Was there a better way imaginable to round of 2016 than with a come-from-behind victory inside the home of Rangers? A win that simultaneously enhanced the reputation of Rodgers’ side and smothered the last dying embers of belief inside Ibrox. The 19-point-gap is the biggest ever at this stage of the season, and with a game in hand still to be played, it is a delicious place to find ourselves.
While under previous managers there could be a danger of resting on laurels, Rodgers, though, is already in the process of revitalising the squad, to not only close out a dazzling first-season, but also to build for a more sustained assault on Europe next year. FC Krasnodar’s young, rangy midfield enforcer Kouassi Eboue has already arrived in Glasgow for a medical. With just a work-permit preventing him from donning the Hoops, it looks like a deal that will be completed soon.
This deal has intrigued many fans, yet, however good the youngster proves to be, a defensive midfielder never really sets the pulse racing. A rumoured signing that would certainly elevate my heart-rate, would be the capture of Hull’s playmaker Robert Snodgrass. The left-footed schemer has been the only illuminative aspect for a sea yellow and black-clad fans of a club, governed by incompetent kleptomaniacs, that looks destined for relegation. Snodgrass, aware of his worth, has made it clear he sees his future elsewhere. A destination that may prove to be Parkhead.
While the 29-year-old does not fit the youthful signing strategy employed at Celtic in the last number of years (carrying little or no sell on value), it may be a deal worth bucking the trend for – similarly to the Kolo Toure signing. Seven Premier League goals from midfield, in a poor side, are impressive, however it is the role that he could be utilised for the Hoops that most intrigues. Rogic is the undeniable holder of the ‘number 10’ role in the squad, and I would not wish to impede the Aussie’s development, however we must address his deficiencies. Namely his poor stamina and his knack for picking up debilitating injuries. A player capable of shouldering some of the creative burdens is essential. Callum McGregor has stepped up admirably, however, as his performances in Europe have shown, he is still somewhere away from the standard required to take the club to the next level. His slight frame, poor right-foot and erratic distribution are flaws that are less identifiable in Snodgrass.
A couple of other aspects also make a move for Snodgrass tempting. Firstly, is the fact that having suffered a career-threating injury a couple of years ago, he looks like a man in full knowledge of how fleeting his vocation is and looks ready to maximise his assets. Secondly is his experience, both internationally and domestically. And having worked his way through football, slowly but surely, ascending the footballing pyramid as much through his hard-graft as any God-given talent, he is perfectly placed to put an instructive hand on the younger player’s shoulders and guide them through some of the rigours faced in such a demanding line of work. A quality that could prove invaluable.
Able to operate anywhere in the advanced positions and armed with a set-piece ability not seen since the departure of Shunsuke Nakamura, it is a deal that I find hard to find any negative aspects to.
It is not a potential transfer that is essential to the continued rise of the Brendan Rodgers era, instead it is more akin to a cherry on top of an already delightful cake.