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Pro-Ibrox Leanings Have Never Stopped Celtic Signing Players, And They Never Will.

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I do not believe that Celtic will sign Lawrence Shankland in this window, and nor do I believe that we should sign Lawrence Shankland in this window, although if it was a choice between someone who had his scoring record and some left-field “development” punt I would accept him as the alternative any day of the week, because we know he does score goals.

Shankland is one of those guys that you’d have to sell me on as a Celtic player, but you might not have to work too hard at it. He’s not the “next level” footballer that we require and he never will be, but I have never doubted that he – or Miovski at Aberdeen – could win us this title, because they are proven at this level and really that’s all we need in this window.

But we have to be thinking beyond the here and now, and towards a player who can challenge Kyogo to be the number one at the club and I know that’s not Shankland although who knows how good Miovski can be if he’s at a good club? He’s at the start of his career after all, and I reckon will eventually be a far better player than the Hearts man.

There are reasons why I would sign Shankland and there are reasons – more reasons, and better reasons – why I would not. But you know what’s not on the list either way? His footballing allegiance. It’s completely irrelevant to me, and it would be for most people including, I suspect, Brendan Rodgers if he decided that this guy was good enough.

Yet everywhere I turn I see or read some variation of this fiction; that Shankland is “one of them” and so we would not sign him. Or that other theory which has been disproved more times than I care to count, that because he’s inclined towards their club that he would not sign for us. There are a handful of players for whom that has been the case, including Lafferty, but they are the exception to the rule. There has always been talk about Scott Brown and even some about Callum McGregor but I neither know nor care and neither do they.

Kenny Dalglish was a Rangers fan. That man will forever be one of the iconic figures in the history of this club, and even his brief spell as the managing director or whatever in God’s name he was will not change that. Danny McGrain. Murdo McLeod. Paul Lambert allegedly. Davie Provan definitely was. There are more, I could go on all day … the thing is, this has never been a barrier to us signing players and nor has it been a barrier for players who have signed for us.

If Shankland was offered the chance, I reckon he’d jump at it. The only thing that would stop him from joining us would be bigotry, and if he’s a bigot then there’s nothing to talk about and we’d be well shot of him anyway. That, ironically, might be enough to spark Ibrox into finally making their move. That might just be the last piece of the jigsaw for them.

But those who have suggested that his football allegiances are some barrier to us moving to sign him could not be more wrong. He’s just not good enough to be a Celtic player. He’d score goals but so what? Any player capable of putting the ball in the net regularly will score in a Celtic strip, but we need someone capable of moving us forward and this is a guy who can’t get into the national team on a regular basis far less a Champions League side.

People like Mark Wilson, who have led the way with the promotion of this stuff, clearly don’t know their Celtic history. If Shankland was up to the job we’d have made the offer for him before he even went to Hearts. We’re not just finding out about this guy now; he was scoring goals for fun in Scotland long before arriving at Tynecastle.

And we have seen what we need to and we’re not convinced. That’s the fact of it, and because we are not convinced we’re not going to move for him, and that has nothing to do with what team he supports. If we thought he was good enough he’d be at Celtic Park already. If we worried about whatever team he made support Celtic Park would be a different place with a whole different history. A lesser one, by quite some way.

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  • Roonsa says:

    I’d rather we signed him than that lot. I could not care less that he’s wannae that lot.

  • Captain Swing says:

    Which team he grew up supporting couldn’t bother me less. I think Hearts would want an eye-watering fee for him as he’s not just their main goal scorer, he’s their ONLY goal scorer and although Sevco haven’t got the money to buy him they have previous for gambling with the rent money and might roll the dice on him scoring the goals that could win them the title… one of Eddie Howe’s first and most important signings at Newcastle was Chris Wood for a staggering £25m from Burnley. The guy is a bang average player and was already 30 so his transfer value had already peaked. Depending on your point of view it was either a strategic masterstroke or a cynical use of the tainted Saudi money, but whichever way you look at it it destabilised Burnley and deprived them of their biggest goal threat and they ended up getting relegated, while Newcastle improved out of all recognition and ended up in mid table. The chap Wood was quietly offloaded to Forest having fulfilled his purpose, which wasn’t to score for Newcastle, it was simply not to score for Burnley. Any decision to sign Shankland for Celtic could be justified on similar grounds, in my cynical, calculating opinion…. the fee paid for him can be balanced against the risk of losing the Champions League booty next season. Not the most Corinthian of ideals but there you have it – the Corinthians probably didn’t have to deal with anything as unsavoury as Sevco.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      Great post Captain !

      I think it would really sicken Sevco if he came to Celtic…

      It’d deprive them of his goals (and he’d score plenty for them and also us) –

      But we need a scorer in case Heaven Forbid any injury befell Kyogo…

      And let’s be honest – Oh has been disappointing and not exactly set the heather on fire in Scotland has he –

      Shankland for me all day long in this most CRITICAL of seasons !

      • Captain Swing says:

        Yep, that’s it Clach. Just as the team should stop worrying about scoring ‘the perfect goal’ to please the purists and just lump it into the net by any legal means, so the club should sometimes take a 360° view of signings and consider the overall effect of a move in the transfer market and not obsess over sell-on value and the player’s age. Shankland may be 28 but I don’t recall many complaining that Chris Sutton was 27 and wouldn’t have a resale value – he was an established player at the peak of his powers brought to the club to do a specific job there and then not five years later, and boy did he ever. Consider for a second how that five year period might have looked had he played for Rangers instead, which could quite easily have happened… fortunately for us he didn’t and they spent about £20m trying to sign a Sutton of their own, reaching its hilarious height with the Tore Andre Flo(p) debacle.

  • Johnno says:

    Would agree with yourself James regarding shankland imo.
    However, could shankland offer ourselves more with taking up 1 of the 8 homegrown Scottish players required for CL, than we currently have on offer within the squad?
    I would possibly have to say YES and only confirms just how drastic this 8 homegrown rule has upon ourselves at CL level imo?
    Been saying for a number of years if that traitor lawwell senior was doing any good for our club in the corridors of power within Uefa.
    Then I believe that with the 8 homegrown rule in play, then pot 4 teams outside of the big 5 leagues, should be allowed 30 man squad to help even up this rule in play imo?
    If such a rule was actually introduced then any interest in shankland would be a firm NO as I believe that we could and should be attracting a better quality of player imo.
    When you consider that a third of our squad has to be homegrown, and can only really depend upon 1 at that level of CL football, only highlights the mountain that has to be climbed still?
    All without the cash reserves required and no form of development within the country of the homegrown rule in place either, then fail to see how we can actually combat a rule that’s in place to protect the bigger clubs from the bigger leagues?
    As a club we are moving on from just trying to keep the scum relevant, even if it’s questionable at present, but this has to be our outlook upon the future also imo.
    If a player like shankland is meant to be a potential solution to a problem, then this problem isn’t going to be resolved anytime soon for ourselves either imo.

  • Bunter says:

    The problem with Shankland is that he lacks pace especially over short distances. He’s just too slow to be a Celtic forward. Miovski is a better prospect.

  • Big Rally says:

    Bang on mate as long as he bangs the goals in for celtic.

  • Danny C says:

    Paul Lambert and his family were all Rangers supporters they lived in Bridge of Weir,
    But he never let that bother
    him.

  • KONY says:

    At this point in time we don’t need a next level player we need one to help us win the league and the £60 million jackpot then we can start thinking about higher levels

  • Damian says:

    Well put. I remember once hearing Mark Burchill say that a number (maybe more than half) of the Scottish players in the team that won the league in 1998 had been childhood Rangers fans. Couldn’t name them all. You mentioned Lambert, whose father was certainly an Ibrox season ticket holder; Simon Donnelly was the same. I’d suspect Burley, Jackson maybe. Utterly irrelevant; being a football fan and being a football player is not the same thing.

    As for Shankland himself, I have no strong opinions on him. Certainly a good SPFL player, a good goal-scoring instinct and technique. If the club has scouted him properly relative to the manager’s plans, and the manager wants him, then we should be making it happen if we can.

  • Johnny Green says:

    We can afford to do it, so just for badness, I would buy him just to prevent THEM from getting him.

  • Fun time frankie says:

    With over £70 million in the bank gathering interest,plus if we offload 6 or 7 players we should be buying both shankland and miofski and blow every team in this bigoted little shitwhole lot the water.this would guarantee the 60 million CL bounty is ours.

  • Gordon Ashley Ayr says:

    All these aimless balls we are firing into the box would be meat and drink to shankland, perfect striker to break down low block defences, horse for courses, incidentally I honestly would never sign for sevco and I am certainly not a bigot

  • Lordmac says:

    SHANKLAND CAN SCORE GOALS IN OPEN PLAY. BUT HE WOULD STRUGLE IN GAMES WE ARE FACED WITH 10 PLAYERS IN THERE OWN BOX. HERE LIES OUR OWN PROBLEM WE DONT FACE MANY TEAMS IN THE SPFL THAT ALLOWS US OPEN PLAY

  • brian cavanagh says:

    Hi James

    Not convinced by your arguments – Shankland scores goals -we need to win the to access the CL money – as you said in a recent column Kyogo may need more treatment. Shankland is insurance money =5m to get 40million is a no brainer BR needs to focus on the short term of the premiership. The big problem he has is paradoxically the 2-1 victory has weakened his hand with the board not strengthened it – they think that normal service has been resumed when most of us want to use the opportunity to widen the gap for thr long term. Winning the premiership does that and Shankland can make that happen, and the leave Paiseley Road West to spontenously combust.

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