Andrew Gutman believes Celtic return has been an eye-opener

By David Walton

July 9, 2019

Andrew Gutman’s Celtic career has started well, but he says his return to Parkhead has been a “slap in the face”.

Celtic fans got their first look at Gutman over the course of our pre-season training camp in Austria and Switzerland. The Hoops made the decision to recall Gutman from his short spell at Charlotte Independence of the USL. They also did the same with young right-back Manny Perez, but we’ve yet to get a good look at him.

So far, we’ve only managed to get a glimpse of Gutman, and he looks the business. He’s the kind of attacking full-back manager Neil Lennon likes. He often bombed down the left looking to get into dangerous crossing positions in pre-season outings against Pinkafeld and Wiener Sportclub respectively. His energy and pace proved that Celtic definitely have something to work with in the youngster.

Andrew Gutman was a top talent in his college days (Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

But speaking in the Chicago Tribune this week, Gutman has stated the quality at Celtic has been a real step-up.

“This experience has definitely slapped me in the face and made me grow up faster. I’ve wanted to play professionally from a very early age, and I felt that playing on the European platform was the best fit for me.

“I think I’ve done well – I haven’t been sent back out on loan yet. I feel I can play with these guys, but I have to wake up every day and be able to perform at my very best. That’s a tough ask for anyone.”

Andrew Gutman’s Celtic career looks promising

There hadn’t been an official announcement regarding the end of Gutman’s loan spell. However, these comments make it quite clear that he won’t be returning to Charlotte after pre-season.

That, of course, doesn’t mean that he won’t go somewhere else on loan. A year adapting to British/Scottish football elsewhere could be the next step. But there’s always the chance a spot opens up for him at Parkhead.

Is there a spot here for Gutman this season? (Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

If we sell Kieran Tierney, for example, it appears that we already have our replacement in with Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo. So why couldn’t Gutman possibly become his understudy? This is all hypothetical, of course, and would require Tierney to actually depart.

If that’s not the case, then Gutman would appear to be pretty low down in the pecking order for now. Being third-choice wouldn’t particularly help his development, and a spell outside of Parkhead would perhaps be more ideal.

But the pleasing aspect for Celtic fans should be that Gutman has real potential. He’s currently the Hermann Trophy winner in the States – an award given to the best college players in the US. Of course, it’s a bit of a step-up from college football to Celtic, but he has his qualities.

Neil Lennon is a big fan of the attacking full-back (VI Images via Getty Images)

Gutman also appears to hold the key trait of having a deadly final ball. That’s something that could make him a very influential player in a Neil Lennon team.

But for now, he’ll continue to work away in the background as he gets used to his new country. Hopefully, plans for him this season get revealed soon.