Yesterday, amidst much fanfare, Sevco signed their second player of the window, a Leicester youth on a free contract.
The press is ecstatic. Their forums are buzzing, as if this was a footballer we’d all heard of and fear was coursing through our veins as a result.
In truth, they’ve let six players go over there, signed a youth player and kept a guy who’s been there since January. They are weaker than when the campaign ended. So are we. But moves are already well underway to rectify that at Celtic Park.
Yet as I said on this site just the other week, the real issue might not so much be who we sign as who we retain. Yes, we need certain positions to be filled but the real challenge for us will be in braving the current global crisis and holding on to the best players we already have.
If we can do that we’d be in a very strong position whatever else happened.
From that perspective, the decision to open talks with Odsonne Edouard is massive. If he stays, then our club is in a great position to secure that tenth title. Keep the other top talents like Ajer, Christie, McGregor, Ntcham and Forrest and nothing will stop us.
Lyndon Dykes won’t make us better; reports today that we’re looking at him should be roundly ignored. If we were, I’d be concerned. I think all four of our current strikers are better than he is. We can’t be shopping at this level if we’re going to improve.
Celtic will be busy in this window; indeed, much of the hard work has started already. Sevco will be busy too, but the onus over there will be on punting some of their big earners. They simply have no choice. Do not believe a word of the media’s spin on this.
Late last week, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain wrote an excellent piece laying out five questions for the “Sevco high command”; he suggested that all might be worth looking into by the mainstream press and that taken together they would present one Hell of a big story.
Nobody in the press wants to tell that story, not with season ticket renewals underway at Ibrox and a feel-good factor to create there. Yet all five of his questions are positively lethal, as is the assertion in the piece that they are trying to remove as many as four first team players from the books … which if you believe Alex Rae means they’d need eight to challenge us.
Their position remains perilous, and there is nothing their directors can do about it. Phil’s questions include one about whether King wants a £6.8 million loan returned to him and on what terms, he has posed a massive one about Close Brothers and another about the status of the litigations pending against the club; any one of those would be disastrous.
As we’ve said before on this site, and as Phil has himself many times, Sevco always wins the Close Season Cup, but this year is going to be very different because not matter how much positive spin the press tries to put on this, things are happening over there which no amount of public relations soothing will be able to change or fix.
In the meantime, at Celtic Park, the feel-good is real and confidence is high. Our club is still a happy place to be, in spite of the travails of the moment. The players believe that good things will still happen for them and for the club itself.
Unlike at Sevco, we’re looking forward to the coming campaign with confidence and not fear. That we’re ready to offer Eddie a new deal to keep him here for ten and perhaps longer is the first good sign. We should see more of the reasons why in the weeks ahead.
As Scottish football goes through the current crisis it is important to keep up with developments and the key issues. We are determined to do so, and to keep you informed as well. Please subscribe to the blog.