How Celtic rebuild could end up being far cheaper than expected

By Euan Davidson

July 15, 2021

We were all terrified of what this summer could bring for Celtic. It’s been on our minds, as Celtic supporters; how fundamental, far-reaching and expensive the idea of a “rebuild” could be at Paradise.

Even if last season is starting to feel like an age ago, it bears repeating how awful the Bhoys looked. Under Neil Lennon, and then John Kennedy, our squad looked razor-thin, exhausted and bereft of ideas.

Possibly the only positive under John Kennedy was seeing some Academy talents getting game-time. Admittedly, the stakes were practically non-existent. However, seeing Karamoko Dembelé and Adam Montgomery on the pitch for Celtic was a real boost.

Ange Postecoglou promised there’d opportunities for Celtic’s Academy players [Celtic FC]. Now, it’s not to say that pre-season has given us some massive hint about how the first-team squad might look in 21-22. Young players play friendlies every summer, it’s par for the course.

However, with huge gaps in our first-team squad, necessity has dictated that the likes of Dane Murray, Owen Moffat, Adam Montgomery have seen a decent amount of game-time. Returning loanees, like Ewan Henderson, Leo Hjelde and Lee O’Connor are being re-evaluated under the new boss. And the signs look good.

We can’t draw any conclusions yet. Even then, though, there’s reason enough to be optimistic that the future of the Celtic squad looks to be in good hands.

Celtic rebuild could optimise different sources of playing talent

Now, let’s be clear; none of this shirks the board’s responsibility to buy established players to fill in vital positions. The signings of Shaw and Abada are promising, but we’re still far off being a stronger team than we were last season.

Revitalising the fortunes of players like Ajeti, for example, is the function of good coaching, and that could save us money. However, the board need to get the chequebook out. This isn’t news.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

This will still be an expensive summer, if the board’s priorities lie where they ought to. But we shouldn’t discount the fact that some of these younger players really do look capable of making the step up this summer.

And without any sense of jingoism or misplaced pride, a solid transfer is satisfying, but seeing talent produced by the club emerging is that bit sweeter.

The point is that there needs to be a unified strategy. Celtic have never been a club to throw money at squad problems, necessarily. And really, we know better than to expect that of them.

Running a successful Academy is expensive in and of itself. So, it makes financial and footballing sense to continue the momentum of players like Owen Moffat. Of Adam Montgomery, Dane Murray, Leo Hjelde and more.

This isn’t to say we ought to abandon the ‘rebuild’. Far from it. However, it’s pointless to ignore the talents coming through the club, as much as it is a folly to rely on Academy players entirely. It’s about striking a balance.

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