THE transfer window closed on Thursday night, and Celtic must have been very pleased with themselves by the time the SFA Registrations Department logged out of their laptops, and Jim White had removed his yellow tie in the Sky Sports studios.
Sure, they got the likes of PSG’s Timothy Weah, Oliver Burke from West Brom and Jeremy Toljan of Borussia Dortmund through the door on loan deals.
But their most-significant piece of business was getting Scott Brown to sign a new, two-year contract.
In Brown’s time playing under Brendan Rodgers, I’ve been fulsome in my praise of the Parkhead skipper.
The level of consistency he has shown over 80 or 90 competitive games has been quite remarkable.
He’s been an absolute standout.
Sure, I’m aware one or two supporters feel he hasn’t hit the same heights in the past six months and that may well be a fair assessment.
But I would never write this man off.
The business end of the season will be upon us all before we know it, and Brown will relish the challenge of trying to help his football club to eight league titles on the trot and, potentially, a treble Treble.
He has won 17 major trophies with the club, and he will feel there are more to come.
I’ve always said Brendan Rodgers and his players are the favourites to win the Premiership this season, and I stand by that.
The re-signing of Brown only strengthens the way I feel about my prediction.
Of course, the ideal scenario for Brown and everyone at Celtic is that he is still wearing the armband when this new deal expires in the summer of 2021.
The dream for anyone with feelings for the Hoops is that Brown is on the podium in the centre circle at Parkhead, celebrating 10-in-a-row.
Now, you certainly could not rule that out.
But my own feeling is that it is far too premature and presumptuous to look that far ahead, and believe such a success is a formality.
However, Brown is the man that makes Celtic tick. He gives his team-mates real belief and he shows leadership.
He has the ability and the mentality to take any domestic game by the scruff of the neck, and dictate it.
He is a great asset to the team, on and off the park.
That’s why he is, for me, the best signing Brendan and Peter Lawwell have made in this window.
Retaining one of your very best players is just as important as bringing in a quality player.
When Celtic have had really top players in the past, they have harboured a desire to go down south to play in the English Premier League.
The likes of Victor Wanyama, Virgil van Dijk and Fraser Forster all chose that path.
Brown is different to them as in he is more than satisfied with life as Celtic captain and playing in Scottish football.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Of course, the loss of a player such as van Dijk has ultimately been beneficial to Liverpool.
He ended up at Anfield via Southampton – with Celtic reportedly getting 10% of the transfer fee – and he has been an incredible addition to Jurgen Klopp’s team.
I don’t know the exact fee Liverpool paid for him, but if it was in the region of £75 million, then it has been money well spent.
He signed during the 2018 January transfer window, and it was felt he was the best player in Europe in that position, and available at the right price.
Well, he has been invaluable and what a great piece of business it has turned out to be.
The season so far has been a real team effort from everyone at Anfield, but van Dijk has been very special.
He inspires those around him with his leadership, ability and communication skills.
Sure, as in Scotland, there is still a long way to go in the title race in England, but Virgil and the rest of the players will have their sights set on the prize at the end of the campaign.
It is not being arrogant or presumptuous to think that way. It is just natural.
The management, players and supporters are entitled to feel that, having done so well for the past six months and to be sitting proudly at the top of the league table.
There is nothing to make them believe that they can’t continue to show the level of consistency required between now and the middle of May.
Getting a positive result at West Ham tomorrow night will be another step closer.
Of course, with the transfer window closed, all managers know where they stand and what they have to work with.
I know from my own experience as a manager, the windows can be restrictive in terms of the time you have to trade.
But I actually prefer it to the old system where you could buy and sell until the end of March.
On Thursday night there, some clubs got their business done with minutes to spare, but I can’t recall ever having it that close to the wire when I was a manager.
I did want to sign Charlie Adam for Liverpool from Blackpool in January, 2011.
Tottenham were also sniffing around for the Scottish midfielder’s signature at that time.
We worked on it until the last day, but we knew with a few hours to spare that Blackpool were not going to sell, and we had to wait until the summer to get him.
But most of the dealings I had weren’t overly-fraught, and the deals were taken care of by the appropriate people at the football clubs at that time.
I knew we were in good hands.
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe