The fact and fantasy of the January sales in Glasgow

I reckon that it is a rare enough event that Celtic have lost two games on the bounce under Brendan Rodgers.

The loss to Salzburg didn’t matter in the end, but being beaten by Hibernian really does have some import.

There was always a danger that the summer recruitment shambles would come back and bite Celtic.

It probably has.

January is a notoriously difficult time to do transfer business.

By the start of this month, I’m told that Brendan had settled on three positions that he would need to strengthen.

Now with Leigh Griffiths being on long-term sick leave that becomes four.

On that very private matter, I think that Celtic FC has discharged their duty of care to the player impeccably.

I had been aware of these issues for quite a while.

Of course, I would not write about what was an entirely private matter.

I did apprise Celtic blogger James Forrest that the Celtic striker was dealing with a lot more than a calf injury and not to expect him to figure in Brendan’s plans for the foreseeable future.

For the avoidance of doubt, I didn’t go into any of the details that I was in possession of.

I’m grateful that young James handled the information sensitively and appropriately.

All football clubs have a duty of care to their players.

That is probably especially true if another club has loaned you their player.

The plural of anecdote is not “evidence”.

However, the racist vitriol that I have seen aimed at Ovie Ejaria on social media from elements of the Ibrox klanbase since the Dundee game utterly appalled me.

The official Sevco line is that the Liverpool midfielder could not cope with the rough and tumble of footie in fair Caledonia.

This is strange as the lad played for Sunderland last season when the Black Cats were in a relegation dogfight.

I am sure that the lad had the full backing of Mr Allen and Mr Gerrard during his time at Sevco.

Those two have been in conclave regarding the January transfer window.

The ex-Liverpool captain has identified seven positions on the pitch that he would like to strengthen.

It fell to Mr Allen to remind the rookie manager that the finances for such an overhaul just were not there.

Mr Gerrard was quite clear in the pre-match presser that substantial funds continue to bleed out of Sevco as a legacy issue of Pedro’s reign of error at Ibrox.

Eduardo Herrera Aguirre and Carlos Alberto Peña Rodríguez are both still on the Ibrox payroll.

The figures quoted by the Sevco manager-£50k per week on two players-will not have surprised regular readers here.

Then last Friday Mr King had to have complied with this important legal matter:

  1. Take all such steps as are required to instruct a third party cash confirmer in the United Kingdom (the “Cash Confirmer”) that is considered appropriate by the Panel and confirmed as such by the Panel in writing, as soon as practicable and in any event by no later than 17:30GMT on 14 December 2018, being the date that is two weeks from the date of this undertaking, to do all such things as are required in order to provide a public cash confirmation statement for the purpose of assisting Laird Investments (Pty) Limited (“Laird”) to make an offer for the entire issued share capital of Rangers International Football Club Plc (“Rangers”) on a fully diluted basis (or on such other basis as is agreed in writing by the Panel and the Cash Confirmer) (“the Offer”) including, if required, transferring all such funds as are required into the United Kingdom.


My information at the time of writing was that on midday of Friday last (14th) this had not been done.

Of course, he still had until close of business that day.

I may find out more in the week ahead.

What I do know was that two final demands landed Sevco in the past week.

Given the sums that are owed they really shouldn’t be a problem to pay.

However, it has got to the final stage before legal action.

Perhaps Mr Gerrard is not aware of this reality as he plans his January spending spree.

It is self-evident that the people at Celtic have important recruitment matters to address during the January shutdown.

The important data point is that the champions have millions in the bank to spend.

For the avoidance of doubt, what cannot happen is a repeat of the summer shambles.

Those entrusted with getting deals over the line at Celtic must realise that it isn’t their time to show off.

They are merely there to get the paperwork done.

That fact was rather forgotten in the euphoria of the Double Treble.

Further self-indulgent own goals cannot happen in January.


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