Two Weeks From Now The Window Will Close And Celtic Needs To Deliver Big.

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I think I’ve had my rant over the way some people are determined to make a drama out of the summer business so far without really acknowledging the “so far” part of it. And yet, I do recognise that if the window closes, and it closes like this, we’ll have not have done enough, not even close to enough, to give us the best possible chance in the coming campaign.

That’s what matters here. The best possible chance.

That is the question that the board will be asked when the window closes and the composition of the squad is know; with all that money in the bank, have we given the manager the best hand we could, within the constraints of playing football here in Scotland?

Have we backed him to meet our alleged ambitions?

We know we’re not going to shock the world and make the Champions League elite tremble at coming to Celtic Park this season.

But we are going to go toe to toe with some of the best sides in football, and if we get the wrong draw, it’ll be some of the best sides ever assembled to play the sport. We don’t expect to beat them. But it would be nice to see some indication that the club is at least taking this prospect semi-seriously.

And I think we’ve probably done enough to make sure we’ll be equipped for the title race. But the idea that we’ve acted like a club with any level of ambition at all in Europe except the ambition just to be there is, at the moment, absolutely without merit because there’s no sign of that whatsoever, and I am as frustrated by that as anyone is.

Don’t get me wrong, this window has been far from disastrous.

We needed a new centre back and we have gone out and got one. We needed a replacement for Starfelt and we immediately went out and signed one. We have signed two central midfielders for the loss of one.

We prepared for the possible departure of Abada by signing two players for his side of the pitch, only to keep him and lose Jota instead … and yes, we need another striker and I think a goalkeeper as well. I don’t expect to get it all.

I don’t expect to get it all because there comes a point when you look at a sagging, bloated squad and wonder what in God’s name people were thinking. We can’t utilise 40 players without pissing off at least some of them, and the European squad is limited to 25 including the eight you produce in your own country. So too much beyond that is mad anyway.

But I’ve said all along that there are better players out there than literally every player in our squad, and within our budget, and I cannot, for the life of me, and with total honesty, claim that we have gone on out and got a single one of those players yet.

The bloated squad argument works up to a point. That point vanishes when you look at the likes of Hart and Bernabei and ask “Are these really the best we can do?” I know people will say Turnbull, Taylor and Ralston; I should not need to point out what all three of them have in common and why ripping them out of the squad is a non-starter for us at this moment in time.

Our academy has to do better. Scottish football is our biggest problem though, and it has to do better as well and that’s out of our hands.

The squad still has too many projects in it too.

I have defended that policy to an extent in reminding people that we’ve signed a lot of players cheaply without really knowing what we had and been pleasantly surprised, but as much as I like Iwata I don’t see where he fits in, and I don’t see how Kobayashi does more than warm the bench, and if Kwon isn’t going to get in the team or even come off the bench you have to wonder about him … this isn’t writing these guys off, by any manner of means, but it’s difficult to see their short term roles.

I am frustrated at the way some people seem determined to write this window off as a disaster, but I understand that part of it is seeing no obvious improvement. I think there will be an improvement, but that’s a supposition born of watching unexpected heroes emerge in recent years. The key word is “obvious.” We don’t have one single signing who is a clear upgrade on what’s already here, even in bare reputational terms, and I will be angry if the window closes without at least one.

The board has to understand that this growing sense that we’re going to watch a great anti-climax could easily turn into a real problem if that’s what they finally deliver. Fans have done their bit, as per usual, and we’ve brought a top manager back to the club … but it’s useless bringing him here unless the full scope of his ambitions are going to be explored and backed.

I trust the process. I think the answers we want will present themselves. They did in that crucial first Ange window, and as I reminded people yesterday it was on the last day of the summer window that we brought Jota, Carter Vickers and Giakoumakis to the club and their performances were crucial to the final title win and the double.

But I cannot say this enough; as satisfied as I am so far, so far is exactly what it means and the club needs to deliver here.

The worst thing would be to have spent an entire summer of build-up only to end on a damp squib, with more than £30 million banked from sales (so far), Champions League qualification guaranteed and Rodgers back in the building, to end it without the kind of signings that send a clear message that we’re not messing about would be an appalling failure of imagination, and that would start the talk about whether we’ve peaked, that we’re reverting to type and failing to build on strong foundations, and some of us have seen it all before.

It will be indefensible.

There are people at Celtic right now who coasted on past deeds before, and that turned out disastrously. Lawwell, in particular, is lucky to have had this second chance to get it right.

It’s time to deliver.

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  • Bill says:

    The issue James is the modern game and the environment we now find ourselves in. We’re in a situation where people like Ryan Christie, a so called ‘Celtic man’ will forgoe trophies, European football and the chance to play for his boyhood heroes to end up at a club whose entire stadium could fit on the pitch at Celtic Park! No wonder we started looking outside of Europe at Asia and Australia as you can sell the career progression idea to those players, but now on top of the EPL we have the Saudi league skewing the market. I’m sure work is going on in the background to try and bring in quality players, first team ready guys but I think they’re likely to be more Ryan Fraser types then names people will readily know. As you’ve said many times we didn’t know much about Jota, CCV or Giakoumakis when they signed last year and they all enhanced the squad. At this stage if all we delivered was the Croatian goalie I’d be happy.

  • Jimmy R says:

    It’s always the scariest time of the year. You don’t know if we have finished buying. You don’t know who if anyone is about to depart the building and you are not sure about either the balance or the strength of the squad.
    Iwata may have been bought as cover for the oft touted exits of O’Riley or MacGregor. Since arriving he has looked OK in the midfield but is not either a CB or RB. Don’t let his performances in those positions cloud you judgement of a fine midfielder.
    Kwon’s 1st half nightmare against Bilbao has set him off on the same road as Starfelt who had his fair share of “moments” in the early days. I have no doubt he will settle and show that, like Starfelt, he is a fine player who will add a mix of skill and strength to our midfield when required.
    Holm, I feel, was bought for the future, but is already showing that he is capable now. This gives the manager a headache in having to decide which of the midfielders to focus his side on.
    Will they all still be here come September?
    Will any of them be loaned out?
    Will the English cheque books come waving?
    Will we wave our own cheque book? Shankland might be worth a punt on the basis that he is Scottish, has a track record of scoring in our league and we need striker cover. He’s not likely to start many games but a two or three year contract could get us out of two holes. (Oh’s injury & European squad depth as well as Kyogo’s possible shoulder op.)
    One of the delights of being a football fan is that nobody ever knows exactly what is going to happen. So buckle up, enjoy the ride and make mine a treble.

  • John says:

    Can someone tell me what exactly Celtic needs to spend to complete in europe £70-£100 million???
    As clubs in england, europe can spend this on 1 player there is no chance of Celtic playing in Scotland completing with them on european champions league level, hopefully getting into europa league after christmas will be a success. Celtic need to focus on domestic domination and their transfer model reflects this, rogers has a 3 year contract and this year he needs to win the league minimum, then he can identify areas of improvement and spending power to move forward with team upgrades.

  • Michael McCartney says:

    Celtic’s history is littered with instances of the Celtic board not building from strong positions.
    As a supporter who’s 1st Celtic game was in 1950 the worst example of this came in the early 1970’s. At that time we were one of the top 3 teams in Europe, by the end of that decade we weren’t in the top 50. This was all because the White/Kelly dynasty refused to reinvest and back Big Jock. Remember these were the days before Bosman and TV rights, it was a shocking case of mismanagement.
    Since Fergus took over and changed the management of the club for the better, I can’t say we’ve had too many reasons to complain. We’ve got to face the fact that professional football now exists on a different level from even 10 years ago.
    That being said in the financial position we’re in compared with every other Scottish club we should be able to push the boat out a bit. Although in saying that it is hard to convince any established player from a major league to come to Scotland. That is why we sign mostly young players using Celtic as a stepping stone to one of the top 5 leagues and now even the Saudi’s have changed the football landscape.
    Roll on the 1st Sept, then we’ll know what the squad is and the real football can begin. I’m sure BR must be looking forward to that too.

  • Bob (original) says:

    Presumably, the deal to bring BR back was also underpinned with a promise of

    sufficient funds to aid European progress?

    Would he have been promised a Net Spend this summer of say £10M, £20M,

    or even higher?

    As it stands today we have spent c.£15M and brought in c.£30M,

    giving a Net UNDER Spend of c.£15M.

    BR could go and buy one or two more – experienced – players for a total of say £25M,

    and he would still be within a very reasonable, net spending limit of £10M.

    Don’t think that will happen though.

    But, we CAN bring in one quality, experienced player who will get the

    squad and the support buzzing – and who should improve our chances of European


    A goalkeeper please… 🙂

  • Fun time frankie says:

    If we don’t get at least one marquee signing in the door imo this will all be down to allowing liewell back in the door and what a massive mistake that will turn out to be.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    For me, would like tae see another keeper, a left back and if we can find one, another hard tacklin defensive midfielder, with another striker signed as well. ( still a big ? on Oh for me). Would be more than happy if they re-enforced these areas. That would be a strong team wi strong bench cover, which is equally important. Tbh, cannae really see it tho. Maybe get another 1 or 2.


    Hmm, ‘Lawwell…..second chance to get it right”.
    Thought his role was purely ceremonial, a figurehead with no day to day involvement in the running of the Club.
    Must have got it wrong.

  • Eldraco says:

    Am not so sure we need it this year, a full on attack on cl next year with 100 million sounds much better and it’s doable with 50 easily in the bank now.

    Let’s see. I have a feeling the Brendan lad is in no hurry to fuck this up

  • John S says:

    Building a team to make an impact in Europe will take a few seasons. A Marquee signing isn’t going to make a great deal of difference in the meantime, not unless he’s youngish and sensibly affordable.

  • SSMPM says:

    Much prefer the focus and tone of this article compared to some previous, ‘We’ll be good enough without replacing Jota or Hatate’.
    Pretty much everyone I know sees that we’re not stronger … yet … or so far as you put it … and that even domestic dominance is not guaranteed without a few more additions. All recognise the goalie, LB, CDM, and striker areas as requiring attention particularly if we’re to see progression, as promised, in Europe CL and/or EL. Maybe we could get by without replacing Jota but I’d still like Podence in if possible. That’s the kind of quality most of these £1, £2, and £3m signings haven’t yet provided and if we’re not careful we’ll see them doing exactly what has happened with Soro and across the road. No or little return value on projects also adds up to losses, just a matter of how many.
    Yes we’ve brought players in but whether that adds up to 1st team improvement now or even status quo is debatable. Maybe it reflects squad improvement. Only time will tell on that but I too am confident that there’s goings on in the background regarding players to achieve 1st team improvement however if we don’t there’ll be a lot of anger directed at the board … and Rodgers for accepting it. HH

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    In a way I wish we had maybe got Butland who looks like he’s gonna be worth a few points for Sevco this season…

    In saying that (as much as it pains me) – sometimes I need to be honest and say that they’ve always had better goalkeepers than us in my 43 years as a Celtic supporter –

    Joe has been good for us – as were we as a club and support for him – But can he do it for us in this most critical of seasons…

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