Celtic head of recruitment has left the building claims journalist

By Euan Davidson

June 23, 2021

Gary Penrice, Celtic’s head of recruitment under Nick Hammond, has left the club.

That’s according to reputable journalist Alan Nixon. Responding to a query earlier on Twitter, Nixon stated that Penrice had left the club “recently”, with no announcement forthcoming from Celtic.

Penrice once claimed to be scouting 240 targets for Celtic. The former QPR, Watford and Aston Villa player was hired by Nick Hammond on a consultancy basis in 2019 [Daily Record]. Interestingly, he was signed to Villa by former Hoops manager, Jozef Venglos.

A report by Football Insider from March suggested that Hammond and Penrice’s jobs were “hanging by a thread”. While Hammond left [Celtic FC], less was known about the former striker. In May 2020, Penrice told Bristol Live:

“I have just been appointed Head of Recruitment at Celtic – and been connected to the club in a consultancy basis since December.

“Nick Hammond is there who I worked with at West Brom, I get on well with Nick. But prior to then I sorted scouting department out at QPR, I was at West Brom and Everton running their scouting networks.

“I also had my own scouting project, which is one of the biggest in Europe. And I do it all from home. I have never moved house in 27 years, and currently live in the Cotswolds, so not far away from Bristol.”

Total regime change at Celtic, then, with Head of recruitment leaving quietly

Obviously, it would be weird if the club made a huge drama about the departure of a scout. Don’t get us wrong; scouts are fantastic assets and do an incredible job identifying talent and examining tactics, as well as many other tasks. However, clubs tend to announce the big arrivals and departures; Penrice probably didn’t fit that remit.

However, it’s also strange that nothing was heard amongst the Celtic support. It feels like an odd, if fitting end to the Celtic tenure of a man who’s work had supporters scratching their heads. Particular recruitment gaffes, like Shane Duffy, Jonjoe Kenny and Albian Ajeti, mystified fans.

Diego Laxalt and Albian Ajeti / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

There’s no huge amount of ill-will to be directed in Penrice’s direction, truthfully. As the head of recruitment, he would make a list of suggestions to the manager, coaching staff and, formerly, Nick Hammond. It wasn’t at all likely that the former QPR striker had the final say on transfers, or anything like it.

It was, though, a disappointing spell for Celtic’s head of recruitment. And in truth, Celtic supporters are probably keen to get rid of any relics from the latter stage of Lennon’s era at Paradise.

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