Amid the debate over Greg Taylor and Jonny Hayes, how does the future look for Andrew Gutman’s Celtic career?
The American left-back has pretty much become a forgotten man after he was sent off to FC Cincinnati in the summer.
Gutman signed for Celtic back in January when Brendan Rodgers was in charge. And almost a year on, it’s fair to say he’s been getting first-team experience under his belt – just not at Parkhead.
The defender played for Charlotte Independence for several months – gathering up 14 appearances before being given an effective promotion to the MLS when Celtic allowed him to leave for Cincinnati back in August.
And it would prove an up and down few months in the USA’s top league too. Gutman made eight appearances and was given some impressive reviews by club supporters. Despite that, he never managed to win a game as his side finished bottom of the MLS overall.
So how does his Celtic future look?
Cincinnati claim that he’s signed until the end of the 2020 MLS campaign. That means that he wouldn’t be able to play for the Hoops until around a year from now.
Unfortunately, that would put him at a disadvantage when it comes to his competition. By then, Neil Lennon would’ve likely found his preferred starting XI for the 2020/21 campaign and would know who his back-up at left-back is too.
Gutman recently returned to the Celtic squad after the end of the 2019 MLS campaign (FCCincinnati.com). However, considering his contract situation, it’s clear he’s only here to train and potentially catch Lennon’s eye before heading back over.
The American hasn’t made a single Celtic matchday squad since signing back in January. But it must be disappointing for him that he hasn’t even been mentioned by many when it’s come to our left-back debate.
When Gutman originally signed, we had Kieran Tierney, Hayes, and Emilio Izaguirre contracted to the club. Izzy was due to leave at the end of the campaign, whilst Hayes hadn’t proven himself as a reliable deputy for the position.
Competition has increased
Now, even with Tierney having departed, Gutman’s competition has strengthened. Boli Bolingoli, Hayes, and Taylor are all ahead of him in the pecking order. Therefore it looks like it may take a stunning MLS campaign for him to shoot himself into Celtic contention.
It’s worth remembering that Gutman is a Hermann Trophy winner (Pro Soccer USA). The award is the highest individual honour in college football. This is a player with real talent and potential, and at 23, it would be foolish to dismiss him.
But there’s also no denying he needs to get Celtic fans and the coaching staff to notice him more. It’s going to be a big year for Gutman in Cincinnati. Here’s hoping he can seize his MLS chance with both hands.