The signing of Adam Idah has kept this title race alive

Yesterday saw us get upon the rollercoaster of emotion that is watching Celtic this season, as we once again put on a Jekyll and Hyde show that had us going from fearing the league could be over in the first half, to the joys of a couple of late goals in the second half and the feeling that this could finally be the turning point we have all been hoping for.

In what was both a traumatic and exhilarating experience all rolled into 97 minutes on a Sunday afternoon, there were multiple talking points afterwards but the main one I want to discuss is this:

The signing of Adam Idah has kept this title race alive…

When we brought in Adam Idah on loan from Norwich City most of us were truly underwhelmed. No-one was writing the Cork native off but in a window where we were promised quality signings we waited for Celtic to open the chequebook and deliver what we needed.

Many of us felt Norwich’s third choice striker wasn’t the answer. I perhaps more than some fellow Celtic fans actually had knowledge of the player having watched him represent his country at international level.

He has played for Ireland right the way through from Under 16 level to full senior international and it was his Under 21 coach Stephen Kenny who introduced him to senior international football, adding him to the set up whilst naming his first squad as full Ireland manager.

Kenny had a lot of faith in the youngster and Idah always looked decent playing for his country, if never spectacular. It was clear to see he had the attributes to make a good striker but struggled slightly in an Ireland team who were underperforming as a whole under Kenny.

Since arriving in Glasgow however, Idah has proven to be a quality addition. He got us out of a hole against Hibs earlier this month, showing his mettle by netting two crucial penalties that claimed all three points then grabbing another double after coming off the bench at half time yesterday. Without Idah we would have dropped points in both games so his contribution already has been vital.

I have to say one of the big things that has impressed me has been his mentality. It would have been a dream come true for him to sign for Celtic but he arrived amidst a truly horrible atmosphere surrounding the club.

I felt so sorry for him as he arrived at a time when the fans were totally dejected due to an absolute failure of the recruitment team to bring in much needed reinforcements as we entered the second half of the season with theRangers breathing down our necks. Idah didn’t seem to take it personally however and hasn’t let the initial feeling of apathy towards him ruin his confidence.

The two penalties he netted earlier this month against Hibs proved we have a player on our hands with a fantastic mindset. Our players have been truly woeful from the spot this season and I wouldn’t have trusted any of them to net one penalty against Hibs never mind two.

The fact Idah had the confidence to step up and take both penalties knowing that he would be vilified if he missed them shows how strong a character he is. He looked ice cool in both instances and he really got the Celtic fans on his side that day.

Yesterday Idah was once again entrusted to be the man to pull us out of a hole and he duly obliged. Coming on for Kyogo at half time was always going to set tongues wagging. If Idah had contributed little and we lost yesterday people would have crucified Brendan Rodgers for taking off one of the best strikers we have had at the club since Henrik Larsson and replacing him with Idah.

It was masterstroke however and it just shows how much regard Rodgers must have for his fellow Irishman that he trusted him so much that he was prepared to make such a huge call that could have had dire consequences for his own reputation as manager amongst the Celtic fans.

It’s not just Idah’s mindset that has impressed me however. He can play a bit too. The way he took both goals yesterday was a joy to watch. Chris Sutton was on commentary duties yesterday and seemed mightily impressed by Idah and I have to say I do wonder did the Englishman see a bit of himself in Idah because I definitely did!

21.05.2003 Photo Imago/Colorsport – Chris Sutton (re., Celtic Glasgow) gegen Jorge Costa (Mitte) und Nuno Valente (beide FC Porto)

The way he got up for that header, bulleting it into the corner had Sutton written all over it. The first touch finish at the near post had the hallmarks of his fellow former Norwich striker also. I loved watching Chris Sutton in the hoops and it’s been a long, long time since anyone has dominated the forward line for Celtic since his departure but Idah definitely offers that physicality we have been missing. Some of his hold up play has been fantastic since he signed and it definitely gives the opposition something else to think about.

Another thing I feel I have to mention here which might not be too popular is that credit has to go to whoever in the recruitment department scouted and recommended Idah. I know many will say that we have been lucky with how Idah has turned out but I feel credit should be given where it is due and Idah has been a great find.

It’s clear that someone did their homework in regards the players personality and how he would handle the pressure of playing for Celtic, especially at this time when not all is rosy in the garden. How many players down the years have come to Celtic and wilted under the expectations at this club? And that’s when times have been good! A young man able to handle all that has been thrown at him this past month or so is a hard find so well done whoever it was who unearthed him.

Ireland’s Adam Idah celebrates scoring the opening goal from a penalty during the UEFA Euro 2024 group B qualification fmatch between Republic of Ireland and Netherlands at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland on September 10, 2023. (Photo by PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images)

Moving forward surely Celtic will be looking to strike a deal with Norwich for the permanent signing of Idah. As he was the third choice striker at the club and with them having brought in Sydney Van Hooijdonk in January surely they won’t be too hard to deal with. Whether you think he’s the answer to all our problems going forward or not doesn’t really matter. He offers something totally different than what we already have so spending a couple of million to sign him permanently to me is a no brainer. He’s also still young and has a lot of potential for development still on him so on them terms alone we would be mad to miss out on him.

Conall McGinty

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About Author

Hailing from Cushendall in the North of Ireland my formative years were spent watching Celtic during our barren spell through the 90's which meant I have appreciated our recent trophy-laden spell even more. Favourite matches home and away I've attended has to be beating Man Utd 1-0 at Celtic Park and being with my 2 brothers watching us beat Lazio 2-1 in Rome. Best away day experience? Has to be Munich with friends from Coatbridge...what a few days!

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