Look on any fan forum or online talking shop where Celtic fans congregate and you will find a near unanimous belief that this window has been shockingly underwhelming.
It’s unarguable that it has, until now, failed to deliver on any of our hopes or expectations.
We have lost two key players. We have brought in replacements for both, but it remains to be seen if we’ve even stood still. The idea that we are stronger is a case that cannot yet be made, and whilst you can say with no equivocation that the squad is stronger than it was, or has been for a while, it’s the starting eleven which needed the work because even our very best are going to get found out in a painful and vicious way when we play in the Champions League.
Some would say they are also undergoing some hardship here in Scotland as teams adapt to play against us and insist on pressing Callum McGregor, to the point where he is not as effective as he’s been these past few years. It’s evolve or die.
There are transfer rumours pinging around all over the place. There was clearly interest in the boy from Denmark, but according to reports tonight, the decision by Bronby to up the ante over the transfer fee has put us off. As I said earlier, I don’t see anything to suggest he’s worth a £4 million fee anyway so I’m perfectly relaxed about that decision.
I’m less comfortable with the suggestion that we might take a Benfica reserve on loan.
That does not fill me with confidence at all, although he’s a central midfielder. He’s not the defensive hard man we need, and at 21 he is not exactly the experienced campaigner the manager has said we need.
Listen to the words of the man in the dugout; pace, power, experienced footballers to augment the young talents we have. Are all his requirements going be ignored?
Besides, a 21-year-old on loan?
I am not in favour of simply throwing our own untested youth players into first team football just to give them opportunities; you don’t get picked until you are ready. But I am even less in favour of us developing other club’s players, something that Ange Postecoglou brought to a complete end but which our board perversely thought we should do.
I would rather throw our own reserves into combat; at least we know that if we find a hidden gem that he’s our hidden gem. This stuff is for the birds, and is an utterly indefensible waste of everyone in the coaching department’s time.
Apparently, we tried to sign this guy last season, and didn’t get him with the option to buy.
So of course, our much-vaunted scouting department, with all their knowledge, would now, at the last knockings, be going back over last year’s list and accepting the conditions we didn’t like … if that’s true it’s beyond pathetic and a damning indictment of the people running our club and the way they go about things.
This isn’t about how good a player or how bad a player this guy is, the same as my article earlier made no actual judgements about the Danish striker except that in my view he doesn’t have a scoring record which justifies that kind of fee and at 5’8 he seems to be the opposite of what the manager has openly stated that he’s looking for.
This is about how things are done, about the folly of leaving deals to the last minute so that all we have left are a list of “worst options” which on the surface of it make no sense. When our manager asked for experience, did he mean more players under 23? When he said he saw his job as developing the players he was given, was he really suggesting that it didn’t matter if the players in question weren’t even owned by our club?
The one thing I do know is that with all this going on we simply cannot afford the stinking optics of selling another first team player, no matter who it is or the level of offer we get. That’s why the least concerning news of the night is about Matt O’Riley being wanted by a couple of sides south of the border, especially when they are playing in the second tier.
The board could not even contemplate that at this point, not with the fans already in near revolt and the manager fuming from the sidelines. O’Riley is one of the players who has bought in to what Brendan Rodgers wants to do, bought into it utterly, and I would view selling him as nothing less than a deliberate act of sabotage against the manager by people above him at the club and I rather suspect that he would feel the same way.
For those reasons, it won’t happen.
It cannot happen.
Matt O’Riley will be at Celtic when the window shuts, and it looks increasingly as if everyone in the first team will be.
It really isn’t worth worrying about players going when we’re supposed to be trying to bring quality in. The board is arrogant, egotistical and out of touch. They are not, so far as I know, insane.