The Shane Duffy signing means many things for this club. It is an important deal. It solves a critical problem for us at the back. He’s a cut above what many of us expected when we started to rebuild the squad. I said in my last piece it’s the best signing of the window.
But Duffy also confronts the media with their own lie.
The lie that ten in a row is somehow irrelevant, that footballers don’t care about it, that players are motivated only by money and that if the right offers were dangled in front of them our whole first team squad would depart for England or some other national league in a heartbeat.
It is convenient for these hacks to pretend that ten in a row doesn’t matter.
This is just another attempt at devaluing Celtic’s accomplishment in getting this far. Think of all the bullshit they’ve allowed to run over the years as we marched towards this place; Dave King’s nonsense about how the five don’t count. Those who said Celtic’s achievement is worth less than Rangers’ one during the 90’s because they were rebuilding; there was a time in that period when we weren’t even good enough to finish in the top three … I guess that doesn’t matter though.
By this idiot’s logic, maybe we should write off the whole of Scottish football history since Third Lanark went out of business; they were, after all, one of our pre-eminent clubs. Maybe none of the league titles since then should count towards history.
Of course, the apex of all this nonsense came last season when the league was called with us 13 points clear.
We’re still hearing what an “injustice” that was.
All this “players don’t care” stuff is only the most recent manifestation of their efforts to devalue what it is that we have done so far and are on the brink of doing. They can hold it up as “proof” that outside of Celtic Park nobody really “gets it”, that it’s a small, parochial ambition.
Forget that their favourite club is spending everything has (and doesn’t have) to stop it … the media would have you believe that this doesn’t matter at all.
Of course, we all know better. Every member of the Ibrox squad has had the important of this hammered into his head by all at the club. Every member of the press has hyped this campaign in print and online. Every one of them is apprehensive about it.
Scottish football has been marketed on the back of this. For them now to pretend it is a minor matter is to lie their own reflections in the mirror.
Celtic’s players get this too, but it must be weird to be at Celtic Park right now, even as a long-term member of the squad, being told about how excited the fans are for this campaign and how big a deal it is to be involved with it.
We never foresaw it being like this; we never foresaw the momentous battle being played out without supporters … it’s all kind of surreal.
That doesn’t make it any less of a big deal, and Duffy is here because he realises what a big deal it actually is. He’s taken a wage cut to come to Celtic Park, and Lennon has rightly described him as a “leader”, and it’s that leadership, that example, which might be crucial.
Because he and Brown will rally this team together, and make sure everyone gets it.
I still expect people to leave. Ntcham might go. Ajer might go.
I suspect that one or both of them will no longer be here when the window closes.
But as long as we do our business and get them replaced – neither Duffy nor Turnbull is here to do that – we will probably emerge from the window stronger. Both of those players have their own reasons for wanting to leave … not “getting it” is not the point.
Ajer wants to play in midfield. Ntcham wants a better league.
Just as not every footballer cares about history, not every one of them is motivated solely by the money.
Shane Duffy came here to win things, the ten in a row above all. He knows that it will confer legendary status on every member of the squad. He knows that he can walk down the streets of Free Derry ever after this with his chest stuck out.
He is not the only person in the squad who “gets it” either. Most of them do. Edouard’s agent said last week that ten in a row means everything to the player … he wants it for himself, for the club and for the fans. The press would rather ignore that too.
Ten is everything to us. Some have waited their whole lives for it.
The hacks can sneer at that as like, but many of them do so with a knot in their own stomachs; they must be watching Duffy’s signing today with trepidation because it’s a bad for them in more than just football terms. This guy gets it alright, and he’ll make sure others get it too.
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