The fantastic 4-month rise of Anthony Ralston's reputation amongst the Celtic support
A week is a long time in politics, but it’s even longer in football; just ask Celtic supporters or indeed, Anthony Ralston.
Look at the mood at Celtic, for example. Wins over St Johnstone and Hibernian had Ange Postecoglou very popular indeed. Today, his players are deemed “robotic” [Daily Record].
The point is that opinions can change at breakneck speed in football. Consistent performances, though, can create an enduring bond with supporters. Especially for former academy players who, hitherto this season, had a hard time making an impact.
So, when Anthony Ralston was handed a new contract today, we had to compare and contrast the reactions to his last deal. In June, Ralston was handed a year extension to his contract. At the time, Celtic had no other right-backs. It was a farce.
Jeremie Frimpong was gone. Jonjoe Kenny had since inherited the right-back slot, but was not the Premier League player we were promised. It was a grim scene, and there were important qualifiers coming up.
Now, though, we have two high-quality right-backs. One who is a Croatia international, and another who should be starting for Scotland. Not only that, Ralston has gone from an also-ran to the star performer in the Scottish Premiership.
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The difference in reactions to Celtic defender Anthony Ralston is staggering
We won’t dig out individual fans for this. It’d be fair to say we were all collectively fed up when Ralston signed his new deal in the summer.
Hindsight makes fools of us all. One account tweeted: “He’s literally not done a thing apart from getting ripped apart by Neymar. Like seriously we may as well give him a lifetime contract at this rate.”
Another said: “I don’t think for a minute we rate him, I think we’ve been forced into this because he’s the only right back left at the club and pre season has started.” Extending his contract was deemed a “very worrying move”.
It makes sense. He only played for us once last season. Now, though?
It just shows that attitude is everything. Not once did Anthony Ralston seem to give up on his Celtic dream. Whether he was out of the squad, on loan around Scotland or having his selection questioned, he’s proven everyone wrong.
What a lesson for young players. He may not have got his much-deserved Scotland call-up, but there’ll still be celebrations in the Ralston household tonight.