With Neil Lennon having built a team effectively from scratch following the debacle which was Ross County it is encouraging to see that the team which is currently making great strides toward the title also has age on their side. Celtic’s starting XI on Sunday in the 3-0 victory over Rangers had an average age of 25.8 with Majstorovic being the only player in the team who was over 30. At the other end of the scale six players within the starting XI were 25 or under whilst our substitutes, namely Ki (22), Forrest (20) and Stokes (23) only served to bring the average age of the team on the pitch at the final whistle down further to exactly 25, all of which must be an encouraging sign for our future or is it…..?
With the gathering of not only such a young group but one which is also showing they possess true talent the outlook for our club is looking as promising as it has done for the past 7-8 years. The big question, however, which those at the helm must now answer whilst faced with reports of our best players being cherry-picked by Premiership clubs is do we cash in on them or do we allow this squad time to grow together and take the club forward.
As a fan my obvious hope is that Peter Lawwell and the Board do not break this squad up, however, I am also aware of the boundaries within which we are currently operating financially and if a ridiculous bid is made then the “resale value” will take precedent. I accept the argument that the club should not be run as a business but the current limitations of the SPL as a brand and the recent drop in Scotland’s co-efficient means that the millions being earned in other countries are not as readily available to us anymore. The statements made over recent months by both management and board members, especially when announcing the club debt has increased, have been that the club will identify and nurture players with a view to maximising their “resale value”. I do not believe that such statements should be made publicly as they only encourage suitors whose advances may only serve to distract the players in question at a crucial stage of the season.
Please Mr. Lawwell, allow this team to grow together and bring us the success both we as fans and they as players deserve to enjoy. Do not allow the balance sheet to dictate the direction of our club (not unless we receive an Andy Carroll-type bid for Hooper!) as we most definitely do have age on our side!!!