no i think its true that there must be 2 under 21 players in your squad in the spl. Policy was introduced to encourage young scottish players to make the grade and be given their chance… Riordan must be getting frustrated with his lack of opportunities.
Yep piedpiper is right - there have to be U21s in the squad and I think they have to have come through the academy. Rule has been around for a few years now.
Ah the academy bit was what I was unsure of because I’d heard mention of the rule before but with McGeady and Sno on the bench today and both Under-21 I was wondering what was going on. Sno’s not homegrown so presume that’s why O’Brien was in - shame for Riordan alright.
Reading back earlier on this thread and delighted to see that while I had doubts over Naylor I still felt he might be an ok signing. Bandage on the other hand was none too welcoming.
Anyway resurrecting this with the January sales imminent. I saw we were linked a few days ago in the Romanian press with some young guy called Dumitru Copil. Someone on the HB was saying the deal is done for 1.5m Euros. Your man is an 18 year old midfielder by the way.
Couple of mentions of Pressley now that he’s been sacked by Hearts but Rangers looks more likely as he was with them as a youngster. To be honest he’s 33 now and cup-tied for Europe so he’d make no sense for us to sign.
Suggestions for a quality centre half or central midfielder?
Shocking stuff at the end of the game there. I don’t care what went on beforehand but Lennon was completely out of order in shoving McGeady.
Aiden had won us the game.
No amount of verbals from anyone justifies shoving your team-mate.
Verbals seemed to be 2 way anyway - McGeady was clearly saying “What? What?” so Lennon was obviously saying something to him.
This is the third time I can remember Lennon shoving a team-mate in his Celtic career:
- Hedman in and Old Firm
- McManus at Old Trafford
- McGeady today
Lennon is the common factor between those instances which isn’t acceptable. For a captain it is frankly disgraceful. Lennon was in petulant form in the second half, throwing his arms up in the air and screaming at team-mates - which is all well and good if you’re putting in a serious shift but he was sulking. He has completely misjudged the type of aggressive role a good captain can play. Sulking and pouting is not acceptable.
Lennon didn’t play a captain’s role in Copenhagen. He didn’t want to know when we were 3 down - not saying he was alone in that but as a captain he should be driving us on when we’re losing. He often has the opposite affect and I’d get rid of him out of the team to be honest.
A few points:
Pressley. No thank you.
Why are you linking a story in Romanian?! I didn’t understand it. Should we not be promoting the likes of Ferry, Grant, O’Brien and the other young midfield players? We have already got Evander Sno in this season ahead of these lads and this potential signing could be seen as discouraging to our underage teams, who in fairness to them, are romping the reserve and U-19 leagues. If he’s a bit special and can come straight into the first XI then fine but I wouldn’t pay 1.5m for an 18 year-old back up.
I haven’t read this thread again but I recall saying something like a ‘nobody from Wolves is not what we require’ after the initial speculation! Again, in my defence I wished him all the best when he signed. He’s quickly become one of my favourite players.
I have had no further thoughts on eligible centre midfield/centre backs but I plan on doing some research during the week. Kenny missed two more super chances today and I can’t help but feel we need an out and out poacher (with Kenny’s pace and workrate!) to complement Jan too. Obviously we’ll struggle to sign a new spine in January but I expect movement during the window and in the summer.
As for today, kudos to Darren O’Dea on his fine debut. Rocko, you said it all re Lennon. I have staunchly defended him in the past but not today. I lost an awful lot of respect for him and I’m not sure if he’s the type of person I want leading Celtic.
Agreed on Pressley.
I linked to the story in Romanian for any Romanian posters out there - don’t be so selfish.
It would be a strange signing though with the lads you’ve mentioned and Bjarnasson to come through. Depends on how good he is though I suppose. If he’s another Hagi then I’d welcome him with open arms of course.
Went through many possibilities with thepiedpiper today and it’s hard to think of guys who we’d be interested in who aren’t cup-tied. Plenty out there of course but I expect they’re from overseas and I hope our scouting has identified them.
The Miller case is interesting. I genuinely don’t believe Bellamy was much better a finisher than Miller is. Bellamy was better at beating a player but other than that there is not much between the two. Miller is not the answer for every chance in every game but he is a great talent, worth holding onto and playing regularly. Stokes would be a great addition but I don’t think strikers should be a priority. Incidentally, though he wasn’t great overall today, Magic took his goal very well.
Forgot to post anything on O’Dea earlier. He was excellent. They weren’t much of a threat but he was composed and assured and strong in the tackle and a threat in the air in their box. Bodes well for club and country.
For anyone who didn’t see the Lennon - McGeady incident there’s a video of it here.
Most people saying it’s been blown out of proportion at this stage which may be the case. That said Neil Lennon should have far, far more self-discipline than to lash out at a much younger team-mate just after we’ve won a match.
Romanian midfielder story is gathering momentum:
Exclusive news reaches ETims from our drunken sources that Celtic have all but concluded a deal for teenage Romanian wonderkid Dumitru Copil.
Copil is a product of top youth academy club Luceafărul Bucharest and is poised to sign next summer for a fee in the region of 300k (there is a possibility he may join in January) with another 300k heading Bucharest way should Copil prove to be a success.
The youngster first caught the eye of international scout Ray Clarke a few months ago and Clarke has been tracking Copil and a handful of other similarly aged players from Eastern Europe since then with a view to bringing the best Europe has to offer alongside the top youth players at the club who are currently wiping the floor with all opposition that is put in front of them both domestically and on the continent.
Dumitru is considered the next Big Thing in Romania (Oops, theyve gone and blown it now!) and is a midfield playmaker with the world at his feet. We would say in the Hagi mould but then youd think we are mad and to be fair youd be right.
This news proves once more how much forward planning Gordon Strachan and his staff is doing as they prepare Celtic for long term success in Europe and then the total global domination that will obviously follow.
Celtic Quick News
romanian news agencies reporting celtic have signed some romanian wonderkid.
Google him and Celtic comes up everwhere.
I must say I like the element of forward planning. With respect to myself and yourself rocko we have been crying out for Celtic to tap into the eastern european market for the last good few years. If you don’t have the cash to pay over-inflated ‘British’ transfer fees (8m for a Jermaine Pennant anybody?!) you have to a) have an excellent youth academy and develop a presence in the emerging markets where transfer fees are lower with the quality of player not necessarily being so.
Yeah bang on the money.
The new players Strachan has introduced have been all good value for money so far. The acquisition of Boruc was ideal from a Celtic perspective. We have 4 different types of player that we identify:
- Bosmans (Miller and Caldwell)
- Cheap, young domestic players (Wilson, Riordan)
- Cheap non-SPL signings (Boruc, Magic, Naylor)
- “Star” players (Naka, Keane, Gravesen, Vennegoor of Hesselink)
It’s a far more varied signing strategy than MON employed.
Pressley in talks with Celtic according to the Scottish media tonight. Nooooooooooooooooooo.
Watched the Daily Huddle there. Jim Craig (Lisbon Lion) was on as the analyst. Had a bit of a go at Lennon over the McGeady incident - certainly didn’t defend him and said nobody in '67 would have done it.
Spoke about signings then. Craig reckons:
- O’Dea is better than Pressley
- Russell Anderson might be worth a shot
- Stokes looks good enough
I agree on the first and third but think Russell Anderson has missed the boat at this stage. I’d be surprised if we went after Pressley given he is cup-tied.
I like Pressley but agree fully that there is no point in getting him due to being cup tied.
O’Dea played very well yesterday. Whats the news on JFK? Has he played many matches since his comeback?
Lennon was an absolute disgrace yesterday. Saw it twice during the match he throw his hands up and had a wee tantrum when McGeady lost the ball. Also shoved Bourc immediately after the goal went in. He has to cop himself on. I’ve being calling for him to be dropped for 2 years now, but I have to admit he played very well in Europe so far besides the Copenhagen away ofcourse.
About the game yesterday, what a load of rubbish letting a goal in at the death. I know we were 2-0 up and strolling but its very poor not to be concentrating till the final whistle.
We haven’t been playing well at all over the past few games. Is it tiredness due to the number of matches or what? We are capable of beating they teams easier and with more style. I know its matches around Chrimbo are tougher due to weather etc but with this fight added into the mixer I worry that some players are not interested. Riordan, Pearson, Maloney all wanting to get away and Lennon causing trouble. We need to cut this out. And we need Maloney to sign up quickly.
My mate was telling me that Thommo wrote an article in the Sunday Times yesterday. Didn’t get the paper myself but would like to read it. Tried looking for it on the internet but couldn’t find it. Anyone read it or know where it is on the net.Cheers
Celtic public relations official: Alan has agreed to do the interview next week.
Sunday Times: Excellent.
Celtic PR official: The only thing, will you be in Copenhagen?
Sunday Times: Afraid not, no.
Celtic PR official: Thats fine then. Because Alan wont be there either.
When a football club decide they dont want a player anymore, there is seldom any subtlety involved about what happens next. Whenever Alan Thompson arrives for work at Celtic, the clubs stand on what they perceive as him sitting on a contract they no longer want him to have is obvious. Most days he will be told to train with the reserve and youth team players. Match days he wont travel with the team to away fixtures, even domestic ones. All that is keeping Thompson and Celtic together is a binding contract he signed in April 2004 which isnt due to expire until next summer. Back then, Celtic couldnt have wanted him more and paid him accordingly. Now, it seems, they resent him holding them to the deal.
Thompsons situation is hardly unprecedented. The tactics deployed by Celtic are no different to many other clubs methods of, what amounts to, forcing a player out. At Rangers, Emerson and Nuno Capucho were informed they must train at Mugdock instead of Murray Park a couple of seasons back before eventually agreeing payoffs. The most famous instance was probably Chelseas Winston Bogarde, who spent several years commuting from Amsterdam to London each day for little more than to put the cones out for training. It is, as Thompson himself concedes, the nature of the beast. He didnt agree to this interview to complain about his situation, but rather simply to explain it. To answer the question of how he has become Celtics forgotten man. From an integral part of the success under Martin ONeill after joining for 2.75m in September 2000 to a virtual outcast, it wasnt supposed to end like this for Thompson. His is a Paradise lost.
His last competitive game for Celtic, with the league aleady won, was on May 7, a 2-2 draw at Aberdeen. He has known since the summer there wont be another. His Celtic appearances tally will stop at 227. He had offers from two Premiership clubs on the closing days of the transfer window at the end of August, but was unable to agree compensation with Celtic on the remainder of his contract, circa 25,000 a week, and so reluctantly stayed put. It means Thompson has become a footballer who simply doesnt play football.
Take a Celtic home match. He no longer eats with the first-team squad. My matchday routine is to come in, do a bit of work in the gym, then watch the game, he says. Then Ill shoot off 20 minutes before the end to beat the traffic. He pauses. Thats what its come to.
THOMPSON didnt really want to go to the USA in pre-season, but the club persuaded him. He had been mildly critical of the gruelling nature of the friendlies schedule in Poland, but recognised, too, that he needed match fitness. He blamed his sluggish start to Gordon Strachans tenure for not having a pre-season at all a year earlier and facing Artmedia Bratislava after just a single days training, and didnt want a repeat. He had started against Legia Warsaw and, while recognising he was approaching his last year as a Celtic player without any prospect of a contract extension, had been sufficiently encouraged at suggestions there could be a role for his experience in the Champions League campaign to come. And so off he went. Only to return a week early.
Second only to his former neighbour Fernando Ricksens dramatic ejection from Rangers tour of South Africa, it made for the biggest headlines of the summer and most of them were made by Thompsons agent, Tony McGill. He accused the club of embarrassing his client by sending him home from Boston and denied claims that Thompson had a thigh strain, unless he injured himself carrying his luggage onto the plane. So was this the turning point? Was this when Thompsons situation at Celtic became irretrievable? Yes and no, according to the player. The conversation he had with Strachan that preceded his early departure only confirmed what he already suspected.
Maybe the American thing, when you look at it, maybe that was the time it became obvious, says Thompson now. Undoubtedly when I made that journey home I knew that come the season I wouldnt be playing, but that decision had been made before then. Looking back on it, with hindsight, I shouldnt really have travelled to America. They wanted me to, and I did, but over there we decided it was wrong and I came home. I had a niggle, certainly I had a niggle, but wasnt being used in the games so the manager and I came to a decision. It wasnt anything Gordon had said, or Id said to him, we hadnt upset each other in any way, we came to a decision between us. I hadnt spoken to my agent, he hadnt known what had happened, but rightly or wrongly he commented on it and he wasnt going to beat about the bush.
If things had gone wrong before Boston then, when did they start to deteriorate? Another theory is that Strachan and Thompsons relationship was never quite the same after the players sending-off at Ibrox, the third red card of his career at that venue, on August 20 last year for a 23rd-minute foul on Nacho Novo. After Celtics 3-1 defeat, Strachan telephoned Thompson that same evening. He made it clear to me what he thought, says Thompson.
He rang me at home that night and said he thought it was a bit rash and unnecessary to make that challenge on the position of the pitch (near the halfway line), but I dont think thats had anything to do with how things have turned out. Its just been an accumulation of things. None of which has added up in his favour.
When Strachan replaced ONeill as Celtic manager, Thompson had a meeting with him in his office. What he heard sounded encouraging. He was very positive about the boys that were still at the club, remembers Thompson. Slowly, but surely, though, most of them have moved on and theres only Bobo (Balde, Lenny (Neil Lennon) and me left now. Lennys doing very well. If anything, hes carried on and got stronger. Thompson knows he cannot say the same for himself. The Seville side, the Celtic team that were runners-up to Porto in the 2003 Uefa Cup final, has not so much been broken up as demolished. Thompsons fate can be likened to Chris Suttons. The difference being that Sutton wasnt prepared to stick it out, departing first to Birmingham last January and now reunited with ONeill at Aston Villa.
Thompson still recalls Suttons last day at Parkhead. He just picked his boots up out of the dressing room and walked out of the kitmans door, out the back there, and didnt come back in again, he says. It was a sad way to see him go really, but thats what happens in this game. Its a shame. You can give great service like Chris and then not have any closure at the end of it. Spoken in bleak tones, which suggest his own eventual exit could end up being much the same.
THIS is Thompsons typical working day now. He arrives at the ground promptly and finds out whether he is needed to train with the first-team. Sometimes, if they are a body short for whatever reason, he is invited to make up the numbers. Most times, he isnt. Without a doubt Ive been on the outside of things, he says. For the last 12 months Ive very rarely trained with the first-team. Its hard when you come in in the morning and youre told youre with the reserves. Sometimes I come in as a grumpy old so-and-so and bark at the kids. I dont want to be a negative influence, but there are some days when Ive been feeling extremely negative.
People say, Work hard, get your head down in training and you might get back in the team. Well, I dont think that was ever going to happen in my case. There was more to it than that behind the scenes. Ive just had to get on with it knowing I was never going to get a chance to get involved in the first-team set-up again. I was down a few weeks ago for a good few days which was hard, you know, but there are people at this club who still care. Im not naming names, but they know who they are and theyve been strong for me. I want to thank them, as well as my family, because Ive needed them. Some days you just feel yourself going through the motions, you dont feel like theres anything there that youre enjoying, but if I get in a slump like that Ive got people around me who can give me a slap around the head and say, Come on, its not as bad as all that.
So how bad is it? Those who pay Thompsons wages might argue that a yearly salary of 1m-plus should be compensation enough, and in a way it is. Thompson, though, has never asked to be given money for nothing. His contention is he signed a contract in good faith and in the belief he would still be a first-team player until it expired. He sensed barely two months into Strachans first season that something had changed. The manager made up his mind early, says Thompson. It wasnt long before I was moved out of the team and not used as often as I would have liked. I dont think its personal, though youd have to ask him that. Obviously we had conversations and I kind of got the vibe then, but for one reason or another I havent moved on. Its dragged on longer than I wouldve liked.
Why do clubs give players contracts at all? To stop them leaving for another club. What has Thompsons contract done? It has stopped him leaving for another club. It is the irony of the whole affair. So well paid is Thompson by Celtic it doesnt make financial sense for him to leave. Then again, it doesnt make much financial sense either for Celtic to still pay him, but not make any use of him. Thompsons contention is that all he has done in response is try to be professional. He very deliberately isnt accusing anyone of anything. Hence the one question of this interview that he declines to answer: is the treatment of him a football or a financial decision? Erm, Ive got my own views, but I dont want to come out and talk about what they are, he replies, carefully. Its not for me to do. I wouldnt like to do that because a lot of people here have been good to me and I dont want to upset anyone. Im not going to say whether its a football or a financial decision, Ill let other people make their minds up. Ive got my views, and Im going to stick with them, but Im not going to talk about them publicly. Theres politics involved, but thats what you get into, isnt it? Ive not asked to leave this football club. Ive not done anything wrong. Ive worked extremely hard. Ive not gone to the newspapers saying I should be doing this or I want to be doing that. Ive got on with it. I dont feel let down. Ive not moaned, which a lot of people seem to do nowadays when theyre not in teams. Obviously, Im going to say I should be playing and should be involved, but thats why managers make decisions and you cant say it was the wrong one. Youve got to remember the players that have come into my position are Shaun Maloney and Aiden McGeady. The manager likes their flair and speed which is totally different to the way I play, thats his philosophy and Im not going to sit here and have a pop. They walked the Premierleague last season and have now reached the last 16 of the Champions League. I know how hard it is to reach that stage, but the lads have done the business and its great for them. I just dont feel part of it.
Thompson claims the reaction from Celtic supporters to his plight has been positive. When he meets fans in the street, they take him down memory lane, thanking him for his role in the ONeill era. A significant number have even written to him. Collecting his mail is one of the few highlights of a typical working day. He is aware, though, that there may be those who will question whether his only commitment these days is to his bank balance. A lot of footballers enjoy not playing football, but Im not one of them, he insists. Im tearing my hair out coming to watch games and not being able to pull on a Celtic shirt. Its bad enough when youre injured, but when you know youre fit and not involved, its very hard. Im never going to take the money and say, Oh, thats great.
O WHERE next? There is the question of when, too. Strachan has already indicated, unsurprisingly, that he will be willing to let Thompson go next month, but it is no formality that matters will come to an end in the January window. Thompsons family are settled in Glasgow, and eldest daughter Scarlett attends stage school, so any move before the summer he would make alone, which doesnt appeal. He also challenges the assumption he will automatically head back south. He still reckons himself to be a Premiership standard footballer, but hasnt ruled out remaining in the Premierleague.
I certainly wont be going to Ibrox, he jokes, but staying in Scotland is something weve spoken about, the wife and I. I need to keep an open mind. Would being reunited with ONeill at Villa, the club from which he joined Celtic in the autumn of 2000, interest him? A smile in response. A lot of things would interest me, he says. Three months ago, the Thompsons sold the family home in Bolton freeing them to go anywhere. The only option Thompson has apparently ruled out is one put to him during a recent phone call with Ronald de Boer, the former Rangers player. We speak about once a month and he asked if I fancied joining him in Qatar, reveals Thompson, but Im not sure thats for me.
Unsure what else to do with his time, Thompson recently completed his coaching B licence alongside Lennon, which saw the pair hold a session with Motherwells under-19 squad for their qualification. Its been something to focus my energies into, he says. Its been a long time plodding in the reserves. Ive missed that buzz before games. Im looking forward to getting that back. Ive still got the bit between my teeth to go and play somewhere for a couple of years. This past 18 months could end up adding a bit of length to my career. Im certainly well rested. This isnt too far away now from all being over. It still hasnt been as bad as my last year at Aston Villa, that was a real kick in the bollocks, and I bounced back from that.
When Thompson was at his best for Celtic, the clamour for him to be given an England cap was intense. And so that, eventually, is exactly what he got: one cap. March 31, 2004 in a 1-0 friendly defeat in Sweden. It always felt like it was a one-off, he reflects now. It never really felt like I was going to be part of it. I realise Sven (Gran Eriksson didnt have to give me the one cap, but maybe he melted under the pressure. It was like a token gesture really. So convinced was he of that, Thompson reveals he never even looked for his name in the following England squad. Might he have got more international appearances had he been a Premiership player at his peak? Whos to say? he shrugs. I might have stayed in the Premiership and got run down by a bus in the high street.
He has never regretted coming to Celtic. As he stresses, plenty of players leave Parkhead without achieving anything like what he has done. The highs outweigh the lows, you know, he says. He not only has the memories, he has kept proof of them. Thompson has the video evidence of the years when his assists and goals were so crucial to Celtic and has plans to show them to a selected audience of one. My little boy (seven-year-old Zac) has got all the dvds that have come out over the years and one day Ill sit down with him and go over what happened here, he says. This has been a great club to play for.
He still remembers what it felt like. Just about, anyway.
That’s a good read with Thommo there. I can’t help but feel sorry for him but he was blatantly past his best in Martin O’Neill’s last season and he’s not good enough to now merit a place in the side. He suggests ‘politics’ as being a reason why he didn’t feature almost suggesting a few more appearances would trigger some extra payment clause in his contract? I suppose that doesn’t really make sense given that he’s already sitting on a huge wage.
All that said he was a great player in his day. Some critical goals in the Seville season especially at Anfield, an unbelievable scoring record against Rangers including some absolute belters (the dipping, swerving late winner in a 1-0 win at home a few years ago was fooking quality) both home and away and managed to get sent off their 3 times! I wish him all the best.
I have a lot of time for Thompson as a player and as a club guy. He was always a positive influence around the club and he gave it his all for the team. Some really crucial goals especially in the Seville season and against the huns as Bandage has pointed out. My favourtie against the huns was with his right foot when he checked inside off the left flank and passed it into the corner from 20-25 yards. Superb.
As far as his “treatment” by Strachan is concerned I have little sympathy. Thompson is quite entitled to sit on his wage and not move himself onwards. The price for choosing those actions is that he can’t be seen as the future of the club and he cannot expect to be treated the same as somebody who is willing to prove themselves worthy of a new contract. Thompson was excellent for Celtic but he faded badly in MON’s last season and from a footballing point of view he was no longer worth his place in the team. Strachan recognised this and was prepared to let him go. Thompson preferred the wages at Celtic so didn’t want to go. I like the fact he isn’t personal or bitter about this. He suggests there might be something else at play, but I don’t expect him to acknowledge that he isn’t good enough anymore. That’s the simple truth of it in my opinion.
Seeing how well Naylor has turned out after I slated his potential signing…I don’t fooking want Steven Pressley playing for Celtic. A dirty, rotten, rabid hun. He’s played for both the huns and the diet huns and in all that time he’s been a dirty, scummy, cynical fook. Get him to fook. We don’t want his type and what does it say to Darren O’Dea after his extremely competent full league debut on Sunday. We don’t need a washed up, 33 year-old never has been. We are Celtic - not fooking Rangers. And after Rudi Skacel spat in Neil Lennon’s face last year ‘Elvis’ was quick to blame Lenny for ‘being the common denominator in a lot of incidents’. Fook you ya prick - defending someone for spitting, the lowest of the low. You are not welcome here.
Rock disagreeing with Bandage again
To me it depends on the reason we are sigining him. If Balde is leaving in January and we are looking at bringing in another centre half anyway to improve the back 4 then signing Pressley on a short term deal to provide cover in the SPL would make sense to me. I don’t care that much about his past. He didn’t spit, so whatever he did to stick up for his teammate doesn’t really concern me.
I’d be hugely disappointed if he represented the sum total of our defensive acquisitions though.