It was panic stations and cries of Doomsday last night when it became apparent that Celtic were not going to sign a striker to replace Stefan Scepovic, who had decided that he didn’t want to be at celtic shortly after his plane landed in Glasgow some months ago.
Ronny Deila has decided that three strikers, the on fire Griffiths, the yet to be tested Ciftci and the reliable Anthony Stokes will be enough to see us through until January. Want to know something else ? The striker we were after, who has a Scottish pedigree and has performed on the biggest stages world wide, didn’t come up to Ronny’s high standards.
Having spent around £8m this window, including big money on a replacement for Virgil van Dijk, in keeping with the key player out key player in policy, Ronny has every right to feel a little bewildered this morning.
The squad does have cover, pretty much of international standard, for every position on the pitch, with even an England U-21 in place for Izzy, or a promising youngster if that doesn’t work out.
Although he had said he would keep the first team down to twenty or twenty one players, there are a couple more than that. And when you consider those like Scepovic, Fisher, O’Connell and Henderson are out on loan, there is even more depth if needed. No doubt there is a recall clause if it is needed.
Another who finally left, and it appears Celtic tried everything to keep him, was van Dijk. Maybe thats why we waited until there was no way he would stay before bringing in Jozo Simunovic.
Van dijk spoke of his move, taking the well trodden path to obscurity in the bloated EPL.
“It was a very easy decision to join Southampton.
“I’m delighted. This is a very ambitious club who have been doing very well in the last couple of years.
“It’s a great place to be and it’s the right step for me. To get the opportunity to play in the Premier League is unbelievable and I will enjoy it.
“Celtic did not want me to leave and wanted to extend my contract. The club did everything to keep me and I appreciate that, but I felt the time was right for a new challenge in the English Premier League. I thank everyone at Celtic, the manager and all the staff.
“Celtic is a brilliant football club. It will always be in my heart and I will always be a Celtic supporter myself.”
Oh, fuck off. Why not just say ;
You wouldn’t believe how much these idiots are paying me. Look, it’s great at Celtic, and you are all great people, but you should see how much they’re paying me. You’d do the same.
I’d have a little more respect for him then.
Especially when you recall what he said when he joined Celtic;
“It feels very good and I’m very excited to be here,”
“Celtic is the biggest club in Scotland and they also play in the Champions League,”
“They’re a fantastic club and when Celtic came in for me I was so excited. Everything here is good so I can’t wait to get started.
Standard statement from a professional footballer. Both times. Good luck to him, but if that sort of money was on offer, even the greenest tinted spectacle wearer would think twice.
And don’t kid yourself otherwise.
Ryan Christie, another one of Deila’s Development Division, was a little more honest about his move to Celtic;
Hang on, so that’s where Gary Mackay Steven’s grin went…..
My dad spoke to me about his experience here, He said he enjoyed it although he found it hard to break in. He told me that I might find it the same when I move down, but it’s about being mentally strong and keeping going. When I get my chance, I have to take it.
“I think he enjoyed his time down in Glasgow. A lot of people say he was homesick but from what I heard he really enjoyed it down here. It’s just that playing first-team football was more important.
“It maybe gives me an extra incentive to make the breakthrough here – and to get one over on him! I’m sure he’s proud but he won’t tell me that. I’m sure he is. He’s probably my harshest critic. He’s coached me from a young age so I don’t think he’s been too keen to give me much positive news but surely to Christ I get some praise now!”
Charlie Christie, Ryan’s dad, was on Celtic’s books years ago, and was instrumental in the good years the club had under Martin O’Neill. He was the man who pulled the strings when Inverness beat Celtic to end the managerial career of John Barnes, and for that we must be forever grateful. No greater love hath a man for his club…..
Now, compare what he said, similar to Scott Allen , Gary Mackay Steven and Stuart Armstrong when they joined, to the nonsense from the “professionals “
“There were rumours of a few other clubs,” he admitted. “But when you hear a team like Celtic have come in, that’s it. They are an incredible team with an incredible fan base. Just to be able to say I’ve played for Celtic in part of my career will be a huge thing.
“I’ve been a fan all my life, just through my dad. As a kid I had Celtic posters on my wall, Henrik Larsson was my favourite, of course. I’ve came down for games, mainly cup finals and the European nights. The last one was the Barcelona game in 2012. That was an incredible night.”
Billy McNeill always used to say that he prefereed either Celtic minded players or those who could become Celtic minded.
So do I.
The other new man in yesterday was Dinamo Zagrebs Jozo Simunovic. He’s strong, quick , good in the air and has a unique talent in that he can control the ball using only the electrical pulses eminating from his cerebral cortex.
and there’s something else, he won’t be fazed by the Glasgow weather. In fact, he may well positively relish it.
That picture was taken during a Summer Cup match back in Zagreb.
And here he is on the Argyll Ferry, just this morning as he looks for a new house in Dunoon.
Capped at every level, bar senior, from U14 on, he can’t be that bad. And we don’t usually do too bad with defenders and midfielders when we get them in early.
What we have now is Ronny Deila’s Celtic. He has chosen the players he thinks can fit into his system, following a model he said he would when he arrived.
There is youth, pace, skill and experience in the squad.
Those we thought would go have gone.
He has resisted the pressure to bring in overpaid and over the hill loannees.
When the fuss dies down, and the panic subsides, we will see that the manager has now got in place everything he said he would have.
From today, there can be no excuses.
A lot of people-or should that be peepil-want to see him fail. He’s been strong enough to get this far.
Time to go that final mile.
Let’s have no more of this shite about failing to invest, and not buying proven quality. No more banners, shamefully mocking the team before a ball is kicked.
The truth is, Ronny is a coach who makes players, not a manager who just takes players.
The closest i can compare him to in recent years is Brian Clough.
Clough was uncomfortable around established stars, but worked miracles with those who were either on the way up or on the way down. Ronny has dispensed with the latter, and is working with the former.
Within this squad there is massive potential. There is now no player who is a stick on to leave, and we haven’t been able to say that for a long time.
Everyone seems content with life at Celtic
At Celtic , he will be aided by Scott Brown, who works with the reserves and kids on his days off. Kris Commons and Charlie Mulgrew are also on hand to help with helping adjust to life at Celtic, and if you really want to know why Anthony Stokes was kept on, well, who else was going to lead the rebel sing songs ?