Is it time to let Anthony Ralston leave Celtic?
There’s no denying that Anthony Ralston’s Celtic career took a monumental blow last week.
Despite being the only right-back available to play against Sarajevo last week, he was overlooked for a centre-back instead. Neil Lennon thought it appropriate to haul a player out of his natural position to take Ralston’s place in the team.
The worrying thing for our only available right-back is that it worked! Kristoffer Ajer didn’t put a foot wrong, and actually offered something at times going forward too.
There was then another blow for Ralston a few days later. Lennon was in his media conference before the Rennes friendly and claimed that he, ideally, wanted two right-backs in the door before the window closed (Celtic TV).
You have to imagine that would at least bump Ralston down to third choice. Or, if Ajer is available, fourth choice. Ralston is now 20 years of age. Not 17 or 18. He’ll be 21 in just a few months, and at that age, it’s absolutely vital that he’s playing regularly for his own development.
We’ve already went down the loan route with Ralston in the past. A short spell with Dundee United didn’t do much for his career, and he came back to Parkhead in the same position as he left.
Anthony Ralston’s Celtic career had its chance to be revived
The right-back has had his opportunities to impress in pre-season too. He’s now featured in several of our pre-season friendly matches, the latest being against Rennes. Ralston still didn’t look comfortable on the ball, and his passing was a tad heavy at times. We’re just not seeing enough from him to convince he can do a job.
Therefore, now may be a good time for Lennon to think about letting him move on.
Of course, the fact we don’t have another right-back might put the Northern Irishman off. He likely wouldn’t want to let Ralston leave until we’ve got two more in ahead of him.
But Ralston’s Celtic career just hasn’t ignited, and it’s at the stage now where you must doubt if it ever will be. The youngster just isn’t doing enough to merit a place in the team, and, when appropriate, Celtic could do with moving him on for the sake of his career.
There’s a decent player in the right-back too. Don’t get that wrong. He has the engine, drive, and technique to make it in the game, but Celtic looks a step too far for him at the moment.
He’s had his chance this pre-season. Unfortunately, Ralston hasn’t taken it.