Ones that got away: Steven Fletcher

By Hamish Carton

May 14, 2019

The story surrounding Steven Fletcher and his potential move to Celtic is a well documented one. The striker, playing for Hibernian in 2009, was wanted by Gordon Strachan.

The Hoops were going for a fourth successive league title but they were stumbling and needed help. Fletcher was seen as the answer to the goalscoring problem having netted 19 goals in a season and a half at Easter Road.

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Celtic had a number of bids rejected from Hibernian during the January window. They preferred to sell Fletcher to an English side in the summer. They got their wish in the end as Celtic failed to stump up the cash and Fletcher moved to Burnley. The Hoops lost the league title by four points.

Now, Fletcher has finally broken his silence on the move. Speaking to former Hoops man Simon Ferry on Open Goal (29mins) he said: “They (Celtic) put an offer in for me and it got rejected. I went to speak to the chairman and he openly said to me he’d let me go in the summer.

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

“I did want to go, aye. At the time they had a good squad and I wanted to go. Strachan was the manager and he brought it up to me when he was the Scotland manager.”

A missed opportunity

Fletcher has gone on to have a solid career if not a spectacular one. Now 32, he can count the likes of Wolves and Marseille among his former employers. The forward would almost certainly have scored goals for Celtic and could have been the difference between winning and losing the title in Strachan’s final year.

His transfer saga was mirrored last summer with another Hibs player: John McGinn. Like Fletcher, McGinn was said to be in favour of a move to Celtic but the club chose not to cough up the money and lost out.

(photo by Steve Feeney/Action Plus via Getty Images)

It’s crucial that they learn from their mistakes this summer. If the right player is available at the right price then the board must seal the deal. Penny-pinching can no longer be tolerated.