If This Celtic Team Is Allowed Time To Gel, I Think It Will Do Big Things Even In Europe.

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There’s a lot of great chatter on the forums today over what exactly last night “means.” What we saw was a Celtic side playing the right type of football for Europe and doing much better than a lot of us expected. We can be confident going over to Italy in November. We can be confident of Atletico coming to our house. We can be very confident about Feyenoord at home.

Last night showed us what this team might be. If. And that’s the word here, if. If the board doesn’t flog a couple of them next summer. If they give Brendan Rodgers the money to add that little bit of missing quality. We can beat ourselves up or we can look ahead. I prefer to look ahead, having said all I’m going to say about the reasons we have lost.

I stand by every word. We didn’t deserve that last night, and had we got our left back and our keeper, and the backup striker I banged on about, I do believe we’d have gotten at least a point and quite possibly more. Those fine margins are a bitch. They are especially grim for those who want to defend the “project signings” strategy.

But here’s the thing; when taken in moderation, I back that strategy.

But only to an extent. We should have added quality.

The team didn’t require ten signings in the window, that’s ludicrous, and you can see already that the squad is too big. We required four. Four really good players. If we had gotten just two and two projects most of us would have been thrilled.

There is nothing wrong with developing talent. I look at the team which played last night and I see one or two outstanding examples of it. Liam Scales is one of them.

You would never have guessed, even last season that this was a guy we’d have watched go to Ibrox, Rotterdam and taken on Lazio at home and we’re like, “Yep, he’ll do.”

Another is O’Riley who you can see a mile away has come on big leaps under Rodgers and is only going to get better.

There is something not there with Yang yet; the final ball.

But I didn’t think James Forrest had that in his locker for a very long time.

Know who got him over the line? Rodgers did, and I think he’ll make Yang a better footballer as well and someone who will do a right good job for us. If you’ve watched him – really watched him as opposed to waiting for him to make a mistake – you’ll see that he’s strong, aggressive and has good feet and a burst of pace.

Writing that guy, as some online are doing today, is frankly batshit. There are signs of something, and we have exactly the right guy in the dugout to get the best from him.

On the other wing is Palma, who it’s perfectly obvious is going to be great.

His little cameo at the weekend is one of the reasons we won.

He had two flashes of brilliance last night, one of which ended up with the ball in the back of the net … the ingredients for this kid to become a fan favourite are all in place already, and I can’t wait to see him get better.

I said earlier that we do this to ourselves every 12 months or so. “Next year we’ll be ready.” The thing is, under Rodgers you can see how close we were in both the games so far. Maybe next year really will be different, maybe it really will be the year we crack it.

But much depends, as ever, on the board. Having signed all these guys up on extended deals it would stink to high heaven if one or more of them was allowed to leave in the summer. These guys are the core players, the very ones who next year will have all the experience at this level that they need, and that will be crucial to the guys who have come through.

If you’ve already got that experience in your side, it may not even be necessary to go out and buy it except in that handful of areas where you can actually see where we’re weak … and the manager will already know what he has to know about that.

All the people running our club have to do is support this guy and then let him get on with it. The thing of it is, they will look like geniuses if they do the simple and obvious thing.

Back the man you pay the big money to.

Trust his judgement, or what’s the point in having him there?

Brendan Rodgers is showing us what he can do and what he will do if he gets the right support.

Our young players aren’t going to be written off under this guy … he’ll get something out of all of them. But that doesn’t justify this board throwing those players at him instead of listening to his needs.

But in a year’s time … yeah, I think he could mould this group into the real deal. Given that time and that opportunity, this manager will answer every question asked of him.

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  • Captain Swing says:

    Baby steps, but there are promising signs albeit we have to recognise the opponents we have drawn aren’t from the top drawer – I wouldn’t like to see what sort of result we’d get against the likes of Newcastle if they can tear PSG a new orifice….

  • Frank Connelly says:

    spot on James. That said whats wrong re Hatate. His passing well off since coming back

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    I think with a year together we could see an improvement for (Hopefully) The Champions League…

    But knowing our luck it’ll be the European Champions League heavyweights group of death, Manchester City, Newcastle United, PSG et al… !

  • John S says:

    Champions’ League experience can only be learned in the Champions’ League. The display against Lazio was impressive, only a result was missing and the side were most unfortunate in this regard. Hats off to Brendan Rodgers and the sterling job he’s doing with the resources available. If we’re not going to win the CL, and we’re not, we can still be confident in the commitment of this squad and be sure that in years to come these experiences will help them become even better players.

  • SSMPM says:

    You could look ahead and beat yourself up; as I did last night. I even convinced myself that we can still qualify from this group before I realised I’m banging my head against a brick wall.

  • Paul Kane says:

    I’ve been supporting Celtic for over 60 years now,I agree totally with your article,before I seen your article,I expressed the exact same opinion,there is the making of a special team here,if we get 3 quality players in,If the Board mess this up this time and Dont let Bredan pick his next players ,it would be unforgivable,I’m convinced something special is on the cards here,if the board doesn’t mess it up

  • Jim Duffy says:

    Unfortunately as soon as any of these players improve and get more experienced in playing football at European level they will be sold on the first chance liewell gets ,it happens all the time and this crop of really excellent players will be sold on ,it’s the way the Celtic board works and the fans can’t/ won’t do anything to change matters,Liam scales ,Matt O’Reilly Yang,all these players with potential we will not be able to keep, Celtic board mentality.

  • Chris says:

    The only way improvement in Europe will happen is if we bring in a better quality of player.
    A dominant midfielder, a Jota type winger and a quality left back, otherwise it will be deja vu this time next year.
    Signing projects means no change.

  • John says:

    The problem with the result the other night can be looked at it several ways. The most important is experience at this level. As you said Jame too big a squad. Bernardo has played less than 30 mins in SPLF but thrown into this game. Itawa sitting on the bench. Yang was overawed by the game. How do you get experience with the size of this squad. Especially in scotland and only 6 games in europe.
    We need to think where we are in the big picture in europe. I thought BR would have pushed for 3rd placed spot. That now seems a million miles away
    There is talk about we need this and that but until we get a quality cdm. We are powder puff in the middle of the park

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