Nick Hammond called out by McAvennie; slams Celtic's summer recruitment work

By David Walton

December 9, 2020

Celtic great Frank McAvennie has slammed Nick Hammond for his recruitment work over the summer as he claimed he hasn’t been impressed with him.

Hammond was appointed as Celtic’s Head of Football Operations back in October 2019. However, despite being responsible for the club’s scouting department, the former goalkeeper has struggled to improve the squad in each window.

Over the course of the summer, Celtic brought in struggling performers such as Shane Duffy, Vasilis Barkas, and Albian Ajeti respectively. Barkas in particular cost the club a reported £4.5million (Scottish Sun), whilst Ajeti was a £5m acquisition (Sky Sports).

But it’s fair to say McAvennie hasn’t been impressed with what Hammond has been bringing to the table since being hired 14 months ago.

As quoted by Football Insider, Macca said: “You have to look at the recruitment at Celtic.

“We are blaming the players and blaming the manager but you have to look at the recruitment. It has been terrible. It has been just awful. There is a combination of things at Celtic and it is not just the manager.

“The boy Hammond, I mean what the hell has he brought in that has bettered the team? I look at Ajeti and Klimala and I go, ‘They are not better than what we have got.’ They cost £9million between them and it was £4.5million for the goalkeeper. It’s not right. Money has been spent – it’s just not been spent right. It’s not Lawwell. I think it’s Hammond putting him to it.”

There’s no defending the last two transfer windows

Below is a look at the incomings at Celtic Park over the last two transfer windows:

Patryk Klimala, Ismaila Soro, Barkas, Duffy, Ajeti, David Turnbull, Mohamed Elyounoussi.

How many of those signings could you honestly say has been successful in a Celtic jersey since their arrival? So far, that honour can only go to Elyounoussi. There’s plenty of time for many of them to come good of course, with plenty of hope behind Turnbull in particular.

Recruitment under Neil Lennon and Nick Hammond hasn’t been good enough (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

However, this wasn’t the plan when they were signed. Was the idea with Klimala and Soro really for them both to play absolutely minimal part for close to a year? Was Duffy and Barkas signed to have dreadful starts to their Celtic careers? Did we bring in Turnbull from Motherwell just to leave him rotting on the bench when the players ahead of him are underperfoming?

A manager, and certainly someone in Hammond’s position, lives or dies by his signings. Hammond has most certainly disappointed with many of them.

That doesn’t mean that the time is right for him to go. He remains a close ally of the manager’s, and so long as Lennon is here, don’t expect Hammond to be going anywhere anytime soon.

But January is going to be crucial for the club. There can be no more flops if we’re to secure the 10. Massive improvements must be made in that department, or else we risk losing much of what we’ve worked for over the last nine years.

In other news, one Celtic star claimed he has “no idea” how many points the Hoops are behind Rangers.