Celtic Chief Executive Michael Nicholson deserves immense credit for superb January work

By David Walton

February 1, 2022

As we prepare to close the chapter on Celtic Chief Executive Michael Nicholson’s first transfer window, it’s now fair to say that it’s been a rip-roaring success.

Nicholson was appointed as permanent Chief Exec back in December after a period in temporary charge after the sudden departure of Dom McKay in September.

Many Celtic fans were left frustrated at the time. McKay was supposed to usher in a new, modern, fan-prioritised era at Parkhead. Given Nicholson’s long past at Celtic under the previous regime, he was portrayed as just another of the board’s yes men. Guilty by association if you will.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

January was always going to be a big proving ground for the new man. Could he back the manager to the extent Ange Postecoglou was going to be comfortable with? Would he wait until the end of the window to do his work and potentially get Celtic supporters excited for nothing?

This was his first major test, and he passed it with flying colours. It’s not just the fact that he’s helped deliver 5 signings whilst keeping our best players at the club. It’s the fact that all of our work has been done early. We haven’t been scrambling around like some clubs trying to appease their supporters with late deals.

Celtic were a lot more methodical this month. They had Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate, and Yosuke Ideguchi signed up before the window even opened. Matt O’Riley was also added to the ranks for cover in midfield. And these deals were all done in swift enough fashion too. Celtic fans didn’t have to listen to sagas that rolled on for weeks and weeks.

Michael Nicholson has helped Ange bolster his Celtic squad

Compare this January to last year under Peter Lawwell. Celtic were in clear need of a centre-back throughout the entire window after the injury to Christopher Jullien. Yet we dallied for weeks on end despite having no games due to the winter break, and ended up with the embarrassing Ben Davies saga.

Of course, that window ended with us actually failing to bring a centre-back in. Instead, we brought Jonjoe Kenny up the road from Everton on-loan. A totally underwhelming right-back for a totally underwhelming transfer window. It was shocking stuff and the Celtic fans were left furious.

This year, however, Nicholson has managed to get his work done in advance and in the positions Ange wanted strengthening. Sure, we could argue that we could still do with a left-back. But it’s no real disaster.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

There is still time for that in the summer when we hopefully get a couple of them off the wage bill. Outside of that, there can be no complaints about what’s gone on this month. Nothing you can even point at and question.

Celtic are ina. tremendous place as we get stuck into the second half of the campaign. Ange has already hauled Rangers in and Nicholson has helped continue the momentum by backing him consistently in the transfer market.

We’re so used to hammering our chief executive for his work during transfer windows. Nicholson’s approach this month has been a breath of fresh air.

In other news, Celtic loanee Adam Montgomery will be in Aberdeen squad ahead of potential debut tonight