No matter what Celtic does in this window, we’re not going to win that coveted prize The Pre-Season Cup. Traditionally played when there are no games on, Ibrox gets the glory every single year. What a pity than in eleven of the last twelve seasons which followed it, we won the title.
What a pity for them that amongst those title wins are five trebles and a handful of doubles. What a pity for the media which insists on awarding that worthless bauble.
In keeping with what we’ve been subjected to for the whole of this summer, The Evening Times has posted a shockingly pointless headline today, on top of the dreck that has been produced in The Celtic Way which is full of foot-stamping indignation that we’ve not broken our transfer record yet.
“Who is winning the Scottish Premiership transfer window so far?” it screams.
What a pointless, stupid, ludicrous question that is, and the article is no better especially in that it doesn’t even attempt to answer its own question.
But it’s obvious what that article is trying to say.
The suggestion that we’re “losing the summer” is everywhere, being promoted by everyone from Craig Moore to Chris Sutton. You wanna know what? Nobody at Celtic will care if we are.
You get no actual prizes for it, and even if the media has us behind when the transfer window shuts – a certainty no matter what we do as they are so overcome with delirium with how well they think Ibrox’s has gone – it’s not going to put points on the board.
We’ve lost two first team players and signed two. Another two deals are done but for the work permits and other bureaucratic necessities. We’ve lost a central midfielder and signed two of them. We’ve lost a wide player and signed two of those. But we’re weaker for it? Where’s the evidence for that when nobody has watched any of the four players we’ve brought in?
When we signed Jota he was a Benfica reserve. When we signed Mooy he was an out of contract player who had last been spotted in the Chinese league.
None of the people claiming we’re weaker for having lost them knew who they were two years ago, just as nobody knows how good the new guys we’ve signed are.
The cry that none of them is “first team ready” is almost universally heard … but nobody thought Dembele was, or Edouard, or that Abada would instantly establish himself as a starter. I remember the widespread view when we signed Jeremie Frimpong that he was “one for the future.”
The future, for these guys, came a hell of a lot quicker than most people thought.
The screaming from the media that we “conceded six” against Yokohama is factually correct, of course, but utterly devoid of context; they are mid-way through their season and this was our first proper match of the pre-season.
Three of those goals were scored when our backline consisted of Kelly, Scales, Welsh and Bernabei. I guarantee you, you’re never going to see that back four when the meaningful games get underway.
We conceded six against West Ham, at home, two years ago, at a much later stage in the pre-season than this. Ibrox had unequivocally “won the summer cup”.
Then we proceeded to lose all three of our opening away games once the matches were underway, including the one at that ground. Remind me again, how did that campaign turn out?
We saved three of our best bits of business in that window until the very last day; Giakoumakis arrived and then we tied up the loan-with-option-to-buy signings of Jota and Carter Vickers.
And that gave us the guts of the team that was to win the title.
The point is, it went to the wire but we got the job done with those guys.
During the winter window, we brought in some of the best footballers this club has signed in years … Ibrox signed a Man Utd “wonderkid” on loan and Aaron Ramsey, and so of course the press wet its pants over them and pronounced them title favourites anyway, praising the Welshman’s signing, in particular, as the best bit of “box office” business a Scottish club had done in decades.
My simple answer to that is this; Reo Hatate: £1.4 million.
And that’s why I refuse to panic. It’s why I refuse to get carried away, or swept up in the hysteria over who we haven’t signed yet. All good things in time, and it will be all the sweeter for us having ticked all the boxes and gotten this stuff right.
Brendan Rodgers has been at Celtic a matter of weeks, so if this is taking longer than it would have that will be part of the reason why.
That man is only just getting started, and the least we can do is give him the time and the space to decide what this team requires and where he wants to deploy the resources.
Everything else is white noise.