St. Johnstone manager Tommy Wright has suggested that Anthony Ralston may still have a future at Celtic after all.
The 20-year-old’s days at Parkhead are widely felt to be over after he secured a loan switch to the Perth side on Monday. Ralston may be due back in Glasgow at the end of the season, and still be under contract until 2022, but many feel he simply isn’t in Neil Lennon’s plans.
But Saints boss Wright has shaken things up a little by suggesting that Lennon does still rate the right-back very highly.
“I’m delighted to have Anthony in and it’s a deal that’s been agreed since last week,” Wright told the official Saints website.
“Celtic needed Anthony for their Europa League match with AIK last week and for the game at the weekend but we were able to get the deal done today and I think it’s a good piece of business for us.
“Anthony has played in big games for Celtic including in the Champions League and he’ll add quality to the squad.
“Neil Lennon rates him very highly but he needs games and experience which he’ll get here. Hopefully he does well and I’m sure it’ll be a huge benefit to him long-term and for us short-term.”
Wright may just be giving Ralston a boost
Lennon and Wright are widely understood to be good pals away from the game so there’s no reason to doubt the Perth side’s boss.
However, Celtic’s transfer dealings do seem to tell a different story. Lennon signed no fewer than three right-backs during the transfer window – two for right now, and one for the future. The fact he was willing to sign as many as three and still move Ralston on suggests his days are numbered.
Lennon is also no stranger to giving youngsters a chance, yet he failed to do so with Ralston. The full-back was quite literally Celtic’s only right-back option in some of the early Champions League qualifiers yet he still chose to play Kristoffer Ajer out of position instead.
It could be possible that Wright is only trying to build his new player’s confidence up after a tough couple of months. Celtic fans are likely to hope that’s the case anyway.