Signing or appeasing?

If Celtic want to employ players to appease fans seeking transfer marker activity then I suggest they don’t go for Leigh Griffiths. As a fellow blogger has written today, “He has been in trouble with the police for assault, racist tweets and charged with shop lifting”.

What should be noted was that this was on a list of seven points on why Celtic should sign the Scotland striker. Talkingbaws.com were doing just that and I’m afraid that overlooking a players’ off field behaviour is not something that Celtic should be doing.

The fact that Celtic do not possess an proven goalscorer in their ranks right now remains a concern. Celtic have brought some good players in under Neil Lennon, but there have been some real muppets as well.

Teemu Pukki, not who I would consider a proper striker, has struggled. It’s only now, with the spotlight off him and the Champions League over for another year that fans have stopped talking about him though he may still improve.

Mo Bangura did anything but put the ball in the back of the net for the club. He subsequently burnt his bridges whilst playing on loan for Elfsborg against Celtic, though it is doubtful there were any bridges back to Celtic Park for him to cross other than to confirm that he would be exiting at the earliest possible time.

Amido Baldé has shown promise and is still young but he doesn’t get a look in. It may be Lennon’s choice to keep him under wraps for now and to develop him but that hasn’t helped the club in their most recent Champions League campaign and there are no assurance it will do so in the next, should that goal be achieved next season.

Georgios Samaras has been a hero for Celtic in Europe but he was nowhere near as effective this season as the previous. Though to be fair the same can be said about the team as a whole.

It was a very unconvincing European campaign in 2013. You can argue about the amount of qualifiers and early summer timing for a team in preparation but Celtic were seriously lacking in attack.

Kris Common’s has carried the team this year and he isn’t even a striker. We were desperate to see his form return this season and it has in abundance but he needs others to weigh in.

Anthony Stokes, a second pick against former Celtic striker Gary Hooper in the Champions League last season, has great ability. Is he really an out and out striker though? No, he is not.

I like Stokes, I like his style but he still needs someone in front of him doing the business with or without his help. There doesn’t appear to be someone getting matches at Celtic that can do that right now.

Samaras plays out wide and rarely sees domestic opportunities. I’m not complaining about that because it is obvious not just to fans but to opponents in Europe of how big a threat he is.

That does Lennon no favours though. What he requires is a goal seeker.

Someone who is quick, eager and deadly in front of goal. We’ve not seen that of late.

Hólmbert Friðjónsson is an under-21 international, who comes with a reasonable amount of promise. Though that merely puts him the same camp as Baldé because its unlikely that he’s the one to get thrown into first team action.

Still, it remains a good move to employ a number one striker now. Before the Champions League qualifying stages come along in July, Celtic will want, sorry will need to have someone who has already gotten to know his surroundings.

Bedding in time comes easier to some more than others but its still a complex situation. The players, the coaching, the fans that stadium and the expectation that comes along with wearing the Hoops.

Yet, it may still transpire that Lennon does sign Griffiths. He may even have grown up and put his off field misdemeanors to bed, but could he do a job in Europe?

Well, I am no seer that’s for sure.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie

A stuttery start…

Celtic unfurled the league flag on Saturday to mark their 44th Scottish title. A symbol of the club’s most recent achievment in their 125 unbroken years.

The team lineup for the visit of Ross County was very much as you would expect. New boy Derk Boerrigter started on the left flank and looked keen.

In fact there were a number of occasions where he could have and should have scored but I’ll let him off for now. However, it would be County that drew blood first in this match

Celtic look a little unsettled at the back. Securing your central pairing at the heart of defence is important for a team so it is imperative that this is addressed, particularly for European matches.

Also on that list of tasks for Neil Lennon will be the procurement of a target man. Whilst there is a plethora of attacking options for the head coach, Celtic need a striker like Willo Flood needs a tan.

Lennon has mentioned that a striker will be found. Whoever that player is may depend on European progression for the club.

This single factor could seal the deal for the right player. Until then, the rest of the squad will need to carve out the results without a Gary Hooper replacement.

The team looked sharp enough to win the game against County and there were some decent moves. Creator-in-chief, Kris Commons, looked a bit of the pace after an impressive match in the Elfsborg game, which was probably why he was not as sharp.

His touch let him down so it was the new boy Boerrigter that would get things going in the first half down the left channel. Though injury would shorten his debut, he did look promising.

I am concerned about his nickname “sicknote”. Or as they say in the Netherlands “shicknote” – Steve McLaren take note.

Boerrigters replacement, Tony Watt, gave the County defence problems down the left wing. This is not his position though, I’m sure you would agree.

Elsewhere in the team, Stokes put in another tireless performance. Forrest didn’t do too badly but not as effective as he can be.

I had no complaints about man of the match Scott Brown. Not everyones favourite but always a first pick for me just like Ledley and its a position Kayal is competing for once more.

As I said earlier, its a different story at the back. We have good players but something is not clicking.

Lustig is a fine player. He could play in any European club in my opinion.

Matthews is another talent. He brings another dimension to the team.

Izzy is look better these days. More like himself before his long term injury.

Sometimes though there are sone real brain-farts happening in central defence. Wilson and more notably, Ambrose are capable of errors.

Wilson has found the form he needed at the club. I would still like him to play a role despite transfer speculation.

Ambrose can play the game of his life at times. He also likes to test the opposition by gifting them goal scoring opportunities.

He needs to cut that out soon. As much as I admire his Mjallby like ‘do or die’ attitude he needs to make better decisions.

Mulgrew is fairly steady at the back. New arrival Van Dijk will shake things up and hopefully create the competition for places the defence sorely needs.

With County out the way, following a late show we look forward to Elfsborg. Actually, I take that back – I’m bricking it.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie

A new chapter.

With two of Celtic’s best players having now departed the club, it is time to move on. Like many Celtic players before them, Gary and Victor have been subject to transfer speculation for some time.

Things will settle down now and the team will be able to focus without the uncertainty around their team mates. Furthermore, there are positives to be be taken from these departures.

Firstly, Celtic have done some sound business. They’ve stood firm on the valuation of each player and when met, granted them freedom to talk.

There is a substantial profit in both of these transfers. That money can be used in a number of ways as well.

Any profit made will be used to improve the clubs circumstances on and off the field. Not all of it will be used on transfers as some usually expect though.

Many have argued in the past that Celtic have not spent the money earned. Some still seem oblivious to how a club is run but hopefully the penny has dropped on that one.

Geting back to the positives though, credit is due to our scouting team. Having sourced such talent in the first place only goes to show what can be unearthed at good prices.

Hooper and Wanyama were not ready made stars but Celtic helped to make them the players they are, as did their previous clubs. These day, this is Celtic’s market.

If you can bring players with potential to the club and make something out of them you have the chance to retain or sell on as a profit. It is therefore encouraging to see some of that crop staying put.

Ledley is very much an unsung hero at times and I am glad he is still here. Samaras is a bit of a cult hero these days and lets face it he loves it at Celtic.

Broony is an important player, though some tend to disagree at times. I remain a fan of his.

With any luck, Kayal will retake his midfield role with both hands. We may even see Rogic establish himself as a regular.

Add to that the influential Common’s, a rejuvinated Stokes and you have a healthy attack. And that is with an ever improving Forrest on the wing.

At the back we seem to be mostly covered. Aside from transfer speculation about Wilson and Foster, there is a decent basis for an adaptable defence.

Efe, Wilson, Izzy, Mulgrew, Matthews and Lustig have all turned in a fine season for the club. They’ve adapted and progressed to meet the demand of every fixture.

The Celtic squad remains on good foundations. We may have parted with two good players, but I look forward to seeing this squad that Lennon has assembled, progress to the next level.

New additions and emerging youth like Watt, Amido, Virgil, Mouyokolo, Rogic, McGeouch should be looking to stake a claim this season. These guys furnish the first team squad with further options.

We may see one or two more join as our road to the Champions League develops. With any luck these guys will be playing on that stage come September.

Good luck to Gary and Victor. You have both been great servants.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie