The problem position at Celtic that nobody is talking about
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.
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.
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.