Gary Holt can't get enough of Celtic-linked Declan Gallagher

By David Walton

January 7, 2021

Regular BBC pundit Gary Holt has been showering Celtic-linked Declan Gallagher with a ton of praise.

A report from the Daily Record earlier this week claimed that the Motherwell man was “desperate” to sign for the Hoops. It also stated that he’s concerned over a clause in his contract that could see it extended if he plays another six games.

Gallagher used to be part of the Hoops’ youth academy before being released back in 2011. Since then he worked his way up from League Two level and is now a regular Premiership started at Motherwell. The Scotland international has now featured 107 times in the country’s top-flight (Transfermarkt).

But the centre-back mainly kicked on under Holt at Livi. And it’s clear the former Almondvale manager still holds Gallagher in high regard. That certainly shined through in his recent appraisal of him too.

“Very rarely misses a game”

Speaking to Radio Clyde, Holt said on the Motherwell man: “I always thought he would go to the next level. He’s certainly got the mental capabilities to deal with it and he’s got the experience now of playing a regular run of games. He very rarely misses a game.

“People don’t give him a lot of credit for how good he is on the ball. At Livingston, he created a lot of goals for us. We got a lot of joy down the right hand side because people didn’t realise how good he was. He’s very good with his feet and quicker than you think. He might not score as many goals as what you expect him to, but he puts that much focus on because of his height. His assists for goals is phenomenal.

“I used to say we were fortunate to have players who were prepared to get hurt in both boxes. He’s prepared to get hurt. That’s what you like about him. He’s somebody who’s going to do his job to the best of his ability. He’s kicked on massively since he left Livi.”

Gary Holt clearly a fan, but Celtic can do better than Gallagher

It’s easy to like Gallagher when you see him live. Holt hasn’t told a single lie here. He’s not even bigged him up more than he should’ve. Because the truth is Gallagher is a fine defender.

He’s dominant in the air and was comfortable on the ball even at Livingston. Which is even more impressive given he regularly played on a plastic pitch there. When Livingston managed to secure two draws against us in their debut season back in the top flight, Gallagher was a standout.

He’s extremely tenacious and isn’t rash with the ball at his feet either. His first thought isn’t to smash it forward and get it clear. He wants to find a team-mate and likes to keep the ball on the deck. That does sound up Neil Lennon’s street to be fair.

Motherwell defender Declan Gallagher (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

But there are just too many concerns here. I love a good transfer from Scotland as much as the next fan. Keeping transfer cash in the country is good for the game. It’s also a nice throwback when we sign talented players from smaller domestic teams.

However, positionally the Scotland international looks suspect. He’s been part of a Motherwell backline that’s shipped 34 goals in 20 league games. Part of a Motherwell side that’s been in crisis all season and sits in the relegation playoff place.

To say he would be an improvement on Chris Jullien or Kris Ajer would be false. To say he would be an improvement on Filip Benkovic or Ben Davies would seem over the top too.

Simply put, there are better options out there. Gallagher is performing well with the Steelmen, but he doesn’t look like the way forward for Celtic.

In other news, Kris Boyd has had another pop at Celtic; but contradicted himself badly