After the hiatus and a Scottish Cup round of mismatches, it’s back to the coal face for Celtic who host Hibs today. I’m looking forward to this game as Lennon’s team will be set out to win. Should Celtic not bolster their squad in this transfer window it will not bode well for the run-in to their seventh successive title. I have not been impressed with Celtic this season. Last season they were on fire with Dembele scoring for fun. This season he has only netted one quarter of last year’s total. Celtic lack a cutting edge up front. Lustig continues to be a liability and could have cost Celtic the points at Firhill. The midfield, other than Brown, is unconvincing. With Compper injured Rodgers will have no choice other than to play Boyata and Ajer in central defence, which is not a marriage made in heaven.
Rangers Lite, by contrast, have improved their squad, albeit by loans, the recall of loaned players and the acquisition of Docherty for £650,000.
Lite will pay £350,000 in August when all SPFL clubs receive £700,0000. Three annual payments of £100,000 to follow. King personal guarantee that Hamilton will get paid irrespective of any insolvency event.
Murphy, Cummings and Docherty will present more of a threat to CFC’s dominance than at any time since Lite’s elevation to the Premiership. Lite came close at Celtic Park. They were by far the better team after a first half where Celtic dominated possession but could not make it count. The failure to make additions will be brought into sharp relief at Ibrox on Saturday March 10th. One can but hope that Ralston is fit for this game. Red Hand Nicholl’s hatred of Celtic will be clearly to the fore during the build-up at Murray Park. A win against Celtic would make their season.
The SFA dropped a hand grenade at Celtic Park when announcing two friendlies at season’s end. Ten days after Celtic defend their Scottish Cup in the final at Hampden – assuming that they are not knocked out by a resurgent Lite and some honest mistakes – Scotland will be playing in Peru. The call up to the squad will be 3/4 days prior to departure with a day spent travelling. There will be no rest for the Scottish Cup winners or blunt losers. After a Saturday 2 June game in Mexico, and one day spent travelling on the Sunday, up to eight players would have only 7 days rest prior to pre-season training at Lennoxtown.
The SFA’s motives are pecuniary. With yet another World Cup campaign ending in ignominious failure the SFA are nakedly pursuing some Sol and Peso. If Regan can source some cheap Tequila so much the better. Celtic’s pre-season training and CL qualification game at the end of June does not matter a jot to the SFA.
Regan has effectively told Celtic to go and have a flying fuck to themselves.
Notwithstanding the concomitant risk of injury, Celtic could be staring at a £30m hole in its 2018/2019 budget.
An observer might suggest that this is a cynical attempt by the odious Dickson and Smurfs like Bryson to create a more level playing field in Scottish football; to help out Rangers Lite.
One would like to think that Lawwell would pin Regan to a wall, rip his eyes out and spit in his pea-like brain. Or perhaps he will simply threaten to withdraw his players from the lucrative home friendly against Costa Rica in March should Regan not release his players from the proposed South American ardour.
Having failed to net O’Neil and gone out of his way to compromise Celtic, Regan’s jacket is on an unsteady peg. News that Ally McCoist has tossed his boater into the Scotland manager’s ring has been met with slack-jawed astonishment. Is Ally sending Sandy Chugg for his messages? I would check his tea for cannabis resin. I also note that Neil Lennon has been mooted. I cannot conceive of a better way to decimate the blue pound.
The final nail in Regan’s coffin could be the SFA’s decision on Hampden. I personally think Regan is bluffing to secure a better deal, but if not Murrayfield is the obvious choice with its capacity of 67,500. Celtic Park would be second favourite. Ibrox, with its Health & Safety certificate gifted by a Masonic Police Scotland knuckle shuffle, should not be in contention.
However Lite desperately need the money. One will soon discover how much influence Dickson really has. If the SFA were to choose Ibrox Regan would have a pressing appointment with his P45.