As Celtic prepares to release a number of players in this window, there’s something we mustn’t forget as the likes of Liam Shaw prepare to pull on different colours in the weeks and months ahead.
Some players at Celtic need to spend time away before they return better equipped for the task at hand.
Three examples from the recent past stand out for me.
Kris Ajer had to spend a season at Kilmarnock before he returned as a Celtic Park regular. Ryan Christie went out on loan to Aberdeen. More importantly, the captain himself, Callum McGregor, was at Notts County when Ronny Deila recalled him and built a team around his talents. These three should be the inspiration for others to keep their heads up.
In football, being loaned out can seem like a defeat, but for a lot of these players there are plenty of bodies in front of them in the line and they don’t lack talent as much as experience.
Playing first team football elsewhere returns them to the club with that extra box ticked.
Liam Shaw is one such player.
His Motherwell loan will be good for him, and for us. He will come back stronger, fitter and better equipped for SPFL first team football.
For some others, they are out on loan, or going out on loan, because they just have no future at Celtic Park anymore. Barkas is one of those. Bolingoli is another. If they are loaned out, it will be – as with Griffiths – with a view to getting them off the books full stop.
Some of these guys arrived for big money. That’s gone now. It’s like any time you lay a bet; if you’re going to dwell on the losses maybe out not to be doing it, and you should stop immediately. That money is lost to us, as it is with any punt you take that doesn’t come off. You can’t dwell on it. You suck it up and you move forward.
It’s not for nothing, either, that the song all we punters love is Kenny Rodgers’ masterpiece about two guys who meet on a train; “you’ve got to know when to hold them and when to fold them,” the gambler tells the narrator. “Know when to walk away, know when to run.” The same applies to a club and its transfer dealings.
Ange has given these guys a chance; no-one can say otherwise.
Only a fool keeps on persevering when the result is going to be the same.
Don’t be surprised if Mikey Johnston is the next player to be offered a chance at first team football at another club for a while.
It might only be the role he fulfils in our European squad registration criteria that keeps him … and that’s the wrong reason entirely for this guy to be hanging around.
If he goes, he might not come back. He might be finished at Celtic.
Others are certain to return. Shaw will come back.
Did you notice that his sidekick at Wednesday has been refused a permanent move? Osaze Urhoghide is rated. He too looks set to go out on loan, and there is no question that he’s coming back next season.
A lot of these guys will.
Others, we’ll never see again unless we’re coming up against them.