As we await our first goal from Spurs-Leicester City, we’ve got a certified beauty north of the English border.
For those unfamiliar with the league, Scott Brown of Celtic is certified villain, possible lunatic, midfield monster, and one of the more terrifying people in the league.
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The Glaswegian veteran, 33, has 55 Scottish caps to go with more than 500 appearances for Celtic, having arrived at the club from Hibernian in 2007.
Brown’s first Celtic goal since Feb. 11, 2017, was an absolute belter, the midfielder tearing into this loose ball after a single touch in Sunday’s Scottish Cup game against St. Johnstone.
Timothy Tim Timo Weah becomes an international star or not is one thing, but he’s quickly proving rather adept for the Scottish Premiership.
On loan from Paris Saint-Germain and tipped by none other than Neymar for a monster half-season, Weah came off the bench to inspire Celtic’s 2-0 win at St. Johnstone with a goal and an assist on Sunday.
Weah, 18, subbed into a scoreless match with 16 minutes to play, and produced the result with an assist and then a goal. Celtic is six points clear of Rangers atop the table. The next Old Firm Derby isn’t until March 31 at Celtic Park.
The American attacker now has three goals and an assist in five appearances for Celtic, who is the best team in the Scottish Premiership has won those matches by a combined score of 14-0. And, notably, the league is somewhere between the Eredivisie and MLS in quality.
So there’s plenty of proving ground left for Weah. But so far, so great.
And remember: He has two goals in four senior appearances for PSG, plus a goal in eight caps for the #USMNT.
Video below the reaction of Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers.
American defenders Andrew Gutman and Manny Perez have signed 3+-year contracts with Celtic.
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Gutman was immediately loaned Thursday to Nashville of the second-tier United Soccer League Championship for the 2019 season. Celtic says Perez also will be loaned to a U.S. club.
Gutman is a 22-year-old who was a senior at Indiana and won the Hermann Trophy as the top men’s college soccer player last year. He was a member of the Chicago Fire’s youth academy and trained with Rangers, Celtic’s Glasgow rival.
Perez is a 19-year-old right back who was a sophomore at North Carolina State. He played for the U.S. at last year’s CONCACAF Under-20 Championship.
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New York City FC is turning to the Scottish Premiership in a bid to improve its attack.
Aberdeen winger Gary Mackay-Steven, 28, is the name in question. The former Fulham and Liverpool youth is out of contract with Aberdeen after the season.
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Mackay-Steven has six goals and two assists in 19 matches, one of the markers come in Europa League qualifying against Burnley.
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes said NYCFC has reached out to the club, but that Mackay-Steven was unaware of it. From MLSSoccer.com:
“We have been in a fight to get Gary and others to commit for a while now but it is their right to let their contract run down and assess their options. All we’ve asked Gary and his agent is ‘are we still in the running to keep you?’ and they said ‘absolutely’.”
Mackay-Steven would allow Ishmael Tajouri-Shradi to stay on his preferred right side as NYCFC enters the post-David Villa era, although the club has Jesus Medina and Jonathan Lewis under contract as well.
As long as he’s careful near the Hudson in winter, he could do pretty well in MLS. But we’d expect NYCFC to be looking for a center forward who could produce more than Jo Inge Berget‘s four goals and four assists in 24 games last season.
The tale of a pair of Chicago Fire products taking their talents to Scotland has taken an interesting turn.
Steven Gerrard brought Matt Polster and Andrew Gutman to Rangers for a trial in December, and was said to be hopeful of signing both. Polster was reported as the less likely to leave the United States, but is now said to be negotiating with the Glaswegian outfit.
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The same report, from The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio, says Rangers’ bitter rivals at Celtic have pulled into pole position to sweep left back Gutman out from under them.
There’s something interesting here aside from Gutman choosing Celtic over his initial trial club Rangers, two of the fiercest rivals in the world: The 22-year-old Fire academy product isn’t as highly viewed by Chicago as he is by several other MLS sides, Celtic, and the league itself.
From The Athletic:
Sources say the Fire initially offered Gutman a minimum-value contract and that Chicago has been shopping the left back’s homegrown rights within the league. Sources indicate MLS has upped the offer to Gutman in order to try to keep him in the league, and there is interest from multiple teams within MLS. Gutman is mulling both offers, but sources indicate he is leaning toward going overseas with Celtic.
So… it’ll be a little alarming for Fire supporters, an already beleaguered bunch, if Gutman turns out to be a starter for Celtic (or another European club) and Chicago simply offered the minimum to keep him.
Gutman won the MAC Hermann Trophy as the best player in college soccer this season, and left back has been a perennial question for the USMNT. That said, the top-heavy Scottish Premiership may be a physical grind, but isn’t a guarantee to be a better testing ground than Major League Soccer. It’s certainly a better gateway to Europe, though.