Signing players on and off strategy


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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  1. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Bawsman 12:11 on 14 January, 2014


    KevJungle – Murdo’s 30yd Title clinching boots 79 12:04 on 14 January, 2014



    “Why contact the Daily Record?”



    Kev’s negativity towards Celtic is always welcome at the Retard.



    I think he’s a regular on the ole hotline.




    fritzsong 12:45 on 14 January, 2014



    Ole Kev needs the love.

  2. South Of Tunis on

    Italian news.



    Allegri mutually consented . Seedorf will be the next Manager of ” in crisis ” AC Milan .



    Rubentus have allegedly agreed to sell Pogba and Vidal to Manchester Utd. Combined fee of 65 million quid ( Pogba costing 40 million ) Media claiming that Vidal is a done deal but Pogba doesnt want to go back to Man U ( seems he bears a grudge) but is willing to go to Psg .





    £40m for a player they let go because he was behind Anderson in the pecking order?



    SAF legacy of a dead squad and lack of judgement.



    He worked wonders getting that team over the line last season,but has done his successor few favours.

  4. bobby murdoch’s curled-up winklepickers ………fc not plc




    Chelsea about to do the same with Matij who they swapped as part of the Luiz deal with Benfica. Buying him back at about 20m.



    Crazy EPL

  5. Just in to say borgo67s post at 23.18 last night was spot on,a scary train journey on the night we won 4-2,a bunch of 11/12 year old kids terrorised by hun hordes and our wee nun head teacher spat on and abused by scum who would now be in their 60s and 70s.You can bet your bottom dollar they look back on that night and are proud of themselves.


    Back oot tae work







    Good point. Seems he was valued c£4m in the Luiz deal.



    Absolute madhouse of a league.



    Man City are about to lose Lescott,£25m and about the same in wages,for nothing.



    Fiscal prudence and Financial Fair Play,hmmmm.

  7. South Of Tunis on




    Pogba .



    Not a done deal. Media are punting the line that UTD have made the verbal offer and Rube have said -Si .Snag appears to be that Pogba doesnt want to go to Utd but does want to go to Paris who are apparently willing to beat Utds offer.



    A fabulous player . Heard Buffon on the radio earlier,opining that United were ” blind and stupid ” to have let Pogba go..



    Off oot ————–





    Zidane said the same.



    Heyho,that 20/20 stuff again,I suppose.

  9. Tamrabam @ 12.55



    Date of match: 29 August 1970- day after my birthday. Always maintain Celtic’s long-term penalty problems started that day as Bobby M missed his kick [ ballooning it over the bar I think] after Tommy Gemmell was taken over injured. TG was never as reliable from the spot after his return and only Charlie Nick and John Collins were reliable from the spot thereafter. IMO



    Jimbo67 supporting Oscar Knox

  10. Steinreignedsupreme on

    jimbo67 14:30 on 14 January, 2014



    Mark Reid was a good penalty taker. I don’t remember him missing any.



    Andy Lynch could take them under pressure as well.

  11. Europe now playing at Ibrox – ‘it’s the final countdown’.. Tina has been relegated to the archives …





    Reliable penalty takers?



    Personally I learned at a very early age not to watch them,but pretty sure Roy Aitken had a decent record.



    Hit it as hard as possible was his method!



    I recall Leighton standing up to one hit straight at him.



    He still couldnae stop it!





    True on both counts.



    I always thought they both got a hard time playing in our “problem” position.



    As far as I was concerned,each was a vast improvement on Jim Brogan.



    Mark Reid got sold,Tommy Burns ended up at left-back.



    Go figure.

  14. Steinreignedsupreme on

    BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS ………FC not PLC 14:41 on 14 January, 2014



    Jim Brogan was as hard as nails right enough.



    I always liked Reid. Thought he was a tidy player and I was surprised when we punted him to Charlton.



    But Davie Hay made quite a few surprise decision in the transfer market.



    Can’t remember who went with him. Pretty sure we sold two players to Charlton at the same time, which I think was the summer of 1985.

  15. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Any Zombies wondering what to do with their share certificates should remember that a roll of toilet paper is worth more.



    Why use the expensive stuff?

  16. Steinreignedsupreme on

    BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS ………FC not PLC 14:50 on 14 January, 2014



    I’ll see your Plumrose and raise you a Brainless Whittaker.





    Did he not end up at Hearts?

  18. RhebelRhebel



    The @ScottishFA have a launched a whistleblowing hotline to boot corruption out of the game.










    That is funny really funny.



    This lot are the corrupters trying to weed out corruption Regan, Ogilvie, Doncaster & Bryson don’t make me laugh.




    How could I forget Andy Lynch? – stayed round the corner from me and a good bloke. Mark Reid – was good at them but I think he was not a fixture in the team for long after he became designated taker.






    Big Roy absolutely lashed them – but he missed one v Der Huns ( on the infamous cavalry charge up Janefield St night) and never took them again from memory.



    Jimbo67 supporting Oscar Knox

  20. GuyFawkesaforeverhero on






    Worth noting, for reference I think, that the Spiv poodles on the Sevco Board will have to bring back the defeated Resolution from their SingalonganAGM to an announced meeting in order to provide the authority to do as is suggested here.







    Celtic penalty experts – I enjoyed Pat McCluskey’s low drillers on the few occasions he grabbed the ball first.

  21. Steinreignedsupreme on

    BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS ………FC not PLC 14:54 on 14 January, 2014



    He did go to Hertz.



    On his return to Celtic Park he came on as a second-half substitute and was sent-off about three minutes later for two shocking challenges.



    Whittaker really was the diddy’s diddy.





    The more I hear about that night,the more I think I missed it for some reason.



    Missing a hun game would be rare in those days-I even sat in the Copeland Road Stand,eight rows behind the goals to watch us getting gubbed 3-0 in the mid-80s.



    Maybe I had over-imbibed for the former match. I sure as hell wish I had done so for the latter!





    To be fair,if he had run that distance wi his physique he deserved his chance!

  24. leftclick Together we will get justice for the Dam 5 on

    Phil MacGiollaBhain‏@Pmacgiollabhain53m


    Keep a weather eye out for signs of massive austerity young man.




    Till later all

  25. jimbob71 is praying for wee Oscar on

    I finally watched the “Goals on Sunday” show at the weekend that Neil Lennon was on and enjoyed it.



    I’m sure I heard someone say Keevins ripped into Neil about his appearance.



    Anyone any info or links to Keevins piece?


    Interested to see what his problem was.





    He was still at Celtic when I moved down to London.



    Though I did see him and Mark Reid playing for Charlton.

  27. Dude, where’s my North Sea oil money?



    For a few years, the UK enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime windfall – only, unlike the Norwegians, we’ve got almost nothing to show for it


    Monday 13 January 2014 20.00 GMT 1201 comments




    Editorial Use Only A gas production platform in the North Sea, 160 miles north east of Aberdeen, Scotland. OIL Photograph: Philip Stephen/bluegreenpictur


    Aditya Chakrabortty



    Last Wednesday, every single Norwegian became a millionaire – without having to lift a lillefinger. They owe the windfall to their coastline, and a huge dollop of good sense. Since 1990, Norway has been squirreling away its cash from North Sea oil and gas into a rainy-day fund. It’s now big enough to see Noah through all 40 of those drizzly days and nights. Last week, the balance hit a million krone for everyone in Norway. Norwegians can’t take a hammer to the piggy bank, amassed strictly to provide for future generations. And converted into pounds, the 5.11 trillion krone becomes a mere £100,000 for every man, woman and child. Still, the oljefondet (the government pension fund of Norway) owns over 1% of the world’s stocks, a big chunk of Regent Street and some of the most prime property in Paris: a pretty decent whipround for just five million people.


    Wish it could have been you with a hundred-grand bonus? Here’s the really nauseating part: it should have been. Britain had its share of North Sea oil, described by one PM as “God’s gift” to the economy. We pumped hundreds of billions out of the water off the coast of Scotland. Only unlike the Norwegians, we’ve got almost nothing to show for it. Our oil cash was magicked into tax cuts for the well-off, then micturated against the walls of a thousand pricey car dealerships and estate agents.


    All this was kick-started by Margaret Thatcher, the woman who David Cameron claims saved the country. The party she led still touts itself as the bunch you can trust with the nation’s money. But that isn’t the evidence from the North Sea. That debacle shows the Conservatives as being as profligate as sailors on shore leave.


    Britain got nothing from the North Sea until the mid-70s – then the pounds started gushing. At their mid-80s peak, oil and gas revenues were worth more than 3% of national income. According to the chief economist at PricewaterhouseCoopers, John Hawksworth, had all this money been set aside and invested in ultra-safe assets it would have been worth £450bn by 2008. He admits that is a very conservative estimate: Sukhdev Johal, professor of accounting at Queen Mary University of London, thinks the total might well have been £850bn by now. That doesn’t take you up to Norwegian levels of prosperity – they’ve more oil and far fewer people to divvy it up among – but it’s still around £13,000 for everyone in Britain.


    Hawksworth titled his 2008 paper on the subject: “Dude, where’s my oil money?” We don’t have any new hospitals or roads to show for it: public sector net investment plunged from 2.5% of GDP at the start of the Thatcher era to just 0.4% of GDP by 2000. It is sometimes said that the money was ploughed into benefits for the miners and all the other workers Thatcherism chucked on the scrapheap, but that’s not what the figures show. Public sector current spending hovered around 40% of GDP from Thatcher through to the start of the banking crisis.


    So where did our billions go? Hawksworth writes: “The logical answer is that the oil money enabled non-oil taxes to be kept lower.” In other words: tax cuts. When the North Sea was providing maximum income, Thatcher’s chancellor, Nigel Lawson slashed income and other direct taxes, especially for the rich. The top rate of tax came down from 60p in the pound to just 40p by 1988. He also reduced the basic rate of income tax; but the poor wouldn’t have seen much of those pounds in their pockets, as, thanks to the Tories, they were paying more VAT.


    What did Thatcher’s grateful children do with their tax cuts? “They used the higher disposable income to bid up house prices,” suggests Hawskworth. For a few years, the UK enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime windfall; and it was pocketed by the rich. The revolution begun by Thatcher and Reagan is often seen as being about competition and extending markets. But that’s to focus on the process and overlook the motivation or the result. As the historian of neoliberalism Philip Mirowski argues, what the past 30 years have been about is using the powers of the state to divert more resources to the wealthy. You see that with privatisation: the handing over of our assets at knock-down prices to corporations and supposed “investors”, who then skim off the profits. The transformation of the North Sea billions into tax cuts for the wealthy is the same process but at its most squalid.


    Compare and contrast with the Norwegian experience. In 1974, Oslo laid down the principle that oil wealth should be used to develop a “qualitatively better society”, defined by historian Helge Ryggvik as “greater equality”. Ten oil commandments were set down to ensure the industry was put under democratic control – which it remains to this day, with the public owning nearly 70% of the oil company and the fields. It’s a glimpse of what Britain could have had, had it been governed by something more imaginative and less rapacious than Thatcherism.


    If Scotland had held on to the revenues from North Sea oil, the question today would not be how it would manage solo, but how London would fare without its bankrollers over Hadrian’s Wall. Oljeeventyr is how Norwegians refer to their recent history: the oil fairy tale. It conveys the magic of how in just a few decades, they have been transformed from being the poor Nordic neighbour to being the richest. We have no equivalent term for our North Sea experience, but let me suggest one: a scandal.

  28. The Moon Bhoys on

    Read the Phil Mac article – what I cant figure is why Dave King hasn’t stepped in and bailed them out? Perhaps he is doing a Fergus, i.e. timing, waiting on the right moment – then table an offer they can’t refuse – or the plug gets pulled. He is the spanner in the works for me, way too quiet as far as Dave King updates go, I fear he will eventually be seen coming over the hill on a white horse to save the day.

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