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. Majestic Hartson on




    Nice offer for your ticket. I’m working until 8 or would have taken you up on it. I hope someone can make good use of it.




  2. Majestic Hartson on

    Re youth –



    A coach – son of one of the Lisbon Lions – told me the top players have all played 100 odd first team players by the time they are 21 (I think it was).



    That then throws up a few different questions –



    What chance have our youngsters have of making it to the top level if they are not given this game time?



    Is there no value in looking at players who have done this and already proven themselves in unfashionable leagues but are (potentially) less of a punt than the players who have played 10-20 games or whatever P67 suggests is the ideal time?


    Lewis Ferguson being an example – whether they’d be a first choice from the get go, they would be less of a gamble.



    If a player gets to 24 or whatever and have only played a handful of games surely they are a bigger risk that an older player who has no resale value but we know what we are getting.

  3. Deliberately watched Kwon last night after a nonsensical tirade yesterday by Paul 67 who I have the utmost respect for …….I’m just going to say…..Oh dear.

  4. Kevj the unionist posting fellow grifter unionist from sons of struth ya banger



    The rebs in the jungle are pointing and laughing at you in pity





    Funny these fleg waving irish pishtriots never go near Armagh,Falls Rd or the bogside…wonder why



    Wee racists like yourself kev,all typing no front.


    Irish pishtriots only interested in a 26 county ireland.


    We see thro your unionism,its poisonous racist tenticles at work,as always.


    The 200 there feels like a lot more online,once with all there not to confident range of monikers.


    We see you racist scum

  5. Magic Hartson



    Thanks for that. My lad plays football so often have a spare which I always like to ensure goes to good use. So perhaps next time.

  6. Greenpinata



    My point is fans who support the team are great. Punters who sit and moan about them are better not being there. All they do L, like the second half v Killie, is create even more pressure and panic.

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