Celtic Diary Thursday June 27: Looking Good, Feeling Great
Season 2019-20 started last night in Austria on a warm summers evening with a 6-1 win over Pinkafeld, who seemed to enjoy themselves nonetheless.
Three of Celtics goals came in the last five minutes, happily coinciding with many peoples streams giving up the ghost a few minutes earlier, but in truth, the score didn’t matter.
It was simply the first day back at work. Even if it was an unfamiliar line up that took to the field.
Hazard, Ralston, Simunovic, Welsh, Hayes, Coffey, Christie, Oko-Flex, Miller, Griffiths, Sinclair.
Pinkafeld did open the scoring, and they seemed happy enough with that, but not as happy as Leigh Griffiths, who opened his account for the new season shortly after.
Whether or not he continues to make deposits is down to him, but if he’s back to his old self, then we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
Two goal Mikey Johnston was the stand out, and perhaps there’s room for him as a number ten further down the line as he continues to develop, and Jack Aitchison reminded us that he’s still around as well.
SC PINKAFELD… 1
(Griffiths 36, Johnston 46 & 90, Henderson 53, Oko-Flex 86, Aitchison 88)
It’s important not to read too much into this result, after all, Pinkafeld are a fourth division team from one of Europes weaker leagues, but the value of the bonding exercise, and the time spent together for the players away from the nonsense of the domestic tittle tattle can only do them good.
As for Griffiths, lets hope he’s switched back on and focused again.
He sounds like he is..
“It is great to be back. I have been waiting for this for almost six months now. It is great to be pulling on a shirt and getting minutes under my belt.
“Pre-season is all about getting that sharpness back. I have been training very hard for the last three or four months, but there is nothing like stepping out onto a pitch and playing a game.”
“It has been very tough – mentally and physically.
“But it is not just about me. It is about the guys who were there all season, working hard and we won the treble again.
“We need to look forward now and make sure we qualify for the Champions League and win another treble.
“There is always going to be pressure at a club like this, but we have handled that for the last three years now, winning nine trophies on the bounce and we want to make that 12.”
Manager Lennon has spoken out about the possible move to Arsenal for Keiran Tierney..
“Arsenal are aware of what we value the player at,”
“He’s on a long-term contract, he’s an asset and we don’t want to sell him.
“It’s going to have to take a lot more than what they’ve offered the first time around to give us a decision to make.
“I’ve had a chat with him as it can be a difficult decision and bit unsettling. I’ve been there myself so it’s important that we support him regardless of the outcome.”
Now then, what he really means is that we are going to keep him until someone matches what we think he’s worth. Then we’ll put it to the player.
Tierney’s recent operation means that Arsenal -and hopefully other clubs as well-are reluctant to match Celtic’s price as they are unsure of how he will recover from the injuries that plagued him last season.
Celtic are happy enough to keep him, however, which means the club thinks he’s fit enough to warrant a gamble.
Christophe Julien is on the verge of joining the club, a mere six months after he was first mentioned by the unreliable ranch hands who feed not only the horses but the Etims website.
France Football, usually a tad more reliable than the Traynor fed lapdogs in Scotland, said;
Both clubs reached an agreement in principle for the transfer of the central defender. The amount of the transaction is estimated at 8 million euros.
He is expected to fly to Austria, probably on a plane, to sign a contract worth around £25,000 a week, with bonuses on top.
All contracts have bonuses, but i thought it worth mentioning as it makes Celtic look confident of earning some bonus money, to counter the doom and gloom in the media.
When I thanked them for the early heads up, they did remind me that they knew Benitez was leaving Newcastle, which he has, and that Lennon would get the full time Celtic gig.
Surely enough to put us into contention for a European place in that league table we showed the other day.
But don’t worry, we’ve filled our quota now, and will return to made up pish as soon as we can think of something.
Over on twitter, Talking Town, Huddersfield Town , that is, claim;
| Celtic have made an approach to sign Town Defender Tommy Smith. Celtic are looking to beat Stoke City in the race for the right-back as they aim to overhaul their full-back positions this summer. Town have set a valuation of £3 Million.
Nope, I’ve never heard of him either, though Huddersfield is definitely a real town, I’ve been there.
As for anything else, it’s just paper talk, and we know exactly what word can be used to describe that.
One other perhaps worth mentioning is Irish youngster Luca Connell of Bolton, given Lennon’s connections down there. The player has been linked, and he said;
Obviously, everyone knows about Celtic. It’s a massive club.
It would be an honour to represent them if that’s what the final decision was. I’m keeping my options open and hopefully, I can get one in the next few weeks.
Which was nice of him.
If the David Turnbull transfer ever does finally go through, then its unlikely Celtic will sign another energetic midfielder, so I’m guessing Connell isn’t the only one keeping his options open.
As for Turnbull, he must be feeling a little bit in need of an arm around his shoulder.
It may already be there.. Neil Lennon confirmed the deal isn;t off, just being restructured.
“It’s still ongoing, there’s still discussions going on between the clubs, but we’re still positive that we want him here.
“That would be between the two clubs to try to get some deal sorted out.
“The situation is through no fault of David’s. It was just something that was unforeseen.
“We are still backing the lad and we want him to be part of the club, regardless of the injury.
“We are not out of it, put it that way.
“David might need have to go through some short-term pain for long-term progress.”
Ironically, it appears that the restructuring involves paying a little less up front but a bit more in add ons.
Similar to how Arsenal want to pay for Tierney.
There is little doubt that the mood in Timland is a little better this morning.
Celtic have committed over £10m on players, with more to come.
The rebuild, or at least the strengthening of the side is underway, and it’s still early yet.
Which, of course, is hurting another club not a million miles away.
After all, with the sort of money being talked about in relation to tierney, they must be kicking themselves at not holding onto this guy..
No, I don’t know where he is either.
So, with one major talent having slipped through their fingers, they are determined to hold onto their current superstars..
Chris Jack (Evening Times ) staunchly beating the drum here for Tav and El Buffalo..
STEVEN GERRARD insists he will be under no financial pressure to sell James Tavernier or Alfredo Morelos this summer but admits that every player has their price.
The Rangers boss has added six signings to his squad in recent weeks as he prepares for another European campaign and a crack at the Premiership title and domestic silverware.
Gerrard admitted this week that he was looking to offload some members of his squad that will find their chances at Ibrox limited in the coming months.
But he is in no rush to lose the services of captain Tavernier or striker Morelos after both players enjoyed fine campaigns for the Light Blues last time out.
Except, that defiant tone kind of ignores one crucial fact..
“There’s been a lot of speculation about Tav and Alfredo and I’m not surprised by it.
“They both had very good seasons. But there hasn’t been a single bid for either of those players, that’s the truth.
“There hasn’t been an offer for any of my players up until now. Do I have to sell to bring in? I don’t think so.
“I’d be quite happy to go with what we’ve got if we can get another centre-back in.
“Am I confident of keeping Tav and Alfredo? It’s not a question I need to answer right now because there are no offers on the table.
“Am I expecting a bid? Possibly. So I’ll make a decision if and when a bid lands.
“Every player has a price. But if bids come in that are nowhere near acceptable then the answer is going to be a straight no.
“If a bid comes in that’s an eye opener or if it’s at the level we rate the player we’ll have a decision to make and I’ll make it there and then.
“We’ll have targets ready if Tav or Alfredo was to go. I think it would be very stupid and naive of me if I wasn’t prepared.”
He’s not under pressure to sell them, because no one wants them.
No one wants any of his players.
There is one player that “rangers ” would be desparate to borrow again, but the parent club are not interested in loaning him out. they’re not particularly interested in keeping him either, and would rather sell him, which immediately knocks “rangers ” out of any race to sign him.
Darrell Currie of BT Sport had some advice for the Ibrox club..
A bit more on Ryan Kent:
If a sizeable bid was made and Kent himself wanted to go then Liverpool would be more inclined to sell.
Over to the Rangers board…
So, if a club bid enough money, the other club would sell, if the player wanted to go…
We do indeed live in an age of enlightenment.
As for Steven Gerrard, Derby have refuted claims they were interested in offering him the managers job, so the media are now claiming that the former Liverpool man is on a list of three for the Newcastle job.
Of course he is.
We expect a denial from Mike Ashley as soon as he stops laughing. Maybe around about December.
Yesterday, we asked if anyone was eavesdropping on this..