Bobby Collins left Celtic in 1958 after nine years’ service. He’d won the Cup, the Double, the Coronation Cup, and, of course, the 1957 League Cup Final – Hampden in the Sun, Celtic 7, Rangers 1.
He went on to have a great career at Everton and to make a transformational contribution to Leeds United, but he will forever be a team mate of Sean Fallon, Willie Fernie, Bertie Peacock, Neil Mochan and Charles Patrick Tully. Our thoughts go to his family and friends today.
Over the last year or so we’ve asked the question, how many appearances a player needs to make in a well-scouted league to allow an agile club to discover him, before the hoards arrive and price-away any value in him?
Victor Wanyama made 50 appearances in Belgium before we nabbed him but he was knocking back substantially improved contracts from Celtic after only 30 games (which is a different point); England had already taken notice. Virgil van Dijk made 62 appearances for Groningen, would we have been able to sign him on the kind of money we did if he’d stayed for another 30-or-so games? It’s unlikely.
Amido Balde made 27 top flight appearances before arriving here, while Teemu Pukki played 37 times for Schalke – enough to score 8 times but there would have been little game time for Celtic scouts to watch him.
In the summer we concluded that there was a 50-80 game value opportunity. Below this and you’ll struggle to find a player who has developed sufficiently for our agile scouts to be on the case and to do their work properly. Above this and any player worth a punt will be packing stands with scouts from all over Europe.
If we’re signing someone without the necessary miles on the clock, he’s a punt and should be considered off strategy. If we’re singing someone who has been watched by dozens of scouts, chances are, at best, he will be no more than a decent return on our money, there will be no hidden value.
Stefan Johansen has made 67 top flight appearances for Norwegian champions, Stromsgodset. Enough for him to develop into a player who can attract the most agile to Norway, not enough for him to attract those who seem to use Fifa 14 as their primary recruitment database, so he’s on strategy, as far as our 50-80 game value opportunity theory goes.
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