General Clement Is Willing To Risk His Men For Operation: Stop The Celtic.

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There is one piece of Kremlin criticism with which I always agree; that the West is willing to fight them “down to the last Ukrainian.”

In Washington and London they don’t see any value in there being a peaceful settlement here. The more Russians die, the more their economy slides, the better. If that costs another 100,000 Ukrainian lives, well that’s a price we’re willing to pay.

The armchair generals love sending people into battle … as long as it’s not them.

Which brings me to Phillipe Clement.

I’ve written on this site before about how much I hate managers playing players who aren’t fit. We’ve had to do it a few times this season, and it’s not smart and it’s not cool. Don’t get me wrong, I do get why we’ve done it a few times, and a few times is fine, but players playing for extended spells when they aren’t fit is wrong. Players taking injections to get through games is wrong. Players playing when the medical team is shaking its collective head … it’s just wrong.

And no club does this more than the one at Ibrox, or has paid such a high price for it. But that’s nothing compared to the price players themselves pay. I’ve been haunted by this stuff since I read one of the Secret Footballer books years ago and he spelled out the enormous toll that injuries take on footballers after their careers are done.

There are household names, guys we see on the telly all the time, who spent more on physiotherapy and pain killers and doctor’s bills than they probably do on their mortgages, and that’s just not right. Nobody should be expected to live like that. I don’t like it. I hope that we’ve not condemned some of our own players to that, although I think often about Kieran Tierney and have concerns. I think about Callum McGregor’s ability to “bounce back” and I worry.

But Clement’s cavalier disregard for the well-being of his players is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen, and I’ve revisited this subject several times this season. And what makes me re-visit it today is that in his desperation to avoid being the Ibrox boss who talked a good game but lost three out of four of his games against Brendan Rodgers – and is thus therefore still looking for a win – he’s talking today about how he is willing to risk his unfit players in the final.

See if you can spot the glaring hole in that theorem.

Yeah, you’ve got it; he’s not the one taking the risks, at the end of the day; that’s the players themselves, some of whom have their next career moves to think about. It’s both bad for them and it’s bad for him, because who wants to run through walls when the cost might be momentously high, and one that the club itself don’t have to pay?

Don’t get me wrong; these are exactly the sorts of players you want to see playing against your team; de-motivated, half fit and unhappy with the manager. He says some of them want to take the field on their crutches; I very much doubt that, although Connor Goldson has occasioned shown the dexterity of a man on crutches when faced with our forward line.

He says he doesn’t want to give too much away and so won’t be talking about who is fit and who is not, and I wonder if that’s not because some of those who he would otherwise have no qualms about throwing into battle simply aren’t prepared to die in the ditch for him. If he thinks he’s going to spring some selection shock on Rodgers which will drive him half-mad with fear he’s madder than he occasionally sounds. We’ll have a plan to win either way.

The big wide pitch of Hampden is perfect for playing against a team with half fit players. The strain of making them cover every bit of grass on it will just about kill some of them, and I hope we drag those who do play every which way on it.

But this guy is a menace, and not to his opposition but to his own footballers. The lack of consideration he has for their general well-being is staggering.

Every manager has to make decisions like this, and a lot of players are willing to play through the pain barrier for their clubs or their bosses, but that is not a decision any manager should ever take lightly and I know, because I’ve listened to him on this several times, that Rodgers never does.

Not so with Clement. He will fight Celtic to the last penny of his player’s surgery bills.

Brave, isn’t he? That’s what you call leadership.

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  • Stef says:

    The Hampden pitch size is a myth, it’s the same dimensions as Parkhead.

  • Pat cannon says:

    James like you said clubs should look after players better, I remember many moons ago seeing the Liverpool great Tommy smith kicking off a charity game, when I say kicking off he bearly managed to lift his leg, he moved like someone in their seventies or eighties not someone about 40,too much cortisone

  • Tommy says:

    I believe our Philip is not so stupid as one thinks.
    His best chance of winning on Saturday is to have his players primed for the battle, and try and catch Celtic off guard. This cup final will not be won without 100% concentration and commitment.
    There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal. Complacency will be our biggest opponent. ‘Carpe Diem’ Hail Hail.

    • Jay says:

      This is exaclty my thought. I think the narrative they are driving is to make us over confident & expecting to face a team already out on a limb.
      I think & hope that we are professional & smart enough that we aren’t going expecting to face there under 21s team & put the demolition job on them they are due but as I get with all cup finals. I’m nervous at being the favourites as we have all the room to fall while they are already dead & buried with the potential to rise again…

    • M Mc says:

      A confident, unwounded animal would be more dangerous, I’d say … HH

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Sure The Sevco Huns are forever harping on about ‘wars’ and ‘battlefields’ and the ‘injured’ and ‘conflicts’ so that will suit them just fine then…

    Idiots as fans and Idiots as managers also then me thinks !

    • William Melvin says:

      Aye,yer right about them continually harping on about the exploits of HMAF.
      Only one fly in the ointment,their forebears had fuck all to do with any acts of heroism……Unless it was dodging falling rivets from above in the Clyde shipyards where they hid for the duration of the war !

  • M Mc says:

    And on other ‘news’!

    Have you seen this nonsense, James? Seriously, what goes through their minds!!

  • Johnny Green says:

    When it comes to player’s welfare I am as sympathetic as the next person, their well being is part of their Club’s general ongoing responsibility and it makes for a better overall feel good philosophy within our game.

    BUT……when it comes to them, I welcome anything that harms their health, their wealth (or lack of it) and any negative aspect that is liable to hurt them. Their players have made their bed and must lie in it. ‘Lie’ being the operative word over there.

    Moreover, their pain has always been our gain and we will pile more anguish onto them on Saturday.


  • Woodyiom says:

    I think people are reading more into this than there really is. Every manager would consider doing and say what he is considering doing/saying for the end of season cup final especially against their biggest rivals. I mean who we would we prefer to see at CB – a half fit Leon Balogun vs a fully fit Leon King?? Is a half fit Sima facing up against Greg Taylor a far more scary thought than a fully fit Scott Wright facing Greg – of course he is.

    If the shoe was on the other foot – would we want a half fit CCV to start – of course we would. Would we be happy to see Maeda start over Palma – again of course we would. And it both cases its because we know what a difference it makes to our team, our fans AND their team and their fans.

    Clement’s in a bad situation, and he knows it, and rolling the dice for one last game this season is hardly a new phenomenon. People comparing this to players of the 60s, 70s and 80s is ridiculous. In those days there were smaller squad sizes because there were smaller benches and lower number of allowed subs meant players played through pain week after week, season after season – that’s the not case any more. Any player he picks tomorrow will be “fit enough” to make it through 60mins assuming said player doesn’t get a knock on whatever injury he has. Either way its good news for us that’s he’s in the pickle he is 🙂

  • JimBhoy says:

    It will be 11 Vs 11 tomorrow obviously excluding the ref and cohorts…Celtic have enough talent to blow away a fully fit and ready rangers.

    I want to see sharp exciting football from the Celtic bhoys tomorrow. If the rangers cluggers want to make it physical I am sure our bhoys can handle themselves.

    Looking forward to a great spectacle and an outstanding win by the mighty Celtic. HH the Celts are here…

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