Eye for a player and the scouting feedback loop


I remember a sharp intake of breath when I looked up Eboue Kouassi’s playing record when he joined Celtic three years ago: 10 appearances in the Russian league, where he arrived as an 18-year-old from Ivory Coast.  There is always an assumption that the club have scouted beyond YouTube clips, but with only 10 appearances, the opportunity to go from settling into southern Russia, to solid performer and then promising talent are limited.

Celtic moved early, too early, as it turned out, but there would have been an acknowledgement of the gamble before it took place.  With most European leagues blanket-scouted, our resources moved to the periphery, and even then, if you take too long to make your mind up, you lose.

Feedback loops are important in scouting.  When scouts make good recommendations, clubs back their next call.  “He has an eye for a player” and all that.  But no one’s vision is faultless.  Whoever put their name to Eboue will have since suffered the feedback loop consequences.

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  1. I tend not to hype up young players as I have seen so many fall by the wayside, but if Mikey Johnston can get on the Dembele diet and bulk up he can be a superstar



    It amazes me that people don’t seem to rate him

  2. Hrvatski Jim on



    Thanks for the good wishes. It’s always good to wake up on this morning with sweet dreams of Lisbon fresh in the mind.


    You seem in good form with your Lisbon song the other night.



    First Aid Kit – I saw them at Barrowland with James1955 who is a regular reader here and occasional poster. They can really do a live show. We had tickets to see them again in Kelvingrove last year but it was cancelled. Joanna, the tall one, is expecting soon so I doubt if they will tour again for a while.



    I do seem to have an affinity with the Swedes. Bjorn Borg was/is my great tennis hero and I liked/like ABBA. And then came Henrik.



    Also, I love the videos and blog of Jonna Jinton, an artist who lives in the very cold north of Sweden who is at one with nature.





    Listen to the sound of ice singing:





    Just perfect to calm me down after I have read the views of Gareth McAuley.



    I saw the tribute to Helen by Jeanette Finlay – nothing more I could add.



    Ron – sorry to hear your sad news.



    I hope that the regulars who have not been on recently are well and good to see DD and a few others back on here, even if only occasionally.

  3. Paul67



    A bit unfair to put the scout at the centre of the feedback loop. The scout did not sign anyone.



    The scout operates within the metrics and parameters of the club (young, cheap or cheap-ish, and beginning to show promise in a comparative league).



    The scout then takes those players to the group that approve taking this to transfer level. At a minimum that group will include NFL (Rodgers in Kouassi’s case) and PL. They will decide , for a variety of reasons, not to proceed further with the vast majority of recommendations, or, at least, to demote them down the list to be looked at later in case a first choice does not get landed. They convinced themselves to go further with Kouassi; they weren’t duped by a scout with an enthusiasm.



    In Kouassi’s case, Brendan and Peter are 90% responsible for his signing not the initial scout. Since Brendan has departed, who is on the end of Peter’s feedback loop? Is it a Taxi Driver scene of PL looking at Pl in the mirror and tearing a strip of himself? Not a good look.



    I think Kouassi is a good player. I don’t know why he got such limited time (12 appearances in 3 years) though injury must have played a part. We bought him from a Russian Premiership team and we sold him, at a loss, to a Belgian team that has topped its Europa Group on 4 ocasions in recent years – 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2018, finishing in front of the likes of Sporting & Basel, Kiev and Rapid Wien, Bilbao & Wien (again), and finally, Besiktas and Malmo.



    I don’t think Kouassi will be seeing himself as a failure as yet.






    I was enjoying that discussing, por cierto.

  5. We don’t want to lose any of our Players Edouard, N’tcham, nor Ajer. We dont need to sell. We dont know when and where next season will start.



    I would not be surprised if these players all stayed due to the fact of the uncertainty around Covid19. I know I would be staying for the 10 in a row.



    Foster should be bought and maybe Elanoussi if the price is right. I have seen reports that the owner is desperate for cash and is trying unsuccessfully to sell the club.

  6. I wonder if Congleton was part of the reason for Kouassi Eboue joining, although the player came to the club in January 2017 and Congleton didn’t arrive till March the same year, but, maybe he was his idea. por cierto

  7. Now been a week since the SFA let it be known they were dropping the Res12 charges. Amazing how many pages of print it has taken up when you consider that a non evidential item was filling those columns most days for almost 3 weeks, and still is to a certain extent. This is how hard it is to try and get some sort of Fan interest in this por cierto.

  8. Big Wavy.


    I am with you on Ollie.Class act.He will be called up to the French squad ,in the not too distant future.Would be mad to get rid of him.OMO.Yours as well,I think.

  9. The thing is, how could a scout know that Kouassi was going to do his ACL?



    How could they have known he was going to get malaria?



    The thing is, there will always be some players that never truly get their chance at Celtic. Scott Brown wasn’t an instant success. It’s understandable considering what was going on with his sister off the field.



    But things happen. Pukki & Berget have proven themselves decent players but didn’t do it at Celtic. Kouassi might do that as well. Let’s be honest, the Belgian league isn’t a step down from the SPFL. He will have a chance of playing European football as well.

  10. Bhoylo83 ,


    Mikey is a wee genius,but he really has to make himself harder to knock of the ball.Hopefully,we will see,a more robust Mikey this year.Christie did it.Paddy Robert’s has done it.The game is so built on strength now.


    Cast your mind back to Hendryk,upper body strength was everything for him.






    Mix – Roger Whittaker ~ Durham Town (1969)





    For dominic and family.

  12. Por Cierto


    I live 5 miles from Congleton and it had nothing to do with any Celtic signing. 🤭



    Curse of predictive text CSC

  13. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    So, according to SMSM ….



    We are swapping a 23 year old midfielder (who we can afford to keep) and whose pedigree includes France, England, Italy plus Champions League with us



    For a 32 year old third choice keeper whose club cannot afford to keep him?




  14. On another note….



    I don’t undertsand this Hickey thing.



    We are in danger of doing what we did a few years ago with positions and buying lots of cheap to £2 or £3m pricey options and still feeling a bit meh..



    At the moment we have Boli (ok going forward but poor defensively), Taylor (a defender with no ability to beat a man on his side..), Hayes (converted and utility-like), Miller (converted and out of the picture) and now possibly wee, raw Hickey (who came from a rotten SPFL team and showed very little).



    Ironically I think the Huns best player is their LB Barisic….can we buy him perhaps?

  15. On our scouting network, does anyone know if we have scouts in the USA? How was the Harper kid picked up?

  16. glendalystonsils on

    TURKEYBHOY on 26TH MAY 2020 3:40 PM



    Quite agree . Bodily strength provides the platform to allow you to use the finer skills .

  17. Paul67



    Eboue Kouassi signed for Celtic in Jan 2017 was sold in May 2020 seems to me he got more time than most to prove himself.



    Buying potential doesn’t always work out a punt is a punt, maybe he’ll find his feet at Genk, and we seem to have moved on from his signature, long ago.

  18. ON is one of the most technical players we have.



    Does for me.



    & crucially, he and french Ed dont give two fu**s when they play the huns. s’agit-il




  19. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on

    Majstic Hartson,


    thanks for that, I can’t say I understand too much of what CBN’s numbers tell us in full, except that Christie is by far the most successful and for me the benchmark. The sample set will also have a considerable bearing which for me is not clear.


    While CBN talks about being unfair when discussing effort, while selecting the metric of effort as being the coefficient of variation, for me the effort is simpler than that, its the average number of duels that tell you how involved the player is. While the variation of this number from game to game (how I interpret the variation co-efficient) appears to be on a par with Christie, we should also consider the types of games included, where they all SPFL games?


    Or is there a mixture of competitions to balance appearance numbers?


    What and how is the sample broken up?


    I suspect the prevailing ambient conditions during games and who the opponent in what competition all have an influence.


    So while at first glance the numbers do show ON in a favorable light, it would be unfair if more of his game time was sampled from European competition while the others where from more varied competitions or more home than away on a pishy freezing night.


    This is not to say that is what CBN as done but is a consideration that will/may affect player performance.


    CBN may come back and advise all games were in the SPFL at home against teams outwith the top and bottom two and not played on synthetic surfaces. So, no hun games, no Hamilton games, no Hearts games and no Livi games. The weather would still have an impact but the sample set, I suggest, would at least be consistent.


    Maybe CBN will lets us know and shut me up:)

  20. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on

    I’d also suggest such sample selection would provide horses for courses info.

  21. glendalystonsils on

    Who is this Malin Gerer we’re signing? Is he a replacement for Si Knote?




    Thanks! Good to know.

  23. don’t believe kouassi was given a decent chance , thought he had great potential but hey ho his new team can now sell on hagi to thems now that they have the player they wanted.

  24. prestonpans bhoys on

    Hickey is awful complete mince, a defender from a relegated team, no😱

  25. NIALLO83 on 26TH MAY 2020 1:59 PM


    CORKCELT on 26TH MAY 2020 1:06 PM




    I’ve seen the American boy Harper a few times and thought he looked a great prospect. Not the biggest (although young still) but a tremendous work rate and nice skills. Here’s hoping.

  26. GENE @ 4.55



    Think he had Malaria type symptoms don’t know if it was actually Malaria, he also got a bad ligament





    If you’ve not made the first a team dig in the side with nearly four years of your contract gone, then I don’t think it was ever going to happen for him at Celtic, hence the sale IMO.

  27. Olivier Ntcham has blown hot and cold at Celtic, wouldn’t be surprised we let him move on especially with Soro and one or two more, waiting for their chance in midfield.







    Surprised you don’t rate Hickey we’ve a daisy chain of Left Backs not fully filling Tierney’s jersey and the chance to get him with Hearts in a mess, looks like a goer.

  29. Bournesouprecipe



    ‘re Hickey,did we not have him as a youngyin?



    Hope your enjoying our 9 😊




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