PO Box 306, Glasgow, G21 2AE, Scotland

so farewell then...

jamie smith

So farewell then to another youth policy product that didn't quite make the grade, Smith takes his place in the Hall of Nearly Fame beside Gerry Creaney, Mark McNally et al.

Rumour always had it that Jamie was the young player most likely to go complaining if he wasn't picked for the first team and while it's good to hear of players having confidence in their own ability and the courage to speak up for themselves it's difficult to see what arguments Jamie Smith used to lobby for his inclusion.

Initially used as a striker he looked reasonable, notably against Hearts at Tynecastle in the League Cup when MON gave the likes of Healy, Creaney and Smith the chance to prove themselves. They all managed to score that night and Smith's strike was an excellently taken shot from the edge of the box.

Ultimately, though, all fell short of the standard required to make it at Celtic.

The crunch for Jamie Smith came in Spring 2003 when Didier Agathe was unavailable. In the space of a few days Jamie started in the UEFA Cup quarter final home leg against Liverpool and the League Cup final against the huns. Whilst it is of course unfair to compare him to Agathe it's pretty safe to say that Liverpool's goal at Celtic Park and the huns' second at Hampden wouldn't have been conceded if Agathe was playing. On both occasions Jamie was sleeping and it cost us.

As if that wasn't bad enough he didn't even create very much at the other end of the park either. His ability to beat a man is questionable, his crossing isn't up to much and his finishing... well let's just say that Henrik and the rest weren't sweating too much about being replaced by Jamie Smith.

His continual selection for the first team toward the end of the season seemed to be a shop window exercise but his performances can surely only have dissuaded prospective buyers.

To the disbelief of some fans he was offered a one-year deal after the season finished but he has chosen to pack up his kit bag and head off. The latest word was that he was heading for Leeds on trial. We wish him well (he'll need it if he joins Leeds).

AB MURDOCH