Albian Ajeti must have been stunned when he was handed the Celtic armband the other night.
But that’s the kind of creative thinking that needs Angel Postecoglou at the start of his reign.
Postecoglou barely has time to work with his team, regardless of the fact that he has players who won’t be around when the window closes.
With the Champions League qualifier against Midtjylland in 10 days, the Australian must find quick answers.
One thing he needs to do is make the most of some of the boys who underperformed last season.
A lot of money was paid for Ajeti and Barkas, the £ 10million guts, and they did not pay it back.
Ajeti got off to a good start before practically disappearing from the radar, while Barkas never started. These are two costly signatures that Postecoglou needs to get up to speed – and quickly.
He can’t have passengers and he needs to have people like the Swiss striker by his side and play to the fullest potential.
Handing out Ajeti’s captain’s armband for the day sounds like a clever move and a clever roll of the dice.
If the player needed a sign that they were wanted and loved by the new boss, this was the perfect way to show it.
For everything Postecoglou knows due to the business transfer and off-site scenarios,
Ajeti could be his main attacker shortly until more arrive and the gaffer has to find ways to get him fired.
Look, I already said it wasn’t easy for new players at any club
The confinement was horrible for everyone. It was hard enough when you were stuck at home, but can you imagine what it was like for players from different countries trying to settle in this place?
Sometimes you couldn’t even change with your teammates, not go out to visit colleagues at night to get used to the surroundings and bond.
It is understandable that some struggled and Ajeti
came out himself and said so.
But things can change and I only have to look at the example that I saw with my own eyes in the form of Stiliyan Petrov.
When I arrived at Celtic Stiliyan had just experienced his first season at Celtic and it didn’t go well for him or for the team.
He was struggling to adjust to life and the game in Scotland and he was miles away from his best form, even used as a right-back for some games.
But Martin O’Neill walked through the door, saw something in Stan, and started his fire.
I don’t need to tell Celtic fans how it worked. Very quickly, Stiliyan became a key player for us and it is thanks to the trust placed in him by Martin.
Managers can do and say the right things to get a response. If Postecoglou can do for Ajeti what Martin did for Stiliyan, that £ 5million might not be
Postecoglou has to elicit the same type of responses from Tom Rogic as he tries to kick off his reign with positive results while trying to adjust and overhaul a team.
Given that Barkas was in the same position as Jeti when the players returned for the preseason, you can see why the boss might be trying to do the same for
But while I think Ajeti might have a chance to turn the tide, I just don’t see it when it comes to the former AEK Athens goalkeeper.
I might be wrong, but it seems easier to integrate and rejuvenate a fielder than a goalie.
The position of goalkeeper is different. It is isolated.
You can’t hide behind your teammates if you’re not up to the task and Barkas couldn’t show anything to convince last season.
It became a permanent joke, but it was basically true that he had never made a proper save in any of his games and that some of the lost goals were, to say the least, questionable.
For me, Barkas has gone too far. Ditto for Scott Bain. The pair of them just don’t seem to have the ability or stature of the main Celtic No.1.
To be honest, for the sake of both of them, I hope one of them proves me wrong.
I hope, for example, that Barkas can wake up from the sleep of the last term and prove why Celtic paid
£ 5million for him.
However, it is more a matter of hope than expectation, in my eyes.
Ajeti could be in the right position to launch his Celtic career and provide the goals for Postecoglou.
But, hand on heart, I’m not sure Barkas is the one stopping them from entering on the other end of the phone.