Date: 11th August 2018 at 6:35pm
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Today, in the English Championship, Timu Pukki scored for Norwich City. I know that because I was waiting for their game in my 2.5 goals coupon and saw it come up on the telly. I was surprised to see his name. I had no idea he was there. Of the other ex-Celt’s who occasionally pop up on my TV screen I know roughly the same; i.e. almost nothing.

Without wishing to sound harsh, when a player is no longer at Celtic Park I generally neither know nor care what he’s up to, unless he’s done us exceptional service or the opposite. I know, for example, that Islam Feruz is still at Chelsea. I know too that his current contract will be his last major one in the professional game, and it ends at the close of this campaign.

He basically has about 8 months of football to save his career.

Joe Ledley is on telly right now, playing in the Derby midfield against Leeds. I thought he was still at Palace and was genuinely surprised to see him in this game. I believe Ki is at Newcastle, playing for Mike Ashley. I know that because of the furore over their signings or lack thereof.

But my interest above and beyond that is non-existent.

And if my interest in ex-players is limited to a handful of examples, my need to know, my happening to care, about those who almost pulled the Hoops on but didn’t is even less than that. There are some examples who excel and you can’t ignore – Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud is one who got away and haunts my dreams to this day – but most have vanished into the ether for me, popping up occasionally to make you wonder what might have been.

I will hear the name “John McGinn” again as I write this site, but I hope to God I’ve written it for the last time. Everyone who reads this blog knows I wanted him in a Celtic shirt, I think he’s an exceptional player and I thought he would be a Celtic midfielder. I wanted the manager to sign him and start preparing him for the Scott Brown role when the captain leaves … things have not turned out that way and he’s off elsewhere. That’s that.

As far as I’m concerned, he’s fallen into the football Twilight Zone. He’s vanished from sight and from memory. There are people who will obsess over his performances for Villa; I frankly don’t care and don’t want to know. The slow torture some people will force on themselves if he turns it on down there and becomes a £20 million footballer … I don’t know why you do it to yourselves. Giroud haunts me because we came close to getting him and that would have been a real coup.

Right or wrong, I don’t feel that way about McGinn; I feel a sense of being let down because the player himself has made a stupid choice based on faulty logic; he either went there because he thinks Villa are a bigger club than us or for money.

He is entitled to make that decision, but I don’t care whether it proves to be a good one or a bad one now. He’s past tense. Any discussion of whether or not we’d have been a better team with him in it is theoretical nonsense at this point, it’s moot, it’s irrelevant, it’s after-match pub talk with no bearing on where we are now as a club.

Someone said to me yesterday, “Surely you’d wish the lad well?”

I answered honestly; to be frank, I just couldn’t give a damn either way.

The issues arising from his move to Villa will be with us for a while, but he’s no longer on the radar.

We’ve already moved past him.

I’ve already started to forget who he is.

Harsh? It might well be, but as Brendan said today, our focus should be on the players who are here and those who are on the way rather than on those who’ll never now have their name up on The Celtic Way.