Celtic-linked Thomas Robert to stay at Airdrieonians after lower-league shutdown

By David Walton

January 19, 2021

Celtic-linked Thomas Robert looks set to stay at Airdrieonians until the end of the season.

Back in December, Airdrie boss Ian Murray admitted that the speculation linking Robert to Parkhead and rivals Rangers was big for the club (Daily Record). The Record also reported that Robert had been watched by Celtic’s Nick Hammond and Tosh McKinlay respectively.

It looked like January offers for the winger were inevitable. However, the SFA board have made a decision to postpone the lower leagues for at least three weeks – halting opportunities for clubs to watch him in action. It’s a decision that’s drawn ire from plenty lower-league clubs given its controversy (BBC).

And in Robert’s case, it’s led to his agent now believing that his short-term future will remain with League One Airdrieonians.

As quoted in the Daily Record, agent Paul Tait said: “It’s unfortunate the league is off until February. It would’ve been good for Thomas to get more game time during January.

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“Not much has been happening and clubs can’t get the opportunity to watch players so it’s looking like it might be the summer until the right deal comes up.”

Celtic can still move for Thomas Robert if they’ve seen enough; but Airdrie stay looks logical

Indeed, if Celtic want another look at Robert, they’ve no chance now and won’t get that opportunity for some time yet.

It’s highly doubtful that the lower leagues will resume after the three weeks. Especially with lockdown in Scotland still ongoing and the number of Covid cases not getting any lower.

That is unless Celtic have already made their decision. Perhaps they were impressed with the trips they’ve made to see Robert in so far. But if they were, it would be a bit puzzling as to why they haven’t made their interest known with an offer.

Celtic transfer target Thomas Robert scores vs Livingston / (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

A stay with the League One side looks logical for now. Robert needs to be playing consistently, and he’ll get the best opportunity of doing just that with the League One club. So long as their season does indeed resume.

If he moves to Celtic now, for example, he would likely be nowhere near the first-team. It would be the same at many Premiership clubs. He needs more development where he’s at, and Airdrie offers him the best chance of that. A year in League One will do him much more good than wasting away in an under-20 side.

With Celtic and others now unable to watch Robert further, it presents a challenge for clubs who are still trying to make their mind up on him. For now, his short-term future looks likely to remain at the Excelsior Stadium.

In other news, a divisive figure has been bigged up by Stiliyan Petrov as a potential candidate to succeed Neil Lennon.