This weekend is all about Odsonne Edouard. That’s to be expected. He’s our biggest signing in years and he’s making the headlines in the media and on the blogs. Everywhere, he is the story. (Except on STV where Gerrard is the only story.) You expect that.
But amidst it all, another story got kind of buried and I think it’s an important one in and of itself.
It’s the story about Lewis Morgan, and how he’s scotched any talk of a move away from Celtic on loan, even to Sunderland where he can play under his ex-manager Jack Ross, who made the lynchpin of his St Mirren team and thinks he’s good enough for England.
And the thing is, from everything I’ve seen and heard about this kid he is.
That’s the reason I want him to stay here and play, and I was delighted to see that Morgan himself agrees. He made it clear that he isn’t even entertaining the idea, that he sees his future as being at Celtic and that future starts with the new campaign. It’s superb.
How easy it would have been for this player to retreat into a safe-zone, going down there for six months instead of staying at Parkhead and trying to crack our first team squad. And the guy in front of him is only Scott Sinclair … talk about a challenge.
But he’s up for it. He wants it. He’s embraced the opportunity and is not for changing his mind, and this is a vote of confidence in himself, of course, but also in the manager and the club. It would be easy for someone like Morgan to be scared off by looking at examples like Scott Allan and, to an extent, Ryan Christie. Those guys came to Celtic Park with a lot of hype behind them and never made it, although Ryan still has a chance to change that.
There are other examples and he’s chosen these as his inspiration, I think. Victor Wanyama was 19 when he arrived at Parkhead, but he immediately made it clear that he was a superlative performer and he was firmly established in the first team before long.
The thing about this team is, every player knows he’ll get his chance under this manager.
Every player knows he’ll get opportunities to shine. Young players, in particular, need not fear because if they perform they’ll be in the team. Brendan has no time for people who demand respect for big reputations, he judges players on what they do on the park.
And that’s where Morgan belongs. It’s where he’ll get his opportunity. It’s where we’ll see what he has to offer … at Celtic Park, not The Sunderland Stadium of Light. He belongs here and the fact Ross thought he could perform there is just another proof of it.