Where Could Celtic Get Stronger This Summer? The Obvious Answer Is “Everywhere.”

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It is a truism of football fans that we are all of us very limited in our thinking. We have such a narrow focus that we’re constantly being surprised by things that happen.

Take my reaction to Ange being hired as Celtic boss.

Even when I turned my analytic skills to that scenario I had no real frame of reference for how he might do, and because his hiring dovetailed so perfectly with what I saw as the “worst case scenario” which I had outlined on the Endless Celts podcast in the event Howe turned us down, I could not see past it being a disaster. At first anyway.

He turned me around quickly.

But that initial reaction was so intense and so completely wrong that it deserves to haunt me as long as I do this.

What a lot of people don’t realise is that I made what might have been an even greater error in judgement when I sarcastically, bitterly, asked a Twitter user who objected to my view on Ange if he would be equally satisfied with us signing J League players, an idea that seemed fit only for scorn. It shows how little I actually knew about that league.

But I don’t think my reaction is uncommon. Few of us have the kind of encyclopaedic awareness of the game that even the most basic member of a top class scouting team does.

When we look at the current Celtic team we see a team as good as many us have seen in a long, long time … and if you asked the average fan where it has to be improved they would probably give you a position or two.

But what’s the truth? Well, it’s actually obvious.

We can improve everywhere, and this is something our media never wants to acknowledge because it enjoys the idea that our club will collapse if Abada or Hatate or Kyogo or Jota or Carter Vickers goes. But the truth is, there are better players out there than all of these guys, and within our reach if we get good fees.

But this is also where the narrow focus of fans comes into play. We look at a player like Kyogo, the best striker at the club since Larsson and we cannot imagine how we can upgrade him within our budget. But we thought the same about Dembele, then Edouard and here we are. We may have another supreme footballer in Oh.

So when Ange talks about the plans being in place for the summer – which he did yesterday – you can understand that this means more even than it says on the surface. He’s actually been trying to mentally prepare us for a scenario in which we lose key players at a time when it might look like utter insanity to part with them … only to emerge stronger.

Because he knows what we don’t. He knows what the scouting department has been up to and what players we’ve identified and he knows that no matter how good the current crop is that we were shopping according to one criteria and that progress is about changing up and constant improvement. That’s the path we’re on.

So when the media wants to scare us with stories – as The Scotsman tried to today – about who might be going in the summer, they want us to think that the end of this squad would be the end of the world. But it isn’t necessarily so.

These players, as good as they are, aren’t the best we can get. They aren’t the best available. The next great Celtic team is still out there waiting to be assembled … and for all we know, this summer will see that process underway.

I intend to enjoy what we have in the meantime … but I no longer kid myself that I know as much about the global game as I once arrogantly assumed. I trust those whose information is better, those whose job it is to find the Next Big Thing.

We’ve gotten pretty good at it too.

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  • Mark b says:

    Taylor has improved massively he has been great. But another Johnston type for left back would be perfect. Bernarbei is still a long long way off. I would have also said DM but Iwata has stepped up. Same at CH Kobayashi looks ok too. For me Oh is a project so I’d still like another striker. But as you say we are strong, very strong.

  • John Copeland says:

    The Bealy boy has stated that the Rangers need about 5 players to catch up with Celtic FC ! What he forgets is that Celtic shall spend handsomely in the Summer to strengthen and improve and then his clumpany shall be in the same position next season as this one ! Another major stumbling block in all of this reverie is that while Celtic shall sell valuable players to pay for future transactions , the Rangers will have to use ST money which leaves them seriously underfunded for the entire season . You know what happens when the circus comes to town ,don’t you ? The merry-go-round goes into overdrive !

  • Johnno says:

    The whole structure of forming a celtic squad has been made easier with Ange’s fantastic ability of finding players with so much flexibility within there positions that can be used within the team.
    We still have to depend so much upon this format as we still remain so hampered by the 8 Scottish players required for CL football.
    We are always going to struggle to fulfil the 8 required for CL standard, yet they still will need to be dependable for the SPFL when rotation is going to be used more so earlier in the season when far more midweek games are being played.
    This area must still be given Ange his biggest issue to resolve still imo.
    Also could Ange maybe thinking about a possible formation change next season with the CL in mind?
    Just got a feeling Ange could well opt for a 343 in Europe next season and already got so many players able to adapt comfortable enough.
    So without knowing what Ange plan’s are is going to make it nearly impossible to guess what they could be for next season, yet some big decisions await and confident enough Ange will make the right calls as usual still

  • SSMPM says:

    @Johnno. I’ve been seeing and saying exactly that with the recent squad additions Ange has been, in my view, working toward and making 3-4-3 adaptable and flexible to 5-4-1 to during and in CL matches.
    @ Sam. Totally agree fella. We fans are not an homogenous group of short sighted fools that all think the same. Some may never have hit the dizzy height as SPL or CL players or even as newspaper and blog reporters but before and after the Eddie Howe debacle many had stated he would be completely the wrong man for Celtic unable to manage on our resources. With your ability to reach out your views via the blog and other means including the circles you mix in you came to an uninformed view.
    I gave my support to Lennon in his 2nd stint (I’ll always lend my support to the Celtic manager whoever he or she is – a discussion for the future mibbies) and his disastrous TIAR campaign. I admit I let my heart rule my head on that wishing that, he would with all the lodge driven attacks on him, would be the one to drive the TIAR stake through the banality of evil hun hearts.
    On that you were clearly proved correct in amongst many Celtic divided factions, though I still feel, like many, there were other corrupt factors influencing that.
    However you are man enough to say you got the board’s hiring of Ange wrong and in the end we Celtic fans have come together and that’s good enough for me. HH the Champs are here

  • SSMPM says:

    Still the board did invest heavily in support of Lennon and we didn’t let French Eddie, Ajer and Christie go in trying to win TIAR but reality is it was the wrong manager and the blame lies with Liewell when people like James were saying loudly we needed a more modern and progressive manager.
    We, James included, can all come across as a bit know all and angry at times but the written word doesn’t always allow for what a discussion does.
    I still believe our collapse started when the Great Wall, Fraser Forster, refused a contract, the confidence seemed to dwindle into the beer bottled arrogance of Lennon and simply put he had no answers, totally ruined his legend status and caused a lot of hurt. I hope this can heal in time. HH

  • Mark B says:

    Fraser Forster was magnificent for us and a huge loss that season. For me he is up there with Bonner, Boruc and Simpson as best Celtic keepers in my time watching Celtic. Those four stand out. Hunter could have been great too but lacked confidence apparently especially after the 1974 goal at Hampden v. Czechoslovakia. Hart has been a good leader for us this season also. Remember too we almost won a European Cup with Evan Williams and got to a European Cup semi with Denis Connaghan and another with Williams too (in 74 and 72 respectively. ) Those were the days !!!!!!

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