Former Celtic defender Bobo Balde has stated that he’ll be making some Parkhead returns this season.
The French-born Guinean spent eight years at the club between 2001 and 2009. During that time, he racked up five Scottish Premier League titles, three Scottish Cups, and two League Cups respectively. Since that time, Balde played for Valenciennes and Aries-Avignon before hanging up the boots.
Meanwhile, Celtic are gearing up for perhaps their most difficult title of the potential nine-in-a-row run so far. Rangers are gearing up this summer, whilst Aberdeen and Hibernian are stepping up their own recruitment process.
Balde is still taking note too. He’s warned Celtic that the threat from Ibrox will be bigger than ever. And in a potentially crowd-pleasing move, the big man has outlined his own intentions to come back to Celtic Park this season. Speaking to the Sunday Post, big Bobo had this to say:
“I will come over for a couple of games in the new season. I have a feeling there will be celebrations. But they must not take anything for granted. And that is the message Neil will always tell the players.
“Rangers will be harder than ever to beat. Their determination to stop Celtic will be as much as Celtic’s determination to succeed. That’s why Scottish football is such a good product, and people will not be able to take a moment away from the action in the next 10 months.
“Everyone at boardroom level has worked very hard over the years to put lots of good things in place (at Celtic). You only have to look at the value in the transfer market of some of their players in recent years to know they have their business model in a very good place.”
Bobo Balde has had his say, but is he right?
So big Bobo believes that the challenge from Ibrox will be fiercer than ever. It’s fair to say that it’s looking as if it could be tougher this season than last. But that’s only on account of the pace in which Rangers are strengthening at.
If we’re all being honest with each other, many of Rangers’ new signings are unproven. Greg Stewart, Jake Hastie, and Jordan Jones have never won anything in their careers. They’re also the type of Premiership players Celtic have been dismissing for years.
The likes of Sheyi Ojo and Joe Aribo, meanwhile, haven’t yet been seen by many either. There’s no denying our rivals are looking to try and push us all the way this season. Whether these signings can do that or not, however, isn’t yet answered. Much of the hype coming from their camp is all a tad premature for now.
Celtic still have the upper hand. Yes, there are areas we could’ve strengthened better last summer. Yes, we could’ve performed better for large spells of last season. But the build-up to the current season is almost making supporters forget that we actually won a third consecutive treble last term.
The achievement hasn’t been talked about enough, and it shows these players are consistently rising to the domestic challenge. Why should we believe that this season will be any different? Celtic have splashed the cash already this summer, and will likely continue to do so before the transfer window shuts at the end of August.
So whilst it’s great to hear big Bobo is coming back for a few games next season, there’s not much to base a Rangers renaissance on as it stands.