"It's part of the game"; claims Celtic hero Didier Agathe about players eyeing exit

By Euan Davidson

April 30, 2021

Celtic hero Didier Agathe has claimed that it’s “okay” if players want to leave, but they need to leave a parting gift for supporters.

Agathe, signed for a bargain £27,000 by Martin O’Neill, knows that players will look to move on if the conditions are right. And that’s just a part of football, but the former winger claims it’s only acceptable if players leave supporters happy.

The ex-Raith Rovers, Hibs and Aston Villa man is now manager of Chester-Le-Street United, and knows all about having to build a side. Agathe was part of a monumental rebuild under Martin O’Neill, which saw big names like Chris Sutton and Neil Lennon join the Bhoys.

Agathe is determined that we ought not to take it personally if players decide to leave Celtic. But it’s on those players seeking moves to impress where they are, especially in Glasgow Derbies.

The former Celtic man said [Daily Record]:

“If players are looking to leave then that is okay. It’s part of the game.

“But they also have to realise they are playing for an institution, a historic club, and this is a fixture that means so much to the fans.

“There might not be a title on the line but there is still pride in the club and I would hope they would want to go out and win it for the supporters.

“It might not matter in terms of the league but it always matters when you are playing in the derby. It can remind Rangers that Celtic are still here and they will come back again.”

Didier Agathe celebrates a Celtic goal / (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Didier Agathe is right; want-away Celtic stars have a last chance to prove worth

Not much to disagree with, there.

While we expect undying loyalty from Celtic players, it’s because we know the significance of the club. As supporters, we expect players to give everything to the cause, and put a shift in for every game. The attitude hasn’t looked quite right across the board this season, as Paul Lambert hinted earlier today.

However, we need to accept that it’s part of the sport for players to look elsewhere. If they believe they can compete in more esteemed leagues than the Scottish Premiership, it’s a short career, and they deserve the right to pursue other challenges. That’s contingent on Celtic getting value in a sale, of course.

What’s not acceptable, though, is another Derby loss. Too many times this season, the hunger and desire to win 50-50s and attack Rangers hasn’t been there. In the most recent Derby, a 2-0 Scottish Cup loss, Celtic just never looked up for it. There was a passiveness, a lack of fluidity and absence of confidence. That’ll have worried John Kennedy to no end, who for his own part very much needs a win on Sunday.

Agathe’s comments are very interesting. And it’s fantastic to hear from an unheralded player from an important era for the club.

READ MORE: Paul Lambert blasts attitude of Celtic players