I don’t know enough about the boss of the Montenegrin national team to know if he prone to over-reaction or histrionics, but when he decided to launch a broadside at Sead Haksabanovic he did so without either on display. Instead, he was focussed and clinical and forensic in his condemnation, and that offers us an insight, perhaps, into what went wrong at our club.
Having just moved from Parkhead to Stoke, the player was called up for the national team.
He contacted the manager, Miodrag Radulovic, and his coaches to tell them that he was too busy moving house to go and play for his country, and when he sat in front of the media to discuss his team’s preparations, Radulovic was in no mood to be nice.
He was calm. But also clearly pissed off.
“Sead contacted us and said that he needs to fulfil obligations related to moving from club to club, from Scotland to England, so we cannot count on him,” he said. “Let him think about this decision. The players show how much they care about playing for our national team by the decisions they make. He’s decided to put his own personal situation first. So, I will only concentrate on the players that are here and who do want to play for Montenegro.”
You could not get a clearer insight into the player than that.
More than his little social media strop, which appalled Brendan Rodgers, this offers a glimpse of someone who is utterly self-absorbed, which is sort of what you might have expected from the kind of person who offered our club nothing of note and then wailed about us not recognising his “value.”
A lot of the time, when a player does not succeed at a club you wrack your brain trying to figure out why and what went wrong.
He didn’t thrill us to the extent fans questioned why managers would not start him regularly, but you could see glimpses of real quality in the player. But when he’s not getting picked week to week you wonder what the inside story is.
Between his social media posts and this, perhaps we’ve come a way towards an explanation.
There is clearly a deficiency between what Celtic was looking for in terms of his attitude and what he offered us in that regard. As I’ve said previously on this site, talent is not enough.
A top player has to have the right set of mental and emotional attributes too, and that’s where he’s failing to make the grade. No less a person than his own national coach has spelled that out.
He needs to go away and work on his game, and come back, if he ever does, a better footballer.
But it might be nice if he worked on his personal discipline and commitment as well and came back a better professional. Then he’d have a real chance of proving his worth, and that value he talks about might be a little more difficult to overlook.