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Celtic Fans Are Laughing At The Record’s Latest Piece Of Ibrox Transfer Feel-Good.

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Earlier today, I read the excellent piece by Eric Knott at Read Celtic about Ibrox’s new incoming signing, the Moroccan striker.

He’s inspired me to do this follow up. I can only hope that I can infuse as much contempt and scorn in this piece as Eric put into his superb takedown of this deal, and the best way I can do it is to do a Keith Jackson style demolition job on it.

Amazingly, this article is written by Michael Gannon and not their usual purveyors of Ibrox feelgood rubbish. But this piece would have made any one of them beam with pride at having scraped more gunk of the bottom of the barrel. It is atrocious, but in that way that some films are atrocious, so much so that they go on to become cult classics.

This piece might well achieve the same notoriety. It deserves to.

“Hamza Igamane ready for (Ibrox) assault on Premiership as Military service has Moroccan battle-hardened.”

That’s the headline. Quite why they have capitalised the word “military” I do not know, but it’s not my job to clean up their errors.

Even so, I went to do some digging after reading that and you know what I found? The Moroccan army hasn’t been in battle lately. So quite how “battle hardened” he will be is anybody’s guess, but I wouldn’t be too concerned about it.

“(Sevco) are close to agreeing a £1.7million deal with the Royal Armed Forces side AS FAR Rabat for the striker.”

It’s a lot of money!

Our media enjoys quoting the notoriously poor site Transfermarkt.com, so isn’t it curious that none of them has gone on there to find out what they think this guy is worth? Their estimate? About £400,000. He’s not even in the top ten most highly valued players at his club. One area where that site does know its stuff is in basic stats; £1.7 million would comfortably represent the second biggest fee they’ve ever taken for a player in their history.

“Mark Wotte reckons Hamza Igamane won’t be scared of the Scottish football fight after the striker’s Military service.”

Oh Mark Wotte says this does he … wow. Anyone remember Mark Wotte? He was the SFA Performance Director from 2011 to 2014. According to the SFA we took giant strides whilst he was there. Which will be why, ten years on, Celtic fans look around the SPFL and cannot find a single domestic produced player who would notably improve our team … everyone can clearly see that we’ve gone backwards in the last decade. So he left quite a legacy behind him.

But on the subject of national service, you would think this was a rare thing. Almost all of our Israeli players, save for Kayal, who was exempt because he’s an Arab, did their national service back home. It’s mandatory for South Koreans; our exports from there have all done theirs, and as with the Israeli’s they live in a place where their soldiers have to be trained to a razors edge because they have seriously unfriendly neighbours.

If national service was such a big deal, and that prepared you to rip apart the Scottish top flight, how come we got such stick when we signed Justin Whittle and Gary Holt all those years ago? I mean, my God, this is an argument you could knock down with a feather.

“(The Ibrox club) are poised to land the £1.7million Moroccan sensation from AS FAR Rabat – the Royal Armed Forces – side after catching the eye of Ibrox scouts. Igamane is rated as a hot prospect in his homeland and is set to be part of the Morocco under 23 side battling at the Olympic Games in Paris in July.”

Sensation? With his scoring record? Which I’ll get to in a minute.

Let me tell you about Morocco; almost all of its teams have tie-ins with clubs in France and a handful of other countries. If he was, as they say, a sensation then clubs in those countries would have known about him far ahead of the one at Ibrox.

This is a player who has had such a low impact he doesn’t even have his Wikipedia page yet. And Ibrox scouts were at Moroccan armed forces games, were they? They couldn’t get tickets for something more high profile? Is this a joke?

“Former SFA youth supremo Wotte spent almost five years in charge of the North African’s kids’ set up until 2020 and he reckons it’s a rich source of talent for European clubs. The Dutchman didn’t cross paths with Igamane during his time in Morocco but he’s heard the buzz around the youngster and knows the country is booming on the back of their stunning success in reaching the World Cup semi-finals in Qatar two years ago.”

So, let’s get this straight; Wotte doesn’t actually know anything about the player, he’s never watched the guy, but he still has contacts in the game there who have told him about “the buzz”, the buzz that is so loud that “Ibrox scouts” are the ones who discovered him. As to this “the country is booming” stuff … only three players have left their clubs since that World Cup for more than £2 million. Three. One to France and two to … err … teams in the UAE.

All of this information is out there, freely available, for anyone to find.

“Igamane has hit 16 goals in two seasons for AS FAR – known as the Military – to blast on to the scouting lists of sides across the continent. He knows it’s a major step up from the Moroccan Botola top flight but if the frontman can settle he can be a top prospect for the Light Blues.”

16 goals in two years! Terrifying!

Combined with national service in the Moroccan military, how are Scottish defenders going to sleep at night?

Does an average take of eight goals a season really “blast you on to the scouting lists” of sides across the continent? What continent? He plays in Africa, so is that the continent we’re talking about?

Do you notice that it says “if the frontman can settle he can be a top prospect”?

Not a “top player” but a “top prospect.”

If he can settle.

I bet Ibrox fans can barely contain their excitement.

“Wotte told Record Sport: “The young players in Morocco are very instinctive in the way they play. There is a lot of young talent but most of them look to move abroad as soon as they get the chance. Hamza was a little younger when I was there so I wasn’t too aware of him but there is a lot of talk about him.”

A lot of talk. For all we know that talk amounts to people saying “are a Scottish club really going to pay £1.7 million for this guy? Why?”

“He’s playing at a good club as they have been strong in the last couple of seasons. Hamza has also been part of the Under-23s and Olympic team so it’s clear he has talent – and a lot of potential. The big thing for him will be adapting to Scottish football. It’s an entirely different environment.”

Have you ever looked at the GB Olympic team? Or the Scotland Under 23 side? How many players from those make it to the big time? A handful, I assure you. Because I’ve looked, many, many times, wondering if we’re missing something. The Scotland teams underneath the U21 level are mainly made up of players from our academy and the one at Ibrox … and we know how many of those have been able to break into the first team squads.

“I’d say the Moroccan top division is perhaps on the same level as the Premiership’s bottom six. Some big teams play in front of large, passionate crowds and smaller clubs who maybe have 1000 fans each week. It will be a step up playing at Ibrox in front of 60,000.”

First, if the Moroccan top flight is the equivalent of the Premiership bottom six then that’s a damning indictment of the job he did at the SFA isn’t it? Secondly, what exactly is he on about? There is no club in the Scottish top flight, or in the second or third tier for that matter, who play in front of just 1000 fans. There are probably Second Division teams playing in front of bigger crowds, so who is he trying to kid with that kind of rubbish?

“There is clearly a lot of talent in the country. Look at the team that got to the World Cup semi-finals in Qatar. A lot of that side were with me in the Under-23s and it was incredible seeing them step up on that stage.”

A handful of those players, at most, would have been eligible for his Under 23 team, so that claim is arrant nonsense for a start.

And I’m sure there is talent in the country, but how many Moroccan players make it to the very top of the game? Anyway, what does any of this have to do with the player we’re talking about? He wasn’t in that team, he’s nowhere near their national side, and Morocco did well but no-one kidded on they were suddenly an elite team.

“Most of those players play for clubs outside Morocco and it will be good for Hamza’s development to perform at a big club like Rangers. It’s not an easy move to make. It’s a very different style of football than he is used to, it can be fast and furious. But Hamza is young and will be keen to learn. It’s an exciting move for him.”

Could you be damning someone with fainter praise? You tell me where in this piece is the slightest suggestion that this guy will be taking Scottish football defences apart? A young player who will be “keen to learn.” He can “develop”.

This is a pure punt, and an expensive one for a player from that league, and that club.

No wonder the hacks are desperate to dress it up as something else.

What a horror show of an article that is.

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  • Bunter says:

    He’s going to play in front of 60,000 at Ibrox? God these Scottish journalists don’t even know the capacity of their favourite team! It’s a joke.

  • harold shand says:

    ‘ Playing at Ibrox in front of 60,000 ‘

  • Paul Walker says:

    You’ve got to admit these guys at the record do try their damndest to sell these players to the fans at sevco.

    So it will be very interesting once we see who we will sign, and I hope we do not have to wait forever, as that’s been our style for years, the only time we changed that way was when ange was here.

    Then it was a case of having players identified very early on, then go out and get them signed early

    This then gave those new players the time to settle in, get to know the players already there, and when it came time to kick the season off, everyone knew what their part was and hit the ground running.

    Surely Rodgers and hisback room staff had players in mind when the season ended.

    We cannot afford to leave things till the last minute, because if talks break down there isn’t much wriggle room to get a replacement player in.

    It’s early doors but we need to see some movement soon, if only to settle the nerves of the eagerly awaiting fans wanting to see who we bring in to kick off our defence of our title, and also the experienced players needed to have a good CL run.

  • Michael Conway says:

    You just have to go back to the daily rangers headlines about caxinhaha,he was the 007 of football managers,how did that pan oot

  • Jim M says:

    Think someone’s been on glue or a deludamol overdose, how the fk is this allowed to go to print.

  • Brattbakk says:

    60000 aye? If they weren’t such a horrible bunch I’d have some sympathy although I don’t know why the idiotic reporters write these stories, telling everyone a guy is brilliant still won’t make it so.

  • scousebhoy says:

    birdbrain bazza will be delighted battles , assaults, trenches a real rainjurs man.

  • SFATHENADIROFCHIFTINESS says:

    Just a question James.
    In this post Brexshit landscape will the Moroccan Marauding Major be entitled
    to a visa to come and play for such an illustrious Klub as Sevco?
    Will the SFA play ball ? (silly question I know ).

    Punt written all over it. Low ball Prospect incoming, hoping for major sell on fee.

  • Rob Mooney says:

    Playing at Ibrox in front of 60000. LOL

  • James Archibald says:

    thank you I could never remember that boys name justin whittle HH

  • Big Wolf says:

    Yes, Scottish journalists love messaging figures for Sevco’s benefit. In the lead up to the title decider at Parkhead, Andy Newport was talking up Sevco’s chances of winning the league and accessing £60 million from direct Champions League qualification.

    Once we had won the league he stated that Celtic would have access to £40 million Champions League funds. Last week he was quoting £34 million. By the time we get to the new season he will have us paying a fee to be allowed to participate.

    They keep us amused during the close season.

  • John Logue says:

    And Ibrox doesn’t hold 60 thousand !

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Looks like it’s Wotte that said 60,000 at Liebrox…

    Two things here then –

    1) Watte worked at The SFA so will be very well schooled in telling pathological lies and the ‘requirement’ to bum up Sevco if even falsified ground capacity to make them feel good…

    2) Even if it was a genuine oversight by a foreign fella long outta Scottish Football, the crayon scribbler didn’t correct him nor the editor either…

    3) We expect this type of pure pish to get all The Sevco Huns to buy it and they will of course in droves…

    4) But only the most dense of dense Celtic supporters would even dream of financially supporting that lot of evil lunatics that somehow still plod the corridors of The Scummy Scottish Football Media asylum !

  • Sophie Johnstone says:

    You missed out the 60,000 crowd at Ibrox,they gonna sit 2 to a seat in some area’s

  • Belfast Tim says:

    I do agree with you on most of your points especially when it comes to the clowns of the Scottish press. But your comments about most of our former players from Israel joining their army because of their neighbours try giving that as an explanation to the people of Gaza that are being slaughtered by said army. Who’s the seriously unfriendly neighbours.

    • James Forrest says:

      Just about everybody. And I’m not here to give explanations to the people of Gaza. This is a FOOTBALL BLOG, I’m not a UN delegate.

  • Woodyiom says:

    This is another attempt by Ibrox to copy us – buying cheap (albeit £1.7m is not that cheap) young “potential” and hoping it will pay off big time.

    As we’ve all pointed out many times over – the reality is one in ten of these type of punts works out but, no matter what the fee generated for the one that works, it doesn’t compensate for the lost fees, time, energy and fall in overall team standards due to the other nine being utter mince. I would have thought this is the one strategy that they absolutely wouldn’t want to copy us at as we’ve proven it doesn’t really work – for every Matt O’Reilly there’s ten like Marian Shved, Mo Bangura, Vakoun Bayo, Christian Gamboa, Manny Perez, Andrew Gutman, Daniel Arzani, Marvin Compper (albeit he wasn’t young but still a cheap dud) etc etc.

    But hey if they want to spend £1.7million on him then all the better for us 🙂

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