I’ve heard a lot about Patrick Roberts. He’s burdened by enormous expectations, compared to the greats since shortly after his 17th birthday. Manchester City moved 2 starts and 17 substitute appearances into his Fulham career – £12m on the basis of 399 minutes football.
He’s here to force his way into the team between now and the end of the season, and be ready for the European challenges ahead. I think we’re going to enjoy watching this lad.
We saw around 80 minutes of Erik Sviatchenko on Sunday. As I said yesterday, he’s probably our best defender, not that that is taking enormous liberties. In Virgin van Dijk we managed to recruit a dependable defender who wasn’t scared of the ball, and was first to organise those around him. If Erik’s near that standard, he’ll do well.
Ryan Christie (20) is a No. 10. We need a No. 10. He’s 12 years younger than Kris Commons, the only comparable player in the first team squad. Kris has been our MVP for more seasons than anyone else currently on the books, but we’ve been far too dependent on him, which has become acutely evident recently, when he’s out injured.
There’s an argument that we could have done with another No. 10 during our European campaign but it’s far from clear Ryan would have got his chance. We’ll see a good bit of him before the end of the season.
Many of the things I could say about Colin Kazim-Richards I alluded about Carlton Cole when he signed. He’s a physical presence, not easily intimidated, should be an effective foil for Leigh Griffiths.
Colin joins with an actual rap sheet. Online comments yesterday recalled the reaction the day Griffiths signed. At the time I wrote that it’s important for Celtic to affirm positive values in Leigh’s life. The player hasn’t looked back, he’s every inch a positive role model. It’s now important the club and Colin work to ensure a similar result.
Aidan Nesbitt (18) is also a No. 10. He’s the player you’re most likely to hear development and youth coaches talk about. The next stage of his development required him to play against men. Four months in the Premiership playing for Partick will achieve this.
Farewall Nadir Ciftci, who is off to Turkey until the end of the season. I described Nadir as less like a Ronny Deila player than any other I’ve watched and known Celtic to be interested in. He has a touch and is a better player than we’ve seen, but he was built from different material than practically all other Deila signings.
Last month’s business will hopefully mean we have a settled and secure defence for the qualifiers, something missing at the beginning of this season, something missing on Sunday afternoon. The Kazim-Richards signing could go a number of different ways. The player will get his chance to live up to his own expectations.