What a fortunate position we are in, and the media keeps highlighting it over and over again.
Off the field, Celtic is a superbly well run club, as is evidenced by the hotel project, the new developments we’re putting in place at Lennoxtown and the plans for laying a new, and sexy, surface at Celtic Park, which sure as Hell needs it based on the way the ball refused to do what it was told during the Sevco match and other home games this season.
We have a direction. We’re going the right way.
But on the field is where the real stuff happens, and there we have an abundance of riches which puts the bank balance and the commercial performance in the shade. Football teams exist to win games and trophies, and under Brendan we look as if we’re building a juggernaut which does little else. Forget all the media hoopla about a lower-league scrapper who managed to snatch a late point the other week; we’re not giving an inch to them or anyone else.
This locomotive is rolling. Nothing stops it.
You see the strength of Celtic reflected best at the moment in our playing squad; what a wonderful thing to have to write. A team of saleable assets, and not one of them for sale. When Lee Congerton appeared before the media yesterday he went to great pains to point out that his remit at the club is to find and develop footballers for the first team squad; the media chose to interpret that their own and added the words “to sell them later” at the end.
Let’s knock something on the head; Celtic is not a “selling club”.
Maybe we were for a while back there, but I think even the term itself is lazy and redundant in the modern footballing environment.
What makes a selling club?
One that occasionally parts with its top players? You tell me one side, anywhere in the world, to whom that doesn’t apply? Even Barcelona let go of Ibrahimovi?. Top English clubs like Chelsea are now losing players to teams in China and over the years nothing has stood in the way of the best players from that country moving to Spain.
Are they all selling clubs?
For some players Barcelona would be a stepping stone.
For others it would be Berwick.
The whole thing is nonsense.
Our club is building something; I can see why a lot of people aren’t entirely pleased about that prospect and why they’d try to undermine it.
But in keeping with their inability to help Sevco and Rangers by praising every crook and charlatan who walked through the Ibrox doors, these guys aren’t very good at what they are trying to do. They’ve helped elevate the profile and price-tag for Moussa Dembele. They’ve done the same for our goalkeeper, our young left back, our centre backs, our Australian midfielder and now Stuart Armstrong.
They have established our club, in the eyes of every top team in Europe, as a conveyer belt for talent and so any decent player we produce or sign or help to develop will beep on the radar of the top teams. We’re getting ourselves quite the reputation.
But what bringing in Lee demonstrates is that this is Brendan’s version of the project now. This is exactly the seamless type of operation Sevco is scrambling to try and build, but we’re so far ahead of them in execution – and in the required resources – that it’s another contest they might as well not even bother with. The other crucial difference is that in this set up we know exactly who is in charge and so does everyone else; this is Brendan’s show to run.
The press can go on all it likes; we couldn’t make the position clearer if we tried. There is no appetite at Celtic Park for selling key players. The players themselves realise something good is happening and there’s no clamour to go. Even Craig Gordon, linked with Chelsea in the last window, has put it behind him and signed a new deal, as Rogic and Forrest did when the manager arrived. They believe in this guy and what he’s trying to do.
We are developing nicely.
This weekend we’ll either win the title or move within one game of doing so.
With a League Cup already in the bag, and a shambolic NewCo standing between us and a place in the Scottish Cup Final, the appointment of a new head of recruitment, who’s already fully acquainted with what Brendan is trying to do, is the best possible news.