Let’s get the badge kisser-thing sorted once and for all. We have seen enough of them come and go not to be taken in. You can set your watch by them. I don’t believe in a hierarchy of Celtic players, or supporters, based on proclaimed affinity. You are at Celtic because you want to be here, fan or player, and that’s enough.
Kieran Tierney has been a highly paid and respected professional for four years. He mixed with others of the same ilk, as well as some who know they are out of their depth at Celtic. The latter cherish the term of their Celtic contract, the former all wonder what level they will be able to reach in the game. All of them. To the best of my knowledge, no Celtic player has rejected circa £75k per week to remain here.
I don’t know what his medical advice has been, but if you read about chronic osteitis pubis, you get an insight into where an athlete’s head may be when he has a persistent injury that is not responding as hoped.
“Osteitis pubis is a painful degenerative condition of the pubic symphysis, surrounding soft tissues and tendons…. It is currently considered as one of the most debilitating pain syndromes for athletes. Although the condition is considered self-limiting, it often requires stoppage of sporting activities for several months, representing a significant problem especially for elite athletes.”
Kieran got this move coming off the worst season of his professional career. We will see if things improve, or go downhill, this season. Consider what advice his agent would have given him right now. None of this forms part of the public discourse, instead we got a clumsy social media comment about being out with his pals while Celtic are playing a crucial qualifier.
If we are serious about making progress as a football club, we need to take our player trading onto another level. That means everyone has a price and we should be ready with replacement options whenever a value offer arrives.
If you think selling your top player for £25m is a bad day at the office, imagine your challengers selling a single player for that sum, and how transformational this kind of money is. Trading is as much a part of success in the elite game as tactics and fitness. There are no sacred cows, because eventually, the most sublime talents perish.
We should always be ready to make a deal. See how it is done in Portugal. Or look at Ajax, who were going nowhere, then discovered how to trade, sold €72m of talent in 2016-17, €73m in 2017-18 and reached the Champions League semi-final in 2018-19.
Multi-treble winning Brendan Rodgers is not a talent spotter. He added Scott Sinclair (whom he had worked with) and Moussa Dembele (a John Park recommendation) to Ronny Deila’s squad. If we are going to spend significant sums of money this summer, better to have Neil Lennon with his hand on the tiller.
It felt like a bad day when Brendan left, but now I am sure it was for the best. There is no telling the damage Brendan and Lee would do with this kind of money. Kieran was great, the best left back in decades, and yes, he should have stayed for 10, but I’m already feeling pretty neutral about him leaving.
At Celtic, we love our history more than any others do, but football is all about tomorrow. Time to get busy writing the next chapter.