Exciting signings from Lenny set to revitalise Celtic

July 25, 2010

OK, it’s official: I’m almost gibbering in excitement ahead of the new season. There’s nothing like opening day optimism for every fan of every club, but at Celtic there’s more reason for that than most. The fans have been keen for quality signings after the atrocity of last year, and I’m quite hopeful that Lenny has delivered.

Joe Ledley was a terrific piece of business, a player who is very highly rated and rightfully so. He’ll certainly add a new dimension to the midfield, and him and Brown have bags of potential. I’m also really pleased with the Juarez signing, a player who looks like he will add a bit of steel to a midfield too often bullied under Mowbray. However, the purchase that has really caught my eye is Gary Hooper, the 22-year-old striker from Scunthorpe.

OK, there will be doubters. The more ignorant will say ‘who are Scunthorpe?’ and dismiss him before he even arrives. I imagine in days gone bye, a section of the Liverpool support said ‘who are Chester?’ when a certain Mr Rush was signed up, too.

Others will ask why the club have brought in a player with no European experience, and whilst they may have a point, I think only the most optimistic of Celtic fans is concerned with the European adventure this year. Getting beyond Braga is difficult enough, and then we would face the likes of Tottenham, Sevilla or Sampdoria for a chance to make the Champions League itself. OK, participation in the Europa League is a likely bet, but surely that’s a perfect opportunity for Hooper to get that experience he is missing, no?

Instead, our priority has to be wrestling the championship back from Ibrox, and for that, Hooper is our man. I’m not one to kick the quality of the SPL while it is down, but we have to face facts, so I would argue two-thirds of the SPL is equivalent to the English Championship in terms of quality, with the other third similar to League One. At that kind of level, Hooper scored 50 goals in 93 games for Scunthorpe United, which suggests to me that if he plays he’ll set the SPL alight. Indeed, I think it is a monumental piece of business from the club, and being only 22, he is also one for the future.

As for Daryl Murphy, I’m afraid I need to reserve judgement. He looks like a reasonable target man, but it seems a bit ‘Chris Killen’ to me. I hope somebody points that line out to me at the end of the season after he has scored 20 goals, and I’ll happily eat some humble pie, but we’ll see. Saying that, with him signing I’d expect to see him starting the season off in the team.

As always though, when new players come in some have to leave. Hooper will be the eighth striker at Celtic Park (if you consider Maloney to be just a winger) and that figure surely needs cutting. I’d be surprised to see either Fortune or Rasmussen leave as they are new arrivals, but numbers do need to be cut. McGowan has recently signed a new contract, so I’d suggest he was safe, but that leaves Sheridan (a certainty to leave) Samaras and Hutchinson. I won’t pretend to be disappointed when Samaras leaves (the most frustrating player I have ever seen, some days brilliant, but others he’s horrendous. The phrase ‘sublime to the ridiculous’ could have been coined for him alone) but I am disappointed Hutchinson hasn’t really had a chance at Celtic.

I’m also eagerly waiting for some new defensive signings. I think there is promise in Rogne and Hooiveld, as there is in Thompson, but I’m yet to be convinced by Loovens and O’Dea. I’d hope all the money earned from the inevitable McGeady sale is pumped into the defence, with two commanding central defenders the top of the list. And of course, David James too would be a welcome addition as a short-term replacement for Boruc.

So how do we line up opening day? Truth be told, I haven’t got a clue. I can’t even put my finger on a formation, let alone a first XI, so all I can do is pick my own. For me, it has to be 4-3-3 to utilise the talent at our disposal, with the central striker as a target man, Fortune out wide right and the third striker as a ‘poacher’, so here goes.

————————–James———————–

Cha——-Rogne——–Hooiveld———Mulgrew

———————–Juarez———————-

———-Brown (c)—————Ledley——-

—–Fortune——–Murphy——Hooper——

All I know for certain is there cannot possibly be any less heart in this year’s team than was on display under Mowbray and that is the first step to winning anything. Now, if only we could find another Lubo…

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3 Responses to “Exciting signings from Lenny set to revitalise Celtic”

  1. Mojiebhoy Says:

    Good blog mate!!

    My problem with the team is that no two Celtic fans seem to agree on who will start. We can’t even agree on a formation. Hell we can’t even agree on the name of the Korean fullback, though I think it is Cha.

    For me, I think the clues point towards moving to a 5-3-2 or a 3-5-2, depending on how you look at it. Signing Ledley and Juarez and also looking at Kayal for centre midfield would suggest we switching to a 3 man mid. We also have Brown, Crosas and Ki that can play that position. Why are we still looking for centre midfielders if we are not switching. Ledley could play on the left and Juarez can play on the right, so you have options.

    Now look at the new fullbacks. Mulgrew is known more for his crossing ability and attacking options. Cha, from what I gather, is the fastest player in the Korean team and also likes to attack. “The human weapon” seems to be our new Agathe.

    Murphy is a target man and Hooper seems to be a direct goalscorer. Our strikers will have a big man, small man setup.

    I can see us signing at least one more centre back. Goalkeeper is not a necessity, but I would have liked to keep Boruc.

    Here is how I think they will line out in our home game against Braga.

    —————————–Zaluska———————–

    –—-Rogne—Hooiveld—O’Dea/New

    Cha————————–Mulgrew

    ——————-—–Juarez———Ledley——-————-

    ——————-Brown (c)———-

    —-–Fortune/Hoops——–Murphy/Ras——

  2. Mike McKenna Says:

    Cheers for the comment fella!

    I take your point about the midfield, and i’m of agreement we’ll move to three in the middle. However, I’m not sure I think we’ll go to 3-5-2 because we have EIGHT strikers.

    I think most of us accept that despite our reservations, one of the strikers will be Fortune, so that leaves one position for seven players to fight for (although as I said previously, some of them have to go)

    For me, 4-3-3 is the perfect system for us with the squad we have.

    In saying that, the fact us fans can’t agree on a system says to me that we have all kinds of options, which can only be a good thing.

    • Mojiebhoy Says:

      It is difficult to predict. Everyone has their own opinion. Lenny must have a plan though, so we will see tomorrow night. Hinkel and Rogne are not in the squad, so he is definitely not playing a 3-5-2 or a 5-3-2. Hinkel must be on his way, which makes me sad. Thought he was our best player last year, outside of Keane. They might play a 4-5-1 which is similar to your formation.

      —————————–Zaluska———————–

      Cha–—-Rogne—-Hooiveld–—Mulgrew

      ——————-Juarez———Ledley——-————-

      ———————–Brown (c)———-

      McGeady——————Fortune/Maloney

      ——–Samaras/Murphy/Ras

      McGeady is in the squad, so he might play. Maybe going to a team that is not in Europe this year, Birmingham? We played Donati last year, then sold him.

      Well we shall soon see what happens.


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