So who else watched, and was impressed by, Cristian Gamboa yesterday?
I thought he had a very fine game.
I thought he looked dynamic and tough.
I thought he looked like a player who had something and I wondered why we’ve never seen it at Celtic.
This is one of the good things about international football; it gives you a chance to watch your players against opposition they don’t normally come up against, and it lets you watch them without that heart-in-the-mouth quality that attends to your own team.
And yesterday I paid close attention to Gamboa because, to be frank, it’s one of the best chances we’ve had to evaluate him since he signed for us. That’s an odd thing to be writing because a Brendan signing is someone you’d expect to be playing more regularly … and for the life of me, I can’t work out why he was jettisoned so fast.
Gamboa has never made a mammoth impression on me in a Celtic shirt, but that’s both good and bad because whilst I don’t remember him having a spectacular game for us I never recall him having a horror show either except for the game which, I think, was in Barcelona where, let’s face it, he wasn’t alone in being terrorised all night long.
He was solidly unspectacular, but then I don’t really want a defender to be anything else. He lacks the dynamism and stand-out quality of Kieran Tierney on the left, but then who the Hell actually has it? People rave about Tavernier – people who, I presume have never watched him – but I’d take Gamboa over him all day every day as a footballer.
And this is why I wonder if perhaps a good second game – it’s against Brazil, as big a challenge as we could hope for – would not so much put Gamboa in the shop window as offer him the chance of career rehabilitation at Celtic Park.