It will be the right deal or no deal as Celtic look for January bling


Trying so hard not to get drawn in to transfer window nonsense but our old pal Chris Sutton got the better of me last night on BT Sport. He has been assured Moussa is happy to stay at Celtic this window (presumably by the player himself, or his agent), so concludes that somehow Chris Davies is undermining the player by suggesting he is not playing due to transfer speculation around him.

I have not spoken to Moussa’s agent but I have heard lots about him. He is thoroughly professional and if Chris Sutton did manage to get a word from him, he is likely to have been 100% on-message. There have been no amateur dramatics from Moussa’s side, but that doesn’t mean the world and Own Coyle’s auntie doesn’t want to sign him.

January is famously a rubbish month to sign players, so if anyone wants to acquire Moussa, Celtic will hold out for top price. The same is true for our signing targets. Brendan has significant funds to spend, but the last thing he needs is to load the squad with more of the same.

When the manager arrived 18 months ago, improving results was a fairly straightforward proposition. Now, after twice qualifying for the Champions League and winning all four domestic trophies available to him, the job of improving Celtic is considerably more difficult. These are the joys of planning for successive trebles and a third consecutive season of Champions League football.

We are a week away from the window closing and the ball is in play, but you will not receive a bling hit this month, just to keep everyone happy. We will do the right deals or no deal, like it, or, express mild frustration, followed by a cognitive alignment indicating acceptance of the inherent wisdom. Or just lump it.

Being able to hold your nerve is another joy of planning for a successive treble.


Paul John Dykes and Kevin Graham are joined by Lisbon Lion, John Fallon, at The Penalty Spot in Glasgow.

The Original Holy Goalie discusses pay disputes, bonus rows, cigarettes & alcohol at Seamill, breaking up The Lisbon Lions and The Quality Street Gang, the battle of Montevideo, his volatile relationship with Jock Stein, and he finally tells the full story behind his European Cup winners’ medal.


Order Jim Craig’s new Lisbon Lion Diary – Right Back to 67 from CQNBookstore.co.uk and you will receive a signed copy from the man himself plus a FREE copy of That Season in Paradise – Ten Months of Celtic Heaven signed by fellow Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld! Simply order Jim Craig – Right Back to 67 and the second book will be sent automatically. Stocks are running very low so hurry!

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  1. MWD







    “Only caught second half of game, mainly because I just knew the first half would be pash. Anyway I give us a 5/10 aesthetical points for the performance that I saw. ”







    That’s great. Now, if you can just keep this practice going for all future games AND, if you have time on your hands, go back and retrospectively rate all our previous games for a decade or so, we should have the definitive measure of just which level of excrement we would rate ourselves as, and whether the shade is darker or lighter than it was.







    If you are a fair judge, the mineshafters can deduct 2 points from your rating because you are insufficiently pessimistic and the happy clappers can load on another 2 points because you might be a notoriously grumpy sod.







    I don’t have the energy for the task. I just tend to put all those narrow victories and sp-so performances into one vast grey sludge of memory and just remember the best games. Looking forward to the Hibs game already.

  2. Exactly what Chris Davies was alluding to in the press conference on Monday. It’s be easy for Celtic to have signed 4 or 5 players by now. But if they wouldn’t have improved the team then all they do us clog up the route for any aspiring development squad player.


    The only signings I’m hoping for this month are players who are likely to be straight into the team for most of the remainder of this 7 in a row season. And being able to play against Zenit would be useful too.

  3. When will the first, predictable post arrive accusing Paul of simply making excuses for a Board which retains the only Biscuit Tin in Scottish football?




    Theory, speculation………..



    Here’s what the manager has to say:



    “If Moussa goes we need to bring in another one,simple. Players need competition and we need to be competitive. If Moussa is in our squad then great, if he is not we will see by the end of January”.





    I didn’t see last night’s game. In fact,by the time I next see Celtic,it will be five weeks since the last time.



    That’s longer than our players got for their close-season,if you can remember those things.






    All those so-so performances,etc. Aye,I get your point. Or I would if they were occasional.



    But they’re not.



    They’re becoming worryingly frequent. And there’s little point in ignoring the fact.



    Yet you were bored by our 5-0 on Saturday,and defend a performance like last night,like so many this season?



    Look,this isn’t a pop,at you,far from it. Nor at anyone else. I just want to know why we seem to be so disjointed at the moment. I want us back to the performances I know we’re capable of,and pulled off so often in the last 15 months.



    Aye,a poorish performance and three points is lovely,but the poorish performances are happening too often. And the three points,not so much.





    Why re we still using a biscuit tin when the huns have got world-class breakfasts at Auchenhowie?



    I think we should be told.

  7. Apparently `everyone is entitled to their opinions`. but opinions become more valid if accompanied by some rationale .


    That being so,if you feel Celtic really must buy in this window,accompany that with who, in place of whom and what the likely cost and outcome will be of these ventures.


    For example, I am with those who feel that Mikel Lustig seems to have lost it. I am happy, though, togive Ralston and Gamboa a go and see if either makes it. If not, then obviously we would need a replacement.What difference would this make? The only one I can think of is that I would feel less frustrated at games as Mikel constantly slows move down because of his seeming inability to turn or pass the ball forward. In terms of greater success, there would, IMO, none whatsoever. If Neymar played for us, I wouldn`t expect much more in terms of success than we are already achieving.


    I really do need someone to explain to me which affordable players they would like to see come in who would make an appreciable difference to our progress. CL. Knock out stages? QF or SF ?




  8. traditionalist88 on

    I’m of the opinion that Dembele going for £15m + plus a decent sell on percentage would be good business but Celtic know the market and if we can get more, now or in the summer, I’d take it. Good young player but not sure his all round link up play is what it might be for that sort of money.



    The defence is my big concern. Moving Boyata on must be a matter of priority. Absolute liability, poor positional sense and made to look a fool by a Thistle player who in simply knocking the ball past him managed to fool him. And thats before we get to his distribution. Its all well and good saying its the right deal or no deal, but if at one stage the right deal was Boyata I wouldn’t have minded seeing the alternatives.




  9. Fassreifen on 24th January 2018 9:54 am


    The Guardian are saying Chelsea are firming up their interest in Moussa.



    £10m plus Musonda and Baker and we have a deal ;-)

  10. JJ



    I will claim that mineshafter podium if I may.



    ‘Expectation management window slams open with over a week to go….’



    Smiley thing….sort of.



    HH jamesgang

  11. Go tell the Spartim on

    People are rightly concerned about the defence, whilst some of it is down to how we play (or how we should play) the rest is down to the players, but to omit Boyata from it would make it considerably worse. He’s the only CB with any pace and despite his poor distribution is our best CB (the clue is that he always plays).



    Some fans (different from supporters) last night were telling BR to up his game, shouldnt the same apply to us?

  12. my concern with our play is how long we take to get the ball forward from the back , currently 4 out of 5 don’t appear to be up to the task causing panic /anxiety on and off the field, we overplay the ball at the back to keep possession but opposition teams are happy for us to do that all day as you can’t score on your own 18 yard line.


    lets get our best front 3 of SS,MD & PR back on the park and get the ball moving quicker thro the midfield to front and get back to a free flowing team.

  13. Last night –



    Watched ( like all football ) with the sound turned down .



    A win . 3points .



    Not a good first half . Things improved in the second half. Change of formation helped big style . . Very poor ball control . Passing is mostly dreadful . . Like watching an old school puppet – head / body / limbs -jerky and very disjointed . ..



    Entertained myself earlier -watching the buffoon that is David Davis. . Best ( and deeply worrying ) bit was learning that when he adds 45% to 20% plus 15 % he gets 120%

  14. 50 shades of green on

    GARY67 on 24TH JANUARY 2018 10:23 AM


    Fassreifen on 24th January 2018 9:54 am



    The Guardian are saying Chelsea are firming up their interest in Moussa.




    £10m plus Musonda and Baker and we have a deal ;-)




    Was thinking similar although Batshuyai and Musonda…

  15. jeez_I_thought_blinker_was_pants on

    Always thought Gamboa would be looking for a move if he wasn’t getting any game time prior to the World Cup, with Ralston still probably injured, probably a good time to give him a run of games.



    If the Kouassi loan rumours are true, would be disappointing, he has looked decent anytime I have seen him.

  16. Jamesgang


    That Mineshafter Cabinet of yours will be short of space soon.


    Are you likely to visit Arbroath this year?






    PS The statement and question above are not connected .





    It’s not our job to identify players,bud. That’s why we employ highly-paid professionals.



    Few of us have the extensive knowledge of the markets where the club can find the nuggets to comment on the suitability of a player as a target. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t know enough about football to be ignored in our criticism of individual or overall performances.

  18. `but opposition teams are happy for us to do that all day`



    Would those be the FIFTY opposition teams who have lost to us since Brendan arrived?




  19. traditionalist88 on




    I’d rather have a CB who can mark, has good positional sense and is a calming influence at the back as opposed to what Boyata brings to the table. By all accounts Rodgers worked hard on him when he came in and took him out the picture for a while but this is Celtic and we shouldnt have to be relying on remoulding a clumsy centre half into a no nonsense centre back. Or at the very least, we should cut our losses and accept it hasn’t worked. The guy is getting fooled by Partick Thistle players who use the knock it past him and run routine. Any opposition player with a bit of technique/close control must love playing against him.



    And people wonder why we struggle against any teams with decent movement and technique!





    Davis is a 120% moron.



    He’s in good company,that tory cabinet is worse than the one my parents bought from MFI in the 60s.

  21. Jeez JJ



    Do you mean to do away with me?



    See you at the Corner. I’ll be the smiley grumpy one!



    HH jamesgang

  22. BMCUW



    ” Few of us have the extensive knowledge of the markets where the club can find the nuggets to comment on the suitability of a player as a target. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t know enough about football to be ignored in our criticism of individual or overall performances.”



    Who is ignoring you (plural ) ?




  23. My friends in Celtic,



    I cannot claim to know the true story regards Moussa. I would imagine we’re all the same on here.



    But Moussa is no use to us if he is not playing. It really doesn’t matter the reason for this. It makes no difference if it’s because ” His head is not in the right place”



    To me the choice is very simple:- We play him or we endeavour to sell him.



    I am extremely sorry it has come to this because, imo the fit Moussa of last season was possibly the greatest young striker I have ever had the pleasure to watch at Parkhead.




  24. BMCUW



    “Yet you were bored by our 5-0 on Saturday,and defend a performance like last night,like so many this season? ”



    What I said was that there were boring sections in the 5:0 win- it really was a poor match despite the occurence of 5 moments of excitement. Brechin were poorer than I thought they would be and Celtic were sluggish too but still effortlesly superior.



    Also, I am not defending last night’s performance. I am accepting 3 points well won in a so-so performance. It really wasn’t a good performance and I said so. It also really wasn’t as bad as has been claimed and it was far from untypical. Just look back on last year’s great run and 80% of the games during that run, whether early, middling, or late in the run, produced blog comments along the lines of “Well- that was boring! and if we keep on playing like that- we are going to lose soon”. There were also some observations, admittedly a minority, that felt we could lose the league.



    This blog and other Celtic blogs can become a bit of an echo-chamber and if sufficient people post that they are discerning a deteriorating trend in performance- that view will have traction- it may even be true. But it will still beg the question – is htis an inevitable decline or just a blip in performance such as we have suffered in every season of my life.



    During 9iar we did not improve year on year to the mid point of title 5 and then deteriorate all the way to inevitable defeat. Every title was hard won and some with more style and superiority than others. The loss in 1975 was not a predictable one but lose we did.



    Last year, I have a vague memory of equally boring displays against Thistle and games where a Dedrick Boyata header was all we ahd to earn a win. These memories are suppressed as we recall, in hindsight, that we were on an invincible run and, until the numbers started to become unignorable, we were unaware that this was a great period we were witnessing. The evidence for that is the contemporary comments on CQN which were critical at the time, just as they are now.



    I still believe we are irmly on course for 7iar. How stylsih that run-in will be is anyone’s guess.



    My big worry is that, one day, and it may be very soon, we will lose a match to a Sevco team. We have lost to Hearts and other teams have run us close. Sevco have drawn with BR’s team now and a defeat to them in the next couple of seasons is almost inevitable, I believe. And, seriously, I wonder how some among us will cope with that.



    Off oot now

  25. Different strokes for different folks .



    Italian kite flyers have Antonio Conte thinking that Moussa Dembele is overpriced and pursuing Red Star’s – Richmond Boakye instead. Allegedly he’s only 10 million euros and would just love to play for Conte again ( having briefly been with Conte at Rubentus ) .



    For what it’s worth – said kite flyers have Dembele being of interest to Brighton , Everton and Crystal Palace

  26. bmcuw



    “He’s in good company,that tory cabinet is worse than the one my parents bought from MFI in the 60s.”



    Is that original? If so, plaudits of the highest order . If not, no matter. I laughed just as much.


    Cheerio for now.



  27. Hi Paul67,



    Yes, MD “Happy to stay at Celtic” isn’t exactly news. Think BR and CD both said that.



    What they also said was the transfer speculation was distracting him, that’s why he’s not playing.



    It doesn’t seem too complicated to me and the whole thing will be resolved in a week.



    It’s interesting what BR is doing with the squad. Due to non availability, outside Academy and Development players, we had 14 players available for the Brechin game.



    I think Ronny had more midfielders than that to select at any given time.



    Squad management is not just about buying players in. I like the way BR is trimming the squad down, think with players coming back from injuries and those we expect back from loan in the Summer we have 26 players.



    A reasonable number I’d have thought, though we certainly need a few changes in personnel.



    Before this window ends I’d like to see us bringing in more creativity… I believe Brendan intimated this would happen.



    Though I’m sure the Moussa thing is putting a huge cloud over the whole process…



    BTW: Think you were right about Partick Thistle, gave us a game yesterday…



    Hail Hail

  28. Go tell the Spartim on

    Traditionalist 88



    He’s still easily our best CB, whether you or i like it or not. Erik was too slow and his distribution is worse, Jozo spat the dummy and hasnt played decent for a while now and was directly culpable for at least one of the goals against Hearts, Ajer is a footballer trying to learn to play CB, similarly Bitton, so there you have it. BR has to work with what he’s got, if rumours are to be believed you’ll get your wish soon enough.



    Confirmation bias CSC





    MFI-Well,as far as I know. But I’m pretty sure it’ll have been said before by someone somewhere.



    Re the “Who’s ignoring you?” question,my point is that too many professionals in the game are disparaging about the opinions of fans. It happens at many clubs,based on never having played the game.



    Yet these same professionals use statistics compiled by people who have never played the game.



    McIlvanney never played the game. I don’t think he boxed either,not for a living. Henry Winter is probably the best of the current generation.



    I just don’t get it,mate. People expect us to turn up,watch the game,write off our opinions as meaningless.



    How many movie buffs have been in a film? No-one called Barry Norman an ignoramus for having an opinion.



    Anyway,you get my point,so here’s a wee bit of relevant music. It really is a cracker.