Celtic look set to complete their second signing of the close season in the next day or two, with young Manchester United defender Saidy Janko in Glasgow for talks.
Janko’s who made the trip north this morning (as opposed to “jetting in, which only potential Sevco signings actually do) is a right back who was so highly rated when Manchester United signed him two years ago that they paid £750,000 for him.
I would think that this signing involves a transfer fee, although none has been mentioned in the reports.
This signing provides cover in an area where we badly need it and does not – as some of the more breathless hacks have suggested this morning – spell the end at Celtic Park for Adam Matthews, who was linked with a move to QPR earlier in the week for a sum of money so offensive and insulting I won’t even write it here.
The close season doesn’t seem as crowded, or ridiculous, as previous years have been, and that’s a positive which will hopefully give everyone a chance to get fit without over doing it, especially in jetting halfway around the world.
The squad looks in good shape, but there are still worries about our forward line and I think that Ronny’s comments about being happy with the central defence are quite frankly baffling, because if Van Dijk leaves or someone gets injured we’re going to be short there.
We also need a goalkeeper. I’m sure that’s not slipped anyone’s mind.
But progress – slower than we would like, frustrating in some ways – is being made all the same.
Janko is rated highly, and he is young enough that he fits the “profile” and can grow into the squad.
Celtic is fortunate that we do have a settled team, and a manager who knows the players well.
Not everyone can say the same.
The one bit of bad news that’s come out over the last few days was also pretty much an inevitable one; after much hype about the return of 3:00 Saturday football, our first home match of the season has already been moved to an earlier time to accommodate a TV audience.
In some ways I am sympathetic.
There’s not a lot Celtic can do if the football authorities continue to bend the knee to the whims of TV companies.
Indeed, as the other clubs need the money this decision was largely taken out of our club’s hands quite some time ago.
Europe also inevitably means Sunday games. The days of 3:00 pm on a Saturday are probably gone for good.
There’s one other story that I have to comment on, and it’s the press release the Celtic Trust has put out today about the shameless remarks of the Community Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, in Holyrood yesterday, where he suggested that Fans Against Criminalisation are supportive of a scheme he’s trailing to “divert” people from criminal behaviour vis-à-vis the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act.
Perhaps he’s missed, somewhere along the line, that this behaviour has only become criminal since that act was implemented, which is what Fans Against Criminalisation are opposed to.
Furthermore, what he seems to be suggesting is that Fans Against Criminalisation start telling its members and other supporters what they should and shouldn’t be singing.
He appears to be saying that there should be some sort of government scheme to “educate them” out of their political beliefs, which is an extraordinary position for him to have taken and if it’s reflective of the broad wishes of the Scottish Government then that should concern us all.
I voted for these guys. I didn’t vote for this, or anything like it, and I’m pretty angry if this is what they’re committed to.
The justice system isn’t there for social reorientation and woe betide any government which makes the mistake of trying to use it as such.
Bottom line; I keep on hearing how much support this Act has in the wider public, but it is abhorrent to those of us who believe in a free society and in the principles of free speech. This Act threatens both, and if you’re adding “political re-education” to it then it becomes something sinister.
This Act belongs in the bin. Pure and simple.
What’s more, if Wheelhouse actually did say that in Parliament, twisting the words of a community organisation to indicate support for a policy they don’t, he’s misled the Executive and the other members and if he’d done that in Westminster it would be a resignation issue.
I hope the FAC statement gets the widespread press attention it deserves, but I fear that won’t be the case.
But this story isn’t over. Not by a damned distance.
(Article amended as I’d originally thought the opening game had been moved to the Sunday. It’s been that kind of week!)