It’s always interesting when the former players chip in.
As long as we’re not talking about the likes of Walker, Provan and Nicholas here we’re usually good, although I was severely disconcerted watching Shaun Maloney fumble and stumble his way through the BBC review of the Morton game the other night. Especially when he assured viewers that he is not biased.
What kind of person feels the need to do that in order to justify his opinion?
He wasn’t even giving Celtic the penalty call, he thought it was a bad choice from the officials. And then he went in to self-justification mode for no reason at all, as if sending a message to his bosses that “look, I can play by the rules just like the rest of them.”
I thought it was nauseating. No former Ibrox player who sits in the media has ever felt the need to justify himself like that, and none ever will.
Chris Sutton is not like those guys. You think that man would ever offer a faux apology and assure people that he was playing with a straight bat? Not in this lifetime.
Big Chris is somewhat jumpy today over the sale of Juranovic and the impending departure of Giakoumakis. Whilst I agree that selling both players in this window is a risk it is obviously one that those inside Celtic Park believe is worth taking.
And the manager in particular, of course, as it wouldn’t happen without him.
He wonders why this couldn’t have waited until the summer.
Don’t we all.
But there is an answer to that too, of course, or perhaps a couple of answers.
The first is that squad bloat is a bad thing and we are trying to cut down on it.
Why? Again, there are probably a number of reasons but one of the things we need to take into account are those notorious financial sustainability regulations. We’ve spent an awful lot of money this year … a big, big net spend prior to the Juranovic cash. It stands to reason that we’re erring on the side of caution and staying within limits.
Secondly, I strongly suspect that Ange believes this is the best time to move the players on. He doesn’t need this eating up his summer, and with our nine point lead in the league and no European football to play, why shouldn’t he do what he’s talked about previously and start putting the pieces of next season’s starting team into place?
I strongly suspect that we’ve got two better players.
The kid Johnston made his debut at Ibrox, and he didn’t look in the least bit fazed by it. That tells me we’ve got someone in here who can handle himself and take the pressure in his stride.
Giakoumakis was a natural born goal-scorer, but a one dimensional footballer and that’s a problem in this team and Ange isn’t terribly impressed by his record in front of goal as it is not – and this is the key thing here – not the only detail that matters.
The fact is, if you aren’t getting service to Giakoumakis in the box then you’d be as well not having him on the pitch. Kyogo, on the other hand, is brilliant and moving and creating opportunities for himself and others by dragging defenders all over the place. This is what our new boy will do, and he also has that physical edge which you need sometimes.
Big Sutton cares about the club, so there is nothing wrong in him expressing some concerns. Whenever you replace players with new ones there is always a risk, but I strongly suspect that Ange wanted it this way, that he wanted these deals done now, that he wants a happy camp … and that he genuinely believes the two new guys offer us more.
That there’s a financial upside for the club and that it keeps us on the good side of UEFA regulations would have been a consideration, of course, but a lesser one; we’re sufficiently strong enough, financially, that we aren’t going to post a loss because we spent a few quid on players … besides, today’s deal proves that there’s still plenty in the kitty.
There is a certain ruthlessness to Celtic’s stance.
Because, of course, Sutton is right that these deals didn’t have to be done right now. They could have waited for the summer, but Ange and his backroom guys wanted it settled.
Once a player wants to go you know they’ll go eventually, you just don’t want it getting ugly and Ange has swiftly excised them from his long term plan and with a stunning speed has replaced them both.
And we can all have confidence in that.
This is a man in full control, and he knows exactly what it is that he is doing.