Celtic-linked centre-back shone brightly today; 16 clearances to his name

By David Walton

January 17, 2021

Celtic-linked centre-back Declan Gallagher isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but he shone brightly at Fir Park against Rangers this afternoon.

Gallagher is said to be “desperate” to play for the Hoops, the Daily Record reported earlier this month. Supporters have provided their views on that idea, with plentt of them mixed on the idea.

There’s yet to be anything concrete on Celtic making a move for him. But he didn’t do himself any harm in this afternoon’s 1-1 draw against Steven Gerrard’s side at Fir Park.

Gallagher was ranked by WhoScored as the second-best player on the pitch overall. He was only second to Borna Barisic according to the stat experts, who ranked him with an impressive 7.53 out of 10.

Motherwell had their backs to the wall for most of the game. This was where Gallagher shined in particular. He managed an absolutely outrageous 16 clearanecs on the day along with four interceptions. That’s an incredible contribution.

To put that into perspective, his fellow centre-back, Bevis Mugabi, managed one interception and 12 clearances. Motherwell had all the answers against Rangers defensively.

Celtic-linked centre-back Gallagher proved an annoyance for Rangers

Gallagher wasn’t at fault for the equaliser this afternoon either. Cedric Itten’s header was more down to poor marking by Jake Carroll. The Motherwell left-back was far too narrow and allowed his man to run off him.

However, despite the praise, some Celtic fans may be concerned with his passing stats. This is where some may question whether he has the attributes to play for the Hoops. Gallagher only managed a 68.4% passing accuracy percentage this afternoon. That came from only 19 passes overall. This was third-lowest of the Motherwell outfielders this afternoon.

This shows that Gallagher was at his best just clearing his lines and doing the no-nonsense stuff. This worked against the likes of Alfredo Morelos and Jermain Defoe. Especially given both men like to move the ball quickly in and around the penalty area. It was no real surprise to see Gallagher thriving in booting the ball away.

Declan Gallagher congratulates Devante Cole after scoring against Rangers (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

He proved himself to be an extremely solid and dependable figure for Graham Alexander this afternoon. He rose to win plenty of aerial duels too, something that would’ve impressed those who watched the game today.

Personally, I’m still not convinced Gallagher is Celtic class. Considering he’ll be 30 next month, he doesn’t really fit into Celtic’s model either. Buying low is one thing, but the Hoops like having the opportunity to sell high on their assets. This is something they likely wouldn’t be able to do with Gallagher.

Of course, this comes at low risk in any case. The Motherwell man is close to triggering a one-year extension to his Motherwell deal. That means his contract doesn’t have a lengthy timeframe on it. Gallagher is there for the picking if Celtic want him. His performance against Rangers today will certainly have impressed some.

In other news, this Celtic loanee was the toast of his team-mates’ post-match celebrations.