Were Celtic right to let Charlie Mulgrew leave?

By Ruari Macneil

January 15, 2018

This season Celtic has experienced something of a centre-back crisis. With Erik Sviatchenko, Jozo Simunovic and Dedryk Boyata all having spent time out injured  – with the former having only made one appearance for the Hoops the entire season – Brendan Rodgers has deployed the likes of Nir Bitton and Mikael Lustig as make shift cover.

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Although this has proved acceptable for league fixtures against lesser opposition, where The Bhoys dominate much of the possession, it’s in the the Champions League where this strategy has come undone.

With Celtic still in search of centre-back cover despite bringing in German veteran Marvin Compper from RB Leipzig, Charlie Mulgrew’s stunning form for Blackburn Rovers raises the question of whether the club was right to allow him to leave when he did.

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During his six seasons at Parkhead, Celtic’s ‘prodigal son’ was a brilliant servant winning 5 Scottish League titles under managers Neil Lennon and Ronny Deila.

As versatile a player as they come, Mulgrew featured at left-back, left-mid, centre-mid and of course, his favoured centre-back throughout his Celtic career. On top of his versatility, Mulgrew is also a useful set piece specialist.  Never the flashiest of players, his performances always tended to be solid and he was rightfully rewarded with the SPL Player of the Year, Celtic Player’s Player of the Year and SPFA Player’s Player of the Year Awards in 2011/2012.

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Despite currently playing in League One, Mulgrew has still shined at the highest level when playing for Scotland – emerging recently as one of the national team’s integral squad members. His Blackburn side currently sit third in the table, 5 points behind leaders Wigan Athletic. Blackburn are right in the hunt for promotion, and this is greatly down to the former Celt’s prolific goal scoring from the heart of defence.

The 31-year-old Scot netted a double against Shrewsbury Town on Saturday bringing his tally for the season to 11. It’s little wonder that Mulgrew has attracted interest from the likes of Middlesborough, Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday.

At 31, Mulgrew still has plenty of football ahead of him, and many fans regret that Celtic are no longer able to make use of his talents. It is one thing letting go of players like Van Dijk who outgrow the club and bring in millions, but it is another to allow a loyal Glasgow boy and valuable squad member to leave on a free.

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Here is Chris Sutton’s say on it:

List page image © Rory