The Celtic Squad Showed Its Resilience And Quality Yesterday And Silenced Some Fools.

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I knew before the game kicked off yesterday that we were in for a good one.

I knew it when I saw the team-sheet. I knew it because one of Scotland’s last end-of-pier comedians, masquerading as a sports journalist, wrote the following in his rancid column that morning;

“They have tens of millions of pounds in the bank. Yet rarely, if ever, can there have been a more impoverished subs bench than the one that put Oh, Yang Hyun-jun, Odin Thiago Holm and Tomoki Iwata into a Champions League match against opposition of Atletico’s calibre? Strength in depth? Do me a favour.”

The man who once said we should have spent the extra few quid on John Spencer rather than on “one of Dr Jo’s old pals” has never been able to spot a footballer in his long, miserable life.

He covers the sport for a living and knows nothing whatsoever about it and in spite of that being obvious to every person who ever read one of his columns, he remains an arrogant tosser who thinks that he’s got something serious to say.

The minute I read our starting eleven and saw that two of them had been drafted into it, I knew we were in for a good day.

Because we do have strength in depth, in terms of the league at least. And his colossally stupid underestimation of those particular players is hilarious, because it shows you just how little he knows about the three guys he named.

Yang was voted South Korean young player of the year last season, which put him on the radar of clubs all over the continent. We moved fast because we had to, or he’d have been in France or Spain or Germany. We could have waited another year to see how he continued to develop but that would have been too late, because he’d have been gone.

Odin Thiago Holm was listed as one of the 60 best youth prospects in world football by The Guardian and the NextGen team in 2020, and I know those lists are pretty subjective, but I also know they are put together by people in the game, professionals, who know 100 times more about the subject than this joker ever has or ever will.

And Tomoki Iwata was voted player of the year in Japan for the campaign before we signed him. The same league that we bought Hatate, Maeda and Kyogo from. So, forgive me for thinking that someone of that calibre deserves a little more respect than this clown was willing to give him. Whenever he’s played for us, he’s done well … it’s only Callum McGregor, the captain, keeping him out of the team every week, so he can’t be that good, right?

We needed more experienced signings than these guys, and I’m really pissed off at a board which thinks it can tell the manager what his priorities should be, but we didn’t pick these players out of a phone book and it was always likely that these guys, in particular, would come good and show us they had something. I had no doubts at all about Palma.

People like this, writing off Yang, can’t have watched him so far. Because I’ve liked what I’ve seen every time he’s been on the pitch.

Holm has been steadily growing into the team, and only the quality players are keeping him out. With Turnbull showing up for business yesterday with another goal it makes Holm’s job all the more difficult … but only a complete moron would write the guy off simply because he can’t get in the team ahead of O’Riley or McGregor or Hatate when he’s fit. It doesn’t make this kid a bad footballer.

Some of our own fans are amongst the people needing to pipe down a bit and learn a little more patience. You can criticise the policy that gives the manager only project signings when he needs players closer to the finished article for Europe whilst also acknowledging that some of these projects come with bloody good pedigrees and look capable of turning into the real deal. We get this stuff right with incredible regularity … the policy isn’t completely wrong.

A lot of people reject the “strength in depth” argument without properly thinking it through.

We need a better standard for Europe but there isn’t a single one of these guys, not one, who would not start every week for any other side in the league, including the one across town. Yang, Holm, Iwata and Oh would walk into their team; ask any neutral.

Yesterday was a superb performance from our so-called fringe players, with Yang, Holm and Oh doing particularly well. Turnbull grabbed another goal as well, and Palma was just sensational I thought, and virtually unplayable.

The signs are obvious for anyone who wants to look at them that we’re in the process of building a very special squad here … the key is adding the right quality in the right areas and keeping the rest of it together.

Three of the top five players not just at Celtic but in the country are presently injured at our club; Abada, Maeda and Hatate.

Yesterday the guys brought in as their replacements were quite simply brilliant. Oh and Turnbull came off the bench to great effect. Our depth is far greater than we’re giving credit for and we’re really only short in a few areas.

Some people see only what they want to see. Others see only what their limited understanding allows them to. Yesterday our critics were silenced for a spell, and our fringe players got to show their quality.

That entitles them to a little time and a little patience … and a little bit more respect. They earned it. They absolutely did.

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  • Tony B says:

    Auld Spew has never really understood football and knows very little about it, or indeed anything else.

    Only in Scotland could such a numpty get a gig in the media.

    I’m just thankful I don’t need to access any of their coverage, relying on second or even third hand access.

    Pish and utter bollox would seem to sum it up.

  • Bob (original) says:

    We have a decent squad for domestic football,

    and we should retain the SPL title.

    But, we have a seriously inadequate squad for European competition:

    hence 1 point out of a possible 12.

    That’s been the theme for how many years…?

    And it will remain the theme whilst we have an unambitious Board.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Good point there – A very enjoyable day indeed (Kyogo brutal assault apart)…

    It could have been a lot worse but it turned out very well indeed –

    We just need to do it more consistently after the rigorous of Champions League matches…

    Anyway that it sickens The Scottish Football Media like Boyd and Keevins is good –

    As it is for the confidence of the fringe players…

    (Off topic) – But more good news as Sevco run at a tiny operating profit (£ 252,000) which will be a substantial net loss – YET AGAIN !

  • John L says:

    I read your blog, then read the old tosser,s crap, it’s just wishful thinking and, if he keeps writing enough shit about us, his collum will make sense one week , NOT. You would think that the tribute act was in front, he is a bigger wee rangers cheerleader than D. Johnston ever was and it’s sad to see, especially since he is writing the biggest load of shit in his pathetic career. The old folks home beckons.

  • Scud Missile says:

    Ah the auld guy with his nose broken 14 places talking through his and his arse.
    Auld pishy talking about sevco walking away with the title after they beat us at Parkhead in December was a peach of a line.
    He had to run that article by an editor at the bog paper come newspaper he tries to write for and git approval from them for that,so the editor is every as bad if not worse that auld pishy himself.

    So we are 8 points clear in the league of sevco who are playing catch up,7 goals more than sevco leaves them playing catch up again but all the pressure is on us,have you ever heard so much shite in your life.

    Hercule Poirot has got off to the start that Ian Beale did but look how that turned out,we have seen this movie before and how it ends,and it’s not well.

  • SSMPM says:

    Aye they do deserve more respect, they pretty much all rose to the challenge…but it was that of the SPL at the weekend at this moment in time. These Bhoys look like they have the talent to become our men of the future…until we sell them of course when they do. However we’re miles ahead of the Lennon mark 2 days.
    It’s in Europe that we all want the club to achieve better and ever improving results and that is of course where our frustration lies. Though to be honest we have turned in improved performances so far with 2 games to go, bar of course Spain. We’ll see how those 2 remaining matches go.
    Is it wrong to have some kind of parallel planning in place for the CL 1st team and the very good talent that the so-called ‘project/development’ players highlighted at the weekend. Possibly that’s too much, too soon but I still want it given the club’s finances. Strachan and Lennon mark 1 achieved it but that only heightens the frustration. The last 16 or even the last 8 as Celtic FC should be our aim and in the immediate future. Maybe these Bhoys will help us get there in a couple of years. But by then we’d probably need to be getting through the qualifying rounds again and possibly even that’s kicking above our weight but non the less those dizzy heights would make for happy daze. HH

  • Damian says:

    Agreed re yesterday being a good showing for the squad (though Aberdeen did seem as knackered as I’d have expected them to be by about 70 minutes).

    The strength in depth for Europe thing is a bit of a myth too. The Seville squad had a brilliant first team but no more than a few of the subs offered like for like quality. The last Celtic squad to make the CL16 was threadbare – and we beat Barca without three of our best performers that season.

  • Johnno says:

    Sorry James but totally confused upon your article?
    How can you remain pissed off with the board upon the signing policy, and yet rate the player’s signed so highly at the same time?
    Still trust the process involved, and delighted yesterday managed to finally show that the process involved, isn’t as bad as many were trying to make out?
    Our season isn’t or won’t be defined by only 6 games at CL level.
    Philips is currently the best example on show, that getting player’s in with a good pedigree of a background, and far more experience at the higher levels, means they are going to be a success story either.
    Actually seen more of a player within largerman than Philips to date imo, so would it mean Philips would have been a better investment for ourselves, especially with the money involved in fees and wages?
    Yesterday showed us how the closing the gap between 1st and 2nd choice player’s is starting to close eventually, which is a huge requirement for hopefully turning our fortunes around at CL level.
    Fair play to yourself for having far more confidence before kick off, than I had myself, and certainly wasn’t expecting such a dominant and exciting manner of football on show.
    Exhibition football, you could call it at times, with such huge skill levels, link up and combination play with the movement and passing with great tempo, was such a joy to watch.
    Abada and Maeda were possibly our 1st choices in the wide areas, is that the case now with what Palma and yang showed what they are capable of producing?
    Could we be making the same claims in a few more positions before long? As still believe that CB positions are looking fairly secure with the back up options currently.
    So competition for starting positions in a number of positions is starting to arise, even if not completed as such yet.
    This is the type of team we need to start to become, where we were so dependent upon certain individual player’s in the past, that if injuries hit them,then our hopes tended to disappear before kick off in big European games?
    This trend has to change, and believe we remain upon the right track of doing so, even if this season was possibly to soon, for us to really expect to get the results deserved.
    There is also a fair chance now, that less money has actually been spent on the 1st choice player’s than the 2nd choice player within the current CL squad at a guess.
    Wonder how many teams at CL or any other level could make the same claim?
    But there again, we are a club like no other all the same.

    • James Forrest says:

      For Europe we need players who have the experience to hack it at that level.

      But those signings, there are three or four of them who have the potential to be that good when they have the experience under their belts. The policy isn’t totally wrong. If it was we wouldn’t keep turning these guys out.

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