Looking out over calm seas it is nearly impossible to believe that there’s a whole other world under the gently rolling water, but we know that there is. I think of that image a lot when I imagine Celtic Park at the moment, a place where there’s an almost preternatural calm amidst all the sound and fury being generated elsewhere.
People keep on asking me if I’m worried about it.
The answer is no, and yes.
Yes, because time is creeping on. I know work is going on behind the scenes, but there are deadlines looming in front of us and a major double-header with Rosenborg to navigate before the season even properly gets started. They will have a chunk of domestic football under their belts prior to that one, so we know they’re going to be ready and concern grows at the fact no new signings have yet rolled up for work at the Good Ship Celtic.
Any new players need a bedding in period. Anybody who signs for us now is going to get a mere few weeks, and there’s no sign of newbies on the horizon.
But in truth, I’m closer to the answer no when asked if I’m worried, because I know that the smooth surface hides a lot of goings on. Work will be proceeding apace on negotiations and going over reports. Brendan knows what this team needs, and we’ve lost Roberts and Musonda from the area he had identified as the key to this season’s plan … the attacking midfield one which can unlock any defence and provide goals and assists.
He will also be painfully aware of our deficiencies at the back. Unlike some people I’m not going to knock the signing of a free transfer with a history of injuries to provide cover at right back. It’s not like he has a recent conviction for beating women, after all.
But I would be astonished if Brendan thought we were alright at central defence.
People are aware that we’ve spent money in this window; we’ve broken our transfer record for God’s sakes. Just because it was making a loan deal permanent does not negate the fact we’ve forked out more money on one player already than every other club has spent combined.
But the fans want fresh faces and the squad definitely needs them.
Which everyone at Celtic knows full well.
Business will be done, and quite possibly a sort that surprises people.
In the meantime, the ancient political adage regarding the media stands; if you’re not feeding the beast then the beast is feeding on you. Fortunately, we’re dealing with bog-standard Scottish sports journalists here and not Woodward and Bernstein.
They are more nibbling around the edges.
We’ve given them nothing to report, so as per usual they are making it up as they go along, with new Kieran Tierney stories emerging today, this time linking him with Everton. With all due respect to the Merseyside club and those pushing this nonsense, if the kid wasn’t interested in Manchester United or Arsenal why’s he going to be now?
Jozo Simunovic has popped up on the radar of Lille, apparently.
It’s another example of our hacks having all sorts of information available to them on goings-on elsewhere but not really appearing to have a shred of actual verifiable detail on what’s going on right under their own noses. Celtic continues to elude and evade them here.
Nothing makes them crazier, and if the slow and professional way we do business occasionally drives some of us mad, I take comfort, at least, in knowing the hacks go crazier still.
An old adage from my time working with the council – one passed on to me by a charge-hand who excelled at doing less than he seemed – says “real work plus appearance of work equals actual work.”
It is a standing joke now with Sevco that they trot out this same “fitter, stronger, better” nonsense every single year … at Celtic real work is all that’s being done.
It might not generate many headlines but it has secured six trophies out of six.