As we walked from our seats after the 1-1 home draw with Shakhar Donetsk, I engaged in a detest-fest against that day’s whipping boy. “Juranovic is in ahead of Ralston because he is a better player.” There was a lot of push-back against this opinion.
In my view, Josip did well to get goal-side of the supremely talented Mykhaylo Mudryk, who then cut inside before scoring from the edge of the area. So before revisionism kicks in, we should acknowledge one of the stars of this World Cup was being compared unfavourably with Anthony Ralston as recently as last month.
Despite my support of him, I didn’t think Jura had a performance like he gave last night in him. Vini Jr made so little impact against him he was hooked as Brazil failed to overcome a professional Croatia performance.
He is the best full back in Scotland, Celtic are currently cash-positive and on current trajectory, we should win the league and qualify for the Champions League group stage. So why should we entertain the thought of selling him?
It is about what you want to happen next at Celtic. I don’t just want to see Celtic win the league, I want to move beyond this season’s CL cannon fodder status and start winning games, qualifying for the knockout stages, as we did so recently. To do this, we have to buy increasingly better players and pay higher wages.
Few of those we buy will excel at a World Cup the year after they arrive, some will fail to make the cut. Not every success is destined to move on, many will become a mainstay of the team for several years. But I would like to see Celtic increasingly get them in, inflate their value and quickly move them on before their contracts being to run down, or their age profile counts against them, or form slips.
At 27, Josip is in prime Asset Management territory. We have already recruited his replacement, the only question is, how much? Or do we just settle for being cannon fodder?