Ivorian link at work again, this time in Athens


With three deals done, the pace of transfer activity at Celtic appears to be approaching relentless.  The Ivorian link will have been at work again, as news that we are interested in Olympiakos full back, Omar Elabdellaoui, testifies.  Celtic coach, Kolo Toure’s brother Yaya, spent half a season at the Greek club before leaving last month.

Signing players is always a risk, so getting a first-hand insight into how a player performs from someone who has worked with him daily for the last six months is a huge advantage.  Bear in mind, Elabdellaoui is just one of the right backs Celtic are considering.  This one could run a while.

Reports from the US that we have agreed a deal to sign 22-year-old left back Andrew Gutman are amusing, mostly as he was being trailed as a signing elsewhere in the city.  Great to see that as well as using our Ivorian links, we have plenty of connections at Scotland’s smaller clubs.  If he arrives, hopefully Callum McGregor will not see more action in that position.

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  1. I think our expectation management plan has worked if we even consider McKenna to be the answer.


    If he is signed then there is no doubt that Brendan is just the coach because he is as far from a Brendan type defender as you could find.

  2. MIKE IN TORONTO, hi mike just been listening to doug McKenzie brilliant jazz pianist and Scottish as well, up there with Oscar Peterson ,look him up hh.

  3. players … right up our street …



    Ronan Curtis ..portsmouth



    Watched him with Derry for couple seasons .. tall, strong and very direct. Very similar to James mcclean but more of a striker than left winger even thou he played mainly on left with Derry. Bit more technical than james.



    Great to watch with Derry but usual can he step up next level…



    100k move to portsmouth in summer.. so far nearly 10 goals and not far off the same in assists. flying so he is and big reason they are top of league. Id say every championship team looking at him and probably some premier league clubs .



    Surely worth a good look and id say on very modest salary . Benn capped for republic of ireland in last couple friendlies.

  4. Gutenberg,



    You may be right, I’m likely wrong………



    I have not seen the dude play – I doubt you have either. Need to get some sort of stability to really attack and Do Something. Thats only gonnae happen with Young Hungry guys Really wanting it.

  5. Chairbhoy @ 8:29 pm



    Failure, no, I never said it was a failure. In fact we’ve done very well, in Europe during Lenny’s time you could say exceptionally well.



    Your initial post said ;-



    “We had an open goal an we failed to capitalise on that.”



    & “Why have you (meaning me- SFTB) got a list of why Celtic should be allowed to fail



    & “Let’s be real… Celtic Have had a huge opportunity in the last five seasons and through it away…”



    So, are these not accusations of failure? They are certainly not saying the Board or Celtic have been successful and they make a poor fist of saying we are so:so. I think a deduction of an accusation of failure was a reasonable one to make. You certainly accuse my outlining of barriers to success as being “allowing Celtic to fail”. MadMitch, similarly refers to reasons as excuses.





    Let’s go back to where we were when we played the likes of Arsenal…



    The PLC Board’s position was we could not afford to spend money speculating on a European run. Yet if we did get a European run and a made a profit on player sales that would be re-invested in the team. Most accepted this as reasonable.



    Don’t think that this policy just dates to Arsenal- it is one we have adopted ever since the first mad rush for a “Get out of Scotland” card failed. I also know, rather than think, that most certainly did not accept this approach as reasonable. This blog was founded to counter the “what ever happened to the Seville money?” questions that dominated the phone-ins and letter pages and blogs of the time. The Board and club’s financial strategy has never had majority acceptance or approval. The vast majority of fans still believe that moneys are being swindled out of the club at the moment and, some that don’t subscribe to that, argue that Dermot is just waiting his time to make his money out of Celtic (If he does, he will be the first man to make money out of a football club).







    If we go to the demise of Rangers…



    We qualified for the UCL qualifiers each year, we had runs in Europe and we made profits on player sales.


    My point was this, when we were all but guaranteed a place in the UCL and an easier route to the league stage through the Champions route we missed an opportunity.



    What opportunity? We have done remarkably well in Europe over these past 17 years. Few other clubs, apart from Basel, Benfica and Olympiakos (certainly not RB Salzburg who have not qualified for even one CL Group Stage in the 21st century) have done better. And they come from countries with bigger countries with larger TV deals. Basel is a realistic club to improve towards but there really have been few clubs outwith the Big 5 leagues and Eastern Europe Oligarch teams, who have been consistently better than us for almost 20 years now. It is long past time for us to recognise this as a period of playing success.







    So my point is proven with hindsight, our recruitment has been a shambles and still we managed to achieve pretty much the European success I predicted.



    You cannot prove this point as it has never been put to the test. You can speculate that our recruitment would have been better using your, fairly vague, specifications, but you can only do so by assuming that the vast majority of your transfer buys will be successful, free from injury and be willing to stay on a reasonable SPFL salary. When you build in such speculative, unprovable and untested suppositions into your model, you can manufacture a successful outcome, but it will bear no resemblabce to being tested out in reality. Now , if Sevco’s approach of spending on “tried and proven” “first team ready” punts like Defoe & Davis and they then win the title, and they then enjoy European success aboe the level we have managed, and they manage to do this whilst staying solvent, well, then your point will have been proved (in real time as opposed to a re-interpreted hindsight). How likely do you think it is that such a scenario will play out?






    That Money was not wholly reinvested in the team in fact, a small percentage actually went on proven first team quality buys. Most of it, like now, was either saved in the Bank, spent on loanees or spent on our failed “moneyball” project.



    My point then, my point now is to get quality players in and build a squad, if we had done that I believe we would have done better than I predicted.



    No such thing as a guranteed starter- not even John McGinn at Villa, if a new manager does not rate him. Every player has to prove himself. Ian Wright, Freddie Lljunberg, Roy Keane, Thomas Gravesen, Jiri Jarosik, Marcus Hedman, Dmitri Kharine, Dion Dublin and even Kolo Toure were established Big League players and were given early chances with Celtic. None of them stayed in the team for long or became a regular contributor.


    That does not mean we should avoid big name signings; far from it (Robbie Keane did very well for us in a failing team) but my list should make you think twice about the notion that there is anything close to a guarantee from signing players who were successful at other clubs.


    Similarly, our derided projects have given us successes amongst the lengthy list of failures you can cite. Didier Agathe was a project. So was Fraser Forster (and a loanee too). Bobo Balde had done little in the game and little after he left us too but was a success in our jersey compared with similar lower leage French buys like N’Guemo or Nouioui. It amazes me how many amateurs like us, commenting on the game we love, believe fervently that we can do this recruitment lark so much better than more experienced guys do it.







    The fzct is we didn’t need to spend a fortune, just quality over quantity. If we had 15-18, such players that would be fine.


    We could still bring in a few prospects at…


    Academy level


    Development team level


    First team level.


    Along with our own bhoys coming through the system, they could augment the first team where necessary and replace first team players who get sold or whose powers are waning.


    If there isn’t a replacement to these first team players in our own ranks, do you know what we do? Buy a quality player to replace them.



    Yep. it’s a strategy. Now who is going to do this? And prove it is easy? Are the guys in all the Scottish clubs not trying to do this just now or some variant of it? And what if….. 2 or 3 or 4 get injured ? well, you’ll be very fortunate because the real attrition rate at most clubs will see around 10 or a dozen out at various times together. Currently, we have Simunovic, Tierney, Bitton, Arzani, Johnston, Lustig, Griffiths, Boyata out or playing through injury. we have youth and development players on the injured list, I think Regan Hendry had a season long injury recently. The days of the 14 man United squad of 1984 (or even 3 or 4 more added onto it, are long gone.






    Is that science for rocketeers..? No, it’s managing the squad. We would be in a much healthier position and the shambles that was Ibrox, 2018, New Year, Old Firm Derby would not have happened.



    A definite possibility, if I can use that oxymoron. On the other hand it could have been worse. Or just the same. It’s amazing how often those possibilities are overlooked by those advocating a change.






    In fact despite our dysfunctional recruitment policy, going into last summer’s transfer window we had a £100M Squad and some real prospects…


    If, even at that stage we consolidated our first team by buying in quality in a few key position and selling our, want aways and squad fillers we would still be in a great position to tinker with the squad this window with an eye on the UCL qualifiers.


    We didn’t, we sold some of our first team performers without replacing them, we failed to bring in quality where it was badly needed except for OE and we added not subtracted to our squad fillers.


    We have reduced the value of our squad, reduced the quality of our squad, we have increased an already bloated squad.



    So, was the mistake just made a year ago? were we managing this well up till then? I could have sworn I have heard howls of complaint about how badly we were running our club at every transfer window during the last 7 title winning years. That’s 14 windows of success with moaning. And it’s not as if we get any more joyful when the window shuts and we have to find other ways to make the team better than the Harry Redknapp method.


    I agree we should trim the squad. We will take a bath on some of those deals. And this is unavoidable because no one is a sure-fire scout who will only pick gems and winners. Not even you, and certainly not me. But, if there is anyone who is sure the can do better, well I hear that Lee Congerton’s jaikit’s on a shoogly peg, so give it a go.


    Mind you it’s sfaer to do it on here, in the unreal fantasy world of CQN (myself included) than it is to go and do this with one of the many real life football clubs begging to make use of such talents with assured strategies.







    Yet what are we doing this transfer window? Tinkering!



    Well, that’s one word for it. Tweaking sounds better and more technical but twerking would just sound pervy. If htere’s a guaranteed method that is not tinkering, let’s go for it, but be prepared for some people to still give it a pejorative term. I think there are a lot of unhappy critics out there. Something to do with not coping with the ribbing we recently got from the huns and bluenoses in our lives.







    Not with a view to the UCL Qualifiers, we are in a title race for the first time in six Seasons and the UCL Qualifiers are not a gim’me.



    They never were and they never will be. It’s a sporting competition.







    A tragic state of affairs, the team are half way through their Dubai training camp and not a single Celtic first team player has been brought in.



    Weah, Bayo, Burke and Gutman don’t count then?







    We await with bated breath, but an opportunity has already been lost and we have more loanees and prospects to keep our coaches, physiotherapists, sports scientists, wage clerks etc etc busy…



    Opportunities get lost all the time. Some re-appear and some are taken, but many will be lost again. If only someone was a Master of the Universe and could get it right all the time, or most of the time, or 50% of the time- is that too much to ask for?



    Or we’ll have to keep going and accepting the imperfections of human judgement as I suspect there are many errors lying ahead that we have yet to make and, wait for it, someday we will lose a league- maybe even this year. Now that is an inevitable and surefire prediction.

  6. From earlier today- part 1 is an update I said I would give to add this morning- animal related so scroll on if not interested. Part 2 is how to deal with the windae. Part 3 is an appreciation of Stevie Murray.


    As we are thrilled to be honoured by GG4, it’s only fair to bore you with tales of our donkeys. We were thrilled that Bertie made a remarkable recovery from hyperlypemia just before Xmas- thanks Grażyna for all your help- but the problem with keeping a Rest-home for elderly donkeys is that lots of them are elderly and are here to live there last days in peace and tranquillity. Yesterday we had to say farewell to Wee Patrick. Wee Patrick came to us 5 or 6 years ago ( we already had a Paddy and a Patrick, so because of his size he became Wee Patrick. He had been misdiagnosed as having a liver problem but it turned out it was his heart that was dodged- very. The vet came up, ostensibly to put him down, but when she saw Wee Patrick chase all the mates around the field he got a stay of execution. He continued to chase mares every day until last week. His eyes didn’t sparkle any more and his heart stopped throbbing for his passion. Wee Patrick gave us so much joy these last few years and we like to think he enjoyed his time with us…and the mares. That’s the thing about looking after oldies- they give so much joy you can celebrate their passing.


    Part 2- How to get through the windae. Unlike match days when you refresh every 30 seconds, the trick is to do something useful for a couple of hours – I tend to muck out- then log back on alternatively to CQN and the fishul celticfc site to see if anyone has signed. If you just log back on to CQN you’ll go round the twist – and you’ll appreciate the extra reads when you finally catch up.


    Reason to be cheerful, Part 3- great read and catch up about Stevie Murray. Friends of mine back in the day went to school with him at St Pat’s and they introduced him to me just the once. I was a jibbering wreck. Later, much later, Couldn’t figure out how a toe could stop you playing. A toe ffs!!! To be so rounded after such a traumatic career ending injury says everything you need to know about the Bhoy. Still a Star.

  7. Dodged heart is dodgey heart obvs and mates is mares, who were obviously Wee Patrick’s mates as well.

  8. Scaniel,



    St Pats was some High School.



    I was loose friends with Peter Goldie jnr.



    I think I didnae play because I was fighting too much.



    Won the Sports thing once and drew another time with an Aberdonian – I feel bad for not being nice to him at times. Maximum Respect for the lad as he was just a Quality person.



    Chris Buchanan Love you dude – Respect you Big Time.

  9. Scaniel


    Will contact you next week regarding a visit to the Sanctuary Saturday 2nd February would be good if possible

  10. Poor transfer window so far.



    No guaranteed first team starters signed yet incl loans.



    Lawwell still strangling our club to ensure the bonus is delivered and the driveway can be heated all year round.



    Will he sell KT on last day of transfer window for £20M ?



    Watching Black hawk down, reminds me of going to Ibrox in the 70’s ?




    Can’t remember the Somalians throwing hauf bricks in that movie :O(

  12. lucky cody,



    If Celtic got a bid of 50Million they would have to let Kieran talk to the other Club.



    in 6 months 50 could be 70Million howevaaaaah.



    Brendan is Wonderful in his allowing Good advice to Everyone under his tutelage.



    Letting players do what they want.



    Aff oot to Listen to the Simon Ferry interview noo.

  13. Peter Lawwell as a person is a die hard, rebel Celtic supporter.


    Peter Lawwell as the CE of Celtic plc does his job for the benefit of the company and the shareholders.


    He is not perfect by any means and he makes many mistakes like all CE’s do, but FFS if he tried to do his job and did it as a fan, well God help us.

  14. Go tell the Spartim on

    At best McKenna would be a good traffic cone


    If we paired him with Benkovic we’d cope but he’s not the answer not now and not anytime in the future, no harm to the guy I hope he does well but hopefully with some English team

  15. Bada…please only a rumour…ffs is that the level of game ready defenders we’re after….and paying over the odds…unless they’re paying it back in installment for Hayes

  16. WITS Lawwell receives 2 Mil bonus in year when we fail to qualify for CL and he royally screwed up transfer window. The only person at the club rewarded for this failure.



    Unless you regard losing to a Greek pub team as mitigating circumstances. Lawwell didn’t even shed crocodile tears as he knew he would rake it in ——with the equivalent of 5,000 season tickets as a bonus.



    The biggest danger to the 10 is the control freak beancounter who has taken over 10 mil out of the club —- more than any other in the clubs history.

  17. GTTS,



    Willie Miller is saying he is Premier League quality easily – I have no idea.



    Building a Team means home players as much as possible.



    Loving the Michael jibber jabber.

  18. Lucky Cody…you’re factoring in a Peter Lawwell willfullness to do us a diservice that I don’t see…




  19. What is the Stars on



    The worse celtic perform…the more peter gets.


    Do people actually believe this m nonsense

  20. WITS


    PL has made enough to be set for life. To think he is trying to undermine Celtic’s performance for his gain is, well, nuts.


    But some people think he does just that.

  21. Should have added –


    As a fan he has a chance to be CE when we win 10, and he would want to give that up???

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