Well, I think we all knew it was coming. Hot on the heels of the sales of Barry Robson, Gary Caldwell, Willo Flood and Chris Killen, now ‘Mick’ McManus and Danny Fox could be on the way out of the club. Some may feel Tony Mowbray is tearing away the soul of the club with some of these sales, but I honestly believe he’s doing the right thing.

McManus has been out of form all season long, as was Gary Caldwell, so it’s no wonder Mogga wasn’t convinced. The Celtic support certainly weren’t, as shambolic defending cost us again and again. We were crying out for a change, and the new arrivals of Scandinavian defenders Hooiveld and Rogne, as well as the return of Darren O’Dea from his loan and the promotion of youngster Josh Thompson, the centre of our defence now has a very different feel to it. Then there is Glenn loovens to bring in, and it seems there is a much hungrier edge to our defence.

Korean midfielder Ki-Sung Yong showed some impressive touches on his début, and with Scott Brown only a few weeks away, our midfield is also looking better. Paddy McCourt showed us in glimpses what he is capable of on Sunday against St Johnstone, and if he keeps that kind of form up he may yet play every week. I think most Celtic fans would love to see McCourt get a good run in the side, as he has looked almost unstoppable at times. My main worry is McGeady, as he appears to have gone backwards this season. His finishing in particular has been atrocious, and he should have put the recent Old Firm game out of sight before we scored.

And that brings us nicely to our strikers. Marc-Antoine Fortune appears to be a very different player at the moment. Since his injury, in my opinion he has come back hungrier, quicker and his finishing has improved. We are missing ‘Skippy’, as both Samaras and Fortune seem to play outside the box. That being said, new signing Morten Rasmussen may change that.

He claims to be a ‘penalty box’ player, and the video below backs up that claim. He could be just what the club needs.Beating St Johnstone was vital, especially as it allowed us to close the gap on Rangers. Now, another win tonight against Hibs and the confidence should start flowing. Hopefully, the new signings get to play a part in that.

Welcome to Celtic Park, lads. Now, go and win the title back.

Cheers for reading, and I’ll appreciate any comments.

And so the window begins…

January 13, 2010

So the moment we’ve been waiting for…a bit of transfer activity at Celtic Park. Gary ‘Heid’ Caldwell has left to join Wigan and been replaced by 6’3 Dutchman, Jos Hooiveld from AIK. It also appears that Willo Flood, Chris Killen and Barry Robson look set to sign for Middlesbrough as Tony Mowbray clears some of his squad.

Now I’ve been quite critical of Caldwell this year, and I genuinely believe his contract situation has affected his performances. However, he has been one of our best defenders the last couple of years, so he leaves with my best wishes and thanks. That being said, there is part of me that is looking forward to seeing a combination of Titus Bramble and Heid at the back for Wigan. I’m pretty certain that partnership has ‘calamity’ written all over it!

I won’t pretend I’ve seen much of Hooiveld, but at 6’3, I’m quietly confident that he will help shore up our leaky defence. I’m also hopeful that having a fellow Dutchman in the defence will aid Glenn Loovens, which has to be a good thing. However, I still wouldn’t be surprised to see another centre half brought in, as it seems clear to me that Mowbray is not a fan of big Mick McManus.

As for the other transfers, I’m not overly surprised to see either Flood or Killen go, although neither have had a real run in the side, but I am quite disappointed Robson is off. Barry Robson epitomises a good Old Firm midfielder: he can pass the ball, shoot, is good from set pieces, has a bit of vision and loves a tackle. I can only hope that Ki-Sung Yong is fully fit and ready to go into the side, otherwise we’re alarmingly short in the midfield.

Now though I’m left to wonder if we’ll actually strengthen in the area we are crying out- up front. We are desperate for a goal scorer, and there seem to be a few options. Personally, I like the idea of Dave Kitson, who seems keen to sign for us. Another option could be a cheeky bid for Jermaine Beckford of Leeds, a striker who is out of contract in the summer and would be a bargain at £2 million. And with Skippy McDonald out for a couple of weeks after a hernia operation, goals are severely lacking.

One thing that my opinion keeps swaying on right now is the future of Aiden McGeady. It would appear that we have rejected a £10 million offer from Birmingham for him, which does at least show a little ambition on our part. However, that must have been a very difficult decision, as £10 million would allow us to rebuild our creaking squad.

Hopefully, the board will continue to back Mogga, allowing him to really develop this squad and start playing the type of football we all want to see. However, if Hooiveld is the last signing of this window, we’re in for a tough few months.

I’m not the biggest fan of the Daily ‘Ranger’ and Jim Traynor, but two days ago he said Mogga had 22 days left to win the league title, and he is absolutely spot on.

Tick tock, Tony, tick tock.