I Want It All
Well,here we are five days before the start of the domestic season,a season which will hopefully culminate in a treble of domestic trophies. Of course,the other eleven teams are also dreaming of such glory days-the difference is that we’ve already been over this course successfully in each of the last three seasons. But that’s not enough for me,oh no. I want it all.
We finally saw the long-awaited cull of the deadwood,losing a number of players who frankly should never have been anywhere near a Celtic jersey but whose contract was so generous that there was no encouragement for them to attempt to further their career while age was still on their side. Can’t blame them for that,of course. We have also lost Benkovic,Burke and Weah,who all returned to their parent clubs after loan spells of varying degrees of success.
Additionally,stalwarts like Boyata and Lustig,as well as the dependable if ageing Izzaguirre departed after new contract offers were not viewed by them as meeting their requirements,and there is continuing speculation over the future of such as Rogic,Sinclair,Ntcham,maybe even French Eddy.
There is also the long running saga over Kieran Tierney,who is Celtic to the core. There may well be more to say on this at a later date,but for now the subject is best left alone. Arsenal have twelve days to get a deal over the line. If not,he remains our player-and there’s not many Celtic supporters will be unhappy at that news.
Returning to the fold are Kouassi-whom I genuinely rate,and can’t wait to be proven right when he finally gets an injury-free run in the team (If he turns out to be far from that,I’ll ask Mahe to delete that sentence for me!)-a hungry looking Griff and Arzani,as well as Shved,finally joining us after his loan back to his former club. We have three new signings at the back,only one of whom we have seen-and he has yet to come close to finishing a match.
But we also have the core of the side which has won three successive trebles,and if we found a star in our midst last season in Ryan Christie,I’m hopeful that this season will see the rise of another one in Michael Johnston.
So that should,with any luck,be good enough to put us in pole position for the domestic competitions. But what about Europe? Well,this is where we come up against the devil and the deep blue sea. Do we invest in players who can make the difference for us in the Champions League when,after all,the likes of Virgil van Dijk in the side made little difference to a 7-0 humiliation in Barcelona? Admittedly,he might have kept the score down! And how much does a player of similar quality cost nowadays anyway?
This is where,I think,our current scouting regimen is letting us down. Why are we trying to compete against the English market,or even to buy from it? The whole of Europe knows that there is a bubble there. Now,it may show no sign of bursting,but they have become so used to heavily inflated fees and wages that journeymen are moving for £20m and upwards. That John McGinn,indeed,sees a £50m price tag attached to him-read that and weep,folks.
So,Europe? Well,if we get through to the Champions League group stages we can again expect just about the hardest draw possible and with it,a few spectacular thumpings. It may be viewed as acceptable by the suits,but it will never be viewed as acceptable by most of the fans. Inevitable,aye. Acceptable,no. But upwards of £40m from it,so there’s yer raison d’être right there for you.
Gonna have to buy a bigger biscuit tin!
If on the other hand,we find ourselves in the group stages of The Europa League,I think we have genuine cause for optimism. Yes,we are short of the quality to win the bliddy thing,but there is no reason why we should not be confident of finding ourselves in The Round of 32 after Christmas,where further progress is literally the luck of the draw. It will also give us an opportunity to find something that we lost a long time ago…
I want EVERY player of EVERY visiting team to fear a visit to Celtic Park. I want to see teams hoping to escape with a draw-and none being able to celebrate like Bayern Munich a few years ago. I don’t want to hear opposing players patronising us with crap like what a stadium,what a support,what an atmosphere. I want them shitting themselves to play in our stadium in front of our fans in that atmosphere.
Now,I don’t think this article has been overly critical-I’m hoping not to have to write such an article this summer-and I’ve not asked for much. Remember bringing back the thunder,Lenny?
Bring back Fortress Parkhead!!!
Above article by BMCUWP. You can have your own slant on things as Article of the Day. We always publish,and are delighted to do so. Mail it to Mahe