I was astonished just then to read the following headline in The Herald; “Snobbery over Scottish talent has cost Celtic and Rangers a fortune.” I knew I had to read it to find out what his argument was, and I wasn’t surprised to find that there wasn’t one.
I have written about this subject many times, and so I know I am on absolutely solid ground. McGarry’s article barely mentions us except at the start. It is, in fact, a piece about how the Ibrox club would have been better off had they signed Scottish based players rather than spending millions on foreign dreck. Nobody can accuse us of doing the same.
I have lamented the absence of good Scottish talent in our team, but not our failure to go out and sign players. I have lamented the poverty of players available for us to sign. McGarry mentions some players in his piece who were not, and are not, remotely good enough to play for Celtic and that is not snobbery, it is a statement of fact.
Lawrence Shankland, Ryan Porteous, Lewis Ferguson and others were nowhere near the standard we required and no number of good games from Scotland will change that. One of the heroes of this campaign has been Jack Hendry; he was at Celtic, and it was not snobbery which saw him leave our club but the fact that he simply was not up to snuff.
Did we lose out on these guys? In my view, no. There were two we made bids for but didn’t get – John McGinn, a cataclysmic mistake on our part, but not one that had anything to do with intent, because the intent was there, and Aaron Hickey who chose Italy instead – and the rest, we measured up and decided not to bother with.
Who did we get wrong? Can the hacks even point to players we should have went for, didn’t get and then regretted not signing? Where are we significantly short where a Scottish player would change that? Would Josh Doig have been a better signing than Bolingoli, who the article mentions? Yes he would, but then so was Greg Taylor … who we did sign.
No forward in years – Leigh Griffiths was the last, and we bought him – would have gotten in a Celtic team in front of the players who were already there.
I would have taken Ryan Fraser during the last window, but he was years out of Scottish football and playing in the EPL. He grew as a player; when he left Scotland in the first place he was not remotely ready for Celtic … and some people in our support remain convinced that he wasn’t ready even this summer.
I defy him to name one footballer missed out on who would have made our squad better, short of the two we tried and failed to get. None of the others, including the likes of Scott McKenna, would have made Celtic better.
I’ve heard Ryan Porteous name thrown into conversations before, but not by anyone who has watched him and how reckless he can be. It’s hard enough being a Celtic player who doesn’t fly into tackles. He would spend plenty of time out with bans.
I honestly don’t know how McGarry thought this piece was going to go over.
The idea that a failure to sign Scottish players has cost Celtic a fortune is preposterous.
Ibrox is another matter entirely; Shankland would have been an excellent signing for them and almost certainly better than the current crop of strikers, and so would Lewis Ferguson who I have long argued is the one who got away for them because he would have marshalled their midfield for years.
Neither player would have gotten a game for us.
This is just a ridiculous idea, and I wonder if McGarry himself didn’t realise it whilst writing the piece, which is why he cannot name – other than John McGinn – a single name who would have improved our team. The headline reeks on a whole other level, and I suspect it’s one that even he wouldn’t have put on it.
I lamented how few of our players were in the Scotland squad.
But Armstrong, Tierney and Hendry were Celtic players. So was Ryan Christie. Greg Taylor has two world class footballers in front of him and the second of them is Andy Robertson, who was a youth player at Parkhead. Links to Celtic are visible in every part of the team … which makes McGarry’s piece even dafter.
I honestly don’t know what it is with some of these guys.
It is Ibrox’s signing policy which should be under the microscope, and if McGarry had chosen to focus on them that would have been a very worthwhile piece. But to drag Celtic into it … embarrassing.