins my theory that Sinky will go and Odsonne will be delegated to the left side of an attacking trident with James on the right .

Verdict , midfield could easily be left alone but one or two out is 50 / 50 .

Up Front ,, we are in desperate need of a quality put the ball in the net striker . And the bad news is its probably the hardest position to fill . We could well get a loan or 10 in but that wont help us next year and I doubt Brendan would hang his hat on someone whose club are happy to let go . I could easily be wrong on this one and a striker may arrive on loan that tears it up ala Bellamy .

I dont want a short term loan though , but I would accept that to get us over the line if thats what we can get we must take it .

We need a striker from somewhere that much is clear ,,, we simply must add firepower and try to arrest lagging behind in the goalscoring charts .  A 1m signing from Helsinki is leading the way right now .

Griff,,, who knows what the heck has happened but a behind the scenes fall out looks increasingly likely but yet he signed a new deal to see him stay for a further 4 years . That suggests this might have been out of the gaffers hands ? Tie down one of the best domestic strikers to what should be the prime of his career is good business on paper I will admit so I wont be slamming that decision or saying hes a waste of money .

Lets just take it at face value and say hes not first choice , thats clear .

Odsonne doesnt score enough though he has bags of talent . Nope , let him roam left and stick a new central striker up front , in my dreams anyway and hopefully Brendans also .

Who to buy ? I could waste all day hitting you with names but whats the point , those that are employed to do that particular job should be allowed to do it , and thrive or fail on the fruit of their results. Its  a notoriously tough window is January but hey , theres a decent wedge in the slush fund and I have no doubt whatsoever Brendan will already have spent some in his mind on certain positions with lifting the title in mind.

Its in his best business interests to do so , and as pointed out above he has been professional lately . I hope others match him.

Anyway thats just me playing Football manager . Please let me know if you agree , Im curious to gauge how much change is universally desired .

Ooh , studies have shown that sitting at a laptop typing with brow furrowed make you look sophisticated . Try out this test for free and send your ramblings to sentinelcelts@gmail.com

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Saltires en Sevilla

Mahe,

Hope you are well buddy and that wee one running you about ragged… keep you young and fit so she will ?

Like your thinking and ideas, with Broony being around in an active role until the 10 season.

putting aside my personal misgivings about how the ‘10’ might have an adverse impact on our development as an European type of team…

Broony seems to have a huge influence in the dressing room although I sense that his communication style may be more by example than verbal. A man of few words and that may be no bad thing in a Fitba team under Brendan who likes to express himself.

Then Broony – “ok Bhoys you heard the gaffer .. let’s get out there and do it …”

I agree the only thing actually sorted for 19/20 season defence is Kieran. Keeping Gordon/ Bain and Ajer then as you say then squad is very thin.

A huge rebuilding job must begin this January and I’m not hearing anyone shouting from the rooftops about our Academy players breaking through.

Does anyone else think it’s gone far too quiet up Kirkie way ?

Mid and attacking mid we seem strong with good strategy hanging onto key players. Can see the end of Kouassi, Hayes, Sinclair even N’tcham to be honest I’m very disappointed in that bhoy as he can be a star. Also, the Bitton injury seems to have gone on a while and I like the big man. Feel he if fers something a bit different in terms of how he delivers a pass.

So we might need someone to sit beside Callum at the heart of our mid if nothing ready from development squad.

Jamesy Forrest is good for a few more seasons and other than him it seems Sinky might leave, Hayes is a fringe player at best. Morgan has been bought but not breaking through might need a full season to establish himself ( is he right or left or both?) Mickey Johnstone is he ready for 19/20?

Lots of room to improve our wide Bhoys in terms of squad cover.

The answer may well be to play Odsonne out left. That gives us balance.

Up too – Good to have the Griffalo locked in to a longer deal but feel his nature will mean he is hot and cold.
He can really turn it on but can he be fully relied upon? I doubt it. Tbh.

Soooo we need another 2 hitmen! 1 can be an absolutely vital nailed on starter.
Marquee type of player ready to go not development project. Will our club go down that route?

If serious about winning 10 then the last 2 seasons I s the time to install:

January Window:

1 x Huge Keeper ( I like both Both there now, but would not say no to a Fraser Forster type of giant)

1x RB and 2x Central Defenders. No messing about here. Even if they are all tripping over one another for 5 months get it done ✅ too risky not to!

1 x Nailed on Striker -right now, with a back up signed ( maybe a grizzled old fox ? ready to come in June plan for 15 starts and 15 as a late sub)

That’s 5 decent players we need in the next window. ( seasoned striker can arrive June) N’tcham stay or replace (??)

Start shifting the makeweights anytime.

Declaration of intent!

MAHE

All very interesting. I think it’s fair to say that most of us agree that our squad is bloated. But it is becoming increasingly clear that quality beats quantity.

If you look at our recent team selections,I’d say that you have the nucleus of a decent team,but as you point out,our options-except in midfield-are very limited. Granted,I’m happy with Bain as a back-up for Gordon,but with the exception of Ajer-who is still learning his trade-and Izzy,we have little dependable cover across the backline. And we have none up front at all.

No manager should be expected to work with a pool of six defenders and two strikers,even if he is only going to play one. We have no-one pushing Forrest for a place,and Sinclair,although a marvellous player on his day,is about as reliable as a tuppenny watch these days.

Not so long ago,we marvelled at the youth in our team,Brendan was reducing the average age while improving the performances. But people get older,and the team needs seriously freshened up. I don’t know who we go for,as I don’t know the budget-I sure hope that it is more than in the summer,Edouard notwithstanding. That summer proved the old adage in football-standing still means going backwards.

As you say,we are not paid to make these decisions,but others are paid handsomely so to do,and their performance in the last two windows has been woeful. A flashback to days I had thought long gone.

,big packy

hi bhoys, my personal wishlist is someone like willie Wallace, joe McBride, harry hood, dixie deans and Henrik, someone who can burst the net if given a chance, most of our goals come from wingmen or midfield, give me the old fashioned poacher who knows where the goalmouth is, the rest okay rb, think we are covered in the midfield area we need to trim the squad so hayes possibly Sinclair maybe kouassi would keep ncham think there is a player there somewhere.hh.

Awe Naw

CUT IT OUT Ex-SPL chief Roger Mitchell urges Celtic fans to stop Rangers ‘obsession’ as he claims Ibrox club is ‘hated’
The former top flight chief executive argued that Hoops supporters should put their ‘obsession’ with Rangers’ financial ‘armageddon’ in 2012 behind them

By David Fowler
10th December 2018, 9:52 amUpdated: 10th December 2018, 9:54 am

ROGER MITCHELL has urged his fellow Celtic fans to cut out their ‘obsession’ with Rangers.

Mitchell who has just attended a meeting with Peter Lawwell has came out and made no secret of his love for the Hoops in the years since.

But now Mitchell has urged his fellow Celtic supporters to take the “moral high ground” and put their obsession with Rangers’ financial ‘armageddon’ in 2012 behind them.

Writing on Twitter yesterday, he said: “Since ‘Armageddon’ I’ve been relatively ambivalent about Rangers.

“Been openly a ‘move on’ guy, but still love to see them struggle, like today. So many bhoys are clearly obsessed by them. I mean obsessed.

“Their name, complex insolvency law, Res12, no Old Firm exists.

“Just concentrate on your own team and identity. Don’t define yourself in relation to others, especially when they are so far behind you.

“Take the moral high ground. Don’t drop back to a lower level. But no, every critical statement about Celtic needs a whitabootery defence.

“It’s so weak. If I criticize Celtic management over x, y, z, push back and say I’m wrong, ideally with rational debate.

“Don’t say they were worse. And don’t say I must be one of ‘them’. It’s pathetic honestly.”

Several fans disagreed with Mitchell’s views but in one response, he argued that Rangers are “hated” anyway and that the obsession with their financial troubles should be stopped.

He tweeted: “How can we make sure the disaster that was Rangers can’t happen again? That’s an sfa issue.

“But let’s forget the bloodlust and obsession. They did what they did. They suffered purgatory.

“Their titles are tarnished in non Gers eyes. They are hated.”

Responding to a point from a Light Blues fan about Celtic fans’ blogs being full of stories about the Ibrox club, Mitchell criticised resolutions that have been raised with the Celtic board in regards to their rivals.

He said: “I agree. And then this. They keep badgering in these resolutions.

“Which the board continually ignore. Rightly so. Why don’t they get the message.”

And in another reply, Mitchell insisted the best way for Celtic fans to wind up Rangers is to act as if they no longer matter to them.

He tweeted: “The best way to ‘dis’ a rival is to treat them as if they no longer matter. Not refer to them every day.”

However, Mitchell was also quick to point out that Rangers fans can be just as bad in this regard.

Replying to a Hoops supporter who joked, “you think WE’RE bad Roger”, he said: “Nice one. And I agree. They are burning with resentment.”

A Celtic insider stated “Roger is looking for a way back into Scottish football, telling everyone you are a Celtic fan is not the way to go about it, but it helps and if he can demonstrate a knowledge of Celtic´s history that is collectively better than our major shareholder and Chairman then the job will be his”

Peter Lawwell was not available for comment having excused himself and argued that his physical presence was always a conflict of interest

Saltires en Sevilla

If that’s not been Awe Nawed ?!

Maybe there is room for a penitent adversary to be forgiven.

With a nod to the truth.

Then we are obliged to forgive…are we not?

Well thought through posts.
I have no faith that the manager will get what he wants or deserves,things may well depend on if we qualify out of the group.
Pedro is still in charge of the budget, I have read elsewhere that he gets a transfer budget and he can spend it as he sees fit, what a load of garbage, absolute crap, the John McGinn debacle shoots that down in flames for a kick off.
So in saying that I have no dreams or wants in this or any other window, scunnered with the whole shebang, it will be decided from on high who or what we get and we will just have to suck it up.

,big packy

is the blog broke, apparently the uk is in crisis mrs may has delayed the vote, weer,all doomed ah tell ye is there anybody there, ok ill just talk to myself, but wait till I take the dugs oot catch yeez all later.hh.

,big packy

THE EXILED TIM,. don’t sit on the fence ??,.hear what you say and im not going to disagree with you, if we get what we need in January, ill wear a hun top in the celtic end.hh.

Troonbhoy

Taken that way to far lol

,big packy

TROONBHOY I know but will they spend in January.hh.

Troonbhoy

I bloody hope so or Brendan will be for the off.hh

BP
Not a hope you will be wearing a hun top, not a hope Brendan will get what he wants.
He is the reason we have cash in the bank, the only reason, but they won’t back him, there will be a sop to the squad if he is lucky.
Players need punted but since they are on contracts that there is not a hope of them getting elsewhere they won’t move and we can’t get rid, that is the fault of the person who decides on the contracts, we pay far too many of them far too much.

,big packy

TROONBHOY, you must know majoc from Kilwinning, thrown out of Kilwinning for not buying a round.??.hh.

,big packy

THE EXILED TIM, unfortunately what you say is correct, and before anybody comments. I would not wear a hun top under any circumstances, definitely not in the celtic end.??.

Troonbhoy

Tet
I think they have got to back him after the last fiasco or it will be Pl out the door or back to empty seats.
KTF

Sol Kitts

Big Packy
I heard Majoc wakes up at night to see if he’s lost any sleep.

Sol Kitts

Big Packy
Do something really daft, Majoc and I wore Celtic tops in the hun end at Ibrox. We weren’t totally daft, kept our coats well zipped up.

,big packy

sol kitts, you know him better than me.???.

,big packy

sol kitts, jesus wept, don’t think id do that even with my coat zipped up, more power to your elbow.hh.

Sol Kitts

Big Packy, we were young and stupid. Now we’re just old and stupid. Wouldn’t do that again though ?

TB
I reckon BR won’t stay after this season, I hope I am 100% wrong, just can’t see him staying given the crap he had to go through this past summer.
DD will need to pull another rabbit oot o the hat me thinks, elee as you say empty seats.
What happens in the window should give us a clue if he stays or he goes.

,big packy

sol kitts yes we were all young once, where did all the years go, ffs I remember the lions that’s how old I am,??

Troonbhoy

Aye in the coleseum

,big packy

TROONBHOY, ok don’t rub it in ??.hh.

Lippy sod!

BIG PACKY

We got beat 3-0 as well. Purgatory,it was. My Dad was in the seat next to us,I’m sure his hair turned white that day.

Ouch…

Sol Kitts

Ooft

,big packy

MAJOC,.know the feeling, but only seen us get beat at ibrox once, before I ventured down the road to englandshire, thank feck hope you are well.hh.

BIG PACKY

Grand,mate. Thanks for asking. I hope things are on the up with yourself and J.

I’m never too keen on seeing us lose,but losing at that place really hurts.

Sol Kitts

?????

New article up,folks.