Occasionally an innocuous comment left here can stay with you for years. The day following the 2005 defeat in Bratislava someone wrote, “I suspect we’ll find an injury in Nakamura’s fitness test”. The player was scheduled to sign imminently, but with Champions League income looking unlikely, doubts emerged that Celtic would pay the money.
Soon others expressed doubts that Shunsuke would want to come, but within 48 hours of that defeat, he was sitting in front of the media at Celtic Park. I was there, among a gaggle of Japanese and Scottish journos, when one of the locals asked why the prospect of being without European football didn’t put him off.
Shunsuke handled the question perfectly, “I am not here for six games of football, I have signed for Celtic and hope to play here for many years.” Rumour has it that not everyone in the dressing room back then was equally as enthusiastic about life in Glasgow.
I’ve heard lots about Wakaso Mubarak in recent weeks, he appears to be a genuine talent, as well as being spirited. What is most appealing about him is that he wants to be here. This deal would not have happened if the player was not absolutely committed to coming to the club, and making his stay a success.
Back in August 2005 we didn’t know what we were getting with Naka, and I’m not going to burden Wakaso with a comparison to a player who turned out to be a transformational legend, but we need players with big personalities who can walk into the dressing room with the determination to be there, just as Naka did.
Welcome to Celtic, Wakaso. Be yourself and you’ll love Glasgow; Glasgow will love you too.[calameo code=000390171586f6fbaa2ba lang=en page=122 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]