Whatever issues bedevilled our efforts to sign Ismaila Soro have reportedly been taken care of, and he is due to become our second signing of the January window. At a cost of £2 million, it will take our spending in this window to around £5.5 million … and there are more players to come, at least one in central defence and probably a winger.
There is going to be plenty of debate over whether or not the signings are the calibre the manager wanted or that the fans hoped to see, but there is little doubt that if this window ends with the four target positions secured that the team will be stronger and that’s all we need to be.
Combined with the talents already at the club, we should be in good shape.
What we wanted from this club were some signs of life; we’ve got those. We’ve spent money, and we are prepared to spend more. The manager will have the reinforcements he wanted and there will be greater competition for places. The club is sending a message, exactly the one we wanted them to send, at exactly the same time as the one at Ibrox is sending out its own.
And those messages could hardly be more different.
This time last year, we were in a good position. Sevco might have been top but we had the game in hand. This time the roles are reversed. Last January they made signings to get across the line, but we made signings to augment our own squad … we emerged victorious.
The fans saw that the club was serious about retaining the title, and fighting off the competition. Imagine we had done nothing? Imagine Rodgers has said he was satisfied with the team, even as it was being weakened? Think the press would have let us get away with that?
The press has been silent on the ramifications of this, but they are pretty obvious.
If, under such restrictions, Sevco loses this league title, their supporters – and perhaps even their manager – are going to blame the board of directors for not giving them the signing or signings that would get them over the line. In a race this tight, if one club gets stronger and the other stands still what’s the probable outcome? Not the one Sevco fans want.
There is a lot of doubt, and criticism, swirling around out there in relation to the business Celtic has done and is likely to do. But no other club in this country will come close to spending £5.5 million, even over the course of a season.
Indeed, that money is bigger than most Scottish club’s entire footballing budget.
This is the gulf between us and the rest.
But it also signifies the gap between us and Ibrox, a gap that has not been closed in the first half of this season, no matter what nonsense has been trotted out in the media. Celtic earns around one third more than the Ibrox club in a bad year. In a good year our revenues are double what theirs are, and that’s not going to significantly change any time soon, if it does.
We might not be spending everything we have in the kitty – this, in fact, is a drop in the bucket compared to what we could lavish on signings if the club were willing – but it’s still sizeable by Scottish football’s standards and should enable us to keep putting the competition away.
Although doubts are normal and the criticisms realistic, we should not forget that we were on a superb run of form before we lost at Celtic Park, and that we are more than capable of putting together a similar run in the second half of the season.
Lennon’s win ratio bears that out.
We are doing the right things here.
It might not be the calibre everyone wants, but it looks as if we will emerge from this window better than we went into it.
Sevco’s inability to do the same thing is the difference between the clubs … and it might be all the advantage we need.