Perhaps unsurprisingly, Charlie Nicholas has had a dig at Celtic today as he hinted that they should’ve signed Aberdeen’s Scott McKenna instead of Brighton’s Shane Duffy.
The Daily Record reported at the start of the week that McKenna is down at Nottingham Forest for a medical as he gets set to wrap up a deal that could go as high as £5million.
Celtic had previously shown an interest in McKenna back when Brendan Rodgers was the manager (BBC). However, this summer, the Hoops instead recruited experienced Ireland international Duffy instead.
That appears to have stunned Nicholas, who suddenly seems to think McKenna is the best thing since sliced bread. Speaking in his Scottish Daily Express column today (22/09, page 56), Nicholas said: “Celtic should have come back in for Scott McKenna. Had they done so, they could easily have doubled or even trebled their money on him in a few years.
“They brought in another physical defender in Shane Duffy earlier this month, but they have only got him on loan for one season from Brighton, and I don’t think he’s significantly better than McKenna.
“McKenna has a decent left foot which gives teams balance at centre-half. His physicality is strong and he can compete like Duffy. I don’t understand why Celtic didn’t consider trying to do a deal for the 23-year-old.”
Unsurprisingly, fans were hardly taken aback by Nicholas’ comments as we’ve heard this level of negativity from him on countless occasions in the past. Here’s a look at some of the reaction to what he said:
If we had signed McKenna, Nicholas would’ve been on saying he’s SPL standard & we have to be improving in Europe. Celtic can’t win in his eyes
— Cycling🍀Celt (@Cycling_Celt) September 22, 2020
I would doubt whether Nicholas has ever really studied McKenna. That’s why I feel it’s an invalid point.
— Celtic talk (@celticopinion) September 22, 2020
I’m sat here thinking Charlie Nicholas has never actually watched McKenna play
— Seaniee (@Seaneeee01) September 22, 2020
Shane Duffy is easily double the player of McKenna, McKenna is rank rotten
— Gordo (@GordoMcC7) September 22, 2020
Dear lord no wonder sky sports retired him from the panel.
Shane Duffy is twice the player Mckenna is …
If Celtic need another CH then they should be knocking on Hibs door they have the best one in Scotland right now …
— Jim (@JimJverthy) September 22, 2020
I’m sitting here thinking Charlie you’re talking nonsense
— Siobhean 🖤 (@SiobheanG) September 22, 2020
Im better than mckenna
— Govanbhoy20 (@Govanbhoy20) September 22, 2020
Surprise surprise 😂
— Kev Lynch (@IrishBanksy) September 22, 2020
Why is this even a talking point?
After a weekend in which Celtic have just gained the advantage in the title race, why on earth is the likes of Nicholas bringing up negative views such as this one?
Regardless of whether you feel it’s a valid point or not, does it really need saying? Is it really that obvious that Celtic have made some sort of transfer blunder in bringing in Duffy over McKenna? It’s not as if we’ve made some sort of blatant mistake here.
McKenna has proved time and time again that he struggles against a better level of player. Look at how often the likes of Odsonne Edouard and Alfredo Morelos get the better of him. To suggest that we went with the wrong option because we went with an Ireland captain who has years of experience at the top level is bizarre.
Yes, you have the argument that McKenna would’ve been our player had we signed him. Fair enough. You can’t argue with that. But the fact is you would be bringing in another project that needed a lot of work before he reached Celtic-class.
Considering the enormity of the season, we don’t have the time to wait months for McKenna to get to where he should be. We needed someone to make an impact right away. That’s where Duffy comes in, with two goals in his first three games at the club.
But the bigger point here is why Nicholas is even so upset about this. It just feels random and needless after a good weekend for Celtic overall.