Anthony Ralston's contract extension sets the tone Celtic needed to avoid

By David Walton

June 21, 2021

The reported news that Anthony Ralston is set for a Celtic contract extension quite rightly hasn’t gone down well with supporters.

The Scottish Sun claimed last night that the right-back would have the one-year option triggered to extend his stay until the summer of 2022. This is said to come with both Premiership and Championship interest in the youngster.

Ralston made his debut for the club aged 17, but there’s been a worrying lack of progress since then. He’s only made 20 appearances for the Hoops since then, and has had loan spells with Dundee United and St Johnstone too.

However, it’s more what this deal represents than anything else. It’s a symbol that, once again, we aren’t going to strengthen appropriately in a key full-back position. That we’re going to make Ralston a back-up option even if he’s nowhere near good enough to even be that.

Granted, it could be the case that Celtic have triggered this in order to sell him on for a profit. Much rather get some money in the door for him than see him leave for nothing. But the tone this decision has struck is exactly what we wanted to avoid.

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Like it or not, we haven’t built on the momentum gained by announced Postecoglou two weeks ago. We’re still without a Director of Football and still without any real progress on major signing targets.

That’s why the triggering of Ralston’s contract sets the wrong tone. It appears to fans as though we’re looking to make savings wherever we can. After all, on what basis is Ralston being given another year of an option? Just because he’s the only senior right-back at the club?

Neymar and Anthony Ralston (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Even that can be questioned given Lee O’Connor is back at Parkhead after his loan spell with Tranmere. Surely it would be more rewarding to give him a shot than Ralston. O’Connor is a player who we still need to learn more about, whilst we all know Anthony isn’t going to be Celtic quality.

The first decision we’ve made in terms of next season’s squad and it’s an uninspiring one. Potentially even a cheap one if we’re genuinely looking to keep him on and not sell him.

And that’s how the Celtic supporters on social media feel too. There isn’t a lot of love for Ralston’s extension, with many pointing an accusatory finger at the club:

In other news, Neil Lennon’s last ever Celtic signing has been linked with an incredible summer move.