Date: 19th May 2009 at 8:49am
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Reports of how Shunsuke Nakamura will play through the pain barrier against Hearts on Sunday highlight the mess “modern Celtic” are in.

Sadly, the Japan international, who is set to move to Yokohama Marinos in the summer, has not had a truly decent game for some time, so there is no reason for him to be on the pitch if he is less than fully fit – apart from Gordon Strachan’s fear of change.

Nakamura was quoted by the Daily Record as saying: “I will do my best, everything I can, to be ready for the final match against Hearts. I still have a lot of pain in my groin and I will have to take tablets all week to make sure that I can play for as long as possible. I’m desperate to play in the game because it is such a huge match for Celtic.”

The situation is farcical but so is the wider situation at the club. It’s no surprise that Nakamura wants to play one final match for Celtic, but why is he being given the chance, if he is, when there are other players who are not in pain. The fact he mentions he is taking tablets so he can “play for as long as possible” demonstrates just how far away he is from full fitness.

Despite having a poor season, Celtic do still have a good enough squad to win all three domestic tournaments – and many of the players not current in the senior side are good enough to do a job. Sadly, the players have to deal with a manager who only really manages to “de-train” them.

That’s not just an aimless attack upon Gordon Strachan, they can come after he announces his resignation on Sunday evening, but something that fans of other teams have been saying. At the weekend, many Hibs fans were overheard questioning what has happened to Scott Brown, with them suggesting he is being severely limited by the way Strachan utilises him.

Fortunately, there is another way. A way with a manager who gets the most out of players, picks teams based on talent, not reputation, and actually realises the size of the club they are fortunately enough to have a job at. Even though there are bigger problems than just Strachan, his resignation on Sunday, whatever the outcome of the match and title-race, will be a step in the right direction.

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