Celtic manager Neil Lennon should look to old club for transfer inspiration

By Euan Davidson

January 26, 2021

Celtic could do much worse than to look around the Scottish Premiership.

With defensive reinforcements needed, Celtic have been linked with Declan Gallagher throughout the season. However, Josh Doig and Ryan Porteous have been impressing at Easter Road this season, under Jack Ross at Hibs.

Unsurprisingly, both are now being linked to moves down south. The Daily Record have suggested that Milwall like the cut of Porteous’ jib. Left-back Doig, meanwhile, has reportedly caught glances from Sunderland and Stoke City.

Why not Celtic? It’s not like we’ve never dipped into the SPFL for targets before. Greg Taylor was a handy pick-up from Kilmarnock [BBC], while our club captain represents the kind of value that can be found domestically.

Hibernian centre-back Ryan Porteous vs Celtic / (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

A boost from within the league; Celtic should enquire

Ryan Porteous divides opinion, but it’s hard to argue that he’s a talent.

Only 21, the defender plays a vital role at Hibs, having made 24 starts for Jack Ross’ side this season. Given his professional start by Neil Lennon, our manager has described him thusly [Edinburgh Evening News]:

“At his age I think he’s got real good leadership qualities.”

“He’s aggressive in the air and is a really good defender. It’s not surprising you’ve seen him do so well. I think he’s got a great temperament for the game.”

Porteous averages pretty good numbers. He makes 1.5 tackles and 1.4 interceptions a game [WhoScored?], with over 5 clearances too. An aggressive, tenacious defender, he has plenty of years on the clock and would represent a project for Celtic.

At 18, Doig is perhaps a rawer prospect. However, he showed his abilities recently away at Celtic Park. He may not boast the qualities of Diego Laxalt, but he does make 2.2 tackles per 90, as well as a dribble each game [WhoScored?].

You could be reminded of Emilio Izaguirre by watching his game, as he’s able to get up and down the pitch with incredible regularity. His ability to make tackles and launch counter attacks would be a considerable asset.

Battler: Hibs’ Josh Doig / (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Bhoys risk losing Scottish talent

With Brexit rules coming into force, Celtic will have to look to domestic leagues for the foreseeable. That is, unless, they can somehow secure international talent with enough caps or value to gain a work permit immediately.

That’s going to be a challenge, and frankly, there are talented enough players in the Scottish game to make a long-term impact.

Scott Brown was pretty green before making the move to Parkhead, but he became a legend. While I’m not suggesting Porteous and Doig will necessarily do the same, they’re good players. Available relatively cheaply, one would suspect.

At worst, it’s a gamble. Defensive reinforcements are needed, and Porteous has plenty of character. Diego Laxalt will most likely return to A.C. Milan following his loan spell, and Bolingoli is probably never going to play for Celtic again.

Instead of losing these two to the English leagues, Neil Lennon – if he stays on – could raid his old club.