Assessing defenders and graduating talent


The story of Celtic’s left back position has been largely painful over the years. Emilio Izaguirre arrived after the 2010 Wold Cup and, for a few seasons at least, strengthened what was a perennial weak spot in the team. You’re going back decades, possibly to Danny McGrain himself, before you’ll find someone in the left back position Emilio wasn’t clearly a stand-out improvement on.

Having supplanted Emilio in the Celtic team, there’s a good chance that 18-year-old Kieran Tierney will make his Scotland debut tonight on his breakthrough season. It’s a great story for a player who has physicality and maturity beyond his years. We might just have a genuine player on our hands.

The echo of a big failure at left back still reverberates around the club. Seven years ago Sligo Rovers’ Seamus Coleman, was on trial at Lennoxtown, but was sent home as he wasn’t judged able to put pressure on Lee Naylor, during Gordon Strachan’s last season. Then reserve team coach, Willie McStay, recommended Coleman to Everton, where the player has turned into one of the best left backs in the English Premier League.

Assessing strikers is comparatively easy; there are objective statistics (goals scored) to inform your view, including at youth level. It’s not as easy assessing a defender, where picking a winner offers you only subjective opinions. Kieran has achieved far more than any of his teenage contemporaries this season, some of whom were more lauded than him.

Perhaps the crucial deciding factor in all this was who was given an extended run in the team. If you don’t allow your youth players to graduate (at the right time), and don’t sacrifice first team mainstays (at the right time) you’ll forever buy other teams’ graduates.

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  1. Celticrollercoaster supporting Shay,our bhoy wonder along the way on

    Twists n Turns




    BRTH confined to a single paragraph? Ha, ha, there are two chances of that…….fat and nae :-)








  2. Celticrollercoaster supporting Shay,our bhoy wonder along the way on

    Oh, off the post…



    Well done The TimReaper, that’s the quickest Ive seen you move :-)







  3. CRC



    Spoiled my 1,2,3,



    Well done on hitting the woodwork, you’re normally high, wide and handsome.

  4. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Oscar Knox, MacKenzie Furniss and anyone else who fights Neuroblastoma on

    Celticrollercoaster supporting Shay,our bhoy wonder along the way on 29th March 2016 12:23 pm



    Cobblers! lol

  5. I’m a bit worried it’s all a bit too much too soon for Kieran. He could have been given a rest here and there (Morton, EK). Izzy seems to have dropped off the face of the earth, he could still do a job here and there.

  6. Crc


    I hope yer right, and it’s fitting you replied to me, because when I was reading BRTH’s response this morning, and he spoke of Brother Walfrid, and the ethos of what he wanted from Celtic, it made me think of the many good people like yourself who tirelessly and with no thought of themselves, bring hope and joy to so many deserving people.


    That would certainly bring a smile to the founder of the club.


    I’m playing a difficult game now by naming people, because there are so many of you I will stop for fear of neglecting someone that deserves a mention.


    Safe to say though that you are all held in high regard for making such a difference.

  7. Happy Birthday Leftclick Tim, a Celtic man :-)



    Happy Birthday mrs bt.aal the best k



    Good luck to kieron on his debut tonight, I hope all internationals come back rarin to go




  8. Paul67



    You are one contrary Bhoy !



    The blog talks about fitba politics and u talk Fitba.



    It’s your baw after all!




  9. Ttr,



    I kinda agree.



    But it’s a fine balance between that and playing with a settled defence.







    ITALIABHOY@8:07 –




    You raise a number of salient, if not entirely new, points and observations about the demise of Rangers and the inevitability of its return. Of course it was always going to be a return, in one form, or another, even if they had stopped playing in 2012 and Ibrox had been bulldozed and sold to a developer. The ‘Rangers’ constituency is too big to disappear in Scotland, they would have bought over another club and called it Rangers – unhappily the Bears outside the ‘big hoose’ were right in the strictest sense – A ‘Rangers will never die’.



    When a crime is committed and the perpetrator is caught and convicted, usually a punishment is meted out – however every punishment has consequences and quite often the delayed consequential impact is felt much harder by the offender than the actual punishment itself – the exception being of course in the case of capital punishment, where the sentence and consequences are almost inseparable.



    When a person in a position of trust commits a fraud, the consequences of being convicted may far outweigh the actual punishment imposed – e.g. perhaps a one year custodial sentence, but the prospect of never being able work in their chosen field again – and so the case of the driver given a fine and a one year ban for drunk-driving – the consequential loss in terms of unemployment and possibly loss of car can be calamitous.



    So what have been the punishments and consequences for the occupants of Ibrox and Murray Park since we all found out that they cheated Scottish Football, HMRC and umpteen creditors in 2012? Of course administration and now liquidation have been forced upon them – but what has it actually meant to the entity that tens of thousands in the West of Scotland call Rangers?



    Financial Consequences



    1) An enforced four year absence from the top-tier of Scottish Football for the first time in their existence – probable cost 80 million pounds.



    2) An enforced six year absence from European competition – probable cost 25 million pounds.



    3) Loss of transfer fees for players who would not ‘TUPE’ – McGregor, Naismyth, Lafferty, Davis and others – probable loss around 15 million pounds.



    4) Loss of merchandising income to Sports Direct – probable cost 30 million pounds.



    5) Loss of sponsors – probable cost 8 million pounds.



    6) Thrown off the London Stock Exchange.



    7) Unable to get a credit facility with any major bank.



    8) Overall debt of around 30 million pounds.






    9) Two fines totalling around half a million pounds.



    10) Transfer ban (largely mitigated)



    Operating Consequences



    11) Taken over by a fraud and a charlatan – Craig Whyte.



    12) Taken over by a fraud and charlatan – Charles Green.



    13) Taken over by a convicted tax criminal – David King.



    14) Supreme Court may find Rangers guilty of criminal tax evasion.



    15) Hauled through the courts by Mike Ashley and MASH.



    16) Stadium dilapidated and in need of extensive repairs.



    17) Recruiting only free-transfers and players from lower leagues.



    18) Probably not trusted any other club on staged transfers-payments.



    I imagine if the above ‘package’ had been mooted at the time, many of our support would have never believed that it would come to pass – however as we all know, it has. Would we have been satisfied at this retribution? – yes I think some of us would have.



    Now I am not joining the “we’ve been punished enough brigade” – I still believe that titles and other prizes won during the ‘financial doping’ years should be forfeited and, of course there must be some kind of ‘closure’ to the Resolution 12 issue, which of course also includes the SFA.



    In monetary terms, I believe the cost to the Rangers/Sevco/TIFC for their deceit has been of the order of 178 million pounds (my best guess). The loss of status and reputation is impossible to quantify – however it is entirely possible that the (any) new incarnation will not be able to return to the top two in Scotland for many years.



    Who knows what the upcoming ‘Fraudco’ court cases will uncover and who knows what the consequences may be.



    I guess, and this is NOT a criticism, that a good proportion of our support still want our ‘pound of flesh’, regardless of what has gone before – all I would say is what a shame it would be if the drive for that ‘flesh’ divides and damages the Celtic family in the process.


    COSYCORNERBHOY and I are now happily ensconced in Dublin Airport awaiting our flight home.



    After the most marvellous of marvellous weekends in the most marvellous of marvellous company!



    My grateful but nowhere-near-enough thanks to CLOGHERCELT and ALMORE for their hospitality and efforts on our behalf,and similar to those who joined us on the trip.



    Ireland put on a show,we turned up and thoroughly enjoyed it!



    My apologies to those there whom I could not contact due to Internet and phone problems,and an extra and huge thanks to someone who graciously accepted an apology from me rather than a deserved slap.



    All in all,I wouldn’t have missed Easter 2016 for the world.

  12. Thought Tom Boyd did well there as well When he played that position ?





    BT, apologies from this morning, to your good Lhady, when offering birthday wishes to that bhig Roaster fae Coatbrig :-)


    Very Very Hooopy Brthday to Mrs BT, as well



    Hail Hail

  13. Melbourne Mick on




    Thank you for that post on the previous blog which enlightened


    us Oz Celts a bit more about the machinations of res12, i don’t


    know if you caught my post last night when i mentioned that


    Willie Wallace spoke very highly of you at our tribute night for him


    but now i know why.




    I agree Tosh was a fine left back who i used to curse frequently when


    he played against us with the Hearts but i grew to love his bit of dig


    when he was with us.


    H.H Mick

  14. ....PFayr ..SACK THE BOARD on

    Coleman is a right back



    Baines had been left back at Everton for years



    Aiden Coleman is a jockey :¬)

  15. MR PASTRY on 29TH MARCH 2016 12:47 PM



    What is currently dividing the Celtic Family is a lack of leadership and the continuance of a just do enough policy that is leading to an on the field product that is turning off fans big time.

  16. Seamus Coleman is a right back which has been a weak spot this season—-although there signs Lustig is recovering from his injuries in the last games.



    A stable defence will help see off Hearts , Dundee and Motherwell before dealing with the bile at hampden.



    The only question for me is will it be sunny on cup final day ?



    I wouldn’t get too hung up on Res 12 — 4 years down the line despite the best efforts of a gallant band — the daring plan has been spoiled by Lawwell & Co

  17. kikinthenakas on

    Leighton Baines is the Everton left back with Seamus Coleman on the right.



    Regards Kieran, there is no doubt he is a talent but like most of the team has been off the boil and poor in recent weeks. The boo bhoys leave him alone because he is one of us and came thru Lennoxtown. Maybe the boo bhoys should give the rest of the team this benefit.




  18. Eyes Wide Open on

    Scouting strikers is a lot more black and white than any other position – good strikers have put the ball in the back of the net regularly since they started playing football, irrespective of the level and platform they have had thus far.



    Our recruitment department are still scouting looking focussing on the grey.



    You can convert a midfielder him into a defender easily enough providing they have the necessary discipline, awareness and ability to read the game – strikers score goals, end of.



    Similarly you can push a defender further forward providing they have those same traits plus the technical ability,



    Can someone please forward this very basic principle on to our recruitment department.



    The person who recommended we sign CKR’s name should not be employed by Celtic – pure and simple.


    Mr Lawell should also use this example and that of CC as evidence perhaps he should leave the football to the football men and the business to the businessmen.

  19. Geordie Munro on

    Ahhh right. Tet explains.



    I didn’t read it like that if I’m honest.




  20. Never mind Seamus – at least we picked up that other talented youngster, Carlton Coleman….

  21. Geordie Munro on

    I wonder what went on during young Seamus’s trial.



    I heard he was as keen as mustard.



    OopsSorry csc

  22. Great post Mr Pastry, I’v been saying it for weeks that when it seems things are not going the way some Celtic supporters would like are ( predicable) turning the guns on the club, this is what annoys me, and I’ll ask again, when did this become CFC fault? As the res.12 guys keep saying it’s not a Celtic Rangers thing, it’s all of Scottish football involved, so why are CFC getting it in the neck? Because it’s an easy target, CFC are not getting drawn into this Celtic blogs (not P67) prediction that thousands will not renew ST, at some point it had to go back to the old additive of attacking the board, surprised? Naaa, the SMSM and the SFA are sitting back loving it, instead of taking your point or beef as far as you can and accepting how it turns out win/loss wipe yourself up dust yourself down, and just be happy you made your point fine, everyone knows you’ve gave it your best shot and that’s it.

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