Celtic’s Forgotten Signings Could Have A Major Impact On The Coming Campaign For Ten.

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This morning, on the Celts Down Under podcast, myself and Jarrod Hill were talking about the way Celtic has wasted large sums of money down through the years.

Everyone has their own horror story, the signing we should never have made.

Jarrod picked Berkovic. I went for Rafael. Easy ones.

But Jarrod agreed that there are others who could easily have made it.

He listed some of them, mostly forwards. I listed a couple, including the “bling” signings of Gravesen, Juninho and those sort of guys. We both agree, as I’m sure most of you do, that we’ve wasted one Hell of a lot of money down through the years.

This week, Kouassi Eboue left Celtic Park, and amazingly he was signed by the club who later accepted a reduced offer from Sevco for Hagi. They got a promised £3 million from Ibrox for one of their players and spent half of it buying one of our reserves.

It is a minor miracle that we got anything for him. I thought he was a player who would come good, but over the period it became clear that he was just never going to make it at Celtic Park. That was a risky signing, one of many, and something we can’t repeat.

But at Parkhead, right now, we have a number of players whose time at the club is already the subject of much speculation.

Bayo is one of them. A player who I discussed in the podcast, and who’s failure astounds me, is Shved; he might not have a future at Celtic in spite of only playing a handful of games for us thus far. Will Bolingoli survive the summer?

Most alarmingly, there are already questions over the two players we brought to Parkhead in January; Soro and Klimala. The Polish striker has at least been seen in the team; not so with the midfielder, who we all heard about and looked forward to watching but who has yet to make an appearance in the side. I think panic over these players is a little premature.

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In the 1951/52 season, SFA chairman George Graham tried to stop Celtic from flying the Irish tricolour flag over Celtic Park, leading to a bitter stand off between him and the club. Which Scottish club backed Graham over his stance?

For openers, I think Bayo is a decent enough player. His scoring record for his former club suggests that he knows where the net is. He is unfortunate because Griffiths and Eddie have been exceptional and are obviously in front of him. Klimala was signed to compete with him as our backup; I don’t think it does us any harm to have four strikers at the club and especially now when we’re playing with two men up front. To me, that just makes good sense.

I have no fears about Klimala or Bayo playing a role in the next campaign. Both would have featured towards the end of this one had we played it to a close, and we’d have seen Soro in the middle of the park as well. Would we have seen Shved? Possibly, although as I said in the podcast, there are doubts over his application and his attitude.

But the next campaign is going to be hugely challenging. We don’t know when it will start, but we should assume that there will be delays and perhaps even breaks during the season if the global health crisis produces the feared “second wave.”

We can assume a fixture pile-up at some stage, perhaps even one that involves European as well as domestic games. It would test our squad to the fullest. In those circumstances, we’re going to need every warm body we can get.

And that means that if these guys all stay they are going to play their roles. I actually do expect a couple of players to go – Shved and Bayo could, Hayes and Gordon almost certainly will – but the bulk of this squad will be intact when next season starts.

We’re going for ten in a row now. That’s an epic effort, even in normal circumstances.

Everyone at the top at Parkhead knows that this is the legacy issue, that this is what they’ll be remembered for.

The players know this is a place in history which will never be erased.

Those who play a role in it will not be forgotten.

This is not just a chance at redemption for some and a chance for glory for others; this is immortality.

James Forrest is the guest on the latest Celtic Down Under podcast, which you can listen to here.

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