The Tom Rogic Head Scratcher

It really was a head scratcher wasn’t it? After deciding to leave Celtic for a new challenge, many of the Celtic support expected Tom Rogic to pop up at a club in sunnier climes. Instead, our Wizard of Oz ended up in the Championship and initially under Steve Bruce at West Brom.

In terms of a fit, for a laid-back playmaker, the Championship seemed a strange old location for any such player seeking a new challenge. Add to that, initially playing for a manager with a reputation for agricultural football seemed a crazy double whammy.

You could think Tom Rogic would stand out a mile in that environment, but having watched Championship football when living in London and living beside Brentford’s football ground, many a genuine footballer remained on a substitutes bench, destined only to play the last twenty minutes of games when the initial 20 chosen outfield players traded blow after blow of stamina sapping direct and physical football, no matter the weather, as they sought to reach the holy grail of a play-off spot or to avoid relegation to the dreaded third tier.

It took Brentford many attempts to get out that league, despite trying to play football as many of us would like it – and having an infrastructure ahead of even some in the EPL.

So perhaps it shouldn’t be so surprising to hear Tom Rogic’s time with West Brom has been somewhat stop start and why his current manager Carlos Corberan is having to explain why Rogic is struggling to even make the bench now, as West Brom try and push for a promotion place that seemed a million miles off happening prior to Corberan replacing Bruce at The Hawthorns.

Carlos Corbern, Manager of West Bromwich Albion looks on prior to the Sky Bet Championship between West Bromwich Albion and Coventry City at The Hawthorns on February 03, 2023 (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

“It’s complicated sometimes to give you the answer. I know how good a player Rogic is and how hard it is to leave a player out who could be in the first XI – not just someone who could be on the bench,” Corberan said, speaking to Birmingham Mail. “We can play with a specific number 10, and then a specific ten on the bench.

“Or, you play with a number ten and a player who has a different profile, and you don’t take two seats on the bench with two players who give you the same. It depends more on this than the player. I can only tell you that to leave Rogic out of the squad is totally unfair on him. Sometimes to leave out another player is unfair for him too.

Tom Rogic of West Bromwich Albion celebrates with teammates after scoring the team’s second goal during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay match between West Bromwich Albion and Chesterfield at The Hawthorns on January 17, 2023. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

“When you have a squad with lots of players, you have a problem – you’re leaving out good players. When you have a squad without enough good first-team players, you don’t have players who can play at the same level if someone is injured. At the end, I think he fortunately we have very good players.

“Some players are going to manage difficulties very well, difficulties as a coach for me and for the players, it’s all about our journey together. I only can involve 16 outfield players in the team every game, and I have 20 very good players. Four will be out of the group, when they’re working well – as they are – it means that every decision you make might be the right one, but it’s unfair. This is one of the worst parts for me as a coach – to make unfair decisions.”

Tom Rogic of Celtic celebrates after scoring his sides fourth goal with Mikael Lustig of Celtic during the Scottish Premier League match between Celtic and theRangers at Celtic Park on April 29, 2018.. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Rogic has been far from a failure. Indeed, he has caught the eye on occasion, including turning defeat into victory at Sunderland, first with a sublime outside of the foot finish, then with a secondary assist for Daryl Dike’s winner. And Rogic was also heralded as he influenced goalscoring chances against Rotherham and Bristol City, meanwhile in the FA Cup against Chesterfield Rogic’s lifted effort was vintage Tam.

Now however it seems Tom Rogic is a player who is slipping down the pecking order at West Brom. Yet if the Baggies do need something special to unlock a defence, or a player to add ingenuity to 90 minutes of others endeavour, it may be wise for Corberan to ensure at the very least Tom Rogic is available from the bench. Having such a matchwinner to call on could be the difference between a play-off place and mid-table dreariness.

With the current situation prevailing it would appear unlikely that either West Brom or Tom Rogic himself would have much appetite for extending his stay at The Hawthorns. That means that our Wizard of Oz is likely to be on the look-out for a new place to play his football.

One of Tom’s best friends at Celtic is Jamesy Forrest and he has been quoted as saying that he’s lost count of the number of players who have left Celtic only to regret that decision afterwards. Rogic was adored at Celtic Park and had earned every piece of appreciation that ever came his way. He deserves much better than the current state of play at West Brom.

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.


  1. Arthur Frampton on

    Rogic is a luxury player at the Baggies. Fine off the bench when the game is already won or as a gamble when it’s not going well but can’t be relied upon to put in the graft that’s required in the Championship. It’s a big step up from playing against rubbish in Scotland week after week and for the most part he hasn’t been good enough.

  2. There’s 4 or 5 players in front of, both for skill or hard work and a combination of the two. He looks OK when he comes on at 70-75 mins when others have put the shift in so you could say he benefits from the graft and work of team mates…he’s presently not a preferred starter which shows the difference between a poor two team league and the championship