The Eagerness To See Celtic – And Scotland’s – Best Prospect Depart For England Is Appalling

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I’ve lost count at the number of stories I’ve read in the last few weeks about how it is a matter of time before the best young Scottish football prospect in decades departs for the riches of England. If this was coming only from our hurting Sevco loving hacks that would be one thing, but this isn’t just them.

This is ex-Celtic players and current managers.

This is everyone who can get their faces in front of a camera or their voices on the radio.

And it’s shocking.

It’s disgusting, in fact, and I wish every single one of them would shut it.

Kieran Tierney has a long-term deal with Celtic. He is the happiest he has ever been. He’s also grounded, unpretentious, unselfish, and passionate about our club. He knows he can have whatever he wants here. He knows he can have it all.

He can be Mr Celtic.

Our media should be encouraging that.

Our ex-players most definitely should.

Is there a single one of them who felt like they went somewhere better when they left, or had been somewhere better before they came here?

Sutton and Hartson are the worst of these; we gave those guys the best football memories of their careers. They know that. They should be encouraging Kieran to stay for as long as possible. Instead they are doing the opposite.

Football is awash in money and greed.

Even mediocre players can make astounding sums.

Those players who show “loyalty” to clubs down south end up on salaries so obscene that it has shattered the link between those out on the pitch and those who sit in the stands. No broken that link, please note; I used the word shattered, and that’s appropriate.

Kieran Tierney still has that link.

If he graduates to the point of earning £30,000 a week he’s an instant millionaire, without us even talking about bonuses or sponsorship or add-ons.

He will graduate to that point.

He’s that good. And he will still be one of us.

There was always stupid money in the game; ask Hartson and Sutton why they signed for Celtic in the first place. Was it all about the cash? Was that the attraction? No, because they could have made more staying in England.

For some players it’s about more than that. For some players there’s the simple pleasure of doing what you love, in a place where you feel at home.

Patrick Roberts isn’t coming to Celtic for wealth … he could have that going to Southampton and being a footballer there.

Armstrong’s head has been turned; there’s just no doubt about that.

Whether he finds, again, the pure satisfaction of playing for our club I don’t know, but his future is pretty much guaranteed should he decide to leave; he will spend the rest of his career in mid-table obscurity. He’s not a genuine top tier talent, like Moussa or Kieran can be. He will have the money, but like Virgil Van Dijk you’ll read him, one day, in the press complaining that his “footballing ambitions” haven’t been fulfilled and his Celtic memories will be the best he has of the sport.

No harm to Armstrong, he isn’t the player he thinks he is. Not yet. Perhaps he never will be, but if he goes that’s not what he’s heading south to find out. He’s heading south for a big payday and a weekly wage that could pay someone’s mortgage at a stroke.

Tierney shows no signs of harbouring that kind of “ambition” but perhaps Hartson and Sutton and the rest, like Stubbs, who are lining up to predict that he’ll go are correct and one day he’ll depart Parkhead for tens of millions of pounds and get to sign that contract with more zeros than you can find in Sevco’s dressing room, but at this moment in time he’s not pushing for it, at this moment in time he’s happy right where he is.

These people talk about it like it’s a done deal, like it’s inevitable, like a move to England, for the money, is just the natural progression of things.

I understand Hartson and Sutton’s belief and where it comes from; they spend all their time in close proximity to that league and see people in it having a rare old time and living it up like rock stars.

But I say again; they both turned their backs on that to come here and neither regrets a second of it, and somewhere along the line they’ve forgotten that completely.

This is not a done deal.

There is nothing inevitable about Kieran Tierney’s departure for England.

There is nothing guaranteed about his deciding to follow the cash.

Interest from the biggest clubs down there might turn his head, but if I were in his shoes I’d not make that move unless I was guaranteed to start because this kid is a pure footballer and nothing less than playing every week will see him become the best player he can be.

Hartson is in the papers tonight predicted that Tierney will be gone “in the next 18 months.”

Give it a rest for God’s sake.

Why would he be?

Even if the so-called Big Four were interested – and I have my doubts; an SPL left back is decidedly lacking in bling, which is what these clubs value more than anything else – why would he go or we be willing to let him?

If Kieran is capable, as many believe, of being one of the best full-backs in the world isn’t it in our best interests and that of Scottish football to keep him right here? To see to it that this huge star stays within our game?

It’s not all about money.

Why didn’t we sell Larsson  when there were obscene offers on the table? Easy answer; Larsson wasn’t banging down the manager’s door demanding a transfer. Why didn’t we sell Brown? There’s been interest. There have been offers. But Brown never wanted to leave.

Celtic does not sell players simply to generate income; Celtic has a well stated philosophy that when a player wants to move for the money we allow them to.

But if Kieran Tierney decided to give the best years of his career to Celtic we would not rush him out the door.

Indeed, we’d eventually make him the highest paid player at the club.

This pitiful “all the good players will eventually go to England” stuff really pisses me off.

This week, Jozo Simunovic was linked with a move to the EPL and for a day the entire press corps was pissing its pants over the possibility, and some Celtic fans foolishly got on board spreading rumours about it.

And who was the club that generated these stories?

It was Burnley. Okay?

And with all due respect, if they weren’t an EPL club who would even care they existed?

If Jozo Simunovic was willing to leave Champions League Celtic to move to Burnley there would be nothing we could do to stop him, and in those circumstances I would not want to. Such a staggering demonstration of greed before ambition would be enough reason for me not to care.

I wouldn’t want someone like that in our squad.

But you know what? It was never going to happen. Simo knows he’s at a bigger club than Burnley. He dug his heels in over a move to Torino two seasons ago; when it collapsed he said he was glad and wanted to stay at Celtic Park. There is no way he is leaving our shining city on the hill for Turf Moor. Not a chance. I never believed a word of it, much as I laugh whenever I read that West Ham want Dembele or Bournemouth want Armstrong … these clubs are pissing in the wind, and the casual disrespect they show Celtic and football here with the low-ball figures they tout for these guys is only further reason for us not to entertain them.

Kieran Tierney is a Celtic supporter.

Just last week he gushed over what an honour it was to be made captain for a game, and said he hoped it would not be for the last time. But in the same interview he said he was in no rush because Brown will “be here for a few years yet.”

Which, I don’t know, sounds a lot to me like he’s planning on sticking around.

But the words of the player are an inconvenience Hartson, Sutton and our assorted hacks don’t pay too much attention to as they try to punt the best young player this country has produced in 30 years. And honestly, it’s really starting to piss me off.

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