Celtic's ridiculous bad luck with January loanees

By Euan Davidson

March 30, 2022

We were big fans of Celtic making loanees out of Liam Shaw, Conor Hazard, Osaze Urhoghide and Adam Montgomery.

All were on the fringes of the first team, in that uncomfortable place between the first-team and the B team. Not quite good enough for the former, either too old or too ingrained with Ange’s squad for the latter. So when Motherwell, HJK Helsinki, KV Oostende and Aberdeen snapped them each up on loan respectively, it seemed like good business.

What seems like good business, and what actually plays out, however; two very different things indeed.

Photo by Vincent Van Doornick/Isosport/MB Media/Getty Images

Let’s start with Adam Montgomery. Things looked good for the Celtic loanee, playing 283 minutes of football in his first 4 games for Aberdeen. However, a hamstring injury has ruled him out since, and new managed Jim Goodwin has used reliable ex-Celtic winger Jonny Hayes at left-back. It worked, especially in their recent 3-1 defeat of Hibernian [WhoScored?].

Conor Hazard has settled nicely into life in Helsinki. However, the Icelandic season hasn’t started yet, and when it does, the Northern Ireland goalkeeper will be suspended for their game against Honka. Why? Because he was incorrectly dismissed in a Glasgow Cup game for the Celtic B Team. Bizarre.

Liam Shaw, meanwhile, has had some chances but has joined Motherwell at a tricky time. The first half of their season showed flashes of promise, but Graham Alexander’s side are on a patchy run of form. They’re without a win in the league since December [WhoScored?], and former Sheffield Wednesday man Shaw hasn’t improved things. He’s mustered just 181 minutes for Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership.

That leaves Osaze Urhoghide, who has provided a different kind of frustration – it’s not his fault, mind.

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Celtic have either created bad scenarios or been desperately unlucky with January loanees

Osaze Urhoghide, after a dodgy start, has performed ably for KV Oostende. After the Jack Hendry fiasco last season, I hoped to never type that name again. But here we are.

The typically wise Belgian side inserted a buy-out option in Urhoghide’s loan. And while he’s not Baresi in Belgium, he’s doing pretty well. Thus far, he’s averaging 1.8 tackles and 2.2 interceptions per game in the Belgian Jupiler Pro League [WhoScored?]. Not bad at all.

Ultimately, Celtic loanees head out of Paradise to gain match experience. Hazard surely will, his has just been a bizarre start at HJK Helsinki. For Montgomery and Shaw, for differing reasons, it hasn’t been particularly fruitful. That doesn’t change the fact that, on paper, both moves made sense.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Shaw needed to compete with the reasonably strong midfield Motherwell have, and set himself apart. Through lack of opportunity or inferior team performances, he’s not been able to. Montgomery – at least according to Aberdeen fans I know – wasn’t winning over the Dons crowd prior to his injury.

Maybe he’ll get the chance to, still.

Whatever the case, it’s absolutely rotten luck, or bad negotiating, that the only loanee who seems to be truly developing is one we might lose.

Sometimes, deals look great on paper. These lads could still turn it around. But in terms of the overall picture, it’s terrible luck for Celtic and their loanees.

Read more: “Way better”; Even Danish coach left blown away by Ange’s Celtic turnaround