Celtic's big January error only took 9 days to catch up with us
When Stephen Welsh went off yesterday, you could be forgiven for not immediately thinking about Celtic’s woeful January decisions.
All of our immediate concerns go out to the youngster. Hopefully, the follow-up scans don’t show anything too damaging and he can be back in and around the squad sooner rather than later.
But it didn’t look great. Welsh being stretchered off was never a good sign, and it wouldn’t surprise you if the diagnosis is fairly grim.
But Celtic were the ones who took this risk to begin with. Not in playing the youngster – we were all delighted to see the manager continue to back Welsh in recent games. It’s exactly what he needs for his continued development.
However, Lennon had been going on about signing a new centre-back all throughout January. Stretching back to when Chris Jullien injured his knee against Dundee Utd, it was clear we needed another in. Lennon felt the same [Scottish Sun].
For large spells of January, it seems to be that we only had one centre-back option in mind. But when Preston centre-back Ben Davies completed his move to Liverpool, Celtic weren’t even linked with an alternative. That was surprising, but we all still hoped they would pull something out of the hat. Surely they couldn’t get away with not bringing one into the club.
One injury and Celtic’s January risk was always going to cause us bother
After all, one injury and either Nir Bitton or Shane Duffy would have to be thrown in. Two men who have been far too unreliable this season and shouldn’t be anywhere near the starting XI at the moment.
The transfer window would close at midnight after the February 1st deadline day. Nine days later and one of our centre-backs was being stretchered off in Paisley. All of a sudden, Duffy is back in and nearly hands St Mirren a goal immediately by failing to deal with a routine cross.
It’s sad to say, but we’ve all seen enough of Shane now. His continued exposure to first-team football actually isn’t doing him or the club any good now. There’s no hope this turns around. His time is up as his catalogue of errors is simply far too long for him to recover at this point.
Yet, if Welsh is out for the medium or long-term, Duffy will likely be thrown in during his absence. That’s despite the fact we should’ve had another alternative, even if it was a short-term one, in the door to see us through for cover until the end of the season.
Our failure to do so has led to the situation we now find ourselves in. Down to the bare bones. Another injury or suspension and Celtic will likely have to rejig their formation simply because we wouldn’t have enough centre-backs available.
It sums up our season. Even if Lennon is hoping Welsh doesn’t miss any games at all [Daily Record], that feels optimistic. And until he’s back, we’re going to be forced to feature players even the manager knows isn’t good enough.