PaulT returns to the blog with a follow-up to his earlier piece with a look at the players who left/did not leave Celtic during the transfer window.
Back in December I wrote a short piece outlining what I expected/ hoped for in the January transfer window in terms of player exits from Celtic. I thought it would be worthwhile quickly reviewing this now we’ve seen the window finally ‘slam shut’ (copyright Jim “Why are you so great Brian?” White).
Goalkeepers: in somewhat to-be-expected style, my assertion that Lennon should think about replacing Lukasz Zaluska with a genuine challenger to big Lurch has coincided with his longest run in the team in some time. However I don’t think anyone would disagree that his shaky performances in the last few games illustrate exactly why we need someone pushing the big man for a first-team place. The departure of Kamenar & arrival of Noring looks, on the face of it, a straight swop of third-choices. One for the summer.
Defenders: big Tam Rogne is still with us, albeit no nearer to cementing a place in the team than ever, despite the ongoing AfCoN absence of Efe Ambrose. I did suggest we badly needed extra cover in the central defensive area & the arrival of Rami Gershon gives us that, albeit as yet we have still to see the guy in action. The Hamnishambles of last Sunday has exposed our ongoing frailty there; hopefully the return of Ambrose will spark Kelvin Wilson back into the form we saw over November & December. As for Andre Blackman, he’s gone. We think.
Midfield: inexplicably, Paddy McCourt remains at the club. Its’ good for neither the player nor club that a clearly talented guy, who doesn’t fit into the team in any recognizable way, sits rusting on the bench or in the stand. I still expect a summer exit for Paddy, and will be hugely surprised if Strathclyde Police leave is cancelled when the inevitable does happen. The departure of Rabiu Ibrahim was a minor surprise given I’d speculated he might be one of those to benefit from trimming of the squad: the coaching staff had a full year to assess the guy & given his lack of game-time its’ clear they didn’t think he was any better than what we already had. The big bonus is the arrival of Tom Rogic- the buzz around this young guy Down Under has been very positive, it remains to be seen how he will fit into playing in a wet & windy Scottish winter however his style of play appears to be a good fit with us. One for the future.
Strikers: well, the main benefit of watching the Steaua Bucharest friendly on ESPN is that I can at least say I saw Mo Bangura score for Celtic. Possibly one of our worst signings in the modern era, I don’t expect to see him return from this further loan spell in Sweden. As for Miku, still with us as the FIFA rule on being unable to play competitively for more than 2 teams in a season leaves him effectively marooned. May still play a part but unlikely to be more than a cameo role. Daryl Murphy still ploughs a lone furrow in Suffolk, his contract with us ticking down by the day.
As for the ‘big names’: I’m pleased my words on this seem to have reflected accurately what Celtic’s approach to this transfer window was always going to be. Despite the Craig Whyte-esque approach to transfer negotiations shown by Norwich City, & the best efforts of the Scottish media to unsettle a few of our key players, we continue unscathed, marginally strengthened in fact, & ready to pursue glory on fou…sorry, three fronts between now & May.
That’ll do Lawwell, that’ll do….
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