The window just closed brought with it a lot of anger. It was a missed opportunity for the club to really kick on, to really strengthen and give us a grounding for the next couple of years. The manager knows it was a failure, the fans mostly know it was a failure and the club’s largest shareholder certainly does. It saw cracks open up at every level.
The club is sitting on a pile of money.
The manager has needs, and one of those is that we buy a quality striker. The Dembele cash gives us real latitude to spend. In spite of the Champions League exit, we’ve arguably never been in a stronger position than now.
I expect us to flex some muscle in January; players will be coming in not just to strengthen for the run-in, but because we need to start thinking about the next European campaign right now. That will be foremost in the planning inside Celtic Park.
But we have a big squad. We do, in fact, have a huge squad and one that is rather unwieldy in certain areas. No-one doubts that our “second string” are good footballers, or that the rigours of a campaign where we’ll have Europe and domestic duties to attend to will be easier with a smaller group. In fact, modern football virtually demands big squads.
The trouble is, some of these guys are just marking time here.
That’s a fact. And for many of them the next three or four months are the last chance they’re going to get to show us what they can do. Those players will have their futures established in that timeframe. The manager has his eyes on a bigger prize than our eight SPL title.
So let’s have a look at the players who might well be in the Last Chance Saloon.
We’ll start with the one who’s already certain to be packing up his football boots and heading for pastures new …