Celtic Set To Test Our Patience Right To The Wire Tonight As The Clock Ticks Down.

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The transfer window edges towards its closure, and we look no nearer to addressing some of our crucial issues than we were a week ago. It is incredible to look at a squad to which a whole lot of players have been added and conclude that we’re no better off for it, but unbelievably that’s what I find myself having to write at the moment, as we head into the last hours.

We have replaced Jota with a player we can’t say for sure is better than him. We have replaced Starfelt, but the jury is very much out. Bernardo may do us a job, but if we’re unconvinced just listen to the manager today casually throwing out that it’s another young player, more “potential”, something for him to “develop”.

Brendan Rodgers does not sound like a man who is terribly impressed by what he’s watching going on, and he’s entirely correct not be impressed. He’s entirely right to be pissed off.

If you assume Bernardo offers us something and can fill in as a defensive midfielder then you can check that off the list.

The manager has his doubts, and that means we should too.

So for the moment, let’s not check defensive midfielder off the list. Let’s see where we are.

We have a goalkeeping situation here.

Three on the books, and not one of them up to snuff.

The left-back area, I wrote about earlier today.

We arguably still need the midfield ball winner and we need a backup striker.

I’m sorry, but the signing of Palma does not mean, as some board lackies have suggested, that we’re covered in that area; he has been brought in to play wide, and if he’s not playing wide then we haven’t replaced Jota, have we? We’ve also lost – although that’s not the word I’d use since he contributed nothing – our current backup winger Haksabanovic.

But hey, Mikey Johnston is back in training so there’s that, I suppose.

Liel Abada has just signed a new deal, so that’s good news … the only trouble is that it leaves us standing still. We didn’t just get stronger because that guy has committed himself to the club for another season.

He didn’t magically become a left back or a goalkeeper or a defensive midfielder, although I can see the manager making him a striker if something happens and Kyogo gets injured. Which wouldn’t exactly be unheard of.

It’s not that this club is gambling.

It’s this club doesn’t think it is gambling.

The manager knows they are, and with his job. But more than that, with his reputation.

I said on the Spiers podcast today that perhaps the reason for his gloomy mood up until now is that he realised that coming back it was never going to be the same as it was because his time here was so successful and that he knew that his “perfect record” was not going to last.

My hope is that having been freed from the shackles of that he now knows he will be judged based on what he does next, not against the record of what he did then.

I still think that may go some way towards raising morale a bit and making him less morose.

But if he thinks that his future successes are being jeopardised then nothing is going to lift his head. The bitterness and anger will build up and build up until it’s as bad as, if not worse than, the last time he was here and then we’ll be in a lot of trouble. As it is, we’re in a lot of trouble anyway if this is the state of the team going into the Champions League.

The very fact that many of us view the draw as if not favourable then at least well short of the worst case scenario only makes this look worse. Because people will forever conclude that had we pushed the boat just a little we had a chance of second place here.

It’s not that long ago that Lennon beat Lazio home and away … a well resourced Rodgers, having built on the foundations of a treble winning squad should have been able to put something together.

Except that if the window closed right now we wouldn’t have built on those foundations at all. The first team has not been improved one iota. Glaring holes remain obvious. It’s almost as if the guy who was brought here with such hype as an elite level scouting head isn’t actually all he was made out to be and got the gig because of his second name or something like that.

Believe me, if this window shuts in this underwhelming fashion, with those holes not fixed, every single one of us is entitled to ask why how a club can spend the guts of £20 million, signing ten players, and not be any better off for it … and that’s on them, that’s on Lawwell, Desmond & Sons and the system they built.

I could not indict them more than to let those numbers speak for themselves.

This club now has a few short hours to sort this out.

The latest podcast from Graham Spiers can be heard here. 

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  • Steviebhoy says:

    Joe Hart has been our best player so far this season, the over the top criticism of him is shocking. My god packie bonner and Arthur boric made some howlers. Hart has pulled of some excellent saves this season and his second half display at Pittodrie was outstanding, the way he commanded his box came out for and won everything.

  • Mark says:

    Please tell me what your top level managerial experience is ???

  • JimBhoy says:

    Give the manager and the new boys a chance.

  • John Kane says:

    James, you’re an excellent writer and a usually enjoy reading your blogs. However when you express your negativity with articles such as this, to these eyes you are no different to the many journalists from the Scottish mainstream media who wish us ill and provide similarly negative pieces. I know you wrote from the heart and as a fan who wants the best for Celtic, as all supporters do, but to me this article is representative of the views of an entitled fan and does not reflect the reality of any situation.

    Who was Jota to us two years ago and where is the evidence to support your view that we’ve not brought anyone in to replace him? Jota and many others who were signed two years ago had everything to prove and over time many of them did so. Why do you think the current crop of incomes can’t do likewise?

    I respect your opinion on this, James but I happen to disagree and don’t see why the new players can’t kick on and carve their own names into our hearts and minds. I say let’s judge this squad in May 2024, after which they will have had the full season (hopefully free of injury) to give cause for a full and proper appraisal of their impact.

    Yours sincerely,


  • Adoo Fellaffadyke says:

    James you ask how can the the club spend the guts of £20m and not improve the team situation. The answer is that they have taken in by my reckoning £30+m on player sales in this same window. They call it ‘player trading model’ – we call it downsizing. It means that this window’s nett spending is £10+million profit, once again the least of every club in Scotland as it is in most if not all previous transfer windows since Desmond and his placeman Lawwell took control. The business plan is not to improve the club but simply to provide maximum dividends for DD and The Chaps – bottom line.

  • Johnno says:

    At this stage now James, I’m at a total loss as to how Rodgers intends to set this celtic team up for the season ahead?
    Struggling for the life of me, to see how we intend to continue with playing with a back 4, with keeping the 2 options available, especially with CL in mind?
    The RB position is slightly better, but God help us if any injury should occur to AJ.
    Looking like Rodgers is going to rip up Ange’s manual of playing style to shreds already, but yet no indication yet of what our new plans could be still?
    Ridiculous situation to find ourselves in currently, with CL only a few weeks away and a season already underway.
    Very dangerous game being played by all concerned for the current situation, and need to be very careful that this approach doesn’t blow up into a total unwanted situation within the club, and even more so when there is no need for a situation like this to arisen in the first place?
    To me anyway, this current squad has a potential look of a 343 about it, yet we have currently being set up with a 4231 look, which looks terrible at present imo.
    Sunday may give us a better indication as to what Rodgers plans may be for the season ahead, yet far from confident as thing’s stand currently

  • John S says:

    The manager’s player requirements and the recruitment department need to be better co-ordinated. This is something that could be sorted rather than ignoring the schism.

  • jrm63 says:

    No left back. No GK. A 7m bid for Abada knocked back – seriously? And a tidy sum for a player out of contract in a year with add ons from the buying club? Celtic will regret both of those decisions.

  • Mark b says:

    Agree 100%. We have bought a load of back ups and projects, We lost 3 first team starters. Thus We needed 5 of very good quality to enhance squad. For a year + we have needed LB CH CF and DM all with power….losing Jota meant a winger too. GK we needed a long term option too – perhaps that can wait till Jan or next summer. But it’s scandalous we’ve needed power in 4 position for so long and not sorted it. Having more money than our rivals means something only if buying better quality. Not convinced we have done this. 20m this window looks very poorly spent. Don’t even get me started on Benarbei 4m are we F serious?…. It’s on a par with Rafael Scheidt it really is. I am disappointed in Brendan Nicholson and Lawellx2. It looks to me like we could be heading for season 2020-21 all over again. Seriously I am that disappointed.

  • king murdy says:

    why did rodgers come back………..???? i do not understand celtic fc….and i don’t understand rodgers thinking….
    as bad an all as the huns are….they are gonna skelp us on sunday, and that is down to rodgers, lawwell, and lawwell.


    Operation re-set in place.
    The moment Sevconia dropped down to the EUROPA League,
    the padlock went back on the ‘biscuit tin’.
    Enough and no more than enough will be spent to stay ahead.

  • Donald Macintyre says:

    Unfortunately it seems to be back to the bad old days, waiting for some rabbit to be pulled from a hat and left bitterly disappointed. Ange was great because the business was completed early in the window and you weren’t left hoping.
    We are already out of 1 cup, with a bit more investment we might have made the last 16 in the champions league, we have been very fortunate with our draw.
    This already has the feeling of the 10 in a row season which is not what I or any other fan expected, this is an important season to maintain the momentum.

  • Bryan Coyle says:

    Switched off Speirs podcast after 30 seconds these hun hacks always need to lump us together with their o** f*** shit

  • Wee Gerry says:

    You’ve nailed it, James.

    The Celtic board are a completely different entity from the Celtic support who would rather put more money in their own pockets than invest in a quality European level side on th park.

    A team full of youth prospects who will be sold immediately they start to fulfill their potential.

    And that’s no way to build any kind of football team.

  • Jim Duffy says:

    If the board have shafted us again,vote with your feet ie ,walk outs ,boycotts etc,it’s the only thing they’ll pay heed to,all this board care about is their salaries and big bonuses.

  • jbhoy says:

    The jury is out on Rodgers Celtic has the best squad in Scotland by a mile as we have seen over the last 2 years 3 out and 8 in the 2 center backs look gd the wingers look gd we have kno excuses .Champions league is a bonus but hopefully the team has gelled and make a gd account of themselves. 3 spot is realistic and Dublin is the final for the Europa league final call me optimistic but that would be my dream HH

  • Wee Gerry says:

    Is anyone else getting a ‘Forbidden’ message from the ETims site?

    I’ve only recently discovered that site and tried to send a message which didn’t go through and now it’s telling me I’m forbidden from entering?

    Is it always like this to post on football blogs nowadays?

    Before I got sick it was open comments on every page and I don’t really understand what’s happening nor why it’s happened nor how to keep up so any clue as to why everything has sort of gone into lockdown online a full year after the terrible physical lockdown ended would be received with great thanks, thanks.



      Just checked e’tims site and I’m getting the same message ‘Error 403 Forbidden.
      You are forbidden to access this resource’.

      Strange as I get notified when Ralph sets out a new Post.
      Accessed it earlier this week
      read some of the comments then followed e’tims on twitter.
      Might be some temporary issue. Hope so. Erratic as the Posts are they are generally clued in and humorous.
      Pity if it’s permanent.
      Maybe ‘Gringo’ has corrupted the site again.

    • Ryan Ellis says:

      Aye man I got that too, hang on, yeah still getting the same message, bloody weird although didn’t a bunch of Huns do the denial of service trick a while back with that site?

      • Wee Gerry says:

        I don’t know, I’m only asking what the problem might be as I thought I’d offended them.

        I’ve been off the internet for a long time due to illness and it’s like a different place since.

  • Kevin Dunne says:

    I am happy to wait and see we brought in 9 players to discount them is poor , don,t write us off yet ,I believe we can and will get results in our CHM LGE group enough to at least get 3rd .until we have played in groups we don’t know how it will go .I, am taking nothing for granted. But also believe we can still be in Europe after Xmas .HAIL HAIL

  • Johnny Green says:

    With the exception of a decent LB, I am fairly happy with this transfer window. We cannot judge the CB situation until they are all fit, we have just been mightily unlucky with that outcome, but the signing of Bernardo, Holm and Palma are all positives and Bernardo is no project, we don’t take on a loanee to be a project, no matter what Brendan says, he will be playing on a regular basis and assessed for a potential full time move at season’s end. Let’s be patient and let the players bed in before the knee jerk reactions kick in. I am quietly confident that we will get stronger on a weekly basis and my only concern now is that we have more midfielders than we can manage and keep happy. We have spent a lot of money in this window and going forward we can now reap the benefits.

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