Regular Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas’ thoughts on the transfer window won’t see many Celtic fans disagree, as he encouraged the Hoops to strengthen.

Celtic’s deficiencies were there for all to see on Sunday as we lost out to Rangers at Parkhead. Our 2-1 defeat at Celtic Park was as weak a performance as we’ve seen in the derby for a long time.

What was most worrying about it was that we arguably had our strongest XI out on the pitch. Not many would’ve been going through the team pre-match and picking out players that shouldn’t have played. The only debatable selection was Boli Bolingoli at left-back, but even then he was positive at Ibrox back in September.

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Charlie Nicholas believes Celtic need to strengthen in January (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Nicholas spoke in the Daily Express about the January window (31/12, Page 55), and outlined what he believes Celtic need next month.

“The January transfer window could be absolutely crucial if Celtic want to get to nine-in-a-row. And Rangers may have to act accordingly to keep up with their bitter rivals. Celtic will be looking to bring two or three players in.

“They probably need a striker who will have to settle for being a back-up to 24-goal Edouard. If there is a bit of stardust or somebody who can make a statement, then they should pull out the stops, but there is no point in filling out the squad.

“Celtic and Lennon will be disappointed by Sunday’s loss, but they’re still in a good position. Although Rangers have a game in hand, I’d rather have the points in the bank like Celtic have.”

 

Does a striker have to be Edouard’s back-up?

The striker situation seems to be the club’s main area of concern. It’s something that Lennon has commented on multiple times in the past (BBC).

Neil Lennon will want a new striker in the door in January (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that whoever comes in has to play second fiddle to Odsonne Edouard. For example, if we were to go out and sign someone of the pedigree of Andraz Sporar, would he come just to play on the odd occasion Edouard doesn’t?

Lenny could really do with trying to fit both into the same system. It makes sense to keep Eddy in the team at all costs, but a new striker can’t be signed to just sit on the bench and come on for some cameo appearances. Lennon being a fan of the 3-5-2 system could give any new striker the motivation to come to Parkhead.

But Nicholas is also right with regards to a superstar signing. We know we’re not going to attract the elite of European football. However, a Victor Wanyama-type signing could be exactly what the club needs ahead of the second half of the season.

Odsonne Edouard needs a hand up top for Celtic (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It was a surprise how weak we were in the midfield with regards to our physicality. Scott Brown and Callum McGregor seemed to lose plenty of the 50-50 stuff at Parkhead. Rangers had more aggression and power, and that’s another thing we need to rectify.

We find ourselves in the odd situation of almost having to strengthen for only the Rangers games. Outside of our Parkhead defeat at the weekend, Celtic have only dropped five points all season. But that should make things easier for Lenny in any case. He’ll know watching the last two matches vs Rangers where we need to bolster our options, and hopefully we’ll be much better equipped to take them down in March.

 

 

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