I get the impression he held the Thompson signing back to this week deliberately – if we had lost it would have been a wee morale booster, whilst in victory it’s the perfect time to add to the squad. Thompson certainly admitted that he has known of the deal for some weeks. With the player being cup-tied for Europe (added to the red card he received) there was no need for us to rush.
Anyways, to the event itself, such as it was. O’Neill and the players filed into the room and had no sooner parked themselves than Agathe got up and mumbled an apologetic “excuse me” before heading, I’m told, to the Gents.
Thankfully he wasn’t miked up a la “Naked Gun.”
In reference to his departure, wee Rhona, who hadn’t been paying attention, asked where he had gone. “I think he’s changed his mind,” replied MON.
Alan Thompson has cost £2.75m and has signed a five year deal, whilst Agathe (pronounced “Agaat”) has joined for three years for a figure which MON would only say is “less than the £50,000 being quoted”.
Both players made the usual post-signature noises about the size of the Club and the support and how they are looking forward to the future. Certainly Didier isn’t used to these occasions, because not only did nerves get the better of his bladder, but he was positively gushing with sweat, the poor guy. Again he caught the attention of Celtic’s PR wifie (kinda Kate Winslett-ish lass) who vanished and reappeared with some paper towels for him to dab himself down.
On the players, MON said that he has known of Thompson for a long time and tried to sign him for Leicester but Alan preferred Aston Villa. “He’ll bring balance to the midfield,” stated MON. I wish someone had pushed and asked him to elaborate on that statement. Lazy feckin’ hacks.
As for Didier, MON saw him, liked him and came to a compromise with Hibs. “He’s quick and he can turn people.”
O’Neill was asked if they were here as squad players, and he answered that they were not here simply to make up numbers. As for Europe, Agathe is available, whilst the SFA (or SPL) is checking the Thompson situation. However, MON pointed out that Thompson has a three match ban to serve anyway and by that time we could be out.
On the subject of the possibility that transfer fees could be scrapped, O’Neill said that he is “concerned” by the prospect. He thinks the existing system is alright, and is worried about the implications for trying to make long-term team plans.
As for Rafael, it seems that stories of his demise are greatly exaggerated, or at least premature. The Brazilian trained with the squad today (or at least those not on international duty), and MON is not under any pressure to allow players to leave.
And that was pretty much that for the PC. Leaving the stadium I went to the Ticket Office to collect my briefs (ooh, matron) for the Dunfermline match and had to join a long queue of fholk who were buying tickets for the Raith and Helsinki games. There was some good banter on the subjects of 6-2 thrashings and dodgy Rangers’ signing targets. Fair play, also, to the Club for sending out wee bottles of Irn Bru to everyone waiting. It was damned hot this afternoon and this was a neat gesture.
Whilst we shuffled up the line Agathe and then Thompson came out through the famous glass doors and were greeted by a few dozen autograph hunters and given a warm round of applause. Which was nice.
All in all, it’s been a pretty fine week to be a Celt.