One of the things that must frustrate Ange most if he monitors Celtic social media is some of the criticism – much of it way over the top – that is dished out to certain of his players. At this moment in time, few suffer as much needless, and stupid, abuse as Carl Starfelt, a player who a section of our support whips as much as the mainstream press.
Some of these armchair experts have made their minds up.
I know who I choose to believe has the better judgement; Ange himself, who has spoken last week in passionate defence of his player, and also offered an insight into what Starfelt is doing in a bid to get better game on game, an improvement which is noticeable if you’re not looking instead for everything you can criticise.
Saying much the same as we have on here, over and over again, the manager reminded the fans that Starfelt is at a new club, in a new country, with a new language and new team-mates. He reminded us that some players settle faster than others and that this guy came into the most dysfunctional and weak part of the team and is only now part of a settled back line.
Yesterday I thought he was excellent; it did not stop some idiots in the press from continuing to cast doubts on him.
But slowly but surely this player is winning his battle, and that’s due to the long hours he’s spending working on his game behind the scenes.
Ange talked about it last week, about how the defenders now scrutinise video footage and data of their own performances and work on where they can get constantly better. This might sound like ABC stuff, but it’s obvious it wasn’t getting done previous to now and it is a clear measure of the commitment these guys have to their craft. They are a credit to the club.
The sniping will continue, of course, because certain unscrupulous people with axes to grind think they’ve identified a weakness in us which they can exploit.
It was ever thus.
In the meantime, Ange supports his people and Starflet and others are diligent int their efforts to improve.
You can see the impact this is having not only in their own performances but across the team.
This is why we’re going to have a good, and successful, campaign.