Well, this club has not lost its ability to amaze us in a positive sense.
It has not lost its ability to flip the script on the doom-mongers, of whom there are too many.
Media “personalities” who predicted a title race over by Christmas, who thought the Ibrox second string would be able to beat us, those who ramble incoherently about the manager not lasting until the New Year (more on that later, I promise) are today clamped up.
Because for once we’ve produced big time.
Yesterday I said that we needed proven players, footballers not signed simply to enhance the squad but to enhance the starting eleven and that group of footballers on its periphery who we call “the first team.”
Guys who can step in without the quality dropping.
Today we’ve delivered two of them, and with respect to Joe Hart who is here to do an immensely important job, McCarthy excites me most, for a number of reasons but the primary one being that he raises, in a quite significant way, the level of quality in our midfield.
These are first team footballers with a good claim to being guaranteed starters.
Both of them majorly enhance Ange’s options.
Both will contribute a tremendous amount because both have played at the very highest level as EPL footballers and internationals.
The club has given both of them multi-year deals; there are no doubts at Celtic about their fitness levels or their ability. If there were we wouldn’t be handing them long term contracts.
These guys are here to do a job for more than just one campaign.
Scott Brown left us a 36-year-old, and still, on his day, was capable of influencing a match as one of the best midfielders in the country.
McCarthy is six years younger than that, and he comes here with a “reputation” as injury prone which does not, in any way, square with the statistical fact that since he left Scotland he’s played over 300 games in the EPL.
Joe Hart has over 500 career appearances, with the vast majority of them coming in England’s top flight.
He has 75 caps for England.
For the record, that’s 69 more than Fraser Forster who’s only a year younger but never scaled the heights in the way this guy did.
Are these “risky” signings? Only in the way that every signing is.
But we heard that about Craig Gordon as well, who had also spent a lengthy spell out injured and most people agree that he was a great signing and one we made a costly mistake in allowing to go.
To my mind, the risk would have been to not grab two such experienced players when they were willing to come here and be part of Ange’s revolution.
I’ll be honest; I balked at the idea of signing Hart initially, but that was because I just don’t feel that we’ve given Barkas any time to settle and establish himself.
But when Ange dropped him for the last two games it was clear that there wasn’t any coming back from that … what astonishes me is that Celtic demonstrated an ability to move, at speed, to correct that situation when it became obvious that we had reached a point of no return.
It is the job of this blog to question everything that our club does.
It is our job here to hold this club up to the stiffest scrutiny imaginable.
It is the club’s job to answer those questions as best it can, by aiming to be as strong as it can be and to give us reasons to believe in the vision we’re being offered for its future.
Today the club has gone a way towards giving us those assurances and I can only applaud all who were involved in closing these deals because they are genuine headline grabbers and game changers.
They undeniably make us a stronger team.