You can be sure Peter Lawwell was not working on contract renewals for Scott Brown, Jozo Simunovic and Callum McGregor last month, as the transfer window reached is climax, but 14 days after it closed, all three have signed new long-term deals.
Scott’s keeps him at the club until he turns 34 in two years. Jozo is contracted to 2021, when he will be 27, while Callum this morning also agreed to stay until 2021, when he will be 28.
Callum is a fascinating case study in player development. After making a substantial impact on the right wing, his form faded, but he has been reborn in central mid. More than anyone else at the club, he has an ability to instantly bring a difficult pass under control. This affords him that valuable commodity: vision.
I’m not going to tell you Callum is as good as the PSG players we saw on Tuesday, but he is the only player we have in the mould of their midfielders. They also fire the ball around with precision and control. Aiden McGeady had this ability in abundance (none of his Celtic contemporaries did). I’d like to have seen the Green Garrincha in a central role.
My sense is that we may have struggled to re-sign Jozo if questions didn’t hang over his knee. His ability is comfortably worth an eight-figure transfer fee and far higher wages than Celtic could afford. The player’s proverbial Achilles heel may bestow long-term stability in Celtic’s defence.
Celtic gambled on signing him two years ago – and let’s not forget the comments pages here were full of angst, as a regional Guardian journalist expressed astonishment that we’d gone for what he viewed as such a limited talent. We are in a place where we need to take a few chances. This one paid off.
I fully expect Scott Brown will sign one more Celtic contract to see him through his mid-30s, when thoughts at the club will turn to succession.
Win tickets for Ibrox
Celtic sponsor, Intelligent Car Leasing, have given us two tickets for the visit to Ibrox on 23 September to raffle for Mary’s Meals. You know the script:
Over 3,000 children in Malawi and Liberia eat a school meal each day because of the money raised by CQN’ers.
You are improving lives, educating a generation in some of the most deprived locations in the world. School attendance has increased an average of 30%, literacy and numeracy skills improve. Life-long opportunities are enhanced.
To enter the raffle, answer this question:
Which Belgian team will Celtic face in this season’s Champions League?
Please donate a minimum of £5 to this MyDonate page. Then forward your confirmation email with your answer in the SUBJECT LINE to firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to you and Intelligent Car Leasing.
CQN went behind the scenes with BT Sport at Hamilton last Friday evening and this is all covered in the new CQN Podcast which is out now and includes an interview with Chris Sutton…