When Ange Postecoglou arrived at Celtic one of “his” transfer deals was already done; the one for Liam Shaw. We had signed him on a pre-contract deal a while before the big guy arrived. Another deal was done, from the same club, before he had his feet under the desk.
In the future when people ask who Ange’s first signing was they will say Abada or Furuhashi. Neither of them is the correct answer, of course. His first “signing” was Urhoghide, on 1 July. The others wouldn’t arrive for another fortnight.
He would have signed off on that deal, of course he would, but the work towards it was clearly in progress long before Ange got to Parkhead. If anyone claims that deals were done behind his back I’d say there were wrong, but that was presented to him as a fait accompli.
I am surprised, nonetheless, that Shaw and Urhoghide haven’t featured in the first team squad, because both had already cracked the Sheffield Wednesday first team and so both were more than capable of stepping up to the SPFL.
Those who wonder about Ange should consider how ruthlessly he has excluded both players from his plans.
But I think these two players show us the broad shape of what was intended for this club had we not gotten a manager willing to push for his own ideas. I think Lennon would certainly have used both of them and perhaps Howe would have as well. Ange had other ideas.
Can you even imagine a team made up of Sheffield Wednesday youths and other such assorted bits and bobs from around the lower leagues of England? Jesus, it doesn’t bear thinking about.
This is not to say that I’m writing off either player, or that we should. Indeed, I agree with most of the commentary today that says it would be better if they went out on loan rather than rot in the reserves where they aren’t really learning anything.
Let them return next season, when they are a little more self-assured and ready for this level. They aren’t at the moment, and I dread to think where we’d be as a club if this was the general state of our team. Thank God for a man with his own vision.