HAVING recently brought home another new addition to an already creaking household, this scribe has once again become accustomed to random outbursts of crying between prolonged naps and nocturnal cravings. And that all started before the baby arrived. At this present moment, two chef’s matches prise open the eyes attempting to make sense of these words appearing before them. I know, you can empathise with all of that in trying to get to the end of this thing. So, let’s move things along.

After an early bout of snow brought in the Christmas season, festive fever has charged into overdrive. Santa lists are growing more arms and legs than are seen flailing around in a proverbial Scottish football penalty-box stramash. Surverying the bedrooms of the pre-existing brood, wading through the swamp of toys like a kayaker in the Amazon, I realise that half the junk I’ve added to my own Amazon basket already populates the supercity of plastic and plush at my feet.

For supporters of Celtic and Rangers, Scottish football’s rich kids who scribe the grandest transfer wish lists in the neighbourhood for their respective club boards around this time of year, attentions have already turned to perceived deficiencies in their current squads ahead of the January sales.

With Rangers languishing eight points behind their city rivals at the top of the Premiership table, and with Celtic enduring a miserable points return in the Champions League, a desire to break the deadlock is growing among the respective fan bases in Glasgow.

Philippe Clement, who took over at Rangers after Michael Beale failed to assemble his flat-packed Ibrox rebuild at the start of the current campaign, has managed to follow the instructions manual and make something out of that heap of random parts he inherited. Would adding to his roster be the solution supporters keen to see an upturn think it would be?

Likewise, across the city at Celtic, Brendan Rodgers returned like the ghost of Christmas past to take the reins of a bloated squad with players so samey, some of them are as difficult to differentiate between as a herd of reindeer. 

What separates the likes of wide forwards Yang Hyun-jun, Mikey Johnston and Marco Tilio, for example? Would adding further firepower to augment more established players like Daizen Maeda, Luis Palma or Liel Abada be the answer? It’s a similar story in midfield: the width of a pulled Christmas cracker could fit between the likes of Odin Thiago Holm, Tomoki Iwata and Paulo Bernardo, in terms of how effectively they operate in the holding midfield role. Need Rodgers add another?

Disgruntlement in the stands and pubs is always to be expected (the same goes for the bunkbeds and at the breakfast bar), and it is normally wise to grant some of their wishes at least. Brendan Rodgers has spoken of his desire to augment his squad with some much-needed experience to help them transition from the relative cakewalk of the domestic scene to the rigours of the Champions League.

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To do this, however, the Northern Irishman would be wise to first conduct something of a squad clear-out to make way. So, much like the parent taking a bin bag to last year’s stocking fillers cluttering their carpet space, it might even be sensible to take the hit on some of the players currently holding onto squad numbers in his ranks.

While development has been the buzzword within Celtic’s transfer operation for the last decade or so, holding out for returns on certain project players can seem as likely as someone turning up and offering more than you paid for a bulky Iron Man action figure collecting dust at the bottom of the toy chest. It’s not to say that those players are worthless or have no potential, but without doubt Celtic have too many players with a similar spec on their books at present.

Likewise at Rangers, Clement must be shrewd in the coming window. The temptation may be to go for broke (as Beale did with the supermarket-sweep approach in the summer) and try to claw back Celtic’s commanding lead. The result of the second Old Firm derby of the season at Celtic Park on December 30 will more or less decide whether that even remains a possibility or not. The reality is that Rangers’ season will hinge greatly on results next week against Real Betis in the Europa League and the Viaplay Cup final three days later against Aberdeen, long before that New Year derby. Collecting their first silverware in 18 months and extending a money-spinning stay in Europe past Christmas will bolster their hand in the transfer market. But how they use that platform will be key.

Every year there is the fad Christmas gift. Growing up these were Game Boys, Furbys and Tamagotchis. The list goes on and, for Clement, the temptation to tick off a marquee signing to excite the fans might well be there. He’ll be hoping it is more Power Ranger than Teletubby.

With the news that former fans’ favourite Alfredo Morelos has become a free agent again after a miserable spell with Santos in Brazil, who were relegated from the top tier for the first time in their storied history this week, murmurs arose that the Colombian should be snapped up again by the Ibrox club. This is the kind of snap-purchas the Belgian, like his counterpart in Parkhead, would do well to avoid. Trimming the fat off their current contingents and looking to add real pedigree will be key.

Depending on the outcome of the do-or-die clash in Seville on Thursday, Clement can afford to work with what he has left before securing a top target in the summer if there is a willingness to look to the medium-to-long term. Rodgers, as he has been quite clear to point out, can afford to push the boat out slightly and seek quality over quantity. But that’s easier said than done, as any of the parents of yesteryear desperately trying to source that most craved yuletide craze like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Jingle All the Way can attest to.

The problem both managers at Glasgow’s big two have is that demands from supporters are always great and time is rarely afforded. With this bloated brood in tow demanding the latest Nintendo Switch accessories and Rainbow High dolls, I have a taste of the predicament both managers face. Now, where is that bin liner?