Insights from strategically huge window


Having rested nine players from Sunday, last night’s result and performance was inconceivably good.  There were several star performers but I thought Anthony Ralston and David Turnbull put in shifts that may go below radar, but were both outstanding.

Callum McGregor made the most of his freedom to move forward to catch the County defence sleeping at a corner kick.  The unlikely amount of space he had inside the box was punished with remarkable simplicity.

Giorgos Giakoumakis did what Giorgos Giakoumakis does.  He was a handful for the home defence throughout, taking some industrial treatment in the process, but got his goal and could have added more.

Sead Haksabanovicat hasn’t played in 12 weeks and only signed with Celtic a week ago.  I did not expect to see him until near the end of September and, during the game, was adamant his was on the subs bench only to help him integrate with the squad.

I am happy to put a caveat before what I’m going to suggest, specifically, this Celtic team could make you or I look good, but what an impressive 15 minutes we saw of him last night.  He is direct, can cross and shoot, and was always available.  He is a player.

You and I have been doing this stuff on deadline day for a long time.  Never have we been so chilled out.  Never has the Celtic squad looked so complete.  Never have the “just one more player would guarantee the league” brigade been so prosaic.  In that time, we have seen a lot of great Celtic teams, several sides that progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League and completed four trebles.

For years, Callum McGregor played more football than any other player on the planet.  He coped admirably, but this did his development and longevity in the game no favours.

Oliver Abildgaard is a defensive mid in the peak of his career who may become the third capture from our development club in the east.  Whether he arrives or not, you have never seen as comprehensive a Celtic squad.

One more thing, as Columbo used to say.  I am very familiar with the precarious finances across the city, which continue to underpin our second successive Generation of Domination.  But even I’m surprised at their lack of transfer spend so far this window.  Has financial realism finally reached Ibrox after 34 years of havoc?

Let’s not tempt provenance, there are hours left and all this strategic stuff will feel inappropriate if the result doesn’t go our way on Saturday (it will only feel that way), but despite A Europa final, Champions League group stage and all those player sales, this window indicates the depths of their problems.

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  1. ‘…You and I have been doing this stuff on deadline day for a long time. Never have we been so chilled out. Never has the Celtic squad looked so complete. ‘



    The last 3 transfer windows have been superb.


    All post Lawwell.


    Not difficult to figure out where the problem lay.

  2. Paul 67,



    A lot of people have been saying Callum McGregor has not been at his best so far. ( He has set his own standards )



    Taking everything in and watching the game in the pub last night, a suggestion was mooted ?



    ” The players playing around Callum now are playing so well that he is maybe not the stand out he has previously been”



    I don’t know if I buy into that, but it is certainly food for thought.



    HH, the journey never stops.

  3. Paul 67,



    Everything crossed on transfer deadline day. If we retain all our key men then the board must take enormous credit.


    There can be absolutely no doubt that there has been interest in certain players.






    Ps : How much has the CL helped us attract and retain players. ?

  4. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    “Having rested nine players from Sunday, last night’s result and performance was inconceivably good.”




    Was actually quite chilled about the number of changes, Paul. As I said yesterday we have a clear formation and playing style. Recruitment is tailored to this so it’s no surprise that the players coming in to the team fitted in.


    We have moved on a bit from the Lowball/Lennon “method”!


    Just a pity we didn’t know about Ange at the time of the Rodgers departure and only found out about him after Howe turned us down (ahem)!

  5. GlassTwoThirdsFull on



    “Ange is a manager we have known about for a number of years and someone who has been prominent in our thoughts for some time.”

  6. GP,



    I think there’s definitely some food for thought there. Despite the non-tangibles associated with being the captain, is he emerging as the weakest link in a very good midfield unit with an improving Mooy, a technical Number 6 in Abildgard (who has played CH only 5 times in his career) and the excellent Hatate, O’Riley and Turnbull’s return on chance creation and goals being better.



    Or conversely, time for Callum to knuckle down in a position that he’ll have some direct competition for his place?



    Good problem to have in Ange 2.0







  7. I agree about Turnbull, he put in a very good claim for a start at the weekend. He looks stronger, and quicker his touch looked very assured, he seems to be very comfortable in Ange’s Celtic, moreso than last season.



    A different challenge to last night but I wouldn’t be worried if we were to start all 3 of the midfield on Saturday



    Could it be that the Huns have finally seen sense? Are determined to run the club sensibly, or show someone that it can be both profitable and (relatively) successful? Holding some cash back until January for another couple of signing who might make the difference to their league challenge? Making the balance sheet look like its from a serious business, building up a cash reserve so they dont need to keep relying on handouts like the rest of the clubs our size?



    Whatever the answer what is certain is that their board are about to find out what its like to be like the Celtic board they seek to emulate when expectations aren’t met. They’ve charged a considerable amount more than us for CL tickets, “beaten” us in the player trading sales cup and just guaranteed the cl riches but are looking at us as we sign quality player after quality player while they spend nowt with a mix of bewilderment and anger. They weren’t expecting this, its dangerous times for Park and co.



    Their own version of “what happened to the Seville money”

  8. Looks like one in and one out today with MJ loan nearing completion. Dylan Reid deal is not happening according to usual questionable sources. Another excellent transfer window.



    Like most, I assumed the Govan mob would have made at least one box-office signing to show they are the biggest, baddest club in the universe.


    Maybe all those soft loans are being paid back?


    The fact that they are going to probably still have Morelos and Kent tomorrow will be hurting them too.


    Both are able to sign pre-contracts in January. Morelos going for free is going to take some PR spin by the MSM when they convinced the hordes he was worth 50 million. Then again, maybe they will re-sign as there appears to be zero serious interest in either of them. Hence why Tavernier penned a new deal.




    Agree, I think the midfield is more of a unit these days, and Calmac is the ultimate team player so he’s happy to do a job elsewhere than where he’s at his best



    Its easy to forget he was voted the best player in the country by his fellow pros last season playing in the midfield pivot, he’s got so little ego he seems happy to get on and do what he does anywhere

  10. Go tell the Spartim on

    As ever the demise of The Rangers is always exaggerated (I know exaggeration is a truth that’s lost it’s tempo) I’d expect them to make at least a couple of signings, at least today, but you never know

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  12. St Mirren and Dylan Reid messing Celtic about ,glad in a way that we didn’t sign him,also I think Ange knows we need another striker ,maybe happen

  13. Loving all the soothing smoochie smoochie chat about us being in the best place ever! However my mistrust of the board has the hairs on the back of my neck standing up! Please do not sell anyone of note, I cant wait to hear the window slam shut. #anxiousgreetinfacedtim

  14. Finding a good 3rd choice striker in a team that plays 1 CF in its system ain’t easy folks.



    Happy to stay fit, absent but be ready when called upon ?







  15. Another satisfactory performance last night , thought it was a sloppy goal to lose , the type old firm fc manage to score pumping long balls into opponents box . Still really no danger from a team who again could have played without a ball , William again being very lenient . Now for the but , as far as I’m concerned the jury is still out on Jenz , I know he is just in the door and needs time I just think he is prone to being careless with his distribution , but are we not half lucky to have tony ralston .i thought last nigh he was terrific in a team who hadn’t many faults . Roll on Saturday and hope we continue with the sparkling football and continue to create and hopefully convert the many chances our play deserves .

  16. Team for Saturday:



    Hart, JJ, Taylor, CCV, Jenz, McGregor, Hatate, O’Riley, Jota, Kyogo, Maeda.



    5 Subs:



    GG, Abada, Mooy, Haka, Turnbull.



    Mollification csc




  17. theBHOYfromU.N.C.L.E on

    Interesting that Jota was only clapping along with one the songs from last night and not singing…………reckon he’s away.

  18. I was convinced having watched PSV implode last week that the huns would have added two or three players to their squad by now.



    This indicates that their board have really stopped the days of soft loans and now want to see some of their money back. Or perhaps, the scale of their liabilities have been underestimated.

  19. O’Riley would be the only concern for me Re leaving today.



    Loving the way Ange adjusted things at the end of August last year with some big moves. Again in January with significant signings to freshen / change it up and then again early summer to start with impact and will have more new blood to introduce after the first round of matches once the Ruben duo are properly assimilated.



    This approach means our opposition can never be sure exactly how we are evolving as we switch through the phases of the season.



    The depth of quality in the squad will allow real flexibility in our approach.



    Only 2 things I fear are



    1) our own arrogance and expectation ref results esp against the newco. They have form in winning games against the odds.



    2) our lack of experience of playing against a quality high press. We have come up seriously short v Leverkusen and Bodo with similar back line to what we have now. We simply don’t get the practice domestically. When Huns pressed us in April at Ibrox they caused us problems too.



    Hopefully playing our football will win through.

  20. We should have no fears re the huns pressing us on Saturday. If they want to leave Kyogo with thirty yards of space to run into then we should be grateful.

  21. Beamishmypint,



    I loved Martin but he was not an advocate of boy low : sell high and we were left with a bunch of aging footballers post-2003. The board recognise that the squad Ange has assembled will be highly valuable in the coming seasons.



    We have the makings of a major shift in ambition in the coming years. I hope we have the board who can seize that shift or we’ll lose Ange very quickly.




  22. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    Development team in the East 😂😂😂.



    Applause and gratitude to Ange and Michael Nicholson for what they’ve achieved in the past 3 windows. What a job they’ve done. Including moving players on. Nothing short of spectacular.

  23. An Dun,



    They’ll play their Euro tactics on us, strangling the midfield with Lundstrum/Kamara/Arfield/Tillman & Kent, hoping to break us playing out from the back and offering us the bulk of possession.



    Hit them early and hiot them hard. Pace, power, playing through their lines and a big noisy crowd begind us. We have momentum, they are already offering themselves excuses over injuries, fight absent strikers and no last minute vanity purchase.







    You think so , no one allowed an opinion . Anyone who knows me and my family will know your statement is mince . 65 years and counting following the hoops home and all over Europe .

  25. Without question, we have made a great start to the domestic campaign. However, the opposition has comprised principally of journeymen, thugs, and bodybuilders. We have witnessed very few actual footballers to date. That is about to change.



    On Saturday we face a good team, who’s manager is conservative by nature. GvB will aim to leave Celtic Park undefeated, that’s a given. I think he will be disappointed as Celtic are playing with a huge level of confidence and self belief. This may well be the Harry Kewell influence ?



    Next Tuesday we face a very very good team. Not a journeyman, thug, or bodybuilder in sight. Just guys called Courtois, Modric, Kroos, Vini Jr, and Benzema. It will be one heck of an occasion and the work rate that our own Callum McGregor brings to every match will be very much in evidence.



    We have swatted aside everything that has been put in front of us so far, so, in the words of Michael Buffer……Let’s Get Ready……. etc etc.

  26. BIG WAVY



    Yep, they’ll pretty much go for the Phillips Arena mark II.



    However there’s absolutely no way we’ll play as slow as PSV did that night.

  27. Jimtim,



    Yes,but you can be a bit negative at times.Picking out individuals,like Jenz,who must be shocked at how much he gets of the ball,probably never had that before,is a bit previouswe have conceded 2 goals.

  28. The 3 transfer windows have shown a distinct change in character and our policy as a club to transfers.we have become a more efficient and functioning football club,better all around.Ange is leading and Michael Nicholson is backing.There is a distinct change of culture under both.



    Signings in



    Joe Hart




    Alessandro Bernabei


    Joseph juranovic


    Mauritz Jens








    Matt o Riley














    Haksabanovic(Sean haka)













    And from vfr ex of this parish👇



    So apart from the incomings (10 including Abildgaard) we have had 13 going the other way:


    Barkas (loan and won’t be back)


    Hazard (loan, will come back)


    Montgomery (loan, will come back)


    Scales (loan, will come back)


    Urhogide (loan, will come back)


    Soro (loan and won’t be back)


    Kenny (loan, will come back)


    Ajeti (loan and won’t be back)


    Doohan (sold)


    Julien (sold)


    Bolongoli (sold)


    Moffat (sold)


    Dembele (free)



    I expect Mikey Johnston will go out on loan today and have been told another forward (out and out striker) is on the cards as well. So that will be 11 (including 3 on loan who were already squad members) in and 13 out which trims the squad by 5 in effect. A quite astounding transfer window indeed. Well done to big Ange and Michael Nicholson.



    That is 18 players (19 with Abilgaard) brought in under the new manager. Our forward line (Giakloumakis, Kyogo, Haksabanovic, Jota and Maeda) has completely changed with no-one from before Ange’s time left. Of a first team squad of 28, only 10 (including 6 academy graduates) were here before he arrived!



    Peter who?



    Good time to be a Celt



    Hail Hail

  29. Go tell the Spartim on




    Tongue firmly in cheek, hence the winking emoji, I could point out it emphasises that your first thing to go to was a negative, your opinion is as valid and correct as anyone else’s, sorry you felt it was a dig, it couldn’t have been anymore further from the truth.