You didn’t need to see the evidence for yourself last night, but Cameron Carter-Vickers gave more evidence that he is an absolute rock of a defender. How we managed to sign him for £6m in June is remarkable.
Before Tottenham agreed on his loan to Celtic with an option to buy, the player spent four years loaned to six different English Championship clubs. He excelled at each, encouraging Spurs to keep a tight reign on him. It wasn’t until he turned 23 that they considered an exit price, without ever playing a competitive game for his parent club.
His profile is not that different to Dedryck Boyata. When Dedryck signed from Manchester City, he was a year older than Cameron when he arrived, but had played significantly less football. Consequentially, his first season in Glasgow was full of bomb scare moments. It took time for Celtic to turn him into a Belgium international. Cameron cut his teeth in a competitive Championship before arriving at Celtic.
I would not like to contemplate his departure anytime soon, but if you consider the £14m we got for Kristoffer Ajer and the £20m Ajax paid for Calvin Bassey, Cameron is a very valuable asset.
The challenge to our primacy in Scotland will be orchestrated by Michael “Mick” Beale, who was appointed Newco boss on Monday evening. He is a relatively safe pair of hands. Unlike most alternatives, he will not have to spend the next six months getting to know what is possible to squeeze out of this squad he has inherited.
As recently as last month, with QPR leading the Championship, he was unattainable by (then bottom of the EPL) Wolves and regarded as out of reach for Newco. A subsequent collapse in west London changed all that. “Mick” (we’ll see how long it takes before they’re calling him Ted) saw his challenge circling the plughole, QPR did their best to keep a straight face when asked about a possible approach for their manager. The move made sense for everyone.
There is a difference between being a coach and a manager. The latter has all the responsibility, the former has the luxury of being able to indulge in clever technical detail, without the need to pull a dressing room along with him. This quality was lacking at both Newco and QPR in recent weeks. Both clubs are likely to see an uptick in form as players attempt to impress their new bosses, although dead cats seldom soar for long.
No one believes Beale is a gamechanger. He is a known quantity, experienced in the most over-priced league structure in the world, who was part of a management regime at Ibrox which won only one trophy from nine, and that was tamely conceded to them.
There was rumours of a Portuguese candidate managing in Brazil. This echoed our reach for a Greek-Australian working in Japan, but Newco have walked this road before. Portuguese Pedro Caixinha was recruited from Qatar before being sacked a few hilarious months later. I expect this experience made the Newco board averse to a left-field candidate.
The reality is, it is impossibly hard to get a managerial appointment right. Even the biggest clubs in the world with the most experienced execs repeatedly get it wrong, so don’t think you, me, or Billy across the street has a font of wisdom on this subject. Nor does Douglas Park, though, as we will soon find out. Whatever Beale’s talents are, they will not touch the side of Newco’s structural problems.