Celtic signings can aid European campaign

Celtic signings can aid European campaign

IT has been a busy enough start to the summer for all at Celtic, with pre-season friendlies and a number of key signings, and it’s safe to say the next few weeks will be vital for the club in terms of finance, but also for ensuring an entertaining season for the fans.

European football is where it’s at and one year on from Ronny Deila’s arrival expectations are high amongst the support. Deila was given a rough time of it when his name was first mentioned for the Celtic managerial role, particularly within the media.

Virtually an unknown, he has gone on to prove himself to many of the doubters by just narrowly missing out on the club’s first treble in 14 years in his debut season.

Early signings are always good to see and with qualification for the Champions League we could see a few more names joining up before the summer transfer deadline. First up was the arrival of defender Dedryck Boyata, the 24-year-old Belgian who will replace fellow countryman Jason Denayer, who has returned to Manchester City after a season-long loan.

The next done deal was Swiss defender Saidy Janko from Manchester United. The 19-year-old seems keen to slot into Ronny’s starting XI, insisting he is ready for regular first team football, but he’ll have to go out and earn his place in the side first.

Saidy Janko (Picture: Getty) Saidy Janko (Picture: Getty)

Ronny’s third signing of the summer was Belgian goalkeeper Logan Bailly, who arrived in Glasgow from OH Leuven. The 29-year-old has eight caps for his country and that’s a pretty decent feat considering Belgium have Thibaut Courtois and Simon Mignolet to call upon.

Bailly says he is determined to challenge Craig Gordon for the number one jersey at Celtic Park, and good luck to him, a little healthy competition will keep Gordon on his toes.

Up next was a somewhat controversial signing from Dundee United – 23-year-old Turk Nadir Ciftci. Choosing the number seven shirt made famous by Celtic icons Jimmy Johnstone and Henrik Larsson sparked major debate across social media, but Ciftci insists he will not let the burden of honour weigh him down.

Ciftci defended his choice, explaining that it’s a number that has always been suited to his game, so why not continue it on at Celtic? Although it’s a number associated with greatness at Celtic, it’s important to remember the likes of Juninho failed to live up to expectations whilst wearing it. Yes, it’s added pressure, but from what we have seen from Ciftci it’s something I believe he’ll thrive on.

New signing Nadir Ciftci (Picture: Getty) New signing Nadir Ciftci (Picture: Getty)

Wednesday sees Celtic kick off their campaign for qualification to the group stages of the Champions League as they take on Icelandic side Stjarnan. After a few pre-season games under their belts, Deila’s side look in decent shape, and judging by the team sent out to take on David Moyes’ Real Sociedad a few days back, it’s all go from here.

The Bhoys’ hard fought 1-0 victory over a strong La Liga side saw plenty of positives for Ronny and his team to take away from the game, and it gave us a taste of what exactly is to come this season.

This coming Wednesday at Celtic Park is vital for Ronny and the Bhoys – a convincing win would kick-start the campaign very nicely indeed, but it will be a long old season if Celtic are to bow out of Europe early.

We haven’t even qualified yet but already I’m weighing up where exactly in Europe I would most like to visit. Like many Celtic fans, the big European games are what it’s all about for me – seeing Celtic alongside the biggest names in football is where a club like ours should be.

Last season wasn’t too bad a showing and although it was disappointing not to progress further, we certainly gave a good account of ourselves. This year the fans will expect more, and why shouldn’t we?