Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou needs a plan for promising defender Dane Murray

By Euan Davidson

October 12, 2021

It’s a tough limbo for Celtic players who are too old for the B Team, but not experienced enough for a starting XI; just ask Dane Murray, labelled “outstanding” by Ange Postecoglou.

This summer, with Celtic finding the pieces to put together to face FC Midtjylland, Murray was thrown in the starting eleven. With Nir Bitton suspended, it was up to the Academy talent to fill in.

He did ably, considering his age. But he couldn’t prevent a dangerous Midtjylland side from finding the goals to knock Celtic out. Chalk it up to experience, then.

But since that game, Celtic have added international defensive talent. American Cameron Carter-Vickers looks a good spot, while Swede Carl Starfelt is slowly growing into his role.

Meanwhile, there’s Stephen Welsh, the returning Christopher Jullien in the coming weeks, Osaze Urhoghide and more. To say there’s competition would be underselling it.

Yet, Murray remains in first-team training. He’s clearly a player Postecoglou likes. In the aftermath of that Midtjylland defeat, he was described as “outstanding” alongside Stephen Welsh [Scotsman].

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Equally, he hasn’t been a regular for the B Team under Tommy McIntyre. Presumably, that’s for a reason.

So then; what now?

Is Dane Murray best suited staying at Celtic this season? Or might a loan have suited him?

Given the success we’ve had with the loan market, developing Murray elsewhere might’ve been a good shout.

Fine, it’s been a bit hit-or-miss; Ewan Henderson and Kerr McInroy haven’t vastly improved for having had game-time. Barry Coffey and Luca Connell are ongoing projects. But Stephen Welsh is a better player for having had a spell at Morton.

Kristoffer Ajer, perhaps most notably, used time on loan at Kilmarnock to completely reinvent his game, to great effect. That could’ve been an opportunity for Murray. Perhaps, in January, it will be an option.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But for now, perhaps young Celtic defender Dane Murray can learn something substantial from the players above him in the pecking order. There’s top-flight English, Russian and French experience there, along with a coach who’ll be determined to develop his raw talent.

Either way, it’s like Murray will have some choices to make before long. Decent technically, and with sound defensive instincts, there could be a real player there.

It’s up to Celtic to make that happen.

Read more: Celtic will have 3 frightening wide options when James Forrest and Karamoko Dembele return

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