A former teammate of Celtic Head of Football Operations Nick Hammond thinks he’s on the hunt for hidden gems to polish in the Hoops first-team, The Scottish Sun report.
Stuart Lovell played with the former goalkeeper when the two were at Reading in the 1990s and isn’t surprised that he’s found success in his post-playing career.
Lovell also has a strong knowledge of Scottish Football after spending years at Hibernian, Livingston and Queen Of The South, as well as serving as a representative for PFA Scotland.
Describing Hammond as ‘bright and a studious guy’ who is a good communicator, the Australian thinks that he’ll be looking for deals that recall the impact Lubo Moravcik made at Celtic Park.
As quoted by The Scottish Sun, he said: “Over the years they’ve pulled out some gems like Izaguirre, who became player of the year. That was a real left-field signing but you’d have to say it was a success.
“They’ve had Wanyama, Beram Kayal, Ki Sung-yueng. These are guys from far-flung places and you wouldn’t necessarily have found them.
“I was lucky enough to play against Lubo Moravcik. When he signed for Celtic it was like ‘who are Bastia’? You need to let your eyes tell you whether a player is any good. You can find gems if you look far enough.”
An ever-changing market
Although Lubo Moravcik was an almost miraculous player for Celtic, the comparison here falls a little flat when you consider the realities of the transfer market these days.
When pundits or fans reminisce about the budget Moravcik capture, it’s often forgotten he was actually a star in the French top-flight for years and a regular international player. Celtic signed him from Duisburg, who were competing in the Bundesliga. He wasn’t quite the obscure nobody he’s been perceived as.
By 1990s standards he obviously wasn’t a well-known name in Scotland, but that kind of talent these days would be on the scouting radar of almost every major club in Europe. It’s far more competitive in 2019, especially when you consider our spending power in relation to many major clubs has been reduced.
Nonetheless, Lovell’s point about searching for stars who haven’t quite made their name in high profile leagues is a sound one. That’s exactly the kind of talent we should be looking for.
To date, Hammond and Neil Lennon appear to be bringing in the right standard of player into the club, let’s hope that continues in January and beyond.