A piece by James Forrest on The Celtic Blog prompted me to read a sycophantic article that Record hack Gordon Waddell penned a yesterday. The article was concerning the need for Scottish clubs to produce home grown players rather than spending millions on established players who will displace young Scottish talent. To suggest that Celtic (or any other team) are “buying” the SPFL would surely go against the philosophy of Scottish football and Scottish journalism (sic) over the last 20 years or so?
This “Damascus Moment” for Waddell surely cannot be based upon the fact that the Govan Phoenix is skint and we are being criticised for bringing in Scott Sinclair, Kristoffer Ajer, Moussa Dembele, Kolo Toure and Dorus De Vries? You better believe it is.
This is a direct response to the former City Trader bemoaning the fact that Rangers cannot compete with the financial clout of even Championship or League One clubs in England; this is in stark contrast to Celtic bringing Sinclair, Dembele, Toure and De Vries from England and beating off any and all competition to sign them. This presents a stark realism to everyone involved in Scottish football and they don’t like it.
The Rangers might have reached the giddy heights of the SPFL Premier League for the first time this season, but they are, in comparison to Celtic, still 3rd division. Financially, Celtic are on a solid footing with the probability of another £30M coming in when we see off Hapoel Be’er Shiva in the next 8 days. This will provide entry to the Champions League Group Stages; and although not popular, the Chief Executive and Board have to be given some credit for having us in such good financial health. Celtic have spent somewhere in the region of £5M or so on recruitment so far with at least one other player to come in whilst Rangers have spent somewhere south of £100,000 and cannot afford to bring anyone else in. The only way they can bring in any more recruits is by selling one of their players who may command a fee; it has been suggested that the Govan Cafu, Tavernier, is being hunted by the Turkish outfit Trabzonspor for £2.5M. We’ll see.
However, that’s not the stark realism I referred to. What is realism for The Rangers, their fans and the lickspittle SMSM is that the £30M transfer war chest promised by the Glib and Shameless one is a lie. Imagine – the Rangers Chairman being mendacious and not coming up with the goods! I Googled “Dave King promises £30m transfer funds” and this is the result: https://www.google.co.uk/#q=Dave+King+promises+%C2%A330m+transfer+funds
Follow any link to read the fanciful promises of the Rangers Chairman; how the SMSM aren’t all over this as the real story no longer beggars belief: it’s just what we expect. So instead of giving his opinion on the lies and fabrication excreted from Ibrox since 2012 (and before), Waddell decides to berate the rest of Scottish football for not doing their job effectively.
However, Waddell, like most of his fellow hacks, decided not do his research properly and this shows the amateur hour style that we have come to expect from him. A quick visit to www.celticfc.net would have provided our intrepid reporter (sic) with clear evidence of the development of young Scottish talent coming through the ranks of Celtic FC. Here is a wee “starter for 10” that any lurkers from the SMSM can check out if they cannot be bothered to do their own research.
In defence Kieran Tierney is a first team regular with Jamie McCart and Anthony Ralston having played in meaningful competitive games for the first team already. Over and above that, young Irishman Eoghan O’Connell has been developed at Lennoxtown and is a first team regular this season along with young Swiss defender Saidy Janko. All are 21 or under.
In midfield Callum McGregor and James Forrest are established first team regulars and have been for a number of seasons. Scottish Cup winner Liam Henderson has played a number of games for Celtic so far and was a regular for Hibs whilst on loan last season. The purchase of Kristoffer Ajer from Norway along with Patrick Roberts on loan from Manchester City provide another 2 very young players who are in and around the Celtic First Team.
Up front 16 year old Jack Aitchison scored on his debut last season and will get game time this season in the SPFL and cups. Another 2 of our brightest prospects, Joe Thomson and Aiden Nesbitt, are out on loan to other senior SPFL sides. We also have the prodigious talent of Moussa Dembele in the mix as well as young Ryan Christie.
As well as this, we have a number of our Development Squad players on loan at senior Scottish clubs.
There are a number of other clubs in the SPFL, most notably Hamilton, who have and are continuing to produce young Scottish talent. The one notable name missing from that list is The Rangers. The only breakthrough player they have in the first team squad is Barry Mackay. This is against a backdrop of starting anew some 4 years ago in the lowest tier of the SPFL. They had the opportunity to bring through young Scottish players and battle harden them to the extent that they would now be, in their early 20’s, seasoned professionals who were in with a shout of competing in the SPFL in a similar manner to Hearts last season.
Instead of highlighting that missed opportunity where The Rangers employed a lot of journeymen and over the hill mediocrity, Waddell has had a thinly veiled swipe at Celtic. Not clever! Here is a wee Scottish Starting 11 that Celtic could field with 7 home-grown players in the team, 5 of them 21 or under!
Ralston, McCart, Tierney
Forrest, Brown, McGregor, Armstrong, Henderson
Subs: McKay-Steven, Christie, Commons
That team would win the SPFL with reasonable comfort.
So the reality is, that whatever the benchmark we use, Celtic are well ahead of their rivals: we are financially years ahead; in terms of quality in the first team squad, we could put out our “second” string and still win the League; the Manager is in another universe to anyone else in Scotland; the Development Squad trounced a Senior team in the Barr Bru Cup; we are in Europe till Christmas at least.
Oh, and we also have produced a lot of young Scottish talent. The future IS bright, and the future IS green and white – so it is, literally, COYBIG!
Written by VFR for CQN.