Ex-Celtic striker Chris Sutton blasts Nick Hammond and club recruitment

By Euan Davidson

January 6, 2021

Ex-Celtic man and BBC pundit Chris Sutton has blasted the Bhoys’ head of recruitment, Nick Hammond – singling out the signings of Vasilis Barkas and Albian Ajeti for stick.

Never one to shy away from a controversial comment, Sutton was very emphatic about the pressure that should be on Nick Hammond. Celtic’s recruitment has been questionable, and arguably wasn’t enough to equip the club for chasing the elusive 10IAR.

Speaking on the Record Celtic Podcast, Sutton was typically blunt about the business the club had done in 2020. He joins the likes of Frank McAvennie, who has called out Nick Hammond’s role in the club’s dismal season so far.

The Record Celtic panel made salient points about the players Celtic had brought in. Out of any of them, who had come in and increased their value since joining? Only a handful of names were picked out of a full squad, and that’s a worry.

Celtic Head of Recruitment Nick Hammond / (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group via Getty Images)

Sutton lands blows to Celtic recruitment guru Nick Hammond

Sutton was unequivocal in his comments, as is often the case.

The ex-striker said:

“We talk about the pressure on Neil Lennon and of course there is. But what about the pressure on Nicky Hammond?

“You look at the situation where Celtic have signed a goalkeeper for millions of pounds who hasn’t made a save this season. There’s pressure on the recruitment department.

“Ajeti’s got years left on his contract – seems to be animated and angry if anyone says anything about him. But he has to prove himself on the pitch. He hasn’t done enough.

“What Neil Lennon has to do is have a clear plan going forward. He must realise the importance of recruitment in the summer.”

We don’t agree with everything Chris Sutton says, but this is absolutely spot on. The transfer talk around Celtic has been grim all season, with key players leaving over the years. The likes of Kieran Tierney, Moussa Dembélé and Fraser Forster haven’t been adequately replaced.

It’s not the sole reason Celtic are where they are currently, but it’s a very important factor. With youngsters finding it hard to get into the current Hoops team, expensive flops have been put under pressure from the moment they joined.

Hammond isn’t the first recruitment expert to get it in the neck. Supporters were relieved when Brendan Rodgers acolyte Lee Congerton took off in 2019.

Perhaps what’s needed is a trusted Director of Football, a model which has worked across Europe. Wouldn’t hold your breath for that, though.