Tom, Nir, James. Identity in the dressing room


Tom Rogic (29) leaves us tomorrow, 8 months shy of a decade at Celtic.  After a couple of loan spells back in Australia he became a mainstay of the Celtic side in Ronny Delia’s second term.  Tom will be remembered as an artisan, a throwback to an earlier era, when grace was more common.

His goals stick in the mind more vividly than most.  The league winner at Kilmarnock, the last-minute winner at Motherwell, he was the scourge of Newco, scoring against them at three different venues.  He leaves Scottish football as one of four nominees by his fellow professionals as Player of the Year.  This season, outstanding performances against Hibs, Dundee United, Motherwell and Ross County all come to mind.  He harvested votes across the season.

Nir Bitton (30) also wears a Celtic shirt in battle for the final time tomorrow.  He arrived seven months after Tom and leaves on a high, bookending his career here with a controlled cameo at Ibrox that saw Celtic comfortably over the line.

Their contemporary, James Forrest (30), signed a new deal yesterday that will keep him at the club until 2025.  All three have more to offer the game.  None were likely to be first choice at Celtic next season, but, when fit, James has the ability, pace, experience and goalscoring threat that the manager values.

Having watched Scott Brown interact with the rest of the squad, I also believe there is an important role in maintaining an identity about the club, one that is best secured from within the dressing room.

You will have lots of memories to deal with tomorrow, none more than the incredible Hampden moment in May 2017, when Tom ran from 30 yards out, evaded two challenges and slipped the ball into the net to secure the invincible treble!  Some heroes are destined to inspire long after they leave.

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  1. Goodbye and thank you Nir and Tam.



    Hope those in attendence tomorrow give them both the love they deserve.




  2. No surprise Tom Rogic wants nearer home he’s done well travelling the globe and 10 years sterling service to Celtic, glad we enjoyed his Indian summer and him getting his title back.



    Best of luck big man thanks for the memories, Celtic supporters will be buying your drinks for life, wherever you go.



    No surprise James Forrest gets a new deal which he’s earned on service alone. His new contract for a much more limited future role is bound to be substantially less and he has plenty yet to give.



    AP CSC

  3. On the upside….



    Nir Bitton as a late July CH in some scandinavian outpost is something I won’t miss…



    Not your fault big lad but part of our ‘we aren’t buying until we know where we’re playing’ transfer strategy each year under PL..




  4. I can’t imagine Forrest being passionate and telling new signings about the ways of the force.



    Is he a big thing in the dressing room?

  5. Pingback: Tom, Nir, James. Identity in the dressing room | Celtic FC News Now

  6. I’m glad Tom & Nir’s leaving has been announced before our last home match. Gives all a chance tomorrow to show appreciation. 👏



    Of course..they’re places in the squad will need to be filled. Good recruiting is the key – and very tricky to get right more times than not. Ange has a terrific record in recruitment so far. Long May it continue. 👍



    Tom & Nir…thank you for all your efforts 👏




  7. Current feeling is one of calm appreciation for the 2 of them.


    They’ve both left us with plenty of memories. Tom’s being the more significant.


    Both leaving on a high

  8. Jinkyredstar on

    This has been well managed by the players and club.


    Both deserve a wonderful send off, instead of slipping away during the close season.


    Both have been great servants and leave good memories.


    Tom’s winner at Hampden it etched on the hard drive of my mind.


    All the best guys.

  9. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Agree with Ernie.






    Neither Nir nor Tom figures in my personal favourite list but this feels like a loss to the group.



    IMHO, Tom R has looked a little bit off it in the last month? .. perhaps his impending departure was a subconscious factor.



    On the positive side though.



    Squad changes being implemented early


    (this has Ange written all over it)



    Feels like significant phase 2 prep.



    Rightly or wrongly ….



    Nir is perceived as a deep, holding midfielder



    Tom, a floater nearer the top end of the pitch.



    Suggests to me Ange is breaking from those positional perceptions of bespoke midfielders



    … I assume to be replaced by a dynamic 3-5 person midfield unit with individuals who can operate all over the pitch.



    If so … scary but exciting.

  10. The Battered Bunnet on

    It’s a little odd that such a quality player with a full year left on his contract is apparently being allowed to leave on a free transfer.



    According to this PR from the club, he signed a 5 year extension in 2018 – – “which will see him remain at the club until at least the summer of 2023.”



    I can understand it if he wants to go and the manager is content with that, but why would we happily forfeit a transfer fee for a class footballer?



    Am I missing something? Is there some reward clause in his contract that kicks in after 10 years on the payroll? Such reward being more expensive to the club than any likely transfer fee?



    All very odd.

  11. Tam and Nir have both played a lot of games this season and their loss will need to be replaced.



    Best of luck to both. They leave Celtic having won our trophy back. Their time at the club has been gold paved.



    It remains to be seen what James has to offer us but I doubt he’ll be offering what he has in previous seasons so we’ll need to plan for that as well.



    I suspect this is the start of what I expect to be summer clear out. Barkas, Bain, Jullien, Ajeti and Soro all need to be moved on this window at a minimum.

  12. I wiIll miss Tom. Less so Nir who was played out of position for most of his time at CP. This season he did what he was asked to do by Ange in a position he was comfortable playing in. Good back up but not a first team pick. James will mostly be playing a support role for Abada. Good to have him around but he is not likely to be rediscovering the form he showed in the Brendan years.



    With McCarthy apparently unwanted, we could be down three midfield players.


    Do we have enough with Calmac, Turnbull, O’Riley, Ideguchi and Hatate?

  13. Good news about Jamesie. He showed enough on Wednesday to suggest that with a run of good fitness and games he can contribute significantly next season.



    Shame about Niro and Tam.



    Tam has been the most skilful player in Scotland for many years and has scored a load of goals that no one else hold have, some in vital games at vital times. His goal this season at Ibrox was essential to the title, but we’ve come to expect that from him. His cool finish and his little kangaroo jump for joy when CCV scored summed him up perfectly. I hope he goes to a decent league where he can provide the same sort of memories to a deserving group of fans. Someone’s getting a diamond.



    Best wishes to Bitton, the sort of dedicated squad player every winning team, of which he has been part of many, needs. The occasional worldie as well





  14. Will miss both Tom and Nir.



    Hope they both get good conditions and/or bumber pay deals in their next adventures. Great servants to the club and never heard any off field trouble from them. Great professionals who always seem motivated despite not being in some managers’ plans all the time.


    They’ll both do well wherever they end up imo.

  15. Battered bunnet,


    Perhaps conversations had last summer?


    Could be good for new players or loan players to see how we look after and treat players who have done the business for us?

  16. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Really disappointed, i thought Rogic got a new lease of life through Ange,and had a couple of seasons left in him, maybe avoiding the SPFL Hammer Throwers, will give hem another 3 or 4 years,in better governed leagues, thanks for the memories, the Invincible Cup Final goal will live with us forever. All the best to both of them

  17. Both made good contributions to our success but I can’t imagine either of them playing major roles next season. Things will be faster and more aggressive. They deserve a warm send-off and hopefully they will find a good team in which they can play regular first team football and continue to enjoy work and life in general.

  18. Sorry to see Tom & Nir leave, but happy we can say goodbye during our great day vs Motherwell.



    They say there is no short-cut to success, so how has Ange managed it?



    I think that we look no further than an article of Paul’s a few weeks ago when he extolled the virtues of the “fundamentals” at our club.



    We had money available, even after all the Covid disruption, for Ange to bring in players immediately, and a knowledgeable & committed backroom staff ready to give their all in support.



    To ‘bounce-back’ from a barren & soul-destroying season to be Champions the next is incredible.



    The club comes under severe criticism, some justified, most not, however fundamentally our system is sound and the hardware right – we just need a ‘reboot’ and some updated software from time to time.



    I”m sure even now Ange will be formulating the programme for next season. A season that we can look forward to, not in trepidation as last, but with confidence & anticipation.

  19. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Good luck to Tom and Nir. Plenty still to offer in the game, even if not at Celtic.


    Rogic simply unplayable on his day.

  20. I think we already have Tam’s replacement in O’Riley. He’s young, can only improve and was never going to play in the same starting 11 as Rogic. All he needs to do is improve his finishing and start scoring goals of the season from nothing. Easy



    While our hand may have been forced its a positive that we’re looking to bring new faces into the first team – I can’t see us letting Tam go without a new starter being signed. Both us in 2020 and them last summer failed to move on players who wanted to leave and replace them with fresh blood, both teams suffered as a result. Regular turnover of first team players is important to a teams development, sometimes that has to be players that seem essential if you’re going to progress.



    We saw against Bodo/Glimt and in the last 2 Sevco games that we need a different sort of midfielder if we’re going to do better in Europe and beat them next season, our key aims going into our next campaign. More of the same won’t do. We need at least one, possibly two more athletic midfielders, strong runners capable of taking the ball under pressure with stamina and strength to fit in with how Ange wants us to play. We have just opened up one spot in the starting midfield and another in the squad which can hopefully be filled by our new head of recruitment to Ange’s exacting standards.



    Progress! Exciting!

  21. JHB on 13TH MAY 2022 12:46 PM



    How does that fit in with your view that we would struggle to finish in the top 6 this season and take two full seasons to challenge the currant buns again?

  22. If we were to secure a player to fill the role Cal Mac has at present, giving us the option to utilise cal further up the pitch at times then the departure of Tam makes sense to me.

  23. Melvin Udall on

    Absolutely gutted big Tam Rogic is leaving. One of my favourite players over the past few years. A majestic footballer and a pleasure to watch. Always good for a goal v them and usually a cracker at that.



    I’m now putting more weight on Ange’s comments re James Forrest being his type of player and feel quite excited about who we will bring in to replace both Rogic and Bitton.



    Exciting times ahead folks. Ange knows exactly how he wants his team to play and the exact type of player he needs to achieve that goal.



    I’m putting my faith in the big man to smash this out the park.




  24. I would summise that Guchi is Bitton’s 22/23 replacement.



    I would hope Scott takes Tam’s place.



    Tom – The lack of preparation for ECL qualifying was down to Lawell’s budget over ambition mindset.




  25. Hrvatski Jim on

    Thanks to Nir and Tom and best wishes for the next stage in your careers.



    Nir was not always a mainstay but stepped up when needed into whatever role the manager needed seemingly without complaint, vital to have in any squad, and often brought stability to help us close out a game.



    Tom’s montage and volume (31) of spectacular goals for Celtic places him in the same category as Lubomir (29) and Shunsuke (29). Nearly every goal by these 3 was from special skill. My future YouTube viewing is assured.

  26. glendalystonsils on

    CELTIC40ME on 13TH MAY 2022 12:50 PM


    I think we already have Tam’s replacement in O’Riley.




    O’Riley’s attributes would seem to make him the most natural successor to big Tam . I think we’ll see a lot more from him next season in terms of fitness/stamina and , as you say , goals.

  27. I liked the look of Vetlesen at Bodo/Glimt who scored in both legs against us and against Roma in the Conference. Not staying we should sign him but that midfield played exactly how I think Ange is looking for us to play

  28. Thanks for posting those 2 strikes from Nir Bitton (c40me)from back in the day.He was a good player to have in the squad as he could fill in a number of positions as shown by various managers.He was a hard player(awaiting yellow:-) ,maybe a little erratic.


    Good luck Nir,God bless and thank you



    Tom,treble goal,v Aberdeen,in cr7 Hotel in Lisbon with a load of Celtic supporters of these pages.As jinkyredstar say seared into any Celts heart is that goal,other goals likes vs.killie is a fav of mine.even this season I missed a kyogo goal in Europe due to his mesmeric ball control.



    A lot of experience going out of the squad but in Ange I trust.



    Thanks Tom,Thanks Nir




  29. !!Bada Bing!! on




    Big Tam, with one of our greatest ever goals

  30. Tom Rogic.



    So sad he is leaving.



    Most used phrases in our household about Tom:



    “How has he still got the ball?”


    “How did he do that?”




    “Big Tam !!!! What a goal!”

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