Conundrum in the middle

To add to my conundrum on the wings, covered in Mondays article, I’ve now realized we’ve a conundrum in midfield as well.
Under Ange, I didn’t particularly like the Calmac, Reo, Matt midfield trio, and often hoped for change.
Brendan is change, so the 3 midfielders had a clean slate to reassemble themselves into a truly effective unit.
Matt looked, nae looks the business under the new gaffer alongside Calmac having one of his best ever games last weekend.
There’s an obvious name left out, Reo.
First of all he’s been unable to call upon through injury hence missing that Ibrox lesson, but he’s also uncommitted to any contract extension.
This is more than intriguing because I believe Brendan will field players he can build on and develop, rather than a want-away, under contract or not.
So while the new look Calmac, Reo, Matt midfield is a possibility, I just can’t see the gaffer ‘wasting his time’ with Reo.
This throws up several questions.
Is it truly worth casting aside last years MVP just because it’s his last year with the club?
Will we maximize his transfer fee if he’s benched?
Should we opt for short term help, and play him, knowing he won’t be the medium to long term help?
I would prefer the young talents such as Holm and Bernardo were called upon heavily this season, simply to get experience under the belt for next season.
The alternative argument of play him then bring in a new clone for continuity has a lot of flaws, not least is why bring in Holm and Bernardo if not to replace him, and it’s best to replace him in the team now, for reasons stated.
I just can’t see Brendan going back to the old school, when he has tomorrow’s star needing game-time. Although they are all still on the books, I just feel we won’t see that Calmac/Reo/Matt trio become the starting midfield again if everyone’s fit.
Sitting here now I believe Callum/Odin/Matt are the three I would hang my hat on, and if Matt signs up again we could plan for 2 or 3 years of those chaps together, getting to know each other’s styles and habits.
Reo remains a mystery to me, especially regarding the new manager. What’s wrong? He brings the personal touch many appreciate and are signing up for long term, does Reo honestly crave the EPL that much?
He’s good, but not so good as to be indispensable.
And Brendan has plans, improve in Europe being one of them. I feel he will just overlook Reo, because he can’t plan with him, because Reo’s looking elsewhere and will surely depart next summer at the latest.
Unless something changes like a fresh contract being signed, I believe the days of Hatate being a nailed on starter when fit for Glasgow Celtic are over.
By Mahe

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Margaret McGill
September 13, 2023 2:13 am

Praise the Huns
Praise them be
If it weren’t for them
There’d be no me

September 13, 2023 2:42 am

Happy Hoooooopy Birthday,MAGS.

September 13, 2023 2:46 am

Happy birthday Mags

September 13, 2023 2:55 am

Talk ye shit,
And plenty of it,
From thy divine mouth,
Comes verbal vomit 😉

September 13, 2023 3:10 am


Thank you hope you’re well.

I’ve posted elsewhere about windows like the one when ‘ 🎶 we stayed up all night to get Pukki’ 🎵 and the Michael Gray window where we didn’t, and only found the next day we had.

When this window closed gently having signed 9 players I thought Brendan had done well especially in avoiding another Venus De Milo aka Barkas or another abominable Ajeti. He wisely steered clear of silly English prices, but looking at the CL squad, today though, it’s weaker than I’d like and think he knows he requires more than one window to make it his team. There are players that were moving had we found suitors, good teams break up.

I think Ange was done and it started in February March which filtered through to his players and performances, he was unlikely to have conjured up a third year. The current injury list is unprecedented, one or two fringe players haven’t stepped up and only Lagerbielke and to a lesser extent Yang, look oven ready.

On the up side we’ve a bright shiny manager with players now responding.

Hail Hail

September 13, 2023 8:01 am

I have voiced concern often that our midfield lacks role clarity and balance.
The second half at Ibrox clearly demonstrated it is still an area that needs to improve especially with positional sense and more defined roles for each member particularly without possession.
With Calmac guaranteed his present position I can’t see improvement as he is not suited to his role.
I like what I see of Holm but not sure of his role to date?
We need a more balanced and nuanced midfield especially in Europe..
The Harry Kane goal last night was a good example of why Calmac lacks the attributes for his defensive role. Bellingham received ball with back to goal and both Calmac and another overpersued to leave a wide open channel for him to make a simple pass to Kane. Better positional sense wold have made that a lot more difficult.
I thought Calmac was the most assured on the ball but his positional naivety also made Englands press easier as he often went too close to defense allowing England midfielder to press higher.

Just Sayin’
September 13, 2023 8:01 am

Not wishing to go over old ground but attributes BR wanted and failed to get were power and physicality in the team- perhaps Nat Phillips in defence provides some of that, but he appears a temporary fix.
I’m assuming these elements will come in the next couple of windows.

We go with what we have and BR blends a midfield out of the 6 or so available. Although Iwata has been studiously ignored and DT is inconsistent.
Holm I like for his grit, determination, takes on a shot and ball winning potential. But we have only seen thirty minute cameos and he’s young.

More than enough domestically but I fear, like watching Scotland, we will be outplayed by more gifted teams.

Craig 76
September 13, 2023 8:13 am
Just Sayin’
September 13, 2023 8:15 am

Forgot to add – it’s a long season and we can’t afford to ignore Reo’s skill set so he will get plenty of game time, starting( when injuries/ suspensions kick in) or off the bench.
Last October we lost Calmac for 6 weeks before the start of the WC.

September 13, 2023 9:00 am


Re Kane’s goal, McGregor and Bellingham’s part in it, the way Bellinghham glided past the last defender and laid on the chance for Kane reminded me of Graham Leggatt at his best.

I thought McGregor was better than McGinn and McCrorie on the night and Scotland lost because we have no forwards to compare with England, not because McGregor could not be everywhere, try as he might.

I get annoyed by McGegor at times but last night wasn’t such an occasion.

Jobo Baldie
September 13, 2023 9:14 am

Good morning, friends.
Mahe, events of recent years, particularly the last 3 or 4 have led me to now adopt an ‘enjoy them whilst we have them’ attitude to both players and managers. Whether existing players sign extended contracts or not theres no longer any guarantee that it means they are here for the long haul.
So as soon as Hatate is fit to play he should be fighting for his place and Brendan should pick the team best suited for each individual game, regardless of the time left on their contracts. The same goes to our short term loan, Phillips – a signing that makes even more sense now that we learnt that Nawrocki is out for longer than we expected and not part of the Champikns League squad.
3 more sleeps

Billy Bhoy
September 13, 2023 9:23 am

Great stuff again Mahe!

BR should simply tell Hatate that if he doesn’t sign a new contract he will be unlikely to be involved in our six CL games. We need to continue improving the first 11 so that there is hopefully season on season progress and playing a guy who is eyeing his next move is not going to achieve that.

Hatate should see from the example of Jota that it doesn’t mean you’re anchored to Celtic Park for the duration of the new deal.

Unfortunately Scotland were completely outclassed although the first 3 goals scored were all a bit fortunate one way or another.

September 13, 2023 9:32 am

I already said McGregor was our most assured. My point was he does not have the nous to play a midfield defensive role.
Bellingham is an exceptional talent but Callum and the other Scottish players overpersuit created the space for him to pass to Kane.
That is kind of play that has seen us punished often in Europe.

Just Sayin’
September 13, 2023 9:34 am

England, particularly first half, didn’t give Scotland a sniff of a chance.
Fast on the break, quality mid to front that will harm better teams than Scotland.
They were disciplined defensively until they decided to give the hapless Maguire a run out.

Calmac improved after Clarke changed his options by taking off Gilmour and giving Calmac more options ahead.

Scotland have no forwards worthy of the name, therefore little threat to trouble the better teams.

Last night was what we can expect in CL when faced with quality.

Ps who is McCrorie? McTominay?

September 13, 2023 9:47 am

Good Morning Timland, interesting lead and some fine insights and comments…


Brendan did a recent interview (Celtic TV exclusive) where he gave an update on Reo

My strong impression was that he did not see his development with Reo as a ‘wasting his time’, he said Reo was back training with the squad and had seen an “energy pick up” since his injury at Aberdeen…

…working hard, top midfield player, mind’s focused

My feeling is that Reo will be back, that gives us more options in midfield, many were hoping this window would have sorted our conundrum – experience, physicality, aggression, technical excellence all needed in the one package

The development players we signed for midfield this year have some of these attributes but BR oft repeats, it will take time

Iwata is interesting, a player that has experience in the J-League but has failed to settle in bonny Scotland, he didn’t set the heather alight under Ange who brought him over, so it remains to be seen if he can make the transition.

BSR @ 3:10 am,

Totally agree, that’s where we are, as you are aware, Brendan called the St Johnstone game the equivalent of his last tenure’s Gibraltar game — if we can kick on from Ibrox we may see real progress in the first half of the season.

Hail Hail

September 13, 2023 10:02 am

As far as the NT goes, it as interesting that our top quality, experienced, successful team were outclassed by England and their world class players

I’d draft Ben Doak in and play him forward – if you are good enough you are old enough, he is almost 18…

He played in that position in Spain for the U21 and he was the best player on the park apparently, so as we are bereft of talent let’s give the new wave a chance

Hail Hail

Billy Bhoy
September 13, 2023 10:37 am


I’ve just read back and saw your late night post. Excellent stuff!

It’s clear that we’ve had the thin edge of the wedge re fixtures. However, Sevco will visit the top 5 in Q2 starting November 4. If they are still 4 points behind us on that date – and possibly further behind – the temperature over in Govan is going to skyrocket!

September 13, 2023 11:08 am

Just Saying

Ps who is McCrorie? McTominay?

Aye. Senior moment.

September 13, 2023 11:18 am

Billy Bhoy




Hail Hail

September 13, 2023 12:01 pm


Fair enough. McGregor is not equipped to be a reliable defender.
It is a role he does not excel in.

September 13, 2023 12:05 pm


Thanks for a fine leader. There is now real competition for places in the midfield. It’s a nice problem to have. Perhaps Calmac will receive a well earned rest for a few games.


Thanks for the recommendation, Craig. Books from The Celtic Star site are always a joy to read. 👍

Hail Hail.

September 13, 2023 4:02 pm


I’ve said for bloody years now that CalMac is not only not a defensive mid,but that he is wasted in that role.

His natural position is in a more forward role. Where he benefits the team considerably more. A defensive mid is a very specialised role,and not many can play it.

Even fewer can do it well.

Craig 76
September 13, 2023 5:53 pm

September 13, 2023 6:56 pm


George Connelly was really only at his peak for maybe three years with us,yet he is still to this day my all time favourite Celt. Says it all,what a wonderful footballer he was. He stood head and shoulders above such sublime talents as Danny McGrain,Kenny Dalglish and David Hay.

And everyone remembers how utterly brilliant they were for us!

Such a sad loss,yet it was the right thing,the only thing,for him to do. I’m glad he did,but so sad about it too. If that makes sense.

Having said that,I only saw Pat Stanton gracing our jersey for one season,and he’s in my Top Ten as well.

September 13, 2023 7:04 pm

I think we all agree CalMac is never a defender.
In that case can anyone explain why we played him at left back, in 3 very important games, all of which we lost, if memory serves me right.

Craig 76
September 13, 2023 7:05 pm

Found this on Youtube

September 13, 2023 7:07 pm


Thank you very much,mate!

That is definitely saved for later.

September 13, 2023 7:48 pm

Which reminds me of something I planned to do during this international window. Based on a suggestion from another contributor a couple of weeks ago,and shamefully I can’t remember who!

The top five players you have seen in a Celtic jersey.

Since the advent of the season ticket in the last thirty years,I think it is only fair to widen the criteria from those we have seen in the flesh to those we have watched in a live game on TV. Otherwise,it’s gonna be a very small gene pool.

I say five,people can say as many as they like. Might liven the place up a bit,it’s been dead for a week!

I’ll do it on Friday,as I’ve already got the gist of tomorrow’s article worked out. So get the thinking caps out for that top five plus the honourable mentions,the mentioned in dispatches.

Betcha COSYCORNERBHOY has Charlie Tully as his all time favourite!

September 13, 2023 8:08 pm

Since it’s a slow day

From a newspaper clipping:

A couple drove their car to the shopping centre, only to have their car break down in the car park. the man told his wife to carry on with the shopping while he attended to getting the car fixed.
The wife returned later to find a small group gathered around the car. On closer inspection she saw a pair of hairy legs protruding from under the chassis.
Unfortunately although the man was in shorts, his lack of underpants turned his private parts, into glaringly public ones.
Unable to stand the embarrassment, she dutifully stepped forward, knelt down, and quickly put her hand up his shorts and tucked everything back into place.
On regaining her feet, she looked across the bonnet and found herself staring at her husband, who was standing idly by watching.
The RAC mechanic however, had to have three stitches in his cut forehead.

September 13, 2023 8:23 pm


No good deed goes unpunished.

Reminds me of about twenty years ago,driving back at the end of my shift. Saw an old fella beside a breakdown,just off a roundabout. I pulled up to see if I could help. Diagnosed the problem right away from what he told me,plus a few seconds behind the wheel.

Knackered slave cylinder. He wasn’t going anywhere. Used my work phone to call the AA for him-then he said that his wife would be wondering where he was,as she was waiting for him outside Sainsbury in town.

I asked him what she looked like,her name,what she was wearing,then went up to get her. Drove back,and the AA guy was there. He towed the car back to a garage in Wootton Basset where they lived,I drove them back so they could sign off all the details. Took about ninety minutes all told,but so what? I’d have liked someone to do it for my parents,or anyone.

Problem is that their grandson was going out with one of our reporters,and she ran the story in the paper,asking for the identity of “The Good Samaritan.” And since I’d broken every rule in the book,including uninsured passengers in a vehicle and personal business on company time,I wasn’t for telling!

Craig 76
September 13, 2023 8:25 pm

Craig 76
September 13, 2023 8:30 pm

September 13, 2023 8:37 pm

CRAIG76 830

The Centenary Season was the best season ever for me. Even better than 77,the double and getting our title back. Even better than stopping the tainted ten in 98. Just no comparison. Had I been a few years older,it would have been 67-but ffs,I’m old enough as it is!

Billy Bhoy
September 13, 2023 8:51 pm


Here’s a wee suggestion. Rather than an all time top five what about an all time best eleven.
We could vote for one position each day starting with best goalkeeper.

We could do this a couple of times a week over the next few weeks to give you guys a break from having to come up with fresh articles.

If only someone on here was great with spreadsheets…🤔

A thing of beauty
September 13, 2023 9:00 pm

Craig 76,
Thanks for the centenary link. Too late to watch now but will be enjoyed tomorrow. It was an incredible season to be cherished. No one gave us a chance but we had amazing spirit in that side and of course Paul McStay.
Belated birthday wishes to mags McGill.

September 13, 2023 9:04 pm


Ah,Peerless Paul. That’s the three of us already told everyone who our top pick is.




September 13, 2023 9:06 pm


Great idea. That’s a goer for the winter shutdown,for sure.

Now,what formation do we decide to use?

September 13, 2023 9:22 pm

The Maestro is top of my list every time! Closely followed by Di Canio, which will probably annoy a few people but for me he’s been the most talented, no I’ll correct that, the most entertaining player I’ve ever seen at Parkheid!
King Kenny definitely completes my Top 3.
After that it takes a bit of time to bridge the seasons to come up with just two to make a Top 5. An almost impossible task!

September 13, 2023 9:43 pm

Lubo for me was a genius. Pity we didn’t get him 10yrs earlier. Seen Dalglish play as a trialist at Somerset in Ayr and from that day he was easily my favourite. At times 2 moves ahead of anyone on the park. For a 3rd it has to be Henrick. He was a standout as a striker and finisher. Even after his horrendous leg break he was just brilliant where others would have faltered.

September 13, 2023 9:49 pm

Auldybhoy…Larsson should top everybody’s list, unless you’re over 65, but we’ve all got different reasons for loving players and holding them above others! In Martin’s team Larsson and Lennon were unsurpassed and two different kind of players you’d be hard to find!
Larsson would be number 4 in my list but it only leaves me one player for my Top 5!!

September 13, 2023 11:24 pm

The Sun are reporting that Potter turned down the Ibrox job.
That’s simply turning the screw on their current manager and discreet inquiries should have been made.
The Sun make it official, new manager wanted over there. He won’t last to Christmas given this emerging.

September 14, 2023 12:19 am