Neil Lennon on Danny Simpson's Celtic trial

By David Walton

July 23, 2019

Neil Lennon has today touched on why Danny Simpson’s trial at Parkhead was canceled.

The Premier League title winner was due to start a trial with the Hoops yesterday. Simpson plies his trade at right-back, and it’s fair to say that Celtic are now in desperate need of a couple.

With the deal for Hatem Abd Elhamed close to completion according to Lennon himself (Celtic TV), the rumour yesterday was that the deal for Simpson was cancelled because he didn’t want to play second-fiddle.

Danny Simpson won’t be joining Celtic (Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

And that appears to be the case right enough. Lennon only touched on it briefly at his presser today. But, speaking on Celtic TV at his press conference, Lenny made the following statement on it:

“We were down the line with Hatem and one or two other options so we just felt it would be futile to bring Danny in if he sees us bringing in other players in his specialised position.”

Danny Simpson’s trial ending still leaves big signing needing made

So it sounds as though Elhamed is a matter of inevitability at this point. He’ll sign for the club, but there’s just no confirmation as to when that will be. If Celtic want him in for the Champions League, his signing had to be today. So far, however, there’s been nothing on that front.

But it’s important not to forget that Simpson’s trial being discarded leaves us with big work to do. We still need another in the position, and we don’t seem particularly far down the line with that as it stands.

Hatem Abd Elhamed looks like joining Celtic imminently (Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images)

Celtic can’t afford to go for the first right-back on offer. We also can’t just go for the first one that looks like it’ll cost little money. The Parkhead side need to make an astute signing that’s happy to either rotate or work as cover for Elhamed. Yes, it restricts our options in the market considering Elhamed is clearly first-choice, but this is why we have a scouting department in place.

If we go with things as they are heading into the new campaign, we still only have Elhamed and Anthony Ralston as natural right-backs. Sure, Kristoffer Ajer can do a job there, but if he’s going to be working on developing a partnership with Christopher Jullien, we don’t want to interrupt that.

Neil Lennon appears relaxed about the right-back situation (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

There’s still plenty of time for Celtic to get something done with regards to a second right-back in any case. The transfer window in Scotland doesn’t officially shut until midnight of September 2nd.

But at least the Simpson situation has been cleared up. Next on our agenda should be finding those who would be willing to battle Elhamed for the jersey.