There were other interesting performances yesterday, apart from that of Lewis Morgan.
They were from Marvin Compper, who looked composed and cool in the first half, and his counterparts Ryan Christie and Jonny Hayes. All three players are gearing up for the season knowing that there are doubts about them. All three have to succeed.
Hayes and Compper were signed last season, Jonny in the summer window and Marvin in the winter one.
Both struggled with injuries, but if one of them is going to go you got the impression that it would have been Hayes rather than the big defender, because although we barely saw Compper he was clearly signed for this campaign, and in an area we need to get it right.
Hayes can be replaced. Some of us wondered why we’d signing him in the first place when we have so many players who can play wide on the left. Ryan Christie is one of them. The thing of it, Hayes was coming on to a good game before he got injured. Christie performed well at Aberdeen.
The two ex-Dons have it all to do in the coming months.
Ryan Christie has been something of an enigma; he’s now spent eighteen months away on loan, and he’s come back to stake his claim. Brendan played him “in the hole” yesterday, and I like him in that spot and think he can do well there. He’ll score goals and create things for us.
Frankly, in spite of his excellent displays at Pittodrie I am unsure what to make of him.
I’ve loved this kid since we signed him.
I thought we’d captured the most exciting young prospect in the country when we grabbed him from Inverness. The move hasn’t failed, but it hasn’t been a huge success either. He certainly has the talent, and I would have far rather seen that talent expressed in his playing games than sitting on the bench every week … but playing for Aberdeen, however well, is not the same as competing for a place in the Celtic team.
The thing is, both these guys would simply stroll into the starting line-ups of any other side in Scotland. It’s a measure of how far we’ve come as a club that we can’t even guarantee them places in the squad most weeks. That’s how strong we are.
Of the two, Christie has youth on his side and is therefore more likely to make it … the fact we let Ajer out on loan and have brought him back and seen him cement a place in the team proves to the players that Brendan will reward them for the success they have.
Ryan and Jonny must let that inspire them.
Both can play a part in the coming campaign; with so many games in front of us, they will almost certainly have to. Jonny is at an age where long-term is something to think about for his retirement more than his football future, but Ryan will be in football a good while longer.
He will do well too, but in terms of his future at Celtic this coming season is probably it.
It’s time for this kid to step up and grab it, or watch it all slip through his fingers.