Media Fools Should Stop Blaming Celtic For The Poverty Of The SPFL Talent Pool.

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Sometimes I think I am a hopelessly naïve person, rather than the cynical so-and-so many surmise from the articles on here. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve slept through a valuable Scottish football turning point, and am hopelessly playing catch-up. I mention these things because I thought I was familiar with how it worked. But I guess I was wrong.

Because today Kenneth Ward of The Evening Times is banging on about how our club and the one across town should be looking closer to home rather than wasting uncounted millions abroad.

He is certainly not the first person to make this suggestion, and what frustrates me over and over again when this argument is made is the acknowledgement that they have a point whilst also being hopelessly and completely wrong.

Ward’s article is particularly daft because it misses the elephant in the room.

He goes off and lists the talents we’ve signed from Scottish clubs before, and there are a lot of them. He misses one who is playing in the team right now; Greg Taylor, signed not that long ago. The problem is, of course, that Taylor was the last player we signed from this league.

Here’s what confuses me; I thought – and I thought we all did – that football clubs attempt to sign the best players they can, not just the ones closest to home.

The problem with this argument isn’t Celtic and our signing policies, it’s the sheer poverty of talent around us. I agree with the central theme of the piece; Shankland would do a job. Miovski would do a job. Of the two of them, I think Miovski is the better bet because he’s younger and at the right stage in his career to step up, whereas I think Shankland is past his best whatever that was.

But if Aberdeen really insist on asking for £5 million to £7 million for Miovski just because it is Celtic doing the bidding, then there are better players out there within that price range and we’re not obliged to keep that money in Scotland just so Aberdeen can face their fans and say “hey, we got the best deal that we could.”

At £4 million he’s good business … the higher above that figure you go the less interested any of us should be in taking it up.

Beyond a certain point, we’re just being chiselled.

What Ward fails to grasp is that previous signings we’ve made from Scottish teams were at prices which were rational and reasonable, and at a time when there was a lot more talent in the league than there is right now. You tell me who the equivalent of a Stuart Armstrong is right now? You tell me where there’s a Scott McKenna?

They’re nowhere. This is the first time in years that there isn’t a stand-out footballer in SPFL who would enhance our squad in the here and now and grow into a top tier talent.

I remember loads of them, and the thing is, Celtic used to sign these guys.

We aren’t looking to foreign shores because we like wasting money. We’re out there searching for the best talents because, to be frank, there are none here to be had right now.

There are four footballers in the last five or so years I thought might get to Celtic Park and do a job for this club, and all four of them were gone from Scotland before we had a chance to find out; Ramsey at Aberdeen, Doig at Hibs, Hickey at Hearts and Adam Campbell of Motherwell; he moved to England, played two outstanding seasons at Luton and then faded out of the team when they got to the EPL and he was sold to Millwall. Other than those guys … nobody.

Nobody with one exception, actually; Lewis Ferguson whose success doesn’t surprise me at all and who might – might – have done a job at Celtic Park but would certainly, absolutely, have transformed the Ibrox midfield, so that’s their screwup not ours.

Is it Celtic’s fault that there are no “project players”, far less obvious first team capable footballers, here at home?

It’s the same stupid argument about us being “unwilling” to bring players up through our own youth ranks.

If you suppose that the aim of football is to get the best team you can, then it’s easy to understand why we don’t just promote more Mikey Johnston’s just for the sake of it. If you think of football as some sort of Roy of The Rovers fantasy then you can probably justify castigating us for not fulfilling the dream. I know which acknowledges the real world.

It is easy for people to point the finger at us and accuse us of snobbery. But the real problems don’t lie at Celtic Park, where we live with the comfortable truth that Scotland just doesn’t produce genuine world class players anymore. We have adapted ourselves to that, and our transfer policy is based outside of domestic football as a result.

The problems lie at other clubs, who have been unable to develop their talents to a level where we already know the names of the next big players who will take the game by storm.

Let me put it into terms that even our media should understand; if there was a player in Scotland who was so head-and-shoulders above any of the rest out-with our club, we wouldn’t need to scout the guy. We’d all already know who that player is, we’d all already be talking about him the way we once talked about McGinn, Griffiths, Brown, Christie, Turnbull and Armstrong. He would stand out a mile. His skills would already be demonstrated in the here and now.

And he’d probably be at Brentford or some other English club who would just throw money at him until he accepted an offer. That’s our reality and that’s why we shop abroad.

It’s not rocket science, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this stuff out.

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  • Embra Tim says:

    This guy you talk about from the evening times sounds like a right numpty. If there was a standout talent in the game then he might, just might, have a point. And, we need players capable of more than just “doing a job.”

    Players in that category, might be good enough for the rest of Scottish fitba, but celtic must be aiming higher than that. As you say, the ridiculous fees mentioned for bang average players is not the way forward for a club as big as Celtic. Even the ones who have not quite made it at celtic, are miles better than most of our competitors.

    I think this guy from the times should wake up and smell the coffee ???

  • Pan says:

    Celtic are entitled to sign whoever the bloody hell they want.
    Nobody tells this charlatan where he and his wife should do the shopping.

  • Gerry says:

    Of course, when we do buy the best players from other Scottish clubs, we are criticised for weakening the opposition – and the league.

  • John Copeland says:

    The name Kenneth Ward sounds like one of those cheap London shops who over inflate the price of it’s crappy watches made with the cheapest of materials . You know the types I mean ……a cheap kettle worth £24.99 on sale for £199.99 …cheap at half the price as Del boy Trotter would say ….la plume de douche ! Every one’s a winner ….

  • Bob (original) says:

    I’ve never heard of this Kenneth Ward?

    Is he new to Scottish footy?

    And as for the Glasgow Times?

    A terminally declining, obsolete media outlet.

    Controversy is all the SMSM has got left for its Scottish football coverage,

    because there simply isn’t even 1 competent, sports jounalist.

    …and their opinions are worthless. 🙂

  • Mick says:

    Rocket science is way beyond them, most in smsm would need a brain transplant to even contemplate that, they’re at the other end of the scale.

    The smsm also do their level best to flog anyone at Celtic FC, anyone showing real genuine talents, so they help create the very conditions he’s slagging us for.

    FQN Hypocrisy of it is laughable if it didn’t make you irate.
    MENSA awaits them … NOT

  • Roonsa says:

    I’m 54 mate. I’ve been hearing this same story since I started paying attention to what hacks were saying about Celtic and the Ibrox club (1872 – 2012 RIP, thoughts and prayers).

    It’s a tired, boring old line about how we should be doing more to develop Scottish talent. Really? We can look towards England and see what’s happened there to counter that argument. Sure England have, with the exception of, perhaps, France, THE best squad of players in the World. It will be either one of those two who win Euro 24. Please lt it be France.

    However. England has had an advantage since 1992 when Sky took charge of the English leagues’ broadcast rights. It wasn’t that long ago we were laughing at the paucity of talent originating from England, culminating in that hilarious 2-1 defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016. A full 24 years after Sky starting pumping money into the English game.

    So what the Friar Tuck do people expect out of Scotland? They don’t even care. Celtic and that depspicable lot out of Ibrox are easy headlines. As such, I don’t even pay attention to what idiots, writing on behalf of the Evening Times, are saying. It’s pointless. A complete and utter waste of time.

    I take great pleasure out of England losing. Not because I hate England or English people. But because English journalists deserve having their balls kicked every time their lazy dismissive and entitled journalism comes back to bite them on the arse. Every single fucking time. Pricks.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Obviously I’ve never heard of Kenneth Ward but his surname is very apt for a Scottish Football Media Crayon Scribbler.

    Yip Ward – That’s where all the crayon scribbler ones that are highlighted on here should reside…

    A – PSYCHIATRIC – WARD !!!!!

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