The January window is going to be steady as she goes for Celtic. This, we know already. We have already signed one player by all accounts, and the quest goes on to find those who come after him. But this squad doesn’t need much done to it. The new defender makes perfect sense. Another striker would be the icing on the cake.
Other than that, what really is there which needs doing? The squad is in better shape than we’ve seen it in years. There is more than enough here to secure the second title in a row. This is not like last season, when we went into January with some work still to do, and where the manager was able to identify key areas which needed an upgrade.
This January window, then, will be quiet. At least at Celtic Park. Across the city, theirs will be a mad and desperate scramble to sell those players whose contracts are running down and to identify key areas where they can reinforce for what lies ahead.
This will not be effective. It will not be effective because when we went into that window we did so in a comfortable place, with a manager just getting his ideas across. Their situation is markedly different. Their whole club needs rebuilt, starting with the coaching staff, and this makes it exceptionally difficult to put together a coherent January plan.
The best thing we did in the January before Lennon left was deny him any further transfer money. With the decision to dispense with his services still not taken, but known to be imminent, it would have been rank insanity to let him tinker with the team.
So what do you do when your club is in that position? What do you do when your club has no choice but to strengthen, or risk the fury of the fans, but without a clear picture of what the way forward is? In some ways they’ve been helped by the seven point gap; if it were smaller their fans would practically be demanding signings to make a fight of it.
But a seven point gap with the two sides playing as they are makes it look less likely that a recovery can be had, even if they were to throw millions at the problem. Their fans might not get this, but the board certainly does; any comeback will depend on us dropping points, and although we all know that we will it’s hard to see us dropping many.
So would you throw good money after bad, especially when you don’t have much of it?
In a way, this is how we’ll know whether they’ve made their minds up about the manager or not; if he doesn’t get funding in January you can probably take it to the bank that he’s toast. But even if they do make signings, what does that tell us?
Assume that Ross Wilson is still buying the players. Assume, then, that he might not care if these are necessarily players that Van Bronckhorst wants, or the next manager either for that matter. There are all sorts of crazy things going on over there right now.
That’s why it is going to be so much fun to watch.