Recruit, develop, reputation: the virtuous cycle


The thing about signing footballers who can transform you, those with real talent which has yet to be realised by the wider market, is that they are unbelievably difficult to find.  Getting this right is not the only requirement in propelling a club forward, but it is a necessary one.

You also need to transform the potential you sign into an end product.  So much talent is left to wither on the vine across European football as clubs hoard talent in an attempt to control their corner of the market.  If you can align great recruitment with manager who has the space to allow talent to develop, you are very fortunate.

Reputation counts as well.  To all the world, it looked like we picked Benfica’s pocket with Jota.  Why would they let another great prospect leave on the same path?  Benfica won big time with Jota.  They gave him to a club that was able to transform him into a £25m player, with a significant remittance going back to Lisbon.

That’s why we got Paulo Bernardo. Benfica didn’t have space to develop him but they’re not stupid.  They know he has potential and they believe Celtic can transform him into a seriously good central midfielder.

Legia Warsaw earned €5m when they sold Maik Nawrocki to Celtic, but that’s only half the deal.  Legia are equally interested in the hefty sell-on fee they hope to earn when Celtic raise his profile south of the border.

Right now we have a reputation with players, agents and selling clubs as a place where great talent can come, thrive, and navigate a road to the top.  Recruitment, development and reputation feed a virtuous cycle.

Recruiting young players with great potential in such a transparent and competitive environment is almost impossibly difficult, but we have to be ruthlessly wedded to getting this right.  Developing players like this should be easier at Celtic than almost anywhere else.  We win lots, usually with plenty to spare, who else can say this?  Do this well and getting a great reputation is a consequence.

Paulo Bernardo (21) had started two Scottish Premiership and two Champions League games before 23 December.  His four starts since then, including his visit to Paisley yesterday, where he delivered two assists, illustrate where we are as a club. Maik Nawrocki is earlier in his journey but is already showing why he is in Glasgow.  More of this, please.

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    “Just the link posted last night on here taken from our friend Lint on Twitter.”



    That’s the link I watched. I took the screen grabs I shared from that same video. It hits his right shoulder for me, clearer each time I look at it, especially when viewed from both angles. The white markings on the arm are above the elbow and the point of contact is above this.



    Not that it means much either way but neither the Killie CB nor MF tracking back (both closer than the ref with a clear view) claimed for a handball either which I find odd as most players call for a handball even when it hits a face/chest/anywhere but the arm.






    P.S. Human mechanics are never boring, to me anyway :)

  2. Paul, I didn’t see too much of a difference in Nawrocki’s performance than I did in Gustaf’s.


    If anything, I think Gus is more willing to occupy forward spaces the way CCV does when he’s in his pomp.


    Given our recruitment team’s tendency to overlook indigenous talent (ie Scalesy) I can;t fugure out why Gus is classed as persona non grata?


    Also, given Bernardo’s surgence (it’s not a resurgence yet) I’m not sure I’d cry for too long if someone slapped in a seriously (12m +) substantial offer for Reo, a bloke whose photo is in the dictionary next to the word mercurial.




  3. I agree with all of the above Paul 67 but while this is true we also need some stability in our core first 11-15, as well as some pros who can work with those who have less game time and experience. Without the above we will still dominate Scottish football but our European triumphs or even competitiveness will become distant memories

  4. bournesouprecipe on

    Good to see another Matt finish amongst the goals and stay ahead of TavPen the Rainjurz Captain of anomaly. It would be ironic even by their double standards for top scorer in Scotland, to be a deadco dead ball expert.



    But for the Saintly keeper, the comfortable 3-0 would have easily been six. Paulo Bernardo chipped in with another creative display, playing a more natural advanced role. Daizen Maeda did what he does best, bearing into the box to be the Celtic first footer, opening our scoring account in 2022, 2023 and 2024.



    No wing wizardry needed from the Japanese star whom we stole from Marinos for a miserly £1.5M. No such joy either, for Luis Palma on his first scenic visit to the delightful Ferguslie Park, where he was lucky it was dark, and it didn’t seem to offput sub Yang, who did more in minutes, than the Honduran did, all during tea time for TV fixture.



    Celtic holed the Saints game plan under the waterline, with a quick one two, but despite our lead and double Derby victories, we’re still only ‘arguably’ Scotland’s best team according to some. Early goals are good, score before the buses get fully parked.



    Wee Greg Taylor ‘escaped’ long enough to be played into the channel sublimely by Bernardo, from where he picked his spot. Other invert, Alistair Johnston turning to celebrate and join him, saw his goal bound effort thwarted by an unidentified Celtic team mate blocker.



    Made it to 2024, the four game thrown down gauntlet safely picked up, now we rest and be thankful, the revolving door is about to full swing out, and in.





    Paulo Bernardo.

  5. We are seeing real progress now, each player in a Brendan Rodgers team has a personal development plan, this is a huge part of how Celtic will be enhancing players performances, to ensure we have a competitive team, that keeps on improving.



    Many of our current crop are a work in progress, yet great to see how players like Nawrocki and Bernardo who have the qualities necessary to excel in their positions are really kicking on under these plans.



    The technique, physically and conviction of those two have really been key in our resurgence.



    With Hatate and Liel back, we really are getting close to first team “group” that can be more consistent.



    It is key that we get the necessary quality in during the current and summer windows to ensure we can compete at UCL level next season.



    It is looking increasingly unlikely that we will need to, yet we should be ready to compete in the UCL qualifiers if necessary, come July.



    As Paul67 states, it is very difficult to get players in of the calibre and attitude that is required for this development plan.



    Under the model we have run with in the last decade we have a very low hit rate – it’s just not working effectively.



    We now have a squad that has a third that’s first team ready, a third that are in development and a third surplus to requirements.



    A real clusterfalange



    We need to move on as many of the surplus players as possible, be ruthless and decide how many of our development players are really going to make it and increase the first team ready players to more than half the squad.



    This cannot be done by recruiting more projects.



    We need quality established players signing this window.



    And most of all NO SALES of high value players, we need all those ghuys.



    Hail Hail

  6. QUADROPHENIAN re: How’s Loovul treating ya ?



    Treating me well. This year will mark my 20th anniversary over here. Feels crazy typing it.




    Yes, thanks for your great description of the game, it was a great performance again.



    Thought the midfield trio were sublime once again, though many could pick up POTY points – only three can.



    So, due to his awesome display the much maligned Greg Taylor gets a vote from me this week.



    Winging it’s way to SENCELPOTY@GMAIL.COM



    1. Bernardo



    2. O’Riley



    3. Greg Taylor



    Hail Hail

  8. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    I watched Nawrocki closely last night following the fulsome praise he was given and how he is”expected” to earn a move to a top league.



    Acknowledging Sky’s use of an I-phone to televise the game makes it difficult to get a proper perspective, he looks too slow to become a top class centre half.



    I would also suggest our success with Jota will make it more difficult to sign Bernardo on a permanent contract.



    Of course I sincerely hope I am wrong with both these opinions.

  9. The Battered Bunnet on

    The problem with the model is that it stalls. We sell the successes when they become performers, replacing them with those who we hope will emulate them in due course.



    In replacing performers with bright prospects, we stall the progress of the team, even if the prospect subsequently develops into an even more significant player than the performer he replaced.



    We step forward, we step back again. We don’t make progress.

  10. The signing policy is all well and good. But we are needing to kiss 10 frogs to get 2 ok looking Princes. Most of our “projects” slip quietly out of the club in to obscurity. If we are to continue with our signing policy then we must sign better quality projects.


    I also agree the team needs a quality core . No benefit to the club if we keep selling our best prospects after only one/two seasons in the first team. Does nothing for continuity . Only the business and share dividend recipients benefit from that.


    For the coming window I pray Brendan gets the calibre of “quality” he wants.

  11. Re MoTM, I have an Enda Coll-like blindspot for Scalesy at the moment. Mibby cos I play in defence but I watch him compete, pass, tussle and slide for 90 every week; none of it flash – all of it gutsy. A real likeable pro to my eyes.



    AIPPLE – we met up with a secondary school pal here in Melb last night and when I told him I’d been in Oz for 25 years, it seemed similarly unreal to all of us as your 20 years in the good ole USof.

  12. QUADROPHENIAN re: 20 and 25 years



    Crazy how time flies. I am blessed to have had so many good people around me, none more so than my Loovul lover.

  13. QUADROPHENIAN @ 12:06 PM,



    Those are some interesting views.



    On Maik and Gustaf, remember the pair playing in the league Cup at Killie!?



    Gustaf hasn’t convinced me, yet the lhad seems to have potential – Nawrocki has really come on as a footballer since Rugby Park.



    On Reo, is mercurial, the English, English version or the American, English version!?



    Hail Hail

  14. QUADROPHENIAN on 3RD JANUARY 2024 12:06 PM


    “I didn’t see too much of a difference in Nawrocki’s performance than I did in Gustaf’s.”



    I agree – both seemed good in the air, decent positionally and looked to play good forward passes quickly.



    “If anything, I think Gus is more willing to occupy forward spaces the way CCV does when he’s in his pomp.”



    At one point in the 2nd half he was caught out due to this, with Scales coming over to cover to see the ball out until we re-grouped.



    Both look like decent CBs to me, more than adequate for SPFL certainly – though Lager does look a little lightweight to me compared to Rocky and Scales and Brendan perhaps wants more “power” in this area of the team?






    “he looks too slow to become a top class centre half.”



    That was what a Crystal Palace scout said of Van Dyke when they scouted him the year before he moved to Southampton iirc.



    “I would also suggest our success with Jota will make it more difficult to sign Bernardo on a permanent contract.”



    How does Jota make it more difficult? The purchase price with the club is already agreed, I imagine terms with the player will loosely be discussed also and given that the player can see that not only did we provide Jota with a great platform to showcase his talent but we also acquiesced to his desire to move on after a short time then I think if we win the league and can provide CL participation next year that it would be a no brainer; unless your thinking is that a decent level EPL / La Liga / Bundesliga team will come in for him at the end of this season?




  15. The Battered Bunnet on

    Oscillation! That’s a word to describe our Recruit-Develop-Sell model.



    The performance of the team oscillates as players develop, perform and leave. As talent develops we reach a higher standard of team performance, then the Performers are replaced with new development talent and the team’s results reset.



    We win the league and get pumped in Europe. And sometimes we don’t win the league.




  16. CHAIRBHOY on 3RD JANUARY 2024 12:32 PM





    When you say CB that ‘Gustaf hasn’t convinced me, yet the lhad seems to have potential – Nawrocki has really come on as a footballer since Rugby Park…’



    How many of our not-quite-good-enuffs score for us in Champs League ? I think that’s as strong a defining factor as a short run of Cinch clashes. From leaks, it seems the coaches don’t rate him, but neither did they rate Scalesy who was a wee injury crisis away from a one-way brief to the Beach End.




    And good point re the defining version of Reo’s mercuriality… I’d like a bob both ways pls ;)




    QUADBHOY – ‘Brendan perhaps wants more “power” in this area of the team?’



    The gaffer’s insistence was more power in all areas of the park. Or was it pace and proven quality ? I’d happily settle for all three thanks!




  17. If you can align great recruitment with manager who has the space to allow talent to develop, you are very fortunate.






    BR will see The Rangers winning their games in hand and cutting our lead to 2 points. It may not work out that way but that’s how he’ll see it today. He’ll also see a fixture list flipping back to send us to Easter Road, Pittodrie, Tynecastle and Ibrox in the weeks ahead. He’ll also see a Rangers side pretty much faultless results wise against the rest of the league.



    BR will not recognise the space you’ve afforded him, Paul.



    Recruit the first team ready players to get us over the line in what I fully expect to be a tight race.



    As the yanks say, walk and chew gum at the same time. Develop your Bernardo’s and Yangs whilst getting that quality striker and left back in this window.




    Yes, like the oscillation idea, it is spot on.



    How do you get an oscillating sine wave (AC) to give you smooth, consistent power?



    A Bridge rectifier, then a large capacitor then a regulator.



    The manager and coaches are the regulators, the sorting the wheat from the chaff in the squad is the large capacitor and getting in quality, established players is the bridge.



    Job done, we just need a bit of AD ~ DC



    Hail Hail



    Hail Hail

  19. If we want to improve in Europe, Shankland and Miovski are well short of getting us there,no better than what we have. I would try for G Mak on loan,until we identify a better quality striker in the summer.

  20. OOPS From previous blog …Top 22/23 poster ……Big Jimmy………


    Great sense of humour ,Honest ,and smashes the cream cookies


    Happy New Year big mahn…….


    The wean got her latest xmas story of Wee Rocky…..


    There’s a book waiting to be told ……LOL






  21. The Star Above The Crest on

    So we’re now a development centre for clubs we could be competing with.



    Know your place, plebs.

  22. Good article Paul67



    We understand and I think most would broadly accept the recruitment strategy. The model won’t work with every signing but when it does it works well providing funds and also cementing our reputation as being an attractive place to properly develop.



    However, this team needs an injection of experience and more leaders. There is surely room for the model to be side stepped occasionally. This happened with Aaron Mooy – no resale value (and unfortunately because of a bad back injury only a limited time with us) but what he gave the team was immense.



    We got him I’d say directly thru his relationship with Ange, not because he was identified and targeted by our wider recruitment team (he didn’t tick the boxes for them) but it highlights that this type of player can provide serious dividends (maybe the difference of winning a league, or finishing 3rd in CL and also mentoring younger players). Despite no likely big future transfer fee, it doesn’t mean that there are no benefits.



    Getting the right player – to suit our playing style – is obviously vital. (Aaron Mooy versus Shane Duffy) but surely a good recruitment team to manage that.



    Anyway – the Celts are back on track.


    We Shall Not Be Moved.

  23. I’m not sure I like Celtic being used as a nursery for footballers, but I suppose that’s the way it’s going to be to keep the lights on. Pity.

  24. The small matter of and often-overlooked achievement of 5 trebles and a double in the last 7 seasons does suggest that there is some merit in the present model. European “success” might be elusive although, to my eyes at least, there was improvement this season from a team that’s early in its cycle, but we only watch our team play in these games 6, 8 or 10 games a season while a successful domestic campaign will have us watching our team over 40 times. For me, in March April and May, games against Scottish opposition are more important



    I think there’s a clear acknowledgment of the cyclical nature of the model we follow – PL’s comments about the cash pile show the board are aware that progress isn’t linear and that over an extended period there’s areal possibility that the club will have a season or two like Ajax are experiencing at the moment, or that we won’t win the league against a team that will outspend us beyond their means. Benfica are often held up as the ideal, they don’t win the league more often than they do, they finished bottom of their CL group this season after going deep last.



    Every model will have its drawbacks, flaws and limits as Paul67 says, that it’s the only show in town for a club our size operating in our league. If we want to be more than a small-minded “most successful club in the world” we have to bring in and play more Bernardos, Nawrockis, oh’s Yangs and O’Rileys. Accept the occasional “disastrous” season, “failure” of a transfer window spell in the season when we lose three games in a row, stop writing off players as poor imitations of the players they replace after 15 minutes off football.



    Or do it but maybe keep it to yourself with the understanding that it might be counter-productive if it be one’s part of something bigger that will have an effect on the team we all support

  25. bournesouprecipe on

    TavPen had to be consoled by teammates last when it was explained to him why he couldn’t take the penalty.

  26. GERRYBHOY @ 12:49 PM,



    Seems like wee Greg is picking up the votes, good to see…



    Hail Hail

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