What are we to make of the fact that Jack Hendry is putting in some stellar performances in the Belgian League so much so that it is reported that a number of English Premier League teams are interested in him. This is at a time when we fielded two converted midfielders in the centre of our defence in the second defeat of the season to that lot; that last part doesn’t trip off the tongue easily.
What are we to make of the fact that Lewis Morgan was voted most valuable player for Inter Miami? He has gone from zero to hero at a time when our lack of a wide man is evident for all to see. The cynics will say that the MLS is a bit of a minor league and that the accolade means very little. Strikes me, Chelsea paid £58m for Pulisic so there are good players to be had over the pond.
It is also the same league we have been looking at for players including Andrew Gutman and Manny Perez, and if reports are to be believed, Mark McKenzie was on our radar over the summer but we opted for a Shane Duffy loan instead…another one that got away!
Could either Hendry or Morgan have made the grade with us? We will never know, they didn’t hang around too long because they never settled and didn’t feel wanted. They both took a lot of criticism, lost a bit of confidence and the coaching staff didn’t think they could turn things around.
I got me thinking that maybe we shouldn’t rush to criticise new signings. Some like David Turnbull look to have settled in very quickly, which is great to see given his lost season of 2019/20. Also, Ismaila Soro looks good although it took him 12 months to establish himself. There is an argument that he should have been in the team earlier but that is for another day.
In contrast, the new(ish) signings like Barkas, Taylor, Ajeti and the aforementioned Duffy are struggling. As we know, footballers need to be in the right frame of mind to perform to their full potential. For example, anyone would struggle in goal at the moment with the sort of defending we have shown. Stevie Woods, our goalkeeping coach, must have seen something in Barkas and can surely get him performing. Barkas, like the others, is a full internationalist. I am sure their wee holiday in the sun will have done the trick. What is that expression with the words tongue and cheek?
I am not excusing their performances or those of the more established hard core players in recent times. The players are well aware of the criticisms directed at them. Just thinking, maybe we should cut the new signings a bit of slack, they should hopefully get there. Barkas, Duffy and Ajeti have never played at a full Celtic Park, they have only experienced the negativity going around at the moment. I have watched some players have brilliant debuts and go on to have mediocre careers with Celtic and vice versa. So let’s hope the latter applies to those new signings who are struggling at the moment.
We do need to get a centre back in and get some players out the door ASAP but we also need to get more out of our current squad rather than always looking to “strengthen”. Our track record in the market is patchy at best and we appear unable to land identified targets. At the moment we are losing on the pitch, in the media and in the transfer market. A perfect storm.