Closing the window

One of the advantages — probably the only advantage — of living 5,000 miles west of Glasgow is that the transfer window closes here before the sun goes down. Having the advantage of still being awake and usually on my third cup of coffee for the day, we will see if Celtic makes any further moves as the clock strikes 12 in Glasgow while striking the bewitching hour of 4 p.m. in California, but by all indications it looks like we’re staying put.

And after seeing the deadline pass, with or without any further additions and without any likely departures, I can go have dinner.

Yes, apparently we stay put, much to the dismay of some greeting fans who insist on Celtic spending money like a drunken sailor on shore leave on players just for the sake of signing someone — anyone — to fill in for adequate players who are coming off injuries and soon to return to the pitch.

I’m with Neil Lennon: “We have a good squad, decent depth, and once we get a few injuries back we will be fine.”

Contrary to what the armchair gaffers and PlayStation pundits might think, Lennon is right. Rather than acting like we’re on the brink of relegation, they might want to look at the bigger picture.

While there was also hair-on-fire panic during the last transfer window, in the end it was one of Celtic’s best in recent history. One can hardly make an argument against the fact that Fraser Forster, Hatem Elhamed, Mohammed Elyounoussi and Jeremie Frimpong have made a significant impact on the club. Even Moritz Bauer and Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo — both unfairly criticized by some lately in the questionable objectivity of the Scottish football press, let alone the cesspool known as social media — are decent players who have shown they can contribute.

Boom, baby: Leigh Griffiths puts Celtic 3-0 up in the 26th minute on Wednesday, being part of a tag-team duo with Odsonne Edouard in front for the Hoops.

Leaving out the two new additions (we’ll get to them in a minute), Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffith are turning into a tag-team scoring machine. Greg Taylor rightfully may have bought himself a start in future games with his play against the Aints — sorry, the Saints — on Wednesday. Olivier Ntcham, who many think is packing his bags, is showing no signs of leaving while playing remarkably in the midfield. Scott Brown has been shutting down critics who say he has lost a step by having a banner year that defies his age. Until injured, Ryan Christie was unstoppable. I could go on until you are lulled into a coma of boredom, but the fact remains that the team is solid despite injuries.

But speaking of injuries: Christie? Back. Elhamed? Back soon. Elyounoussi? Back soon, hopefully. Jeremie Frimpong? Also back soon hopefully. All of them are joining Jozo Simunovic and Tom Rogic, now back from long-term injuries and getting back into form for the rest of the season.

So, who climbed in the window during this transfer cycle? Let’s take a look at the pair who joined the club this month.

Patryk Klimala

Patryk Klimala joins Celtic.

I have a friend here in the San Lorenzo Valley who is a huge Bayern Munich fan, and he’s pretty much plugged in to European football in general and Polish strikers in particular. He speaks highly of Patryk Klimala, dubbing him “Klimalendowski,” after Bayern’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski.

All joking aside, Polish Paddy’s 10 minutes against St. Johnstone did little to show his abilities — and that was outlined in Sandman’s ratings of the St. Johnstone game — but in those 10 minutes, he showed some speed and crossing skills in a cross that, had it not been slightly deflected by a panicked Saints defender, could have been his first assist. In addition, Klimala rejected a ball from the near post in the Saints’ final corner in injury time, saving the clean sheet for the Hoops.

In his introduction at his signing, Klimala said that signing for Celtic is a big step up in his career, and he insisted he is ready to prove his worth. If this brief introduction is an indication of what Klimala can do, then his wide range of talents are a welcome addition to the club.

Incidentally, he takes the number 11, which was worn quite succesfully by the recently departed — OK, a little dramatic, recently departed to Preston North End, that is — Scott Sinclair.

Ismaila Soro

Ismaila Soro shows his current colours — green and white — after signing for Celtic.

First things first: Apologies to The Proclaimers (and sing along if you know it) . . .

“My heart was broken, my heart was broken,
Soro, Soro, Soro, Soro . . .

While it may be too early to purloin the Hibs’ song for our own purposes, Ismaila Soro arrives to bolster Celtic’s midfield. The Ivorian signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with the Hoops after a multi-year stint with Israeli club Bnei Yehuda.

The gaffer has high praise for Soro. In a recent interview, Lennon said, “He’ll bring a bit of quality and support in the midfield area. He’s had a good career so far and has played in some tough leagues. He’s come from a team who, while they’re not the top team in Israel, he’s stood out by a distance with his performances there.”

We’re looking forward to it.

26 thoughts on “Closing the window”

  1. We needed a signing who would walk into team. Two 21year olds is another project, sick of hearing how much money we have, go spend some give team,support a much needed lift. Could call us Celtic project football club .

    1. This is fairly problematic, John. One of the problems with Celtic playing in Scotland is that the rest of the league is filled with hammerthrowers. If you’re a player with a high degree of skill and ability, and have established yourself elsewhere as your career is on the track to stardom, you’re going to be hesitant to come to a club whose opponents’ sole purpose is to grind you into a pulp. As for me, I don’t mind so much taking good players and making them great, though I would wish they’d stay around.

    2. Apart from a rock solid centre half I don’t think we did need another signing? Forster, elhamed, Julien, Ajer, Taylor, Brown, macgregor, ntcham, Griffiths and eddy is as strong an 11 as we’ve had for a long time! Granted you should always be trying to improve but signing 3 new players just cause your having a bad day is poor full stop. As ever my issues are with the people at the top! Pun intended! Hail hail Larry, sentinel Celts, etims etc! I read you all religiously yet only post after a few tinnants

      1. The signing of players should be an organic process that could be accelerated when necessary but not knee jerk after a one off result!
        The balance is fine but while an over paid accountant makes those desicions we will always be glass half empty! This is what separate is from Ajax

      2. Good point, Matthew, and thanks for the read. Actually, I have a lot of problems with Lawwell and the board (as outlined in earlier interviews), but Lawwell and the board don’t suit up and play on the pitch. They have a fiduciary duty to keep the club on sound financial footing, but they may be taking it to an extreme. Nevertheless, Klimala and soro are good additions and we should be fine going forward. Hail Hail!

  2. Thoughtful & truthful piece. The elephant in the room is if course the last two completely inept performances against Rangers. Any even-handed supporter must surely believe that they have our measure and that we are there for the taking when we next meet. The next two meetings will probably decide the title – hence the panic.

    Is the problem firmly in the dugout? Who would have thought that after the great escape of the LC final, we would again roll-over at Celtic Park in December. Just think what difference a draw would now be making: eight points, not, five.

    We simply cannot play against a pressing energetic team – latest example against St Johnstone. They sat off in the first half, we lapped it up and played our usual ‘off the cuff’ attacking game – three nil up. After the break the pushed up and pressed and at times looked the better team; we melted away and were lucky not to concede a couple.

    We have good players, but are they the right players to overcome the first real challenge in nine years? Ditto on our management.

    I’m a long-standing season card holder and like those who sit around me in their long-established seats, remain unconvinced this season. I cross everything, but would not be the least bit surprised if we list the title this season – that says it all really.

    1. I will grant you that, John: The two performances against The Rangers were less than inspiring. And I will agree with your assessment of the St. Johnstone game. However, there are other factors involved which give me confidence that we will ultimately prevail, even without any additional signings. I think the team we have now are the right players to take us to 9 in a row and beyond, and when they are all healthy and Celtic is firing on all cylinders, we are unstoppable. Yet there’s clearly a difference between discussing it rationally — like we are here — and the hysterics you find on social media. So thanks for brining sanity to the discussion. Hail Hail!

  3. At last, a celtic supporter who is talking sense. Most of them on social media come on to moan, it appears, for moanings sake. They must be miserable in real life.

      1. Sorry Larry but having supported our club for 60 years I can remember the original 9 in a row and also how it felt when it ended
        We should ‘buy ‘ this league!

        1. OK, Charlie, we’re going to have to agree to disagree here. I still think we win the league on the players we have without having to go into debt. After all, there has to be one team in Glasgow that has to be financially sound, and it isn’t the one across town. Hail Hail.

  4. Spot on Larry,we have a great squad,especially with key player’s coming back from injury,looking forward to the wailing and gnashing of teeth,from the “sack the board” mob later Hail Hail!

  5. You had my interest right up to the point where you rated Bauer. This player is the most negative full back I have ever seen in a Celtic jersey. Guy only ever seems to be looking back towards our goal. St Johnstone game this week is point in question.
    We have have signed a couple of good prospects. But poll the thousands of fans and ask what do you want from the club and board. 9 and then God willing 10.
    These opportunities do not come along often. So come on Celtic provide the the tools for the job. Go get some experienced hands who will see us on our way. There is always room for good players at Celtic. But to many signings in recent times have been awful.

  6. Well balanced article !
    I understand the original need for Wanyama but don’t get it now that the Soro investment has happened . Where would Soro fit in ? That role is covered .

    I would invest at the back . Ajer is an excellent footballer with a brilliant attitude but he ain’t a centre half and can’t command in the air . We should turn him into the next Scott Brown !
    Please someone tell me when he last scored from a corner having been up for hundreds if not thousands of them ?
    Re The Rangers games…simple!
    pack the midfield with strong guys … our guys in that area are vastly superior footballers to them all day long …
    everything else will flow from that with Leigh and Edouard up top
    Bottom line in window is although we all wish it was more Celtic are stronger and TRFC are weaker
    Defoe v Kamberi orHines ? Who is kidding who ? And what bets the superstar from Genk is a dud .. if he was one of the best under 21s in Europe he would be in the EPL

    1. Thanks, Verum. I have to say that I hope Kamberi asked for payment up front 🙂

      Didn’t Odsonne score on a corner against St. Johnstone on Wednesday? But before that, it must have been a game Brother Walfrid attended. Definitely something to be worked on. Hail Hail.

  7. “My heart was broken, my heart was broken,
    Soro, Soro, Soro, Soro . . .“
    Love it Larry. I’m sure the Hibees won’t mind us, ahem borrowing from them shall we say. I’m sure there was a historical precedent set in that regard.
    Great article- Keep up the good work and spreading the Celtic word.

  8. Excellent summary , Larry. Only point of contention is, in my view we need another centre back. Jozo has repeated knee problems. Lenny is leaning more often towards 3 at the back , Ajer has missed a few through injuries and none of the young ones are anywhere near ready. It is really difficult to sell the Scottish Premier to established quality players and compete salary wise. Our biggest selling point, when all is said and done is European football which is why 9 is all important. Impressed by how in touch you are. My son is 1500 miles east of you, just south of Pittsburg. He went over 25 years ago on a soccer scholarship.

    1. Thanks, John. Once I’m done with this reply, I’m going to pray to the knee gods to watch over Jozo 🙂 He has looked OK in the last two games — he survived Rugby Park, thank God. Interesting point about Europe, as I have changed my tune on the importance of Euro competition; I was once nonplussed about it, but now I see how important it is to the club. Did your son play football (soccer) at Pitt? Hail Hail.

  9. Keep up the good work Larry, people in other places not realising the significance or irony across the other side of the city of having to trade a player for another player in loan deals. The search for the holy grail (CL money and stopping the 9 before the inevitable nightmare 10) has utterly destroyed them.
    No credit has been given to the 20 mill plus spent and i know the arguments about certain areas in defence, but sometimes it’s not as clear and possible to have it all your own way, there is a model and focus in place and so far has served well, time to calm down and lets get behind the team and drive on to the 9inarow a milestone in our history and a feat repeated which i doubt any of us will ever see again, never mind the 10 when it also comes.

  10. I think the club know that we could still do with an experienced CB but if one couldn’t be bought in this transfer window then there’s no point in making a panic buy.

    The Griff is like a brand new signing and is building up a great rapport with Eddy and I would renew both their contracts a.s.a.p.

    We have a great side and when or if they are all fit at the same time NL will have a headache. The poor displays against sevco were down to too many players being off their game at the same time and some questionable decisions from the manager.

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