Hibs hero hits bulls-eye with Celtic recruitment comments

By Euan Davidson

April 29, 2021

Hibs hero Tam McManus has claimed that Celtic face not just one massive appointment.

While talk has been dominated by the club’s managerial vacancy, Nick Hammond has also left the club. Hammond, formerly a Director and Head Scout for the likes of Reading and West Bromwich Albion, presided over a grim year and a half for player recruitment. Patryk Klimala has already left the club, while signings like Shane Duffy and Vasilis Barkas haven’t worked out.

Rangers, on the other hand, have recruited well. Bringing in the likes of Glen Kamara and Ianis Hagi has given Gerrard’s side dangerous options.

It’s something Celtic desperately need to get right, with a momentous rebuild in the offing.

Speaking on the PLZ Soccer Show, McManus said [5.14]

“I think [Howe’s] the man they want.

“Celtic manager is obviously a massive appointment, but I think probably as big or even bigger is who they bring in as the head of recruitment or general manager.

“As you say, the game has evolved now, it is not just managers who go out and sign players. It’s the director of football and head of recruitment who recommend these players and sign them. And the coach goes and works with them.

“I think it is two big appointments for Celtic, not just the manager. It is who comes in as the guy who is a head scout or head of recruitment.

“Celtic have got it horrendously wrong over the last couple of seasons and Rangers have got it right with Ross Wilson.

“That’s also a huge appointment. The two roles Celtic have to fill are massive.

“They’ve got to look to do it soon. Season tickets are round the corner, ready to be sold.”

Celtic goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas could be leaving already / (Photo by Andrea Bruno Diodato/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

McManus is right: but this isn’t news to Celtic supporters

If you asked Celtic supporters the key area where the club failed over the last season, it’d be recruitment. Big names like Fraser Forster were replaced by gambles from Greece, while not enough numbers were added to a considerably thin squad. We missed out on wingers, save for a second loan spell for Mohamed Elyounoussi.

We knew, also, that were Jeremie Frimpong to pick up an injury or leave the club (both of which ended up happening), we’d be short-staffed on the right of defence.

These were problems punters recognised, but between Hammond, Lawwell and Lennon, there were huge transfer failings. Meanwhile, across the Clyde, to our massive frustration, Ross Wilson at Rangers was identifying players to add squad depth as well as quality.

It’s been our undoing, as Lennon had to adapt the tactics for the limited personnel at his disposal. That and a reliance of heroes past their best, and a ruthless style of man-management, contributed hugely to our collapse this season.

So, McManus is right; this is a situation that needs fixed, pronto. But you won’t find anyone saying otherwise for at least 6 months now.

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