Jackie McNamara tips Celtic defender Anthony Ralston to leave on loan

By David Walton

June 16, 2019

Former Celtic hero Jackie McNamara has tipped Anthony Ralston to leave Celtic and head out on loan.

McNamara, who spent 10 years at Parkhead between 1995 and 2005, also believes that Celtic are looking to send him out.

It was a frustrating campaign for Ralston last season. He was mostly third-choice at right-back, behind the likes of Mikael Lustig and Jeremy Toljan respectively. He did manage five appearances for the Hoops, however, as he seemed to be ahead of Cristian Gamboa.

Anthony Ralston (right) made just three appearances last season (Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)

But that didn’t exactly give him much time to make an impression. And speaking to Football Insider, McNamara the Hoops are looking at ways go get Ralston game-time elsewhere.

“That’s what they’re looking at now, to get him game time.

“I think he needs to play now, he’s had a taste of it, he did well before he had an injury.

“He was on loan at Dundee United, I think he’s at that age where he needs to play week in, week out and if it’s not getting games at Celtic then he’s got to move out somewhere, play as high as he can every week.”

Makes sense – but will Celts hold off?

Sending out Ralston for game-time elsewhere seems logical. The problem? He’s the only current right-back still at the club, with Lustig, Toljan, and Gamboa’s contracts all ending at the end of last season.

Ralston is the only player available who can play right-back (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Lustig’s future remains up in the air of course. Whether he stays at Parkhead remains to be seen, but both Toljan and Gamboa are definitely off.

So it may be wise for Celtic to wait on allowing Ralston to leave for now. At the very least until they bring in one or two for the first Champions League qualifier next month.

There’s no denying this is the next step that Ralston has to make. He ended the season playing with the reserves and making just one outing on trophy day against Hearts. When the new recruits arrive, Ralston will be so far down the pecking order that it will look like another season of few appearances.

Ralston has big-game experience at Parkhead (Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)

Therefore, if Celtic are looking to shift him on for more game-time, either on loan or permanently, that’s a chance Ralston must snatch with both hands.

He didn’t convince last season. It’s time he started really showing supporters what he brings to the table by moving elsewhere.