New Kits, Same Brand of Football
Welcome to “Maley’s Musings”, our series of articles which attempt to give you a brief summation of the news stories of the last week, with some thoughts, analysis and photographs attached, in one thousand words or less.
Well, after a period of arguing as to what colours people support at the ballot box, I must say I’m rather looking forward to everyone focusing solely on the green and white again. Following on in that vein, it is perhaps rather apt that Celtic have launched their new home kit this week, the first to be designed by New Balance, for the coming season. I have to say I rather like it, feeling it’s an enormous improvement on the current version. The rumoured away kit, pictured below, is also a design which I would be a fan of. However, I can’t say I’ll be buying either directly from Celtic anytime soon due to the fact that a home adult short sleeved shirt is priced at £53, which is an amount of money I personally can’t justify spending. That’s not so much a criticism directly towards Celtic particularly but rather towards the modern game and the amounts of money often involved therein.
Whilst there was some disagreement among the support as to whether or not last week’s Friday night football experiment at Celtic Park was a success, there was no debate as to the quality of the performance of the home team which was of the highest calibre. No, Dundee didn’t help themselves by sitting in and inviting their opponents on to them, but the Celts were not only deserved winners, they were fantastically entertaining to watch. Again, credit must go to Leigh Griffiths, whose opening goal took his personal tally to nineteen for the season, with the striker now averaging one goal scored for every 104 minutes played in all competitions. Whilst we’re on the subject of strikers, I do hope Ronny Deila gives Stefan Scepovic a starting place prior to the end of the season – perhaps away against St Johnstone – as his goals scored to minutes played ratio (one scored for every 210 minutes which he is on the field, with much of that time coming in the Europe League) hints at the possibility he may have more to offer. Surely having spent a significant amount of money on the Serbian, it’s worth giving him a chance?
Celtic return to Pittodrie this weekend for the first time since what I believe to have been one of – if not the – defining day in Ronny Deila’s tenure thus far. Having seen Scott Brown sent off and the Dons hit the woodwork on more than one occasion, we all watched on with delight as Virgil van Dijk’s deft stoppage time finish washed the nerves away and sealed a crucial win for the Hoops. In the moments which followed, our Norwegian manager’s passion filtered through to its most obvious extent at that point in time, and it was great to watch a win celebrated with such gusto by the manager, players and supporters alike. After all, these league matches supposedly mean virtually nothing to us if you embrace the world view of some members of the mainstream sports media in Scotland.
With the season drawing to a close, transfer rumours are naturally beginning to abound. Firstly, it appears we have bid for Dutch defender Mitchell Dijks, who played in the Ajax side defeated at Celtic Park in 2013 but now features for Willem II. A fee of circa £700,000 has been noted, and with the ability to play either left back or centre half, one wonders if this rumour may come to fruition. Other whispers this week connected Charlie Mulgrew with a potential move to newly promoted English side, Bournemouth. Personally speaking, I could understand Charlie making the decision to leave Celtic Park behind him this summer should he choose to do so, as whilst he is a useful utility player, I cannot presently see any way in which he will be able to hold down a place in the starting eleven under Ronny Deila. Murmurs about the futures of Virgil van Dijk, Jason Denayer and John Guidetti also continue to circulate, but regardless, I for one am actually rather looking forward to this summer’s transfer window, providing Ronny is given an adequate level of funding to improve his squad. We’re most certainly on the rise.
Also, this weekend will host the big Scottish play-off match and I, for one, am very much looking forward to it. Yes, with the scores tied at two apiece after the first leg at Gayfield, Queen’s Park versus Arbroath should prove to be a pulsating contest indeed.
At this point, I am hoping to close this season’s charity raffle, in aid of Alzheimer Scotland, next weekend with the winning tickets being drawn and the results announced during the following week. Confirmation will be forthcoming in this regard, but with a current total of £1390.66, this is already set to be our second most successful fundraising season at least. As always, you have my undying thanks for your continuing support of many good causes.
In other news, work continues on my new book, “Uniquely Celtic”, with the script having surpassed the 175,000 word mark this week and deadlines continuing to loom large on the horizon. The publication of the result of our springtime catering survey has been hampered somewhat by this endeavour, but at almost 20,000 words itself, I hope the survey’s results will be released before the end of the season. Anyway, having said all of that I’d like to wish you and your families all the best for the coming week as ever. Viva Ronny Deila.
For anyone interested, donations can be made to our Alzheimer Scotland fundraising efforts by CLICKING HERE. Please note, one raffle ticket is allocated for every £2 donated, limited to ten per person. Thank you.