Desimond gives the Squad a once-over and considers what could come in January…please give your thoughts in Comments below:

 


Goalkeepers.

Its been quite a year for Craig Gordon. Back in The Scotland squad and now fully re-instated as Celtic ONLY keeper after the ‘Dorus the Explorer’ experiment from Brendan went arse over elbow. Most would suggest that De Vries has no future at Celtic. The Celtic fans can forgive  and forget  most of the time but the guy instils nothing but fear within the support and no doubt generates hope in the Opposition.

Its a shame but when youre in that key area of the pitch, theres no room for half measures or sentiment.

As for Gordon, he has improved following that wake-up call and you can see him actually working hard to make his ball distribution better. He will never be a Manuel Nauer but thats fine for now as long as he can produce a great save now and again. Some more work on shots at his near post wouldn’t go amiss if I’m being highly critical.

Conclusion:
If Gordon doesnt get new competition in the January window, watch for De Vries getting a few games as we near seasons end as a last ditch attempt to save his career and not be marked as the first Brendan failure at Parkhead. If he doesnt succeed, then expect a quiet side door exit and a new keeper to arrive come the summer to challenge Gordon once again. Im not even sure Keeper #3 Logan Bailly actually exists.


 

Full Backs.

Its getting interesting out wide at the back.
Hopefully The Golden Child aka Kieran Tierney will return in the New Year and soon regain his past form and place in the side. Izzy has been steady and very professionalin backing up for the teenager and hopefully he signs a new deal. Left backs are hard to find and while no world beater, Izzy knows the club, the system and is always ready to do whats needed. Will be interesting to see if anyone actually tries to lure Izzy away in January with his contract running down.

On the right, the classy Mikel Lustig is dependable ( least on the pitch if not in body) but he is now 30 and the knocks and a heavy schedule will take their toll over the winter months. He has also had to help out in the centre back positions as well as the 3-4-3 and 3-5-2 experiments so he could do with a rest when possible. Right back is another position that could do with some healthy competition. Cristian Gamboa has yet to impress and is likely he will get a few chances when the league is done and dusted but the jury is very much still out for the latest recruit.

As for the rest, Saidy Janko isnt being recalled from Barnsley anytime soon ( if ever at all) and Efe Ambrose is more likely to be found in B&Q at Parkhead Forge than in the Celtic dug out and will probably be heading away in the January Sales with a smile and everyones best wishes. Dont cry Ralph, we can find someone else to do Celebratory back-flips.
And no, Stuart Armstrong is NOT a right back, despite shining there once earlier in the season ( see same for Callum McGregor on the left)

Conclusion:
Chance of a few departures but doubt anyone else will be signed for this position although another left footed centre back who could cover may be of interest with the side playing 3-5-2 and 3-4-3 now and again. Jozo has been playing on the left recently so again may be seen as “emergency” cover if need be so this area probably not a priority come January 2017.


 

Centre Backs.

The centre pairing of Erik the Viking and Jozo is doing well, especially given the number of chops and changes the Manager ( no complaint – the results speak for themselves etc) has made at the centre of the defence. They’re no Clark and McNeill or course but both work hard on their game and know there is plenty of room for improvement.  Hopefully the pair can play more and more to work on generating that understanding all defensive centre pairings need as well as becoming more of a cohesive unit with the keeper and full backs.

The defenders have been playing in a 4 across the back as well as a 3 at times, and a 3.5 when Scott Brown does that stepping back thing. Throughout the season,  Erik has battled well whilst Jozo has strode forward as the ball player on many occasions. Hopefully they continue to progress and as they improve, the Celtic defence becomes a solid dependable force and play develops more and more from the back.

That is if Torino ( or an EPL side searching for the next VVD) dont come in to pick up Jozo in January. Anyone else remember that August transfer deadline day collapse. Šimunović seems happy enough in the Hoops but he was denying any move to Torino right up to announcing he was actually in Italy getting a medical in August so i will sigh in relief is we get through January and he is still in Paradise. If he isn’t then we need to ensure we buy quality replacement who we can get up to speed for the CL qualifiers.

As back up we have Lustig who has helped fill in when needed and also Kolo Toure. Toure  did well at the start of the season but now he is gradually fading in both our minds and in his speed on the pitch. He has half a season left to enjoy being in the Squad and is now more of a quality backup than first team starter. Hopefully he is doing great work passing on his knowledge on the training ground and will depart with  our thanks come the summer.

Who else?…well Dedryk Boyata is apparently very good on the training pitch but sadly seems utterly useless on match day and could depart on loan come January. Young Eoghan O’Connell is likely to do the loan rounds yet again and while he didnt disgrace himself at all in the Hoops it is unlikely Brendan sees him in his immediate first team squad plans.

Conclusion:
January could see a purchase of a centre back as we need the quality there as suspensions and injuries will take their toll on the limited personnel and this could be even more stretched if clubs come calling for Jozo. Cue finger nails bitten to the quick!


 

Out on the Wings

On paper it appears we have the perfect set up on the wide areas.

We have Scott Sinclair, James Forrest, Patrick Roberts and now we have Gary Mackay Steven coming back. At least 2 players for each position and recently we even saw Callum MacGregor start out wide in a 3-5-2 so plenty of cover when we also include work in progress Ryan Christie.

If they can all stay fit, or at least on overlapping periods, then we should be fine. Given the nature of the position and the demands on a wingers body, all the wide men have encountered injuries so far this season and need careful handling.

Hopefully Brendan and his management team can adequately rotate the squad ( Does Sinclair really need to play every minute of every game when he is fit etc?) and duly ensure our key wide men are available more often than not as well as providing quality competition within the Squad.

Conclusion:
Doubtful anyone else will be brought in unless Brendan has someone special in mind in preparation for CL qualifiers. Forrests new contract should scare away any bids from other clubs and hopefully there are no homesick issues for Scotty Sinclair and his family. On a positive note, Patrick Roberts will hope to finish the season with a bang and then the 2 clubs can discuss any future for him in Paradise come Seasons end.


 

Middle of the Park

Just play Scott Broon…job done!
if only it was that simple, even if our Captain Fantastic makes it look that way. Broony has been immense this season and alongside him, Stuart Armstrong, the blond Cafu, has been a revelation and grabbed his chance since that sensational display during the Gers demolition.

Backing those guys up is the dependable Bitton who while good at ball retention doesnt seem to have the marriage of stamina, skill and strength demanded from a Rodgers centre mid. Callum McGregor continues to answer every call and is the sides dependable 6/10 style player. Always open to playing anywhere and never hides, despite a few fans getting on his back and will continue to be in Rodgers mind for a place but its likely a new face will appear soon enough.

We could see some battling EPL side come in with a bid for Stuart Armstrong ( yeah Im looking at you Crystal Palace!) and the most forward of all our midfielders Tom Rogic continues to attract attention. Hopefully though the only midfield exit, if any need leave, will be Kris Commons who is out of the picture and hopefully enjoys his move to Hibs.

As per youthful back up, we have Liam Henderson and somewhere in Paradise remains the great White Hope Kristoffer Ajer. Loan deals for at least one  of those pair could be likely while Scott Allan will be sent away in a taxi under the cloak of darkness.

Conclusion:
We have quality but we dont have it in quantity. Broony and Armstrong will probably get suspended or possible injured and the midfield could soon be hampered. We also require a step up in class, especially if we wish to challenge in the Champions League so its likely a mature quality Midfielder is on Brendans list for a January welcome.

No idea who at present but a ball player who knows the game will likely be in the plan. Rodgers will look for Broony and Armstrong to do the hard graft to win Mr New Arrival the ball to take forward and drive towards the goal. Of course Rodgers may see this player already in Tom Rogic and go for a more defensive minded midfielder to balance our attack minded side and also allow Broony some breathing space and opportunity for rest.

And of course, we could always buy both!


 

Up Front

Forward wise, we seemingly have the numbers but its a little round holes meets square pegs at times. We have Tom Rogic and Scott SInclair supplementing our 2 main strikers in Griffiths and Dembele and while we have seen goals throughout the side so far this season, its from those two guys that the side expect results.

Up front is the real crux for any celtic manager and Brendan Rodgers will really have a lot of thinking to do over the festive period. The on going experiment to play both Griff and Moussa in the same side is fielding a mixed bag. Yes we are winning but their partnership isnt truly gelling and SuperLeigh can constantly be seen on the sidelines taking positional advice from his manager and Dembele is still getting caught in 2 minds when not the focal point of the side’s attack force.

Will Brendan persist or will that poser be taken out of his hands with a departure for Dembele?.

Dembele has had a great start to his Celtic career and seems a wonderful young professional dedicated to self improvement and loving his time in the Hoops working under Rodgers. Thats all great of course but he was already well known within England and his reputation is even more enhanced now afte rthe last few months. The guys is starring for Celtic, scoring in the CL and also enhancing his International career and reputation.

At the very least we are likely to see some offers come in for him in January, probably from sides throughout the EPL and some major players in Europe who are looking to the future. Hopefully come Feb 1st the young man is still a Celtic player (even if back on loan) but I doubt anyone would be truly shocked if he departed for a new Scottish transfer record. Its just how football is these days after all.

No need to fret of course as Griffiths is back in form and now scoring in the SPFL  and should hit peak SuperLeigh come New Year and the dominant Rodgers would ensure he recieved the bulk of any transfer funds to enhance his squad. Its a win-win regardless of Demebele’s club registration come february 1st.

Back up wise..well we now have an injury to Rogic and Sinclair is not an outright front man. Through the middle, we only have Nadir Çiftçi, thats if he is even still around the ground, and he will nbever make it at Parkhead  so we do struggle numbers wise for out and out strikers.

Conclusion
Even if Dembele doesnt leave, I still imagine we will sign a forward in January.  A quality solid frontman could help ease the pressure on Dembele, or replace the void should he depart ( either in Jan or possibly after this Seasons end) and allow for any injury or suspension for Griff. Of course, top quality forwards are hard to find, especially in January, so Brendan might just tap the Loan market to keep some momentum up within the attacking side of the squad

 

 


 

 Final Conclusion

The current squad have been revitalised under Brendan but the Manager already says the Winter Break cant come quick enough. The players need a rest, mentally and physically after such a demanding 2016 and hopefully a few fresh faces will help ease demand as well as re-invigorate others. This will help to ensure we are ready for the heavy demands over Winter and Spring of 2017, where we will face a lot of league games, cup games and of course referees and linesmen with selective blindness and questionable decision making tendencies whilst also trying to progress in preparation for Champions League qualifiers in early summer 2017.

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Level 5 plant
3 years ago

Think GMS could be on his way too, great lad but just a bit short of the quality required. Think Gamboa is starting to look decent, Bitton not good enough in the centre so offski for me, attitude suspect. Think Roberts will be off at end of season too. Coybig

3 years ago

Very fair assessment in my opinion.
Gamboa I think is progressing with every match he plays.
Very Quick in recovery and could be a great find.
The central areas is where we need cover.
Goalkeeper ,Centre Back, pref left footed, Centre mid ,and Centre forward.
HH

mike
3 years ago

Excellent assessment Dessi,my faith in Brendan is complete,so i will be VERY happy to leave it to his judgement.
It is for me the only downside of having a GREAT Manager,there!s not to much room for critisism and that!s a bugger.

Mike Bhoyle
3 years ago

BR’s big problem, before he buys anyone, is trimming the squad he already has.
He’s on record as saying it’s too big..so it will be interesting to see who goes.
Also the “youngsters” are being brought to the fore and talked up…so maybe another reason not to buy ?
And I would love young O’Connell to get a chance…I think he’s a very good player.
The deal for Ngebe seems dead in the water..so that produces another talking point… Will he go for someone else…or leave it alone ? Like others I think Gamboa is improving all the time and could prove to be a real asset. And Henderson as well…who must be the fittest player in the country.
Interesting times ahead.

FredCDobbs
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bhoyle

would we miss any of

biton, de vries, ambrose, ajer, GMS, boyata, cifci, toure

plus

mcgreggor and roberts

for a decent midfielder.

3 years ago

I wrote this last week so Gamboas recent form and young Millers use at left back absent but of course very welcome to see

mike
3 years ago

I agree with that,one of the many benefits of having a GREAT manager,is that you have belief in what his ability brings to the table.I have complete faith in him and will be delighted to leave it entirely up to him.
Great assessment Dessi.
OUT. Cifti,Ambrose, Boyata.Bailly,Allan, Janko.
Loans out. Ajer,he was mentioned earlier as a loanee,i think that Henderson and O Connoll will also be loaned out along with other youngsters,merely to be given game time.
H.H.

Rob O'Keeffe
3 years ago

Desi,how many players do you think we’ll buy in Jan? The biscuit tin lid hasn’t been thrown away yet.There are no world class players in the team.Sorry,but the truth hurts.We need several top class guys but would they come to Scotland? Get rid of Lustig,backs off all the way til player turns him inside the box.Brendan must grasp the nettle,get big bucks for Dembele and try like hell to persuade CL class players to come in on good wages.

FredCDobbs
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob O'Keeffe

Dembele is a great player and you want to sell him for pigs in pokes. I would give him a better contract,

Dembele, Griffiths, Brown, Gordon, Armstrong would all hold thier own in England. no problemo

FredCDobbs
3 years ago
Reply to  FredCDobbs

btw Lustig is our best right back.

Rob O'Keeffe
3 years ago
Reply to  FredCDobbs

Fred,I said world class players.Armstrong is a better right back than Lustig.Watch him tonight,if he plays,and on Sat.Backs off,backs off don’t see KT defending like that.Players you mentioned wouldn’t play for a top side in EPL.Like I said,take the money for MD and bring in CL class not pigs in pokes! KTF

charlie
3 years ago

canny argue wae maist ae that desi but imo brendan seesa lotty what he wants n the youth team and a like that roll on the zombie slaughter COYBIG

mike
3 years ago

Great summary Dessi, i posted yesterday but a big mahn ate it.

I agree with Mike Boyles assessment,but it would be great to see a C.L.type player added to the first team,preferably in midfield.

Pensionerbhoy
3 years ago

Desi,

I accept your analysis. I feel I am in no position to judge from an armchair. I once read riot acts to armchair critics, especially those who only heard radio commentaries. Now, I have to go by what CTV tell me and I know that is never going to be biased or boardroom connected???? It is not helped by the fact we only get a commentary on half the game and enjoyable as it is to hear from Jim Craig or Tommy Boyd, I really want to hear what is happening on the pitch. I am serious when I say that not one match on the videos looks anything like that commented on. I don;t know how many times I need to point out to CTV that commenting on TV is simply not comparable to describing a match to listeners, forgetting that, as long as they cannot show live games in the UK or Ireland, they have a large audience of listeners only. I know the subscription is not a lot but I should still get some decent return. Surely a bit of professionalism or even a a bit of training would not be too much to ask for. The only alternative is to listen on another station – where’s my blunderbuss (no guarantee with an ordinary gun)? So there, I have had my rant.

Conclusion: Just like everything else connected with our board, nothing will fucking change except my !!!!!!

H H

Pensionerbhoy
3 years ago
Reply to  Pensionerbhoy

“……..except my fucking BLOOD PRESSURE!!!!!!” just like CTV. Miss out the important bits – bastards!!!!!!!!!!!

Hope you and all the family had a happy, peaceful Christmas.

I see Princess Lea has died, well Carrie Fisher. A bit of an icon.
R.I.P.

H H

mike
3 years ago
Reply to  Pensionerbhoy

HA, HA, HA. fucking blood pressure,it will be the death of us.

Celtic and t,v.ahem well osifer,it wisnae me,i said nout.It was that bad ass Pensionerbhoy,whot dun it.Dinny chase him tho. watch oot for his walking stick,its lethal,naw no that lethal,he has poison in its tip,he dipped it in the Tyne.

mike
3 years ago

WHOOOOOHHOO for the DESDIMONA Destiny Childs grand da.

Monti
3 years ago

Desi,
While Craig Gordons distribution from foothas improved, i still feel we should be bringing in a number one and Gordon playing second fiddle.

In defence, Gamboa is slowly startig to impress and may be the long term successor to Lustig, Erik and Simo first choice and Tierney first choice at LB.
I disagree about Izzy tho, he has done a job as a stand in for KT but Izzy shild have been away two years ago.
Janko, Efe, Boyata out!

Midfield, we NEED a dominant central midfield schemer, someone at a far higher level to what we have just now.
This has to be a marquee signing IMO!
Brown, Armstrong,McGregor, Rogic, Forrest, Roberts and Sinclair very strong, but i feel we need a strong, influential, experienced Champions league level midfielder.

Strikers, Moussa and Griffiths exceptional but with Ciftci nowhere to be seen, a striker signing is a must.

Overall, De Vries, Bailly, Janko, Ambrose, Boyata, Izaguirre, Bitton and Ciftci out.

Mackay-Steven – loan
Henderson- loan
Christie- loan.

In- An experienced keeper
At least one Central defender
Top midfielder
A striker!

HH

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