Gordon Strachan, it seems, is leading Celtic’s bid to enter the English Premier League. Via Middlesbrough.
Since joining the Teeside club he has signed Scott McDonald, Chris Killen, Willo Flood, Stephen McManus, Barry Robson from his former club. There may be more. There probably are. Nicky Bailey was ostensibly signed from Charlton, but presumably he spent time as a ball boy at Celtic Park, or qualifies through a grandfather, or something like that.
In the interest of political correctness, Strachan has decided to plump for a couple of Rangers players this summer, in the shape of Kris Boyd and Kevin Thomson. But the Celtic influence remains overpowering. I haven’t seen something so obviously green dressed up in red since Bucky O’Hare.
It’s an old Football Manager trick: buy players who know you can rely on. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – just move it South of the border and hope it doesn’t get damaged in transit.
The shame is that Strachan has done this at Middlesbrough – a club that for years has reaped the benefit of Dave Parnaby’s much-envied academy. Many youngsters will struggle to emerge behind a plethora of ex-SPL ‘stars’. If Boro win promotion to the Premier League this season, Strachan will feel rightly vindicated. If they don’t, Chairman Steve Gibson will have to question the wisdom of his manager’s transfer policy. And wonder if it might have been cheaper to just buy Celtic.