Date: 11th July 2019 at 8:30am
Written by:

Talking to James last night, when news broke that Tommy Smith might be on his way to Stoke, I asked him where he thought Celtic would turn next.

The obvious answer seems to be George Baldock, but we’d be guessing.

Thank God I’m only here to report rumours, not make predictions.

Mr Editor seems pretty pleased with how I am doing, and I hope I am providing some entertainment to the rest of you. Transfer windows are nutty times.

There is never a dull moment, but remember; if you’re reading the rumours here you’re not feeding the MSM enemy.

And when I started this segment up, that was the thinking behind it.

Hanging up the phone last night, James said, “We move to the next target. The show goes on. Enjoy your drinking!”

Cheeky sod. I did actually.

The show goes on then, like the song says.

That’s a Bruce Hornsby number, the guy who wrote the The Way It Is.

Well, at Celtic, this is The Way It Is sometimes.

You win some, and you lose some.

This is not as easy as signing third rate dreck; good players have options, and you have to work hard if you’re going to get the deals done.

Celtic is working hard.

We’ve lost this one, as we lost out on Harper, but we move on to the next, because that’s what we have to do.

Someone I spoke to last week said Celtic has a list of right back options a dozen deep.

We should have, we’ve had a lot of time to work on this problem. And it is a problem, as Neil Lennon himself has said only this week. Talking about Bitton and his excellent performance in the match on Tuesday, the manager lamented having to play him in defence.

“Right-back is a key area to strengthen. Kristoffer was outstanding, but we are looking to bring quality in. It’s not an easy process, but we are working away in the background.”

Doubtless we are, and nobody has to point out how “not easy” this process is, because we’ve only needed to fill the position for two years. But although this one isn’t the one that would have ended the search, I am confident because the manager knows this is the key and that it has to be done, and done relatively quickly.

Relatively quickly, but not rushed.

I mean, we could go out tomorrow and scoop up someone like Stephen O’Donnell, just to fill the hole and give the appearance of forward momentum, but why would we? Lennon knows this is a crucial decision and with so much riding on it he has to get it right.

This was not Rodgers signing Gamboa; we had a perfectly good first choice right back at the time.

Here, we’re signing the first choice right back. Nobody should be rushing us into this.

When you look at the names we’ve been linked to, they are all solid, dependable players. They might not be as ambitious as right back targets from previous years, but still they will do a job for us, with the first and most important criteria being that they can defend.

There’s a certain level of frustration here, but it comes from not yet being able to relax with another piece of the jigsaw in place. Wheels continue to turn. The media’s momentary glee that we’re not there yet, coupled with their eager expressions at the idea that the Ibrox club might pull money out of the back of the sofa cushions, is what we’ve come to expect.

I want this over with, like everyone else.

(Especially as it will let me focus on the real area of the field which excites me to write about, the forward line).

But we’re waiting a little while longer, because sometimes you have to.

The press will try to spin this, of course, as us having lost Stacey and Smith in a week; but where, actually was the confirmation that we made a concrete bid for either player? The Stacey interest was almost certainly real – the club confirmed that we were interested – but in reporting the rumours I haven’t missed the simple fact that we’ve not had a single confirmed one for Smith. It’s just been press chat, all whispers and vapours.

Were we interested? Yes, we were. But did it go further than a general enquiry?

That, nobody seems to know, and nobody is going to confirm it or deny it.

I do know that he wasn’t the guy at Huddersfield who we had our eye on early in the recruitment process; that was Matthias Jorgenson, the centre back, whose name featured on the infamous leaked dossier.

Forget too any talk about first choices, there are only good choices and bad choices and if a player is on our list this year then you can bet that he’s come through a screening process which M15 would have been happy to adopt.

So the show goes on.

I know that before long I’m going to be sitting here in my bomb proof bunker, where the baddies can’t get me, drinking a toast to our new first choice starter, but right now it feels like standing at a bus-stop in the pissing rain.

You keep on looking at the board to see when the next bus is due, but nothing’s come in twenty minutes and there should have been at least one by now.

So forget what it says on the charts, because all bets are off.

At the end of this, you will reach the pub, your mates will be waiting and you can shake your head as you have a beer and moan about the lousy state of public transport. You know this, as you stand there pulling your collar up and wish you’d brought a scarf … but for now this is it.

It was another singer – Tom Petty – who said it best;

“The waiting is the hardest part.”

The Rumour Guy is a Celtic fan and blogger who does not enjoy being made to wait for signings …