Events of the past fortnight have proven conclusively that Celtic eventually got it bang on in the last transfer window.
If Nick Hammond and Neil Lennon get it right again in January, the title’s in the bag and a Quadruple Treble may go with it.
Over the past 13 days in a trio of vital games, the value of Celtic’s acumen when dipping into the three key areas of the market have been shown to the maximum.
Given the financial structures, the perfect way to build a team comes those trio of crucial outlets.
Celtic still have to pay big money for the players that make the difference. Odsonne Edouard is proof of that.
You pay out for top quality and that’s what you get.
At the same time, they have to be able to dig out bargains. Find little gems to polish up and develop into top-team stars and potential sales.
And, as the third facet, it’s crucial to be able to get a hold of some quality loans if you can.
It’s not possible to go and buy two or three £15million players every summer, so getting the right temporary deals done can be the vital middle ground between the first two aspects.
Forget the dead rubber in Cluj nine days ago. That didn’t matter.
But the matches that did, the Betfred Cup Final win over Rangers and the subsequent Premiership successes over Hibs and Hearts, have flashed up how Lennon and Hammond got it spot on. At Hampden, it was Fraser Forster . The type of signing which Celtic could not afford or obtain at the time on a permanent deal, yet the ideal example of a proper loan switch.
Getting the keeper back from Southampton was a superb piece of work from Lennon.
If he hadn’t already shown against Lazio in the Europa League that he was back to his Great Wall form, then the display at the National Stadium against Rangers surely did.
No one man can win a game or a trophy but Forster came as close as you can to doing so at Hampden.
Last Sunday, it was little gem department. Jeremie Frimpong has been absolutely sensational since he was snapped up from Manchester City.
Although it could rise in the future, the fee of £350,000 for that lad now appears laughable.
Frimpong has been dynamite. His energy, enthusiasm and quality have been breathtaking at times and that’s a terrific market for Celtic. Those cut-price cross-border jobs.
When Dedryck Boyata left Celtic, it created a massive gap to fill. Kristoffer Ajer was the young gun who was always going to step into the void of Filip Benkovic going back to Leicester but the Belgian’s loss was big.
That’s where Celtic needed to spend serious money. Same as when they had to spend £9m for Edouard to replace the talisman Moussa Dembele, it was the same trying to replace their top defender.
Cash had to be splashed and it was. £7m for Jullien was a big outlay but he’s paying it back.
Winning goals against Lazio and Rangers in a cup final are the bonus but it’s the defending.
Clean sheet at Hampden. In the last nine games in the league, only two goals have been lost. One to Ross County. The other came against Hamilton when Jullien wasn’t even playing.
He was brilliant at Tynecastle. Strong, physical and nipped issues in the bud. With him doing the business at one end, the creative players did the rest.
Three key areas of the window. Loaning, discovering and spending. All covered. Now I was outspoken at the beginning of the summer because it was too late for Champions League qualifiers.
But, in fairness, Lennon only arrived in the door at the end of February when Brendan Rodgers left and Hammond was after that, so there was no chance of pre-planning and they can’t be faulted.
Better late than never. And the initial evidence from Lennon and Hammond’s relationship shows that you have to an eye on all of the angles.
Having built a squad to get the first trophy of the season and into the last 32 of Europe, the work is well underway for January.
Most folk know what’s needed. With Leigh Griffiths working his way back slowly and Vakoun Issouf Bayo not really contributing, a striker has to be sourced.
Getting a top-class guy willing to sit on the bench behind Edouard won’t be easy, yet the Frimpong angle shows Hammond will know of a few from down in England who could be signed and developed if a proven hitman can’t be picked up.
Midfield seems fine but a centre-back is maybe needed too.
Jullien and Ajer are first picks. Nir Bitton is staying and I like him, he’s solid and a good passer.
But every big club needs four in case of injuries and suspension and, sadly, Jozo Simunovic is unreliable in terms of fitness.
Lennon seems to like him but a boss needs players to be robust and available. Hatem Elhamed showed at Ibrox he can play central but they might need another.
Bottom line is Celtic don’t need a whole lot in January.
Just some key tweaks and back up.