Big O meets the Big Owe – Hammond/Penrice inspired signing and the debt Griffiths owes Ange

As Celtic welcomed in the post Peter Lawwell era, new CEO Dominic McKay has had a busy start to his first – officially at least – day in the job.

As Osaze Urhoghide a young kid nicknamed ‘Big O’ signed on from Sheffield Wednesday, he became Ange Postecoglou’s first recruit to the new managers rebuild. It was however the second contract Celtic’s new CEO had penned that day, as Leigh Griffiths, somewhat surprisingly after the previous days’ speculation, signed a one-year contract extension with the club.

Credit: Celtic FC

You can only think that the terms of Griffiths contract have been renegotiated and this one is heavily incentivised on appearances and goals. Whether that’s the case or not Celtic’s maverick striker has a bit of making up to do. As Celtic’s latest young starlet signs on Leigh Griffiths needs to take his lead from the new lad’s moniker because for the next 12 months the Big Owe is the debt Leigh Griffiths needs to pay Ange Postecoglou for exhibiting an incredible show of faith in a player most Celtic fans believed was heading out the door.

Photo: Jane Barlow

To put this simply Leigh Griffiths has just been offered an opportunity to lead Celtic into Champions League football by a man he barely knows, when one who knew him inside out didn’t even name him in a Scotland squad bereft of goal scoring nous. That was a gamble Steve Clarke wasn’t willing to take, but it is one Ange Postecoglou has decided to. Time will tell if Ange has called this one right. It is a risk that could pay off for Celtic’s new boss, whilst Steve Clarke must still be wondering now if he was a little too hasty in not making room in his Euros squad for a player as accustomed to scoring important goals as he is to controversy.

The clear arguments for this deal is the short-term nature of the contract and the just as tight time frame -19 days – Celtic have before they head into competitive Champions League football.

With Celtic transfer targets it seems working to a left behind Nicky Hammond songbook, with Gary Penrice lyrics, including today’s big unveil from Sheffield Wednesday, Ange can easily be forgiven for taking the bird in hand rather than the two that may or may not appear in the bush. Celtic after all are not the fastest movers when it comes to recruitment nor do we have any new Director of Football or Head of Recruitment in place offering fresh targets.

With that in mind Ange Postecoglou sees a striker who he needs to get fit, and get scoring and he clearly backs himself and Griffiths to do both. Postecoglou will certainly be banking on the strikers near brush with heading to Pittodrie or Tannadice to ply his football trade as a close shave that focused the mind and he will be hoping Leigh Griffiths will repay the loyalty shown by the new boss with an improved attitude and an immediate return of goals.

(Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

As ‘Big O’ kicks of the recruitment revolution with wide eyed enthusiasm for big crowds, trophies and European football, the Big Owe will come down to Leigh Griffiths, the been there and done it goalscorer who just needs to prove there’s life in the old dog yet and show that the elder statesman of the Celtic squad can also set a good example to the new kid on the block.

Ange Postecoglou meanwhile needs to hope Leigh Griffiths doesn’t undermine his youthful rebuild before it even gets off the ground. It’s fair to say Celtic’s new manager is all in on this one. Let’s hope for a substantial return.

Niall J

About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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