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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  1. AULDHEID on 3RD JANUARY 2024 5:31 PM



    I don’t think our heavy involvement in drawing up the new regs was with a view to putting a stop to the Huns overspending. I don’t think you get to be vice chair of the ECL if you have such a parochial view on football, I think it’s probably best for Celtic in the long run if he didn’t



    I also dont think the new regs are aimed particularly at the Huns. They have a relatively modest spend on transfers and their wage to income ratios are always pretty comfortably within the limits. And as you know transfer spend is amortized over the duration of contracts and 100% of the profit appears in the year it’s earned. I think they can continue to overspend on wages and transfers as long as they have the occasional big transfer.



    I think they’re aimed more at the Italian teams and other big clubs who make massive losses but still spend upwards of 100% of their income on their football departments. Big clubs who could seriously shake the foundations of the game if they go under



    Anyway, since when did the Huns not cheat?



    I think the guidelines are just that – a guideline for the maximum. It doesn’t mean we should spend it, our model might suggest a lower ratio, it’s just intended to stop irresponsible clubs from acting without thinking of the consequences. I don’t think it’s a cause for the Huns or us to change our spending habits




    Transfermarkt has it at 1.89m but I get the gist :)



    I don’t think we sign that many players for small amounts by accident. It’s a plan that’s served us not too badly in the past with talent from Europe, but now everyone is wise to it we’ve moved our focus to the more untapped markets in Asia. The risks are greater, not only are we taking a punt on the young players ability, there’s a bigger chance that development will be hindered by problems with a huge change in culture, both in the game and socially



    Ange spoke about the first time he saw Mitoma. He was playing for a university team but he knew he was going to be a star, he signed for a Japanese team then for Brighton but took a couple of seasons before he turned into one of the best in the EPL last season. He said he saw something in Hatate. I think we’ve seen a few problems with the Asian players under Brendan because of a bit of a cultural problem, Ange understood their mentality, even spoke their language, I don’t think Brendan has the same relationship with them yet, although it seems to be improving.



    I’m suggesting that our “scattergun approach” isn’t that at all, it’s a numbers game. The numbers needed for a success have increased because of the higher chances of failure in spotting and developing a player from Asia and the increase in time that it takes. I buy into the idea, I think it gives us the best chance of finding the sort of talent that can really make us into the team we want to see.



    I am not comfortable with the idea of bringing lots of young men thousands of miles away from home to a very different culture and being subjected to the sort of very harsh judgement they’ll get at Celtic in the hope that a quarter of them make it. It doesn’t sit very well with what I think our ethos is at Celtic and I hope we’re looking after them well but I guess football is a hugely competitive business and we have to play the game.

  3. What pisses me off big time is the attitude of the EPL.


    Let’s say O’Reilly played for Brentford or Fulham.


    A big club wants him, price circa £ 50 plus millions.


    Why then should we have the begging bowl out and accept £ 15/20 million.


    Simple , we don’t




  4. Celic40Me



    It might be my way of living with the stress of not winning the league but having the safety blanket of the large amount of cash in the bank means I’m less anxious about losing the league. I think if you are it makes longer term strategic decision making easier, it makes making better decisions about transfer spending easier. A longer-term horizon, and a broader perspective than winning a league in 5 months time makes for better recruitment for success in Europe. I dont want to spend to win the league this season, I want to spend to win the league this season and for success in Europe over the next 5 years. Regardless of the manager, the chairman or the board.




    I had to leave for dinner but the above was on my mind and I touched on it at the end of my previous reply to you.



    Under the idea that better wages attract better players that bring football success over rivals then why are Celtic not doing it not even domestically when it is sustainable?



    In effect the natural consequence of using our higher football income to not only be successful domestically but to compete in the CL , not win it but compete, so that we are still involved after Christmas*, it should follow that domestically your wishes over 5 years are met and possibly into the foreseeable future as Celtic’s football income will always be more than R2ngers if it increases year on year from CL involvement.



    A virtuous circle for Celtic and a vicious one for R2ngers, but if we do not take advantage of FSR (that Celtic were involved in) then Celtic could find themselves on the vicious side.



    * a factor that has stopped Celtic reaching later stages in Europe is running up against clubs who are acting unsustainably. Would it be stretching hope too far to suggest that the FSR rules on playing squad spend will reduce the player quality gap for them whilst Celtic can sustainably improve player quality?



    Does the current recruitment model of this blog take into account the possible effects of FSR? Given Celtic played a part in FSR development you would like to see it has, even if only by stages starting this month.




    Thanks for resurrecting all my thoughts on FSR that had gone into hibernation.

  5. AULDHEID @ 5:31 PM,



    No, it was me that was being clumsy.



    My point was agreeing with what you said regarding spend.



    Just put in my own addendum regarding our approach.



    We live in interesting times!?



    Hail Hail

  6. AULDHEID on 3RD JANUARY 2024 6:46 PM



    Wages and cash control are particularly important in football, and the two go hand in hand. “Where did the Seville money go” seemed to be about not paying big transfer fees but itceas more about our huge wage bill that was contributing to the losses and rising debt. Let wages get out of control, sign up players who don’t contribute on big long contracts and things can quickly turn tricky. The Huns weren’t sunk because of the big transfer fees, it was the wages they paid over an extended period.



    Bring in new players on higher wages and every senior player will go knocking on Brendan’s door and I don’t see him not backing them as things are at the moment. Quality players in their prime will be looking for a big deal in what is likely to be their last move. We aren’t just talking about the newcomers, it’s the entire squad.



    It’s been a central part of what has made us sustainable and successful over such a long period. I don’t think being “able” to spend more by uefa will change that. They’re such a basic generalized set of rules that are supposed to apply to all sized clubs on all leagues. They can’t possibly be used as a guideline for how we “should” operate



    Clubs will look to cheat, any regs will be cheated, they’ve only really come into place because City cheated the last ones on a huge scale and got away with it. I thinki it’s a forlorn hope that clubs won’t work their way round them or at least cheat when we’re playing in them in the hope they’ll be able to get easy with it or lawyer their way out of it.

  7. Evening all.






    AN TEARMANN on 3RD JANUARY 2024 1:16 PM


    Church of The immaculate conception Maryhill.





    13 mins in





    Sermon by Fr.Jim Lawlor


















    Thank you for that post.




  8. A lot of angst about nothing tonight on FF.



    Apparently there is not too much about Willie Collum or the ref being hung drawn or quartered after the SFA meeting with their directors.

  9. SCULLYBHOY @ 5:49 PM,



    What if they want to go? If it was you, would you spend your whole career playing for example Ross County etc on a wet and cold Tuesday, or pit your wits against Liverpool etc away, whatever the weather?



    If it was me, I’d rather be playing Liverpool in a weekend in August at Anfield rather than Ross County on a wet and cold Tuesday.



    However, I’d rather be playing Lazio in Rome and have a papal visit, rather than play Luton Town on a wet and cold Sunday afternoon.



    Depends how you look at things and what your priorities are.



    The way you frame it, they’d probably want to go to Greece and roll a boulder up the hill Sisyphus style, rather than go spend your whole career playing Ross County every wet and cold Tuesday.



    It is up to our Club to make players happy to stay, that is the challenge – stay at a Great Club, win trophies, compete in Europe, get adored by the greatest supporters in the world, set yourself up for life, your family enjoy a great quality of life.



    Any elite, quality enterprise has the challenge of talent retention.



    Celtic PLC set things up, so their Directors’ benefit from off loading their best talent.



    Hail Hail

  10. Rangers have now heard the audio of the derby game and are still unhappy.



    No mention of possible offside!!…



    At the time did the ref not deem it not a handball and VAR agreed🤔

  11. the long wait is over on

    I see the Rangers have been allowed access to the audio from the decision not to award the


    “Penalty” the game at the weekend.






    Now a wee precedent has been set. Any team can now ask for it.



    An element of transparency has been introduced and VARs now know their decisions are now going to open to a greater level of scrutiny.



    Can’t see how that helps them given the ridiculous decisions their favour.



    Maybe the decision to give Kilmarnock a penalty yesterday , against staggering odds, only happened because the VAR knew the decision could , in due course, be subject to a new level of scrutiny.

  12. Hi Bhoys, off topic I know but next August Mrs Emeraldbee and I hit the magic 50th Anniversary. We are looking to have a wee/big party for family/friends so are looking for a suitable venue for about 30/40 people in the general East Kilbride/South Lanarkshire/south Glasgow area, some food and music available on the night.



    Any suggested venues very welcome. Thanks for any and all suggestions. (Except Orange or Masonic Halls of course.😄)



    Ave Ave




    guessing the age group…. The canteen in hairmyres might be handy (geriatrics csc) 😜🤣



    50th exceptional have a great night when it comes.




    Hi Em Bee.


    Few wee suggestions


    1.St Brides has a hall


    Contact Nn Mrie mcMillan





    2 been told lourdes in ek has a hall



    3.Torrance Hotel.



    Best of luck and congratulations to you both




  15. Reggie – I think you’re right about Lawwell. He’s been asleep at the wheel for the best part of 20 years. The numbers don’t lie.

  16. Paul The Spark on

    The Huns have requested that Collum is kept away from their matches. This is getting very dangerous and farcical.






    Good evening, friends.


    Arguably, the winter break has come at a bad time for us after we have just won our 4th league game in a row, following our wee blip in mid December.


    A trip to Paisley had proved problematic in recent years but not so this time as Celtic came flying out of the traps with 2 goals in the opening 6 minutes. And what good goals they were too. A fantastic pass from O’Riley led to Maeda scoring the opener inside a minute. And a great passing move a few minutes later saw a pirouetting Bernardo play in Matt for him to score our second. Our good play continued throughout the remainder of the game and some squandered chances along with some inspired goalkeeping meant that we only managed just one more goal. Again, Bernardo provided the assist with Taylor’s volley being the pick of Tuesday’s goals.


    The other main talking point from the game was the red card incident following the studs into Joe Hart’s cheek. Initially, I felt it only merited a yellow but after reading the laws of the game it is clear that the correct decision was red. No matter how genuinely you attempt to play the ball, if your actions endanger an opponent you have to walk. 2 games in a row against 10 men but only 1 goal scored during those periods.


    So, we now have 12 more sleeps till we possibly see any of our Japanese stars play, 13 for our South Koreans and 19 till Celtic play their next game.


    So, for the 29th time this season, here are the stats and the voting returns. We have now played 29 games and have 18 wins, 4 draws and 7 defeats, scoring 58 goals and conceding 30 – betting us to win games 2-1 might be the way to go! My thanks to the 80 who voted this time around.


    I have to say this was probably the most interesting set of votes of the season to date. 4 players dominated the charts and my sort of promise to reply individually to those who vote the same as me really did come back to haunt me! 7 didn’t receive a vote but still played well and the 2 others who both received just 1 vote are sponsored by The Bluebells (hope that works, d’oh!!). Anyway, the total votes cast for each player are as follows, with my own nominations asterisked.



    Hart: 1


    Johnston, A: 2


    Nawrocki: 0


    Scales: 7


    Taylor*: 62


    McGregor: 30


    O’Riley*: 72


    Bernardo*: 62


    Maeda: 2


    Kyogo: 0


    Palma: 0


    Yang: 0


    Abada: 0


    Lagerbielke: 0


    Oh: 0


    Hatate: 0



    And so, the players receiving POINTS for the game against St Mirren are –


    O’Riley – 5 points


    Bernardo and Taylor – 4 points each


    McGregor – 2 points


    Scales – 1 point



    The overall positions after 29 games played are as follows –


    74 points – Scales


    69 points – O’Riley


    48 points – McGregor


    33 points – Carter-Vickers


    27 points – Palma


    22 points – Kyogo


    20 points – Oh


    18 points – Maeda


    17 points – Bernardo


    16 points – Johnston, A and Yang


    13 points – Taylor


    12 points – Hart


    9 points – Johnston M, Nawrocki and Turnbull


    6 points – Iwata, Lagerbielke and Ralston


    5 points – Hatate


    4 points – Bain


    3 points – Forrest


    1 point – Holm


    0 points – Abada, Bernabei, Frame, Haksabanovic, Phillips, Starfelt, Tilio and Welsh



    And so, a 2 and a bit week break from emails for this old man. But hopefully we all return, suitable energised when Celtic take on Buckie Thistle in the Scottish Cup 4th Round on Sunday 21st January, kick off 4.00pm. Perhaps there may be some as yet unknown players who will receive some votes….


    Hail Hail!

  18. Paul The Spark on



    Do you think his fellow refs will go on strike? I won’t hold my breath.

  19. Kelvinbhoy,Lefti and Belmont Brian


    Thank you,spread the word silence is not an option.



    Thanks bhoys




  20. 03-01-24, 19:44


    A Rangers spokesperson said: “Rangers FC today met with Scottish FA officials to discuss the VAR handball call and subsequent miscommunications from Saturday’s Old Firm match.



    “From the meeting, there was an overriding consensus the VAR decision of no handball was incorrect.



    “Having listened to the audio, there is no mention of a potential offside at the time of the handball decision. Rangers is also deeply concerned at the haste at which the erroneous no handball call was made.



    “Rangers has appealed to the Scottish FA to release the audio and explain this decision, and future contentious decisions involving all clubs, to the public, as would be common practice in England for such a decision.



    “The club has made a number of specific requests that it hopes the Scottish FA will respond to in order to improve matters going forward.”

  21. Prestonpans bhoys on

    Well a president has been set, you want a audience with the SFA to hear the audio then they can no longer refuse 😉

  22. Celtic need to come out and say if we can request certain referees, because that is exactly what the huns are foing,yet again…

  23. Huns briefing that they’ve requested Collum is prevented from officiating their games in any capacity.



    The Huns should now be charged with being the game into disrepute.



    This is as clear an attempt to intimidate match officials as you’ll see.



    Not just Collum, but all refs will be even more reluctant to give a big call against them.



    Which is exactly the point of making public their request.



    The SFA should act now.

  24. The huns McCarthy like purge on ‘certain referees’ will hopefully blow up in their faces.



    A FIFA reality is refs cannot officiate in national ties where their own country is playing.



    In the EPL, they cannot officiate in ties if they support any of the teams playing (does that apply to lines-persons too ?)



    In the interests of fairness, Scotch fitba needs to introduce similar anti-bias measures to end fan suspicion.



    Tho it adds to the general theatrical value of the game between fixtures, we know that institutional bias lubricates the big scottish pochle.





    ANTEARMANN – thanks for sharing that impassioned sermon.

  25. glendalystonsils on

    The huns ‘demands’ to the SFA might seem like the tail wagging the dog . except that in Scotland , they are the dog and the SFA are the tail .



    They’ll be demanding a replay next , such is their desperation .

  26. Bada, the problem is, at this point, supporters from other Scottish clubs see this as a Celtic v Sevco problem. They all now need to urge their guys in charge to speak out. It’s the only way it will change. If Celtic are the only team to say something it will only continue as-is.

  27. Prestonpans bhoys on

    If Collum didn’t think it was a handball then fair enough however if he did think it was a handball he then needs to look at the preceding incident. That would have forced him to look at the huns being offside.



    Complete pish by them, putting pressure on all officials for future games. They are going full monty for that CL £60m next year. Their board are doing what they can to achieve this, our mob sit on their arse and say nothing 🤔

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