When Ben Doak left Celtic Park last season I wasn’t terribly put out by it, although I knew from talking to people who’d seen him that we were losing a right good player.
And I mean a proper, genuine talent who could have been a first-team player in short order and who folk were telling me had everything, including the commitment to make it.
But Doak and his people took the decision to leave.
The reason I wasn’t bothered is that we had lost potential.
This wasn’t someone who had already made a huge impact in the team. I never get bothered about a player leaving until you can feel it in the here and now, and with this kid and others before him there was really nothing to miss.
Since then he’s blossomed, in their youth set-up. He is on the cusp of their first team squad. At Celtic Park he might have been even further ahead. The boss rated him here. He was already playing games. I think we’d have seen him emerge as a major player.
It’s obvious that he’s going to be one anyway.
Today there’s an extended interview with him doing the rounds in which he says he owes Celtic everything. He does and I’m glad that sentiment is being expressed. But we offered him a new deal and Ange himself made a personal appeal, which he turned down.
So although we are “owed everything” that didn’t extend to a bit of loyalty. If he’d signed the new deal and broken into the first team he would have tasted Champions League football by now and in the event of his leaving we’d have gotten a big chunk of change.
Look, I hope the kid does well. Of course I do.
It’s a good reflection on our academy if this boy breaks into the Liverpool team and does the business. But really, he can spare us the platitudes. We reared this guy and he couldn’t even give us a couple of good years.
To me that’s always going to taint how I feel about his career progress. If that sounds bitter I suspect I’m not alone in feeling this way about how this has turned out.
I daresay many inside Celtic Park are harbouring precisely the same thoughts.