Quarantine Ramblings and Celtic’s ‘more in hope than expectation’ Champions League outlook

In normal circumstances, I understand that a club should wait until a new manager arrives before signing any new players. However, when the Board are led up the garden path for 3 months by Eddie Howe, appoint a new manager who has to quarantine and then make new signings who have to quarantine, these are not normal circumstances and all conventions go out the window!

The new arrivals look good to me and, when they settle in, will be certainly better than what we have. I am also hopeful we will make further good signings. However, it’s a pity there are no players in other teams in the SPFL that could have strengthened our team or squad before the Champions League qualifiers.

Midtjylland s Ferreira Evander not pictured scores their side s first goal of the game passed Celtic goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas. Photo: Jeff Holmes

No goalkeepers better than Barkas or Bain, no better centre backs than Bitton, no better…….than ………(fill in the blanks), and no need to quarantine. I am not suggesting we should have made multiple signings but certainly we could have brought in a central defender.

It was obvious to a blind man that Ajer wanted to be off ASAP. Jullien was never going to be fit in time; apparently he will be out for a further couple of months. I guess that means we won’t see him before Christmas. To be starting our European and domestic campaigns with Bitton, another converted midfielder, as our most experienced Centre Back, was criminal. How did no-one at the club recognise that? I am sure Ange would have thanked them if they had strengthened in such a key position rather than him having to play a makeshift defence.

Celtic v Midtjylland -Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou. Photo Jeff Holmes

What did John Kennedy or our new Director of Football say to Ange during the time he was quarantining in London? Oh, forgot that we don’t need a Director of Football, the current footballing set up has served us so well (not).

Anyway, I guess the conversation with JK went something like this: –

JK: welcome to Celtic, Ange, and hope you are enjoying London.

AP: thanks mate, but I want to talk footballing matters…

JK: don’t you worry about that, me and wee Gavin have things under control.

AP: okay John, have we got sufficient strength and cover in all positions…

JK: Ange, we have the best squad in the league and they are training really well. Barkas is making some world class saves, Edouard is scoring for fun (against Bain), Nitcham is back and Leigh is desperate to have a few tinnies with you. We can wait until you get here to make a few new signings, and we can wait on them quarantining.

AP: Are you sure John, we have some big games coming up?…

JK: don’t you worry Ange, we are way better than Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton, Bristol City and Preston North End.

AP: I was thinking more about the Champions League qualifiers mate…

JK: don’t you worry about those Ange, we always go into those more in hope than expectation.

AP: Okay mate, so we don’t need any emergency buys…

JK: Ange, Ange, wee Gavin has a new iPad so what can go wrong?

AP: no worries mate, see you in 10 days…

I don’t know what John Kennedy said to Ange, if anything, before his arrival in Glasgow and I may be doing him a dis-service. I am just venting my frustration on him because no-one at the club is accountable. I guess Kennedy wasn’t sure if he would be at the club much longer. However, he was still employed by Celtic and there was nobody else at the club at that time who could make such a call on footballing matters.

Celtic s Ange Postecoglou Photo: Bo Amstrup

Whilst the focus at the moment is rightly on getting players in, we are trying to do so with the same same lack of footballing nouse being displayed by the hierarchy.

By the way, I am not against Bitton but I think he would be better as a defensive midfielder rather than Centre Back. I note he is still listed on the official Celtic website as a midfielder. That just might solve two problems; Soro didn’t look good against the Danes.

Enough of looking back. We are where we are and it looks like we will be here (in a mess) for a bit longer. In the meantime, there is no alternative, we have to remain positive. Ange feels to me like someone who can deal with such a difficult start to the season. He has shown himself to be adept in dealing with the media.

Tonight he will need to get used to Scottish refereeing and the honest mistakes he was warned about. COYBIG.

Christopher Wotherspoon

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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