The big guy appeared on good form last night, joking with the media about Giakoumakis being at the game at a time when many assumed he was locked in signing talks with someone else. Except the big guy wasn’t joking, and he wasn’t having fun. He may have made light of it, but this is a guy who is pissed off answering the same question every week.
Over and over again, Ange makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with what’s going on behind the scenes with these two players. He knows their situations. He knows that it’s best to move them on. But that’s not in his hands. Provided he gets the replacements and some money to spend the big guy will be well happy. When this window is closed he will be happier still.
The story of this window, as we get nearer the end, becomes more and more about who will go and when. That’s the consequence of having done our business early, and professionally, unlike some clubs which are still messing about in spite of having had lead-time to this window and still cannot get their business done. Celtic moved fast.
But Celtic moving fast has created the usual vacuum here at the end; the media, starved of stuff to write, are making it up as they go along and the big chap is getting pissed off with it all. He was clear tonight, as he has been for weeks, that the players will be selected as long as they are here and if he says that Giakoumakis was out injured who are we to disbelieve it?
Ange is a straight shooter. But he is facing a media determined to twist his words every way it can. That’s the reality, and he has long known this … and he doesn’t like it.
All managers are happier when they have a settled squad to work with, and it seems to me that one way or the other we’ve not had that since the season started. It opened, don’t forget, with the early stories, all through the summer, about Juranovic wanting to go, stories which had to have come from deep inside Celtic Park … and I hope the leaker was found and moved on.
They stalked us all the way to the window opening, along with these new stories about Giakoumakis. Someone, again, was talking who should not have been, but I also think that there were agents bumping their gums in the background along with some other stuff.
It’s important that we get back to having a settled, and happy, camp again. It is important that we put this window behind us, whatever position in leaves us in in terms of the squad. Thankfully there are only a few weeks of this nonsense left.
Then, maybe, they’ll let this guy get back to talking about the team again. Except they won’t. Because we’re in the silly season down in England now where managerial sackings are all the rage … what’s the betting that Ange is being asked about his own future for the remainder of this campaign? Nothing is surer.