Liam Scales Has Secured His Celtic Future And Assured That Bernabei Doesn’t Have One.

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When I look back on the “trial by fire” article I wrote before the Ibrox game, I am quite pleased that I predicted that Liam Scales could play his way into a future at Celtic Park by doing well in that match.

He did better than well. He passed that test with flying colours. If this was an actual trial by fire, he’d have danced across the ploughshare and his feet would have healed on the first day. “Not Guilty, my son, go forth and enjoy the rest of your life.”

The man of the match award was the shock nobody expected.

I thought he might do a job in that game but not an exceptional job. People can underestimate that as much as they want, but what he did that day was astonishing. He was seen as the ultimate weak link and he proved himself far better than that. He fit perfectly into the manager’s tactics, followed his instructions to perfection – watch the way he plays the offside trap; it’s masterful – and stood out a mile.

The manager must have been beyond impressed. The idea of Scales going out on loan was shelved. The idea of him leaving permanently seemed ridiculous. People keep asking me how I can judge a player on one game; I’m not though. Because he was excellent in pre-season as well, and towards the end of last season was immense for Aberdeen.

So much so that they wanted him on a permanent deal.

That’s off the table. He’s part of the club now, part of the squad, a valued footballer and one the manager is clearly very fond of. And that was always going to have consequences for somebody because, as was proved with that European squad, we have too many players on the books. This is why I am still extremely pissed off about the transfer window and why no pro-board stooge can possibly make the case that it was a huge success.

We signed ten players. We didn’t need ten players. We didn’t need three wingers and four central midfielders. It’s ludicrous. There was no way that we were going to register every single one of the new players. No way. Impossible.

We needed, at best, four signings, the right four signings, and replacements for anyone who left, and we could have spent good money for them … instead the board went for the projects again, in bulk, and that’s why two of the signings and one player from last year aren’t there.

It’s the guy from last year who didn’t make the squad which truly puts the writing on the wall. The boss is not convinced by Bernabei. He’s just not. He’s made it clear. And he made it clear before he cut him from the European squad and gave Scales his place.

Liam Scales earned that spot. Bernabei has had opportunities and has not done so. That guy is in his last three months at Celtic. I think he’s certain to leave on loan in January and we’ll never see him back again. To avoid that fate – and I very much doubt he even can – he would have to get into the team and be exceptional. Not just good, but exceptional.

And to get into the team, it would take Taylor and Scales both to be injured now, because Brendan could have left Scales out of the European squad and put Bernabei in there and nobody would even have blinked because the team needs two left backs. In dropping Bernabei from that squad we’d be down to one left back. Except that’s where the manager sees Scales.

Liam Scales is our backup left back. He has played his way into a first team place and I would be amazed if we saw Bernabei more than a handful of times. The manager will flatly deny this if he’s asked about it, because you never know what will happen and we might have to rely on him in certain games, but that’s the weakest area of the team and he has made a huge statement by leaving out a guy who is fit, and who cost us a lot of money.

That message cannot be misinterpreted. It’s obvious. It’s written in letters large enough to read from miles away without putting your glasses on. And it’s probably the right decision.

Whether Scales and Taylor remain numbers one and two in that position is debatable – I don’t think that pecking order will survive next summer if it gets that far – but for now it’s done.

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  • Bob (original) says:

    Well done Scales: that inclusion should give him a further confidence boost?

    Along with too many players, the goalkeeping situation remains a concern.

    The original second choice keeper – Siegrist is not in the CL squad.

    Bain is named as CL back-up to Hart.

    Where is the competition coming from to keep Hart on his toes?

    Also, the contracts for both Bain and Hart expire at the end of the season.

  • Charlie Kelly says:

    Bernabei in my opinion is one of the bad signings made by last mngr.he cannot defend and his distribution is normally very poor.Scales would probably be a better choice to compete with Taylor,plus can also play as CB.

  • Rob says:

    Taylor is nothing like the player of the last two campaigns. He’s reverted back to his style under lennon. He’s been a bomb scare the last few games.

    I think he’ll get torn apart in Europe. I would have had Bernabie over Taylor any day.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Think tae give credit, it also has the hallmarks of BR havin the definite knack of bringin the best out in some players, as we seen in his last stint at Celtic Park. Can see the same thing happenin here, with so far the likes of Scales and imo O’reilly, already showin the signs of big improvement.

  • Stevie Maley says:

    You slate the board yet again, Scales was a project. Takes time to adjust to a big club. We can’t afford to buy four ten million pound players. We continue with a successful model of buying young players, making them better then selling them.

  • Martin.H says:

    Liam gives us a bit of height in defence if he plays at left back.

  • Tommy McQuillan says:

    James, I told everyone who’d listen when we signed Liam Scales how good he was. I’ve got a mate who supports Shamrock Rovers and he sends me their games as he knows I follow them as a club. I knew Scales had the ability to make it at Celtic and although I knew he could play centre back it’s as a left back I rated him. I think if Brendan gives him a sustained run at left back you’ll see how good he really is. I think it’ll give Taylor a bit of a break as I think he’s not fully fit but has to play as Bernabei, as you rightly say, isn’t going to make it at Celtic. This guy’s played CL qualifiers and group stage EL games at Rovers and never once looked out of place in a settled side. Some of my mates gave me stick for raving about him but they did agree he’d not been given a decent run and therefore couldn’t show his ability on a regular basis, if he gets a run at left back he’s more than up to the job. I thought when we loaned him out to Aberdeen his chance at Celtic was gone but they loved him up there and if he’s given a consistent run of games we’ll grow to love him here too. He’s an intelligent boy and an intelligent footballer as well and I hope he gets his chance now and that he takes it with both hands because this is his second chance and I don’t think he’ll get a third, he’s got all the tools it’s up to him now and I know he can do it.

  • Johnny Green says:

    Ange had his faults, and one of them was not recognising Liam Scales potential when he put him out on loan. I thought at the time that he was better than Taylor, not difficult as a good big yin in that position will always be preferable, and I could not understand why Liam was surplus to requirements, especially since he could play both centre back and full back.

    I like his attitude and Scales will do a good job for us no matter where we play him. All’s well that ends well.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    He’s like Neil Lennon – a flame haired Irishman…

    If he’s half as passionate a player and half as useful a player Lenny was for Celtic – That’ll do me just fine !

  • john clarke says:

    I am pleased for Liam. There has been a fair bit of humbug about Alexandro B.
    In May 2023, it was reported in MSS Press, Bernabei was IN LINE to be in the Argentinian National Team to play in China and Indonesia. They said he could play with Messi in Indonesia. How long was the line and where was he in it? There was no mention of any source for the report.. Admittedly, it was to include younger players
    with the World Cup winners. They did not say Scaloni said that. The Indonesians were disappointed after paying for tickets early, then learnt that Messi was not Touring.
    Maybe a humbug, was a report from Scotland. that the first choice Left Back from Lanus that Celtic FC targeted was the young Julian Aude. He was starting his contract with Lanus and apparently was going nowhere. Celtic got Alexandro instead. A year or more later Julian is playing outstanding football for LA Galaxy. Well done Julian.

  • Peter Campbell says:

    Although I agree with you that Liam deserves the place and Bernabei doesn’t, it wasn’t at Left Back where Liam proved his worth, to us or to Aberdeen. He is as yet unproven at Left Back. Celtic fans keep mentioning him as a Left Back but IMHO that is just Liam being shoehorned into a position because he done so well at Ibrox. For the Champions League that is difference, as we are devoid of Left Backs, but for the season ahead? Maybe until January, but after that, no thanks, as IMHO his best position is Centre Half.

  • Johnno says:

    Never expected Bernie to make the CL squad, and would agree his time at the club could well become very limited now.
    Agreed that scales earnt his opportunity to be included within the CL squad, and shows when these opportunities arise they have to be taken, and Bernie on far to many occasions has failed to do so.
    However James, I would agree that the squad has the look of a 4231 formation about it with 2 players available for each position, yet it doesn’t feel right imo.
    Taylor has been in poor form and would hardly feel confident at CL level in the LB position either as a 1st choice.
    I know scales has been used at LB before for ourselves, yet hardly impressed either in the position when given the opportunity.
    More suitable as a CB, and still believe playing as a LCB, even within a 3 is still his best position imo.
    So therefore could using scales as a potential LB really be the right call? As has a feel about trying to put a square peg into a round hole, in a position that was an issue before Rodgers even walked back into the club?
    Still doesn’t feel right to myself, about playing a back 4, yet still haven’t addressed the LB position, especially when so many have been bought into the club?
    Maybe Rodgers has got other plans for the team set up for the CL campaign?
    Most admit to remain a little confused about what Rodgers has actually got in mind, as still a number of options available to himself within the squad in team set up, which isn’t a bad thing either.
    Ange was a little bit one dimensional last season, with his approach, and team’s seem to deal with us far easier in the 2nd round of games, when they became far more aware of our approach within the 1st match as it never changed whatsoever, unless an injury occurred within the back 4.
    Think we needed a little bit more to progress at this level especially against better quality expected to be faced, so having a surprise element to our team set up, could also work to our advantage?
    Playing a back 4 with Taylor or scales in a LB position, still doesn’t have the right feel about it for CL imo?
    Yet can’t believe Rodgers would leave himself wide open in a position that is far from secure either, without strengthening?
    Surely he must have something else in mind for the defensive set up for the CL, especially away from home?

  • Benjamin says:

    I think the choice for including Scales came down to one thing: he can provide cover for multiple positions, and Bernabei can’t. In a perfect world, neither one of them plays another game for Celtic again, but Celtic are dealing with too many injuries to leave Scales out right now.

    The other interesting choice for Champions League was the inclusion of Mikey Johnston. If I read the roster correctly, he is the 7th (!!!) choice winger for Champions League. He’s clearly not going to play barring another round of injuries to multiple wingers, so I thought it was interesting that he was selected over others. What must McCarthy have done to piss off Brendan so much?

  • Alphonsus Mcewan says:

    I think Taylor has been a standout for us last season and up until just now, he hasn’t put a foot wrong since he got his place in squad, I think people need to stay off his back and let the team speak for itself which so far has been good considering we have a new manager with different ideas.

  • Sid says:

    If you can’t see how bad Bernabei is defensively then you know nothing about football and your comments are making you look foolish.
    No offence, just the truth.

  • Joh says:

    James, this potentially will be a long season with hopefully European games after Christmas.

    Players will require a rest, so having a large squad surely brings its benifits.

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