The problem position at Celtic that nobody is talking about

By Euan Davidson

June 9, 2021

So, Celtic need some players.

With a good chunk of the squad either already gone, or likely to move, much of the concern leading up to our Champions League qualifiers has revolved around centre-backs and strikers. With Odsonne Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer out the door before too long, the spine of the team is a major issue.

So, I’m not telling you you’re wrong for worrying about those things. It’s a support-wide anxiety, especially with the possibility of squandering another European chance weighing heavy on our minds. That said, you’d expect to see more rumours floating around, regarding a major deficiency at Celtic.

Beyond Anthony Ralston, we don’t have a right-back in our first team.

Having lost both Jeremie Frimpong and Hatem Abd Elhamed in quick succession, Jonjoe Kenny was brought in during the winter window. Remarkably, for a Premier League player, he looked out of his depth in the Hoops, and won’t be signed permanently.

That’s a bit of an issue. James Forrest was utilised by Steve Clarke as a right-wing back of sorts against the Netherlands. Scotland faced a similar dearth of full-backs, due to Covid-19 [Daily Record]. Both Stephen O’Donnell and Nathan Patterson missed the first of the two pre-Euros friendlies.

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That might be a sign of the future. How frustrating it would be for Neil Lennon, if he had to watch on as a player he missed in 20-21 starred in a new role? Not least in Lenny’s preferred formation?

But that’s as may be. Whatever formation we play, we shouldn’t be relying on a player that none of Brendan Rodgers, Neil Lennon or John Kennedy seemed to particularly trust.

Celtic are severely lacking in options

Unless Mikael Lustig makes a stunning, Izaguirre-style comeback, or Lee O’Connor really impresses in pre-season, we could be in trouble. That is, unless, the board start making signings on Postecoglou’s behalf. That’s something that may rub the Greek-Australian boss the wrong way.

This isn’t to diminish Ralston’s abilities as such. It’s just that under multiple managers, the former St Johnstone loanee never really got a run of games. Even in Perth, he wasn’t an out-and-out regular, someone we could make a real concrete decision on.

Celtic defender Anthony Ralston / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

While you’d expect some transfer gossip to emerge, as it has done over recent days with Josh Doig and Andre Ayew, you would’ve thought there would be a rumbling of something involving a right-back. Obviously, we have no idea what the board’s priorities are at the moment (will we ever?). Suffice it to say, though, this is a key area that needs addressed. It should really have already been dealt with by now.

John Kennedy had Jonjoe Kenny, but the new manager will be walking into a different scenario. If he doesn’t fancy either Ralston or O’Connor, then we could be in real trouble heading into our most important matches of the calendar year.

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