Anthony Ralston's contract extension sets the tone Celtic needed to avoid
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.
Celtic failing to build on Ange Postecoglou momentum; Anthony Ralston’s contract extension does nothing for us
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?
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:
— Cormac O’Hara (@CormacOHara07) June 21, 2021
Failed to prepare again, I don’t think for a minute we rate him, I think we’ve been forced into this because he’s the only right back left at the club and pre season has started, saves us signing 2 rbs, ridiculous again https://t.co/Tff8eTabQS
— sean gallagher (@Seangallagher16) June 21, 2021
“Give him a chance.”
“Knows the club and the city.”
“Trust the board’s judgment.”
“Stop being so negative.” https://t.co/DHgJHv2oA7
— Kieran (@Kieran_Celtic) June 20, 2021
Talk of Ralston & Griffiths getting new deals, Sviatchenko coming back.
Strap yourselves in, this is about to get wild 😂
— Paul (@P__67) June 20, 2021
Ralston getting a contract extension on the basis of being the last right back left at the Club 🤦♂️
This rebuild is some laugh man 🙄
— P*** McQ****gaard 🇩🇰 (@Queenmachine88) June 20, 2021
Anthony Ralston is no longer a young promoting player who could become a top talent.
He turns 23 in five months & hasn't shown any sign of being remotely good enough for Celtic.
In my eyes this is a very worrying move by the club.
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— Everything Celtic (@aboutceltic) June 20, 2021
If Ralston is the answer I’d imagine the question is……
— Buddy Gall 社会主義者 (@TheGallatron) June 20, 2021
No harm to Ralston but this is a terrible decision, a 22 year old who has made less than 20 appearances for the club since his debut over 5 years ago.
Also couldn’t get a regular game despite Jonjoe Kenny being his only competition for the second half of the season. https://t.co/NY0LDpdwzC
— 4 Tims and a Podcast (@PodTims) June 20, 2021
Struggling to understand this decision. We let Jozo and Hayes go last year after not taking up the option to give them an extra year, both contributed to winning the league. Ralston played once last year but gets an extension 🤷♂️
— mCl GrY (@16_Gerry) June 20, 2021
In other news, Neil Lennon’s last ever Celtic signing has been linked with an incredible summer move.