The media will always do its best to put a negative spin on what Celtic are doing, but even they must be struggling today in light of last night’s game and some of what happened in the aftermath. This was a campaign of What If’s … we missed some chances at crucial points and we perhaps didn’t get in the calibre of player in the middle of the park who would have made a big difference … but those are resolvable issues. We will deal with them.
The performance in the first game was all over the place; that was to be expected because Barcelona are the best team on the planet at home, and on form. We weren’t remotely ready for it, but had Moussa scored with his penalty in Spain who knows what might have happened?
He missed a sitter last night too … but overall his performances have been excellent.
That’s why it was huge when he reaffirmed his commitment to us last night after being asked if he could see himself staying at Parkhead beyond this season. “Yes,” he said before going on to say that he would be a Celtic player for the next campaign “100%.”
Furthermore, he said he anticipates being at the club for the length of his current contract and perhaps beyond.
I can’t overstate how great that is. The team is taking shape, and this is a crucial commitment to one of our key players that he sees himself as a component in that team for the foreseeable future. The media can say what they like about this – one has already suggested that it might dismay our board who had been hoping for a big summer sale – but the man’s words are clear and they echo what he’s been saying for weeks.
Brendan has also made it clear that the player is not for sale.
On top of that, our signing target Darlington Nagbe, who was at Celtic Park for the encounter, sent out a one word tweet, “WOW!!!!” upon sampling the Parkhead atmosphere. I think it’s a safe bet that he wouldn’t turn down the move. Today The Daily Record has plucked a single article from the US saying the club doesn’t want to sell him, but it’s clear that if he was given a stadium tour and was the club’s guest last night that the business is just about done.
Kris Boyd, in his laughable comic column, has said he told Sevco about the player two years ago and had urged them to sign him. He said he doesn’t know why he wasn’t listened to. I don’t know why Boyd isn’t listening, or getting this; they are skint.
They couldn’t have afforded his flight ticket. He might as well have suggested they sign Suarez.
I always enjoy the media at a time like this; we’re on the verge of a cup final and we’re top of the table. One newspaper was even suggesting, this morning, that we were in a mess; take a look across the city if you want to see what one of those looks like. The performance in the Group has been disappointing but not even remotely surprising. Indeed, some of the same people predicted we wouldn’t get a single point. A credible draw in Monchengladbach on the back of the storming match against Manchester City took care of that.
What’s probably just as important is that it hasn’t affected our domestic form at all; last month was one of the most difficult, and packed out, our club has had to tackle in many a year and at the end of it we had a 100% record here in Scotland. That’s incredible.
With the League Cup Final coming up on Sunday it was important that we got through this game without any drama; the one cloud on the horizon is obviously the injury to Scott Sinclair. He has been one of the lodestones of this team, but as much as we would miss him I would feel gutted for the player most of all. I see us beating Aberdeen with or without him – the sense of occasion should take care of that – but he earned it, his first medal for the club.
I hope he’s fit. Details on the injury have been sketchy. I suspect that’s good news.
Right now it’s all good news at Celtic Park.