I expected to be busy today, with a large transfer window piece in mind, but a bout with the flu has turned into an ear infection.
Although I’m having a pretty miserable day, I thought I would do a piece which conveyed my general thoughts prior to something in more detail later on in the week, or over the weekend.
I’m happy. That sums it up nicely.
I’m happy because Celtic is a happy place to be at the moment.
The malcontents and the divisive influences and the players who would rather be somewhere else are now. The footballers who wanted away are gone, and we’ve got a dozen new players who voluntarily signed on for Ange and our future.
This is what we’ve been missing for a while now.
The sense of a club in listless drift is gone. We have a manager who knows exactly what he wants and is determined to forge this team in his own image. I’ve said from the start that I don’t intend to be a “net spend” obsessive, I only want to see tangible progress.
That progress is visible, encapsulated last night in the deadline-busting move for Cameron Vickers.
I actually think it’s incredible that we’ve added so many players whilst having a transfer surplus.
If someone had said to me at the start of this window that we’d have signed a former England international keeper, a US international defender, a Swedish international defender, a Croatian international right back, a Republic of Ireland international midfielder, a Japanese striker who reminds us of Henrik, a young Israeli rising star and Holland’s top scorer from last season, not mention a potential Portuguese wonderkid … most of us would have dismissed it as fanciful nonsense, but here were are and on top of it we’d got Scales, Shaw, Lawal and Urhoghide.
No player has left who we didn’t expect to. We got transfer fees for everyone who did, and two of them for the eight figure sums the media confidently predicted we’d never realise. We’ve rebuilt this squad and made a profit … which means there’s more to spend, should the manager require it, when we get to the window in January.
At the same time, young Welsh has turned into a potent centre back, Montgomery has become a fist team player, as has Murray and we’ve witnessed the stunning emergence of Ralston as a genuine part of the squad and a contender for that right back role.
I’ll analyse the full strength of the squad later, but I am excited about the business we’ve done and pleased to see that all the uncertainty has been removed.
We have a big season ahead of us, but every single person at Parkhead wants to be there and is up for the challenge, and that in itself is a sterling turnaround and a big step forward.