Where Do We Go From Here?
Morning,all. I start the day with a song in my heart,but it’s more a crie de couer. After Saturday’s display,let no-one be in any doubt that we are in a title race.
And it’s no-one’s fault but our own.
Where DO we go from here? Well,that is for later,let’s first discuss how we got here in the first place,why we are where we are. Let’s not forget,of course,that where we are is top of the league with a game in hand,but Saturday was one bad result too many in a season already chock full of them.
Since Sevco arrived in the SPl,they have outspent us. Now,nobody knows where the money is coming from,nor how long their spending can last. But do you think they care? Not at all,their goal is simple-to stop us,and they’ll use every means necessary,call in every favour possible from an amenable and supportive establishment. This season,they are closer to us than ever,closer than I considered likely,closer than I’d bloody like! But why is that,when our income dwarves theirs? When,man for man,our players are vastly superior? Well,I’m not going to dwell on them,this is about us.
Once again,we had a poor transfer window,something both unsurprising and unforgivable. With a reported schism in the ranks between our Chief Executive-the man responsible for signing the players-and our manager-the man responsible for targeting them. Not helped by the latter revealing a tempting offer from China,which he was only convinced to ignore by the carrot of a huge bonus for another CL qualification.
At which,PL promptly downed tools and wrecked any chances of that by refusing to sanction signings. We then lost our star striker on the back of this,reportedly trust in the manager had been lost! I mean,that’s Comedy Central,not Celtic FC.
Additionally,our star midfielder,having seen his best pal walk out the door,did a PL and downed tools as well. And it gets worse,our only experienced striker now on the books has to go on the sick due to non-football related matters.
The whole rigmarole is now entering the realms of farce,and I only find farce funny when ‘Frasier’ does it. There’s certainly no place for it at Celtic Park.
There is work to be done in the next window,because those bastards smell blood. And it will take more than a sticking plaster to sort this one. And once that work has been done off the pitch,the hard work needs to start on the pitch and at the training ground.
Let’s have a run through our staff,position by position.
In goal,Craig Gordon. Saved us from a hiding,but as usual,his distribution has been putting us under pressure. At least two of their chances resulted from that on Saturday. He has to sit down with Brendan and they agree that he plays how he is comfortable,or we bring in Scott Bain. He hasn’t let us down,and I think he will do well for us.
At Right Back,we have Mikel Lustig and Anthony Ralston. Sorry,but I’ve already written off Christian Gambia,mainly because Brendan clearly does not rate him. Frankly,when teams are continually targeting your right-back,and he is frequently coming up short,you have a problem. With a heavy heart,it is time to run down time on a great servant for the last six years. Ralston has been much improved this year,but there is talk of a young Belgian international. But since he really doesn’t want to join us,apparently,it’s unlikely he will. So while Ralston might do,with time,we need a new straight into the team Right Back.
At Left Back,we have our best since Tommy Gemmell in Kieran Tierney,with backing from Emilio Izaguirre and Jonny Hayes. I’ll settle for that,just now,though both replacements could do with upping their game. And we could do with the young fella getting fit and back to his previous form.
At Centre Half,we seem to be spoiled for choice-on paper! I’ll go through them one by one,and hope I don’t miss any out. Dedryck Boyata is for the off in the summer and possibly sooner,as too is Filip Benkovic. We need to plan for a future without them. Kristofer Ajer,definitely one for the future,and I’d be playing him every week if one of our main two were injured. Jozo Simunovic will not be offered a new contract,and frankly has been a waste of space since he arrived,a major disappointment. Jack Hendry,on the other hand,hasn’t been a disappointment-he has played right up to expectations. Whoever thought he and Marvin Commper are Celtic-class needs shooting. That’s about £8m in fees and wages wasted on those two,plus the same on Simunovic. You’d pish yourself laughing if it wasn’t so tragic.
But if you want real tragedy,let’s have a look at the midfield. Why is a player with all the attributes wrecking his career by playing like a coo? Olivier Ntcham,that’s you I’m talking about. Are your performances going to attract the big clubs with the big money? Are your petulant sulks likely to have the suitors banging down your door? Of course not-get your finger out and you can eff off with my blessing in the summer,there’s a good lad.
Broonie can sign a new contract and lead us forward,or not and leave with our best wishes. He put out more fires on Saturday than my big pals-and believe me,they’re huge-BADABING and WEETWEETWEET -did in their entire careers in Strathclyde Fire Brigade. Not bad wi a pair of bruised baws,but it didn’t do the rest of his game any favours. He is a must in games like this,but not in games where opponents sit back;he seems to slow the pace down,and that allows other players to hide.
Nir Bitton has been out of the picture for so long,it’s difficult to rate him here,while Kundai Benyu has never been in it. Josef Mulumbu probably still has it,but is he likely to get a much-needed run in the team? About as likely as Scott Allan,I would suggest. I think we need to plan for a future without ALL SIX mentioned,and that leaves us struggling a bit for numbers.
Eboue Kouassi is out for the season,but I think there’s a player in there that’s worth keeping. A future midfield anchor,but needs a lot of work from himself and the coaches.
Since that only leaves us-I,think-Ryan Christie,Tom Rogic,and Callum McGregor,you can see that there is a lot to be done before the summer-and this in an area where many of us thought at the beginning of the season that we were,if anything,top-heavy. The good news is that they all have time on their sides,and new long-term contracts.
Hmmmm,as they say,and it gets worse. I haven’t even looked at our front-line yet!
James Forrest is a top top player,even if,like most wingers,he can be inconsistent. On Saturday,he was gash,but that is rare. Lewis Morgan,can play either side,is one for the future,as is Michael Johnston. Note to Brendan,he is a winger with an eye for goal,not a lone striker.
Scott Sinclair,well,no harm to you,Scott? But do you really need to send the missus out to work? It clearly affects your form. Get her back home full-time,barefoot,pregnant and chained to the kitchen sink. You know it makes sense.
We also have Calvin Miller to return,and I think he is more of a left mid than a left back,so he should be pushing Scott for a place. Time will tell. Odsonne Edouard,who is our only striker,is more comfortable coming in from the left,so may find that to be his starting position in future.
If I’ve left anyone out,my apologies. But as you can see-even if you don’t agree entirely with my assessments-there is a lot to do. We need,at the very least,two new Centre Backs,a Right Back,a holding midfielder,and an experienced and strong striker.
Brendan has to get his finger out and identify them,and be on the blower to Dermot right away if PL refuses to sanction them. Time is of the essence,gentlemen,and we will never forgive someone we hold responsible for screwing us up on the park.
On an entirely unrelated matter,should PL neglect to resign before the end of the day,he qualifies for a £2.3m bonus. While I’m sure he can find c4,000 season ticket holders who are happy to pay for that,I’ll hold my counsel on the subject. My opinion of him is well-known,and I think you can guess what I think about a bonus like that.
Above by majoc,still raging. It is our intention to run another series of MOST MEMORABLE MATCHES during the winter break. We want to hear your stories,folks,good and bad. Just mail them to Mahe at
and let us do the rest!!!
HH and HAPPY HOOOOOOOPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!