How We Dit It-Part 2
Mahe covered the defence and James Forrest on Tuesday,so here’s my review of the other parts of the team,how they performed,where we are strong and where we need some new faces.
The main man in midfield was once again Scott Brown. A colossus in the centre of the pitch,and a captain worthy of the armband. This season wasn’t his best in Europe,though he may have been carrying an injury at the time to which he eventually succumbed,missing a portion of the season before Christmas. None of us should be fooled that we can build a team around Broonie;he is 34 in June. We will do well to get two more seasons from him. If they continue to his own high standards,that will do for me!
One problem we have with Broonie is that he doesn’t seem to fit well with any of his obvious partners in the midfield. Olivier Ntcham had a dreadful season by the standards of the previous one,he really looks more suited to an instead of,rather than as well of Broonie. But everyone can see the lad has it all in spades. Is he still pissed off at his pal Moussa leaving? I dunno. If he is,he will need to snap out of it this season. Or the only way is down in his career. He’s 23yo,he needs to cement a first team place with us. And he needs to shine there,or he can wave goodbye to the big bucks. Ditch the chip,son-get the fitba’ head back on,there’s a good lad.
Callum McGregor struggled for large parts of this season for two reasons-the poor form of Ntcham and the emergence of Ryan Christie. The former meant that Callum had to cover the vacant role,the latter was performing well in Callum’s favourite position! Ironically,it took the loss to injury of Scott Brown for Callum to have his best spell. He grabbed the opportunity to be our ball-winner and quarter-back. If he couldn’t win it himself,he’d be there for the short pass and then play the killer one. I’d say he still had a great season,but he’ll know himself it wasn’t his best. He’ll be back,better than ever-he’s now a more-rounded player than before,just struggling for his ideal role!
And so onto Ryan Christie. We sent a wee laddie,a bantamweight,up to Aberdeen,hell knows what they fed him on up there. He came back looking like Rocky Graziano! With attitude!!! This boy can play,and once he got into the team-coming on as a halftime substitute in the League Cup semi final against Hearts with a matchwinning display-he showed us what we had been missing-and why Ronny Deila signed him. An unbelievable act of thuggery from his “pal” at Aberdeen put him out for the season,but he will be back,and he should be a regular for a while to come.
Jonny Hayes was largely luckless during the season,much as he was last season. More thuggery,this time from Naismith of Hearts-am I the only one who would give him three Adam’s Apples the second he started with his pish?-put him out right from the start. He still can’t find a regular role in the team,but whenever he has played he has rarely let us down. He was one of the few players who seemed to improve as the season progressed-perhaps being selected more often gave him that bit of previously absent confidence. Jonny will be there next season,ready to be called on when needed.
Of course a number of our midfield options missed large parts of the season,such as Bitton,Kouassi,Rogic,Arzani. Injuries are becoming too frequent and it should be a prime area for us to improve-somehow! Maybe referees applying the laws of the game in a proper and impartial manner might help. Maybe I’ll win the lottery anaw.
Up front,wow. Brendan Rodgers finally persuaded PL to sign Odsonne Edouard,a signing I’d called for from the previous October. He would have been a fraction of the price then too. His plan was clearly to play both him and Moussa Dembele together and that lasted till both Rodgers and Dembele threw their toys out of the pram. Of course,we still had Leigh Griffiths,underused by BR but the scorer of 40 goals for us prior to the change of manager. Sadly,Leigh has problems in his life which have nothing to do with football and I wish him well. I hope he can get whatever it is sorted,and put his best efforts into hunskelpin etc.
Eddy though has been outstanding! Asked to lead the line-a role for which he is not naturally suited-he has done so with grace,style,panache and some deadly finishing. Especially so when it mattered. The man for the big occasion? Well,he’s no shrinking violet,that’s for sure. And it takes a brave man to kick him,not without a disguise and a getaway car. If we can sign a Sutton/Hartson type striker to play alongside him,I’ll be viewing the future with green-tinted glasses for sure.
One player who is increasingly dividing the support is Scott Sinclair. His stats actually hold up to scrutiny,but his performances have not. He is still only 30yo and now in the last year of his contract. He has to step up to the plate this season,and I think the signing of a Sutton/Hartson/Dembele striker would help him immensely too. I hope he gets his mojo back,we all do!
Then of course we have the potential of youth,with Maryan Shved,Armstrong Okoflex and Karamoko Dembele. I expect those players to take more prominence in the corresponding article this time next year,and I’ve got high hopes for all three.
As Celtic supporters,we certainly have a B-I-G season ahead,there is more history there for the taking. The players and the manager will have our support all the way through,and I doubt if the players will lack for effort.
THE FUTURE’S BRIGHT-GLASGOW’S GREEN AND WHITE!!!
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