It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was writing that Celtic fans needed to give Bolingoli time to settle.
The media had made up their minds and were scrutinising the guy’s every mistake.
A year ago I was singing the same song about Barkas after the press flayed him after just two games.
I am not surprised to be writing this about Starfelt.
I predicted as much.
Over the same period, Forrest has taken his usual licks.
Ralston was written off as a worthless joke.
There are eyes on every mistake that Taylor makes.
Soro is casually dismissed in some circles as he was before he’d even made a handful of first team appearances.
The media is always going to try to undermine Celtic players.
They always have.
But this thing with the fans making their minds up on scant evidence and pronouncing their own verdicts scandalously early is of more recent vintage and it is damaging.
Some footballers settle early.
Some take time to get on their feet.
I would love to be able to say that our support is developing a bad knack for rushing to judgement.
I would love to say that because I can’t say it.
Tragically, they’ve developed it already and it’s a nasty habit I’d very much like to see us wean ourselves off of right now.
Some of the comments about Starfelt are absolutely embarrassing.
This guy came from Russia, where the pace of the game is entirely different.
He’s being asked to play in a different way than he ever has before.
He will get better.
He’s young enough still to be learning and experienced enough that we know we’re getting quality.
Still, the armchair experts know best.
It’s shocking how easily they turn on our own players, and I’ve been warning about this for a couple of years now.
That some of them undoubtedly think they were right about Bolingoli and Barkas only makes matters worse.
(I think they are wrong on both counts; both will go on to earn distinction somewhere else.)
They were equally “right” about Klimala and Bayo and Shved … yet we recouped our transfer fees for those guys because the real experts at other clubs understood what they could offer.
Klimala is an excellent case in point, and the proof of how little some of the armchair experts know.
I am baffled by that signing but only because I now understand how little thought and attention and planning went into us making it. A classic counter-attacking player, he was signed to play in a system which didn’t utilise his skill-set at all.
Of course he looked like a fish out of water. Of course he didn’t succeed.
But to write him off as a dud belied those moments in a Celtic strip where you saw something, where a break in the play allowed him to show us what his true talents were … but we never played to those strengths.
Fans think that makes him a bad player.
But a bad system can make a good player look that way.
Nobody would play Kyogo as a target man, after all.
Some of our supporters need to step off and let this guy grow into the team.
Ange trusts him.
He paid big money on the basis of what this guy can do, and we already see that Ange can spot a player.
There will be people, of course, who’ll try to “prove” that this is a signing the manager had no part in but there is zero evidence to support such a claim.
Ange signed off on this boy, and you can tell that he knows his business.
Starfelt looks dominant in the air – this is the first time in ages where we’ve had two centre backs we can say that about. He can pass a ball.
We haven’t seen whether he can turn defence into attack by taking it on a long run up the pitch the way Ajer did … but Ajer was a midfielder anyway and besides, Ange’s tactical system doesn’t support the centre backs doing that. It’s why he plays with inverted wing-backs.
This is a team which is still evolving.
Starfelt has played a handful of games.
Anyone judging him on that basis is a moron, and I can’t be blunter about it than that.
It is idiotic. It is counter-productive.
It gives the media a target to shoot at knowing full well that a section of our support will go right along with whatever nonsense they write.
Some of them have already twigged to this, and they will use it every chance they get.
We ought not to be doing the job of the enemy for them.
There’s a section of our support which seems to pick a different player to write off every year.
It’s time they got a grip, learned to be patient and kept quiet for a while.