Celtic can't be fooled by Uche Ikpeazu display vs Rangers

By David Walton

October 14, 2019

This weekend sees Hearts vs Rangers in a contest where we hope we will see the Jambos keep Steven Gerrard’s men in second place.

That is of course if we do the business against Ross County in our Saturday kickoff at 3pm. A win for us would pile the pressure onto our Glasgow rivals. The main talking point of the day would be whether they could deal with that kind of pressure.

But there’s now another intriguing side story to the contest. Celtic have bizarrely been linked with Hearts striker Uche Ikpeazu over the past week (West London Sport). They’re apparently interested along with the likes of QPR and Derby County respectively.

Uche Ikpeazu is reportedly interesting Celtic (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

So, it’ll be in Ikpeazu’s best interests to have a stormer against Rangers on Sunday. He’s yet to score against the Ibrox side, and has only bagged one against Celtic too. However, despite that, a positive display will undoubtedly raise some eyebrows.

But the truth is that Celtic can’t afford to be sucked into a good performance from Ikpeazu if he has one. They have to take everything else into account regarding the big striker.

Ikpeazu’s stats don’t impress

For a start, he’s only scored two goals in 11 appearances this season. Strikes against Motherwell and Hibernian have been clocked to his name. But outside of that, he’s failed to make an impression in a quiet start to the campaign.

There’s no denying he offers a physical threat, but that’s about it. Hearts like to toss the ball up to him and get him to make himself a pest. He does it well, but is that really Neil Lennon’s game? He doesn’t suit Celtic’s lone-striker system at all, and looks a lot more comfortable having a partner alongside him.

Ikpeazu doesn’t look mobile enough to play for Celtic (Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Ikpeazu effectively shot onto the scene after scoring a winner against us for Hearts back in August 2018. What people tend to forget, however, is that he only managed 26 appearances last season. There were a respectable eight goals to his name, but that’s nothing to brag about.

He spent much of last season needing foot surgery, and only scored two goals in his 11 league games after returning.

Celtic should be more interested in developing Vakoun Bayo (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Ikpeazu is a dream if you’re going to just toss the ball into the box and want a presence in there. But doesn’t that sound a little similar to Vakoun Bayo? Why the need for Ikpeazu?

If the towering forward does indeed manage to bag a goal or two this weekend, there will be a few shouts calling for Celtic to sign him. But the truth is, he’s nowhere near the level of player we should be hunting down in January.