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Riley McGree Doesn’t Need To “Explain” His Celtic “Snub.” Things Worked Out Fine.

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One of my favourite moments in Jimmy McGovern’s majestic masterpiece Cracker comes when Fitz’s wife Judith finds out that he followed her lead and had an affair.

She is especially shocked when she finds out who his fling was with; not some overweight barmaid or dowdy one-night stand with some random, but with DS Jane Penhaligan, petite, sexy, ambitious and on her way to the big promotion her career merits.

Judith’s own affair was with her very unsexy shrink, and in the moment she discovers who Fitz has been sleeping with he turns his sharp mind to undermining that choice. Confirming it, he ponders the unfairness of it all.

“You got the four eyed wanker, I got the sex-bomb,” he tells her confessionally, but with more than a hint of glee.

And I was reminded of that today when I read that Riley McGree is attempting, again, to “explain” his decision to “snub Celtic” in the January window.

Hey, I want to tell the guy, everything worked out for the best, you know? We’re not owed an explanation, and one isn’t even required. We get it. You got an offer that you liked and you felt like you had to take it. We moved on and brought in someone else. Turns out that the guy we got is actually pretty good … and with his help we’re off to the Champions League.

We got a dynamic box to box player and you … well, you ended up at Middlesbrough.

We all make choices and we have to live with those choices.

Some of those choices are wrong, and big boys and big girls accept the consequences of them.

We don’t need to keep on raking over the coals. We don’t need to keep on trying to justify them … and nor should we.

“With all due respect to Celtic and Ange, my ambition is to play in the Premier League,” he said today. “The position Middlesbrough are in and being in England, I feel like it was the best opportunity of getting to where I want to be.”

He’s played ten games since signing; not bad, I suppose.

His team sits in seventh just outside the promotion zone.

He may even get to taste Premiership football at some point, we don’t know.

But I do know that Matt O’Riley has played 15 games for us, has looked exceptional in most of them and will almost certainly be taking part in the Champions League Group Stages barring injury or disaster.

All in all, I think we’ve done okay and he’s done okay, and if Riley McGree is happy then I guess everybody involved is content with those choices.

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5 comments

  • Frankie says:

    That is true James and I don’t think Ange lost any sleep about who he signed for.

  • Pan says:

    I wish him all the best at Middlesbrough, but we are very content with the exceptionally good Matt O’Riley who will play in the Champions League next season and will be a trophy winner in this, his first season.

    It seems strange for him to bring this up at this stage.
    We have all but forgotten about it and don’t mind at all.

  • Seppington says:

    Do I detect a bit of “buyer’s regret” from young master McGree?

    In terms of who got the better ‘Riley’ I’d have to say us by a country mile…

  • Damian says:

    Before signing, a player owes a club nothing at all. Best of luck to the guy. I was just really impressed with how quickly Celtic moved on to the next target. It suggested strong scouting and a coherent approach. That’s all we can really expect. We’ve seen plenty of evidence in recent times that Plan B can prove to be every bit as good as Plan A was expected to be.

  • SSMPM says:

    Given I didn’t know the guy other than his stated ambition and rejection of a Celtic contract, this article really just emphasises … nothing. Maybe he has unstated regrets or its a wee niggle at him for not signing for us but he’s elsewhere and so there’s nothing to see. Riley however what a find for the money paid, he’s no Lubo but I feel there’s a lot more to come with him at such a young age.

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