Date: 9th October 2019 at 1:11pm
Written by:

One of the reasons I’ve had a bit of a downer on loan signings down through the years is that I’m acutely aware, always, that these guys aren’t “us.”

They aren’t full parts of the family.

As such, how much can we trust them to put our interests first?

Mohamed Elyounoussi has not set the heather on fire at Celtic Park yet.

But he’s a talented footballer and will be a big asset to us as the season goes on.

Like a lot of other players who’ve been at our club down through the years, though, he clearly cannot be trusted to think before he opens his mouth and decided to say some stupid stuff to the press over the weekend.

Whatever possessed us to go on TV over in Norway and make the kind of comments he is supposed to have done, wherein he pondered how long our club can keep hold of Ajer and suggested that he’s destined for a “bigger club in a bigger league”?

Assume that this isn’t a mistranslation – which it may well be, of course, knowing the Scottish media.

Why isn’t our club able to insist on basic message discipline from our players?

We operate, as a club, in a hostile media environment here, and that’s the simple truth of it.

Anything our players say in front of the press – wherever they may be – should be carefully considered in light of that. There are people whose day job amounts to scouring every interview with one of our footballers, no matter where it was, and finding any thread they can pull on, and this wasn’t a particularly tough one to tug at.

“Celtic player says Celtic team-mate will leave for a bigger club.”

It’s a headline writers wet dream, and it was handed to the hacks here on a silver platter.

Look at the news feeds, and how many times the words “bigger club” are in there today. You would think it would be blatantly obvious to the player just uttering those words how they could be used and twisted and made to sound worse than they are.

I am not having a go at the big guy.

He does not have a proper appreciation of the size and scope of Celtic, because he’s just not been here that long.

He doubtless also means a top club in the upper half of the EPL, and like many others out there confuses money and a place in that league with status and I’m sure he would have taken one step onto Livingston’s plastic pitch and not been terribly impressed with what he sees in Scotland.

So his mistake can be understood in the context of that … the real fault, I reckon, lies at Celtic Park and with our failure to respond to the media’s constant war of attrition.

We’re not going to ban journalists, fair enough.

I know a few who should be, but fair enough.

We’re not going to ban titles either, although quite why we give seats to The Sun – on moral grounds as well as anything else – is a mystery, and that The Record still gets in with its virulent pro-Sevco bent is honestly astonishing.

But we don’t have to hand them ammo as well.

How difficult would it be to give our players an afternoon of basic media training?

Just a talk on what to say and what not to say, on how to take a pause and think before answering a question … look at our political class.

Half of them are stupider than a box of rocks.

All know how to do this.

This is a self-inflicted wound today.

Thankfully it’s only a little one.

But this is how easily the media finds stuff to write about.

It is time our club started to think strategically about this stuff.

This is the nine in a row campaign … these people are coming for us.

Time to take it seriously Celtic.

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