Celtic’s attempt to sign Hibs’ Steven Fletcher fails

February 1st, 2009 1 Comment »
Hibs players' Christmas Party

Hibs players' Christmas Party

Update:The transfer window closed and both Steven Fletcher and Rob Jones remain Hibs players.  It appears that Celtic could not afford Fletch after all.

Celtic are following their usual, uninspiring pattern of stealing the best talent from the rest of the SPL by attempting to sign Hibs’ Steven Fletcher.  Both Rangers and Celtic have found it increasingly difficult to afford quality players from outside Scotland in recent years and Fletcher will be the next in a long line of players citing their “ambition” as a reason for moving West.  That his ambition is limited to choosing to remain in one of the smaller European leagues is apparently lost on Fletch.

As ususal, the Glasgow media have been happy to be the mouthpiece for the player and his agent, writing about how Fletcher hopes Hibs won’t price Celtic out of the move.  Fletcher doesn’t seem to understand the basics of football transfers – he still has years left on his contract and if Celtic can’t afford him, that’s tough luck.  Maybe he’ll just have to put his “ambition” on hold and move South to the biggest league in the world.

In the current economic climate, Hibs may have some concerns about transfer fees in future and may want to cash in on Fletcher now but that’s only thing that might work in Celtic’s favour.  As ever, Hibs’ Chairman Rod Petrie holds all the aces.  Hibs are in a solid position financially and Steven Fletcher has a long contract with the club so there is no need to sell.  There’s every chance that at 5pm on Monday 2nd February, Steven Fletcher will be a Celtic player, but it will be on Hibs’ terms.

Dean “Deano” Shiels also left this week, to further his career with English Championship strugglers Doncaster.  Dean has been a good servant for Hibs despite performances which were at times highly frustrating for the fans.  It’s difficult to say if this will be a good move for the player but it’s clear that after 5 years at Easter Road, it was time for a move to pastures new.  Swapping Edinburgh for the bright lights of Doncaster may not be an obvious choice for many but the challenge might be just what Shiels needs.

Speculation also surrounds Hibs’ captain, Rob Jones. Colchester have been making big noises but offering little cash for Jones but there are other clubs also interested.  Should Leeds or Nottingham Forrest put in a decent bid, it will be interesting to see whether Petrie can resist taking the cash.

Celtic out of Europe before December

November 25th, 2008 4 Comments »

Celtic crashed out of Europe early again after taking the lead against the mighty Aalborg Boldspilklub of Denmark. Ex-Dundee United player Barry Robson put the green and grey hoops ahead but Aalborg fought back with a long range strike by Caca and an own goal by ex-Hibs player Gary “Calamity” Caldwell. Celtic are out of the Champions League and fail to go through to the UEFA cup with that place now taken by Aalborg.

It really makes me wonder whether there really is much of a difference between the Old Firm and the rest of the Scottish Premier League. Surely with a settled team, good manager and a bit of luck it should be possible to at least split them. I have a horrible feeling that other teams are intimidated by the Old Firm and the edge they have is as much psychological as anything else. Whilst they obviously have bigger squads and happily take their pick of the best players from other Scottish teams, they still have to play some very average / shite players, even in Europe.

Granted there is still a gulf between the Old Firm and the rest but if, say, three teams all started to take points off them regularly and at least one of those had a good run in the league who’s to say what could happen?

Financially things don’t look to good for Rangers. There could come a point where they can’t take their pick of other team’s players so easily – then their team would look very average indeed.

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