As we emerged from the first part of the league race, and looking back over the results, one thing stands out; my early season concern that all the clubs who took points from Sevco last season were less potent has been fully vindicated.
It was one of my main worries back when this season was kicking off. In one way or another, all those sides had gone backwards over the summer, either through managerial changes, the loss of key players or because changes that were screaming out to be made hadn’t been.
And so it was that Kilmarnock were weaker, Hibs were weaker, Hearts were weaker, Aberdeen were weaker … and it all pointed to the Ibrox club having an easier time beating the rest of the sides than in the last campaign. It pointed to a closer race.
We’re now nine days into the transfer window, and if you reckon that Celtic’s total failure to add to the team in that time is worrying then you’re not the only one.
This board never learns appropriate lessons. They have made the manager look like a chump. He and his coaches made it clear that they wanted at least one signing – at least one – before the team even headed out to Dubai, all the better to blend the new player into the squad.
Ten days in and all we are is weaker for the departure of Scott Sinclair, and Morgan’s impending move to America.
It is outrageous. We are the club sitting on the £40 million surplus; if this isn’t what it’s for then the worst of the cynics are right and we’re being run as a for-profit with directors more interested in the share price and their personal remuneration than with the success of the club itself.
And let me tell you, those directors will pay for that if we fail to win this league.
Yet signing players for our own squad is not the only way that Celtic can influence the title race.
We have a lot of players at Celtic Park who aren’t going to play a major role in the coming months, and some of them are very good.
Lewis Morgan looks like he’s off to David Beckham’s MLS franchise ; I would have had rather seen him loaned to Hibs or Killie or another side in this league. If Shved isn’t going to play for us at the moment, let the SPL teams have him on loan until the season ends, and give him games. If we do manage to sign a striker, let Bayo or even Griffiths go somewhere and get game time … and give the teams around us a shot in the arm at the same time.
There are other footballers at the club who could do well for SPL teams. It depends on what those sides and what we have to hand, but even the most talented of our youth players would, as everyone knows, walk into the first teams of most other sides in this league.
What harm can it do to Celtic?
None, because those players will be forbidden from playing against us anyway. We’re far enough ahead of every other club in the league that we don’t have to fear a second challenge emerging as a result of what we’ve done.
It’s a no-lose scenario that costs us nothing and might have a huge upside to it.
If even one of these guys scores a winner against Sevco then it’s job done, and come home a hero. These guys are no use to us sitting on our bench or in the stands, but out on the pitch against the Ibrox club they could make the difference in crucial games.
If we’re not looking into how we can help the other SPL clubs here, then we’re absolutely sleeping at the wheel. This season is going to be a grind now, and when you are in one of those you take every single advantage you can get, no matter how slight.