Celtic Diary Saturday June 23: Hair Today, Gone Sometime Next week
Stuart Armstrong has been given permission to speak to Southampton about personal terms after the two clubs agreed a price for the midfielder.
That price is around £4m , with add ons, the initial part of which we believe will be paid directly into the bank account of a club in Edinburgh.
If I told you where I got that final confirmation from, you wouldn’t believe me.
Southampton has been a popular halfway house for Celts looking to make a few quid down south in the past, with Victor Wanyama and Virgil van Dijk moving on to bigger clubs after a couple of seasons there.
Armstrong is looking to do the same after falling behind Brown, Ntcham, MacGregor, Rogic and probably Ryan Christie in the pecking order at Celtic Park.
Its a move that suits everybody.
It would be unfair to go down the line adopted by some, most notably Chris Sutton, once of Celtic, now of the Daily Record, (he’ll hate that line ) whop argue that its good riddance, due to Armstrongs lack of commitment by not signing a long term deal, or sacrificing a lamb at the centre circle.
Armstrong is a good player, he’s given us four years, and it won’t have been an easy decision for him to leave.
But if he wants a fresh start, and it doesn’t come any fresher than down on the south coast, lets wish him luck.
Two other players are also away, Academy men Joe Thomson and Jamie McCart, to Dunfermline and Inverness respectively.
Again, we wish them well.
In a diary way back when , we mentioned that Celtic would spend around £20m this summer.
With the club banking -or transferring -an immediate £4m to add to the £13m raised by the small print in the van Dijk deal, the funds are there, and thats without dipping into the biscuit tin.
£9m is already spent, £4m is about to be, and Patrick Roberts hasn’t even unpacked his bags yet since he returned south…
I’ve a feeling that the amount spent could be even higher, but the quality and attitude of any incoming has to be the primary concern, as opposed to whether or not he’s a big name.
One name mentioned is John Terry, who is apparently earmarked to be the guy playing the Kolo toure role at the back. Part time mentor and part time disaster waiting to happen, as Toure sensibly realised after the Moenchengladbach game…
You’ll have to trust Brendan on this one if it happens, but my feeling is you won’t have to, because it won’t happen.
The search for a centre back continues to fascinate the media, not least becuase they are the ones flinging names about in the hope they get it right.
Sam Byram, of West Ham is the latest.
Whoever he is.
There won’t be any more additions before Monday, when the squad fly out to Austria for a pre season bender, sorry training camp.
The serious work has started, and it will continue over there, as the manager explained..
“It was important that a lot of the players got a good rest,”
“Not all of them are back as there are some still away on international duty.
“The players had nearly four weeks which is very important. When you play the number of games that we play it’s absolutely critical you come out the battle and have the rest. The players have done that, come back and this is the fittest they’ve come back.
“This is my third pre-season now and, in terms of where they’re at, they’ve come back very fit. In these opening few days they’ve shown a great level of fitness and that helps.”
There does seem to be an indication that he’s got himself and the players into the groove for the qualifiers…
“There’s a beauty of the Champions League phase in that you know you’re into the competitive games fairly quickly and this is now my third experience of that so that’s good,”
“The opening period for the season is about qualification but in terms of our objectives, we’re looking to develop our physical and football fitness. That’s still key and the players have come back with a really good base which I’m very happy with.
“We’ll be looking to develop that over the next few weeks so that when the games come we’re at a really good level. The group look fit, they look strong and we’ve got players coming back. I would hope we’ll be in a really good position with the squad.”
I think he’s more pleased with the way the players have adopted a resonsible attitude to their fitness, rather than their actual fitness.
These are the little things that lift a team a wee bit higher than the sum of its parts.
Here at Etims , we like to give honest opinions where we can, and often rely on the advice of “those in the know ” to form them.
Celtic’s new away kit is a cracker, but there have been doubts in the past about the quality of New Balance products.
So, we asked an expert for her opinion, a lady with years of experience as a top seamstress.
Mima Duke examined the top, and she was impressed, the sleeve especially is quite “involved “, a reference to the work that has gone into it, and it does appear that New Balance have finally got it right.
Well, if its good enough for her, its good enough for me.
What we also like to do is offer a platform to anyone with a view that might be a little different from ours.
This weeks idiot was found lurking on twitter…
They never change, do they ?
And for that, we love the little rascals.
A lot of them are deeply religious, as we know, and as a result don’t believe in evolution. Then again, its not like they’ve seen any evidence of it in their own circles.
Mind you, we’ve got them as well…
The World cup continues this weekend.
Keep an eye out for a centre back.
A mates looking for one.
Speaking of the World cup, which almost burst into life the other night when Argentina started kicking people like they used to when Croatia ruthlessly took them apart.
The Argentinian manager kept saying that all his other players aren’t at the level of Lionel Messi, and he can;t be expected to do it on his own.
Until the manager stops talking like that, he’s going to have to…
There’s also debate around women being involved on the pitch, as officials, and off the pitch, as pundits.
Women pointing out mens mistakes and advising them on how they could do it better ?
It’s taken until now for someone to realise that women might actually be quite good at that ?
My ghast, once again, has been flabbered.
It’s the Lennon CSC AGM today, 3pm Newcastle Catholic club, anyone in the area is welcome to attend.
I’ll probably surface again on Monday, as I’m led to believe that there will be refreshments available.
Yesterdays caption competition..
today, perhaps not one for the sqeamish..