Celtic, Forster, Roberts, Tierney And The Illusion Of Glory In England.

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The news is not so great today, at least if you believe what you’re reading in the media.

I don’t know that I do, to be honest. I heard two weeks ago that both Forster and Elyounoussi were keen on coming back to Glasgow and yesterday the winger proved it when he signed a new one-year loan deal. The big keeper looked even more certain, as he gets it, all of it.

But one thing niggled at me; the reason Fraser Forster left in the first place.

There are players who go to England for the money, others to test themselves against a better class of player and there are others who actually have career goals in mind. He was one of the latter. Oh I don’t doubt the money was nice, but Fraser Forster wanted to play for England.

And I worried that if a club down there came in for him, that would be a big part of his decision. He still believes he can be his country’s number one … and I always thought he was broadly correct to have that kind of faith in his talent.

This is our real problem with English football; a lot of people do believe it’s the Promised Land and you can’t talk them out of that. Kieran Tierney will regret, as long as he lives, not being at Celtic when the tenth title was won; he was seduced by a combination of English cash and the insidious idea that he would never be the complete player until he was there.

Patrick Roberts is another example; he cannot be dissuaded from the idea that England – and in particular Manchester City – is where he belongs, even when it is now painfully obvious that he is not going to get the recognition his undoubted talent deserves. I was genuinely shocked when he penned a new deal with the club which has given him a grand total of three games since they signed him in 2015. He is never going to make it there and must know it.

Wikipedia lists his career stats at 123 career appearances; nearly 80 of them were at Celtic Park. I was astounded when he decided to give it another go in England last year instead of coming back to our club, and I think that was probably his last chance to play for us.

If the news is correct today that Forster has made a similar choice I think it’s one he will regret, although he is an immensely talented player. He is just not as highly regarded in that league of bling as he probably ought to be.

If the stories are true, he will be competing for the number one spot at Southampton, so says the press, with no guarantees that he’ll actually get games … yet perhaps for a footballer who dreams of leading his national team out at a major finals that’s too good to refuse. He knows, for sure, that if he comes up here that it’s definitely not going to happen.

I understand it, of course, but it is immensely frustrating at the same time.

It is frustrating because I don’t think the big man will realise his ambitions in England any more than I reckon Patrick Roberts will ever play regularly for Manchester City. As someone who thinks both are fantastic players and have given much to the Celtic cause I want to be proved wrong about that, as I want to believe that Tierney has made a good decision in his own career … he’s definitely at the wrong club, but then he’d have signed for Everton too.

In the meantime, we have work to do and according to people close to the club we are not going to hang around waiting on Forster to have another change of heart. We’re going through the list of alternatives, just as I said we would the other day.

Celtic waits for nobody.

Especially not this year.

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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?

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