Ambition being demolished in real time


We signed Hyeok-kyu Kwon (22) for €1m from K League 2 club Busan IPark.  He joined St Mirren on loan last month, where he has since made six appearances.  Watch this short video montage of him there.

Look at his stature; he is 6’ 4” tall and broad too.  Watch how he tackles, wins the ball, look at his passing.  Note how he runs with his head up, the way he covers 20 yards to close down opponents.  This is in the league we play in, the league we have looked lost during long period in games.

All this, when a few of us bemoan the lack of physical presence in the side and regret the retirement of Aaron Mooy.

A quick reminder of Celtic’s place in the food chain.  We are able to sign players from Norwich in the English second tier who can do a job here but will not transform us.  We were able to sign a number from Israel (I doubt this will happen again).  We can shop in the Benfica youth ranks and pick up the odd star in places like Spurs’ unwanted list.

All of the above is capable of winning the league and remaining just about where we are in Europe, nothing more.  If we want to actually progress as a club, we need to take risks and be capable of the kind of outstanding find that Kwon clearly is.

That’s not all.  When we manage to achieve this, we cannot be a place where talent comes to die, where it withers on an unhappy vine.

Recruitment is not all about what the player brings in the way of innate talent (I remember Tommy Burns talking about how Celtic coaches had to work on the touch of Pierre van Hooijdonk), it is also about how you transform that talent into a great footballer.

If we are in the business of making great strides  in Europe, we are also at the raw material end of the talent purchase business.  If you want to remain roughly where you are – just a bit ahead of Newco – buy the kind of finished article you can afford.

That’s your choice.  Stay only just ahead of Newco – buy the finished article you can afford and will come to Scotland.  Or, make real strides as a club – buy and play Kwon, and develop him into a Champions League player.

Our job is to find talent with huge potential and develop that potential into something special, not to look for lazy shortcuts that anyone with more money than the rest of the league could succeed with.  This is really difficult.  Most players will fail, when they do, we move on quickly, but if we committ the club and apply our significant resources to this strategy, we can make significant strides.

Now I read that after having the player for five weeks, St Mirren have opened talks to extend Kwon’s stay for the whole of next season.  It is like watching ambition being demolished in real time, with cheer leaders who hate what they want most – to just stay ahead of the other lot.  Knowing the CQN demographic as I do, we are all a bit too old to hope for more in Europe too far into the future.  I want it now, give me Kwon in the heart of the midfield in August, give me more like him, or tell yourself you are happy squabbling with the neighbours.

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  1. onenightinlisbon on

    So who decided that guys like Kwon, Lagerbielke, Kobyashi and Tillio are not good enough for us?



    Is it the manager or someone with a laptop and access to a stats site?

  2. The Battered Bunnet on

    It’s not all black or white, Paul, we need the colours too. Rejoice in the precocity of talented youngsters, but we the full spectrum of performers to create a team that can compete at the top end.



    Reliance on the planting and growth of young talent means we never get beyond the harvest. It’s a seasonal model, as we find out every couple of years – this far and no further.



    Can anyone beat that for metaphors mixing?

  3. Sadly, in European terms, we ate quite some way behind sevco. This is long ongoing and isn’t down to current mgt team or anything recent.


    (for ref – 8th paragraph down mentions Europe and ‘newco’ this is how I’m making the link)


    Agree that we need to do things differently. Since the first Ange season, and his exceptional contacts book, I feel as though we have regressed. First gradually then more pronounced

  4. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Oh dear – no ambition?. I think you have published to the wrong target. Try sending it to the board.


    And if you want to move beyond “newco” why do you write about them so much?

  5. I dont understand you’re point Paul67. You say most signings will fail yet we must keep up our u23 project signing policy only ?? And we will still be rubbish in europe.




    Are you having a dig at Rogers for not spotting how brilliant kwon and other projects actually are ??

  6. Glad to hear that the we will no longer be signing players who do not share the same ethos as the club.



    It was madness to begin with and was always going to end up badly.



    Those with an inflated sense of entitlement, a penchant for thieving lands and murderous inclinations are more suited to the ten year old club playing out of ibrox.

  7. Glenowen – it’s a year since Sevco became the worst team in Champions League group history, with 0 points out of 18 and a record goal difference against. I don’t think they’re the benchmark we should be aiming at.

  8. Kwon does look promising. Curious why we didn’t give him a chance. Hopefully he will progress for rest of season at St Mirren while Iwata shows his potential with us for that time until Hatate returns.

  9. Chavez



    There are pish, however we are pisher.


    Just wasn’t sure about Paul suggesting we were slightly ahead of them. Not in European terms we’re not.

  10. So, because Kwon does well at SM for five weeks he’s the answer to what we’ve been missing?



    Paul Hartley and Barry Robson won us the league in 2008. Scott Brown and Massimo Donati were losing us it. Fortune change that (rather than a great decision by WGS).



    The point is there are players that we should sign short term because you still need to keep winning, We were never going to get a sell on for BR or PH but they did a great job for 18 months.



    Kwon may have taken 4,5 or 6 months to settle in. Who’s to say he has the bottle to play for Celtic? Turnbull was a cracking players for Motherwell but struggled at CP.



    I appreciate we need to try and find young “gem’s” but spare us the 10 projects every summer will bring us great success in Europe line. The FACT is that rangers have been to two european final since our last one.



    It’s about winning.

  11. I see the combo of Dickinson as ref and Dallas on VAR is in action at rugby park tomorrow night for thems.



    More sinister is Greg Aitken on VAR at Tynecastoe for our game on Sunday. Robertson is ref.

  12. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    Except with this strategy we’re not a wee bit ahead of Newco, we’re a wee bit behind them and odds on to surrender the league this season and gift them financial parity.



    Unless you’re trying to tell us that playing Kwon and others recruited in the summer would have us comfortably ahead – which would be quite the insult to our intelligence given how raw every single one of them has proven to be.



    Let’s face it, we took a massive gamble in the summer. We would have chosen to use our financial advantage to recruit players that would have made this season’s title as close to a certainty as we could (we can argue about risk probabilities).



    We could have brought in a balance of established and raw. Instead we go all in on this jam tomorrow option, which stands a better than even chance of blowing up in our face. Not just for this year, but for many years to come, rendering your Champions League ambition completely redundant. That’s an epic failure of strategic judgement, sorry.



    I’m as pleased as the next guy that Kwon is showing me something, but please desist with the phoney logic that it justifies our recruitment strategy and how it has left us in our current position. It doesn’t add up..

  13. Celtic have always been in the business of developing footballers, it’s in our DNA.



    Barrowfield has seen many a success down the years, Lennoxtown less so, yet still some very notable successes.



    Kwon is following in a fine Celtic tradition



    He played in the season warm up matches against Wolves and Athletico Bilbao, during the time, the coaches and manager ran the rule over all our players.



    Kwon certainly looked raw, especially against the technically excellent Spaniards.



    He was not the answer in the Scottish League Cup, never mind the Champions League.



    He has been working on a development plan that is providing dividends for the player and the Club.



    It’s what we do.



    No player had the right to walk into a Jock Stein first team and that’s the same now.



    Of course Jock and most of our other managers had a vibrant Reserve Team they utilised to great effect.



    Development players coming through, first team players returning from injury, they came through the Reserves.



    We don’t have Reserves anymore, we did it so much better than Rangers, so they scraped the Reserve League and another great Scottish tradition in football was skooshed away.



    We now have a huge hole when it comes to development and player progression and the loan route has done great things for many of our players including Calmac and Ajer.



    We’ve had a lot of questions this season, Kwon finding his feet in the first team was never the answer.



    An established SPL player Scott Tanser got the MoTM for St Mirren at the weekend, while Kwon was subbed.



    He’s a ways to go… if he’s good enough, a XL non-shrink Jersey awaits.



    Let’s wish the lhad the best.



    And let’s get behind our team on the pitch.



    The hiheidyins are big enough and ugly enough to look after their own careers.






    Hail Hail

  14. Read about WDH on the last thread, always came accross as a fine Tim, willing to help others out.



    May he R.I.P.



    Hail Hail

  15. Operation Save Mark Lawwell in full effect. First Tillio must be a player cos he scores a good goal in Australia now Kwon is our future after half a dozen good games at St. Mirren. Much like Lagerbielke was the future back in October.



    They may or may not develop into players but they were unplayable at the start of the season and nowhere near the required quality to play in the Champions League Group stages. They are out on loan precisely because they were nowhere near ready (and we should make much more use of the loan market for our young players) Meanwhile, the team is on its knees starved of quality. Our best signings in the last 3 seasons were CCV (£6m) Jota (£6m) and Kyogo (£5m). None of them were identified by Mark Lawwell. He’s been here for 4 transfer windows can you name one successful signing?



    “If we are in the business of making great strides in Europe”



    We’re not though are we? Not under this regime. 2 decades of abject failure under Peter Lawwel’s leadership.



    “If you want to remain roughly where you are – just a bit ahead of Newco – buy the kind of finished article you can afford”



    Well that’s nonsense, are you seriously suggesting we would have been worse off with 4 x £6m signings than we are now (with still tens of millions in the bank)? But if the option is to stay just ahead of Newco with the finished article or fall slightly behind Newco with projects on the complete uncertainty of maybe jam tomorrow I know what one I prefer. And it’s the one that brings in the Champions League windfall.



    No one’s saying don’t scour the world for talent. But if you are relying on them to come into a new culture, adjust to a new style of football and hit the ground running then you are an absolute fool.



    “Our job is to find talent with huge potential and develop that potential into something special”



    No it’s not. The job is to put the best team on the park within our budget. Developing players to be sold on is secondary and a natural occurrence of being successful. It doesn’t matter how many puff pieces you right there is no future for Peter or Mark Lawwell at this club.

  16. SFTB



    Sorry to hear that. I met Bryan at one of the early CQN gatherings and we got on very well.

  17. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    This manager is clueless. We should have been playing






    Bernardo Holm


    Tilio. Yang






    from the start of the season. What’s he thinking about?

  18. SFTB et al,



    Sorry to hear the sad news about Whitedoghunch.



    I vividly remember his posts about wining and dining.



    RIP Bryan.



    I have sad news to bring about an ex-CQnr who hasn’t been on these pages for some time.



    News has been forwarded that Whitedoghunch (Bryan) has passed away after a long spell in hospital. Brian was a source of info on restaurants and fine food all across Scotland and abroad. I remember him telling me he was associated with a Scottish Band in the 80s- not sure as a performer or manager- but he suffered badly from the effects of a road accident which affected his mobility, speech and even thought and mood. He used to live down the road from me but moved 15 years ago when his parents died. I had heard he was hospitalised but I knew no more until the sad news came through today.



    Brian was capable of writing some difficult stuff on here but there were neurological issues and some understandable mental health issues behind that. In person, he was generous and put me in touch with a few fine places that my family enjoyed. His was a life curtailed by that accident; he had a lot of promise unfulfilled in a life that started so brightly for him.






    Thanks for posting that message T,i got a text of PF Ayr around 11 this morning and was saddened on learning of his passing,he had serious health issues which he fought the good fight to overcome,he is now at rest,i will remember him as a vibrant character and fiercely independent with knowledgeable points of view in Celtic,food and wine and were eat out around Scotland on these pages or in company in Glasgow



    Rest easy my friend Bryan Nugent Rip 🙏




  20. bournesouprecipe on




    Celtic could be buying the pants off Sevco regardless of how many we have in our daisy chain of projects from Melbourne down under, to downtown Paisley.



    I think there’s a consensus we signed too many projects, but it was never an intention or plan to have Kwon or his likes developing out of St Mirren whilst being behind to a loan or lone doped Rainjurz squad.



    I agree, with Celtic’s broad basis of recruitment but we should sign development players in manageable numbers, the balance sheet and a sudden title ‘race’ highlights the difference makers we waited and waited for but they never arrived.

  21. Hoop hoop Hooray on

    Oh my where to start



    If I could be bothered I could destroy that piece paragraph by paragraph.



    However I especially like this bit



    . If you want to remain roughly where you are – just a bit ahead of Newco – buy the kind of finished article you can afford.



    I would change that to if you want to remain roughly where you are -just a bit ahead of newco – follow the same strategy we have followed since lawwell took over

  22. Paul 67,



    Good luck to St Mirren for possibly developing a player for us.i wish them well but I am acutely aware of the difference between playing for St Mirren and playing for us where expectations and requirements are much more demanding.



    What is of more concern to me is our centre forward position.. i have not seen such a well taken header under pressure for a long long time.


    Put bluntly, not many players have the ability to score such a goal under real pressure.



    Why could we not have negotiated a deal with Norwich for a right to buy their 3rd choice striker.



    Adam Idah may just maybe a massive failure in our negotiation skills.







  23. P67, go check out Paddy McCourt’s YouTube highlights, I can’t believe Barca never made their move for him…



    If Kwon has got it – he’d be getting game time at Celtic. He may have potential and is currently doing well at St Mirren, fair play to him.



    But on what planet does this equate to him starting for Celtic next August in a potential CL play off round ?



    A few weeks ago Scales was being talked up as a CB for years to come…



    It’s very clear some of us have very different expectations of Celtic.



    Who needs to spend that £70 million when you can go into a CL play off with a £1 million Kwon in midfield and £650K Liam Scales in defence…

  24. onenightinlisbon on

    Not really sure what Paul’s header is trying to do.



    Blame Rodgers? Absolve the “recruitment team”



    We should not be behind Sevco in any way, shape or form considering our huge financial advantage over the years yet here we are.



    Now who is to blame for that Paul?

  25. Maybe some of the project players are not as bad as Rodger’s and plenty on here have said about them,some are to quick to judge on here and that includes ones on here who give fellow supporters for just airing there views,me personally if I have something to say and some don’t agree,to bad 3 points on Wednesday is all that matters wether the players are good or bad.

  26. Kwon was shipped out for a reason and simply wasn’t good enough to have any type of material impact in this current season.


    That goes for Tillio Lagerbiekle Holm.


    Phillips was a disaster and the jury is out on Jang Palma & Bernardo.


    If we are hanging our hat on signings like Kwon to transform us next season then we are in some mess.


    MON said it in 2005 “get ready for life in the slow lane “ when he realised that DD was tightening the belt in signings like Sutton / Hartson etc.


    Looking back all those years later he was right.


    Our signing policy of spending £2 /2.5 million on players belonged to an era in the 90s .. not 2024.


    Had lawwell not realised that inflation also relates to football players and not just pints of milk.


    We continue to do next to nothing in Europe and that looks


    Unlikely to change anytime soon.


    Time for proper change at the top of our club.




    For ambition and for us to unleash our true potential .

  27. Glad Kwon is settling in and getting game time .




    He needed it .



    To suggest he’d be the answer to our problems, with evidence from a video clip , is strangely naive .

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