Celtic has completed another signing tonight, amidst a swirl of continuing nonsense from people in our own support asking when we intend to make progress with the squad.
I don’t know they think has been happening so far this summer, but I take serious issue with their contention that it’s been quiet or that it’s been slow, but most especially that nothing has been done.
Plenty has been done. It’s just that we’ve not spent mad money the way some people thought we would or should.
I badly want this transfer window to end, and not because I fear the loss of key players any longer but because I fear some people are losing their minds over it. Everywhere I look there is bitching and moaning and finger pointing, and all before the final fortnight, when the real meat and bones of transfer business usually gets done.
Even in that sterling first window under Ange, we completed three of the most important signings for the club on the final day. The final day, folks. The signing of Cameron Carter Vickers, which some now argue was the most critical of them all, was done at literally the last kick of the ball. There is plenty of time and in the meantime the manager has plenty of options to pick from.
We have injuries to a half dozen key players, and the prospect of going to Ibrox without them has some people freaked out. Know what? The Ibrox club aren’t that good. Ibrox is not that scary. And the game there will win us three points or it won’t, which in the worst-case scenario at the moment would put the clubs level pegging if it came to pass.
Our club cannot be blamed for those injuries. Nor does it make any kind of sense to panic buy for a single 90 minute match. So no, we’re not going to sign a right back just because Johnston won’t play, or a central midfielder because Hatate won’t make it, or a new striker because Oh will be watching that one from the stand. That’s the “strategy” that kills clubs.
For God’s sake, the world will not stop turning if we go to Ibrox with the squad as it currently stands, and the chances are we won’t as that game doesn’t happen until after the window is shut. But so what if that game was this weekend? It’s not going to be the moment our season turns on, whether we leave on level points or six in front.
One guy asked me tonight, “Did you think we’d be going to Ibrox with a backline of Hart, Ralston, Taylor, Welsh and Nawrocki?” And I had to stop for a minute and think, and wonder, “what the Hell happened to Carter Vickers and Lagerbiekle?” This is the level of nonsense we’re dealing with at the minute, stuff pulled out of Narnia by folk jumping at shadows.
To be totally honest, right now, I couldn’t care less what the composition of the starting eleven looks like at Ibrox, and anyone thinking about that game when we’ve got Kilmarnock on that plastic pitch at the weekend isn’t thinking straight.
A lot can happen between now and then; they’ve got a softball cup tie at the weekend, but then they go to Ross County away sandwiched between two critical Champions League games, and all whilst three points behind already … I know whose shoes I’d rather be in.
But it’s this notion of this window as a complete failure before it’s shut that is seriously starting to do my nut. What is it with a section of our fan-base at the moment, perpetually wrapped in a black cloud of negativity? What’s happened at our club, or what do they think has happened, that has caused them to lose their shit like this?
Let me tell you something; if they are right and these aren’t “Rodgers signings” or this isn’t the window he was promised or that we think we were promised, isn’t it obvious that we’d have had the same summer, with the same signings, if Ange Postecoglou had been here? Had he made these signings, or sanctioned them, would these people be stamping their feet?
I rather suspect not, because people trusted his judgement.
Quite why they don’t trust Rodgers’ judgement they will have to explain.
But then, a lot of these folks aren’t really questioning Rodgers at all of course.
The dark hints that it’s someone else – code for Peter Lawwell – and that Rodgers is a mere puppet refuses to acknowledge one unarguable fact; he would not have returned to this club after what happened last time to work under the same conditions.
We have spent near enough £20 million in this window now, which after you take off the cut to Benfica is pretty close to what we netted outright from selling Jota.
Some of the people demanding that he be replaced were amongst those filling my inbox with their derision for the idea that we may be about to do it with a player who ticks the “home grown” box at UEFA and who has spent the better part of the last ten years playing in the biggest league in the world.
Our club didn’t expect to lose Jota the first week the window was open, although it might have been something we were preparing for. If he’s as critical to the team as people seem to think they should take comfort from the fact that we didn’t rush out the very next day and throw money at the problem, that we’ve taken our time with it and made sure that whatever we have in mind strikes the right balance with the other priorities we’ve identified.
We’ve barely seen most of the signings.
One has played a single half of football.
Two more have made appearances from the bench.
Another was signed injured; we liked him enough that we didn’t let that bother us one bit. He’s a highly rated kid who plays wide and looks to have the talent and ability to get us excited.
The two who’ve been in the team from the subs bench have impressed us enough that we’re keen to see them handed starts. So it’s clear that even in this squad of good players these guys are already doing enough to suggest that they are that most valued thing of all – first team capable footballers. Well, who would have thought that?
So course people want to see them start now … but just based on the outpouring of OMG when we dropped Hatate for the first two games to accommodate David Turnbull, I can only imagine the reaction if O’Riley had been left out for Holm and Abada dropped for Yang.
If people really want first team players, then they should prepare themselves for the psychological shock of seeing their favourites left out from time to time. God forbid we sign a striker who the manager thinks can do as good a job as Kyogo because the first time he’s sunk to the bench some of these folk will literally melt down.
People tend to forget that this alleged disaster of a window has seen him sign a new deal, and that Maeda has followed that up along with a further commitment from the captain.
There is no more chatter about O’Riley wanting a move because he sounds happier than he has since the day he was signed. Abada too is now being talked about as potentially signing a new deal … and in the week where I said we need a full, frank conversation with Hatate about what he wants to do the word is that he too has impressed the boss enough for new talks to start.
If we can sign up even one of them on a longer contract, I will think that would be a major coup and a triumph for everyone at Celtic Park.
Along with the signings, that’s not bad in a summer when we’ve “done nothing.”