Around two-and-a-half years ago, Celtic let Stuart Findlay depart on a free. Now, they should seriously start thinking of scouting him again.
The Kilmarnock defender has rebuilt his career in exceptional fashion. These days, he’s the rock at the heart of the Killie defence, and is a monumental part of the Steve Clarke revolution there.
When Celtic released Findlay back in 2016, nobody would’ve cared a jot. He didn’t make a competitive appearance for the club, and loan moves to Morton, Dumbarton, and Kilmarnock didn’t see him get much closer.
He was then picked up by Newcastle United in 2017. After another year of difficulty breaking into the Magpies side, a huge opportunity arose.
Clarke wanted him at Kilmarnock. He was far down the pecking order at St James’ Park, and was ready to make the move back up north.
Initially on a loan deal, Findlay became an instant hero. He’s a no-nonsense defender of the highest calibre. His first thought is to get it to safety, and has put in heroic performances against both Celtic and Rangers during his time in Ayrshire.
Findlay has overcome plenty of obstacles
It’s also been under-reported just how consistent he’s been with a variety of defensive partners. Killie have given Findlay three different centre-back colleagues throughout the season.
Although primarily partnered with Scott Boyd, he’s had to work with Kirk Broadfoot and even Iain Wilson this season. Throughout it all, Findlay has remained a stalwart.
It’s no surprise that Killie have five clean sheets with only four of their games seeing them ship more than one goal when he plays. That’s a tremendous record, and whilst Stephen O’Donnell and Greg Taylor have been getting lots of credit, Findlay deserve massive plaudits too.
At just 23-years of age, he’s thriving as Clarke’s defensive warrior. He’s marshalled the likes of Jermain Defoe, Leigh Griffiths, and Moussa Dembele with ease in certain games over the last two years. And that’s not an exaggeration.
He still has so much more development in him, and he could be the unlikely helping hand the Hoops defence needs.
It’s important not to be snobby regarding the club Findlay is at. He’s a huge talent that will go to a seriously high level in the game. Celtic can help take him there too, and have to start keeping tabs on his progress.