|The Fly In The Ointment|
|The Fly In The Ointment|
|Written by St Anthony|
|Friday, 22 July 2011 17:47|
I have just returned from a decent break in Canada where the temperatures were in the high 80’s and it’s not just a return to the typical dampness of a Scottish summer that has me irritated. I can accept there were no new signings in my absence and it concerns me greatly that we haven’t offloaded the dead wood from last season.
But more directly, why is Georgios Samaras still at Parkhead ?
In the end not scoring enough goals cost us the title last season. The difference was that Jelavic, Naismith and Lafferty (yes, really) delivered the goods when it mattered. We had two strikers, Hooper and Stokes, who scored consistently but we needed back up and the big Greek did not provide it. My hackles still rise when I recall the Ross County semi final of 2010 and Neil Lennon did well to cull that team and move on although has Samaras remained and he was one of the worst culprits on that fateful day at Hampden. He should have been off loaded there and then.
The question has to be asked; who awarded this guy a new contract before the end of last season ? For a Celtic striker to score 7 goals on 37 appearances (I accept a number of them were as a substitute) is absolutely criminal. Add to that the lethargic, half hearted attitude he displays and the fact that he breaks up more Celtic attacks than an opposition defence. Think of the number of occasions he turns back or runs across field selfishly keeping the ball, refusing to play the quick pass that is required and thus allowing the opposition time to regroup.
The subject of that new contract is certainly perplexing. On CQN Paul 67 often preaches about the merits of ‘asset management’ and I could see the value of this if Celtic intended moving him on and obtaining a fee. However, as Harry Brady has often said on this site, the world of industry and commerce are now rewarded by ‘performance pay’ and this being the case you have to wonder at how a player who is consistently sub standard can be rewarded by being given a lucrative new contract ?
There appears to be myth that he is the only forward who can play the role as a lone striker especially in games against Rangers. He is still living off the new year victory at Ibrox although he cancelled that out with his half hearted penalty miss at Ibrox in May on the day that had we scored that penalty it would have been all over…and they knew it as well. It’s always a regret of mine that Kris Commons didn’t just wrestle the ball from him. In that Ibrox match the only thing of any significance Samaras did was to miss that penalty. In contrast Antony Stokes was on the field for only 15 minutes and won Celtic their penalty and should have had another. And yet some will maintain that Samaras is more effective than Stokes.
What concerns me most is that Neil Lennon’s judgement may be called into doubt. I like and trust Lennon to the full. However this coming season we need all hands on deck and we have no room for any passengers but he does appear to have a blind spot for his Greek forward. For the salary we pay Samaras think of what you could pick up in another market for the same wages. Even Rasmussen, in his few appearances, showed a bit of heart and could be a better bet. The thought of injuries to Hooper and Stokes and being left with Samaras and Murphy is a very sobering thought at this time.
I’ve never disliked any Celtic player in the 39 years I have been attending games at Celtic Park but Samaras is testing my patience to the absolute limit. And yet this article is not meant to be a personal attack. The judgement I have called on Samaras is not a short term, knee jerk reaction. It is an objective opinion on a player who has all the attributes but has not delivered in his three seasons at the club and been a constant disappointment.
It’s time to end Celtic’s Greek tragedy.