Steven Pressley slams Celtic recruitment; claims Taylor is better than Laxalt

By David Walton

December 30, 2020

Former Celtic defender Stephen Pressley has gone all out on Neil Lennon’s recruitment.

Celtic appeared to have a tremendous summer at face value. The Hoops managed to hang on to all of their best players whilst the likes of Shane Duffy, Vasilis Barkas, Diego Laxalt, and Albian Ajeti came through the door. Not to mention the exciting return of Mohamed Elyounoussi on loan from Southampton.

Things haven’t worked out. Duffy has become a joke figure amongst rival supporters. Barkas, Ajeti and Elyounoussi have become bench-warmers over the festive period meanwhile. Laxalt, however, has been our best signing alongside David Turnbull.

But even so, Uruguayan Laxalt didn’t escape Pressley’s wrath as he questioned the majority of Celtic’s summer deals.

Speaking on Go Radio’s Football Show, Pressley said: “The results recently and the performances recently have highlights how bad the recruitment was in the summer. Most of the players who they have recruited in the summer, with the exception of Turnbull, are on the bench.

“If you look at Duffy who isn’t playing, and I’m not convinced the boy Laxalt is better than Greg Taylor; I don’t think so. That’s my opinion and I think Taylor is probably the better player. When you bring in a player he’s got to be better than the one you are replacing and at this moment in time I don’t see that.

“I see all of them, even Ajeti and Elyounoussi, who has done ok but nothing in comparison to the likes of Kemar Roofe. I said at the start of recruitment would have the biggest impact on this season and Rangers have got it right and Celtic haven’t.”

Some good points but Laxalt has been a good find for Celtic

You can understand some of the points Pressley makes here. In fact I tend to agree with most of them. The recruitment has been a disaster this summer. It’s fair to say that Barkas, Ajeti, and Duffy in particular haven’t hit the heights expected.

But you can certainly omit Laxalt from criticism. He’s shown terrific tenacity, energy, and pace down that left side. He shined in games against the likes of Rangers, AC Milan, and Lille respectively. He’s made that left-back spot his own and proven to be an upgrade on Greg.

You won’t hear me say anything bad about Taylor. He’s a decent full-back and always puts a shift in when required. But how can you not see much of a difference between him and Laxalt? The AC Milan-owned star just has more in his locker.

Celtic star Diego Laxalt celebrates after scoring against Hibs (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Laxalt is likely only being rooted to the bench in recent games with Ibrox in mind. Neil Lennon will surely play Diego in Govan, and he would be right to. He has both attacking and defensive traits.

Taylor has his place here. He’s a decent squad player and is useful for fixtures such as Hamilton at the weekend. But let’s not pretend that he’s a better player than Laxalt. He couldn’t have put in the UEFA-recognised shift that Laxalt displayed in Lille.

So you can have a go at Celtic for many things over the summer. The signing of Laxalt, however, isn’t one of them.