Efficiency is name of the game this month for Celtic boss after summer transfer frenzy

By Euan Davidson

January 20, 2022

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou would be entitled to still be sighing in relief that the summer transfer window is done, even though it’s January.

In hindsight, it was an absolute frenzy. 12 players were brought in, with some more important names signed either towards the end of the window, or on the deadline day itself. That Postecoglou managed to turn his new signings into a coherent squad so remarkably quickly is a triumph in itself.

A Premier Sports Cup in the trophy room is evidence enough.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

What we’re seeing from Postecoglou now, though, is absolutely ruthless efficiency. It’s as if the summer, though successful, was a cautionary tale. And this is evidenced by a few different things.

We’ve already seen his first three winter signings make an impact. Daizen Maeda scored after a handful of minutes, as many fans were still getting to their seats on Monday. Reo Hatate was man of the match. Yosuke Ideguchi looks like he’ll be impactful as a midfielder stopper. Getting them all signed for Hogmanay was an absolute achievement, but it serves as evidence that Ange Postecoglou doesn’t want to repeat the drama of the summer.

Secondly, he pounced for Johnny Kenny after months of scouting. Seeing a potential weakness in his first-team squad, or the ability to embolden the B Team, a top League of Ireland talent with a fantastic mindset was brought in with minimal fuss.

And now, as we look set to sign Matt O’Riley, there’s more evidence of a methodical efficiency.

“Scott Robertson was head and shoulders above the rest” | Celtic loan stars impressing in England

“Scott Robertson was head and shoulders above the rest” | Celtic loan stars impressing in England
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is showing the transfer ruthlessness needed for ongoing Hoops rebuild

Ange Postecoglou said he wouldn’t embark on another deal unless something “exceptional” came his way. Having lost out on Riley McGree, Matt O’Riley was quickly identified as a player who can boost the midfield ranks.

Meanwhile, we’re seeing Celtic do some decent outgoing business. Ewan Henderson, sadly never in the frame at Celtic, has secured a good move to Hibernian. Liam Shaw needed game-time, he’s at Motherwell [MFC]. Conor Hazard is at HJK Helsinki. Leigh Griffiths, at long last, was released.

There’ll be more. If anything, this is the one area where Ange Postecoglou might be a bit frustrated. It’s clear Vasilis Barkas and Boli Bolingoli aren’t in his plans. Adam Montgomery needs more experience, and a loan would be ideal. Ditto Osaze Urhoghide, linked with Dundee and Morecambe.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Still, for a rebuild this substantial, one given a nod by FIFA themselves, the efficacy of Postecoglou and CEO Michael Nicholson’s work has been impressive. Riley McGree is the only “saga” we’ve been involved in, and it lasted a few days. Given the will-they-won’t-they pendulum we saw swinging multiple times in the summer, particularly with departing players, that’s refreshing.

There’s just an overall sheen of professionalism here. The idea that the squad is in good hands, and everyone brought in knows exactly what they need to do. As for the incumbent players, they have more competition and new players to bounce off of. That’s ideal.

Ange needed to be ruthless and efficient. Alongside Nicholson, he’s been just that, and after a stop-start, often shocking summer of transfers, the calm and cool-headedness has been an oasis for Celtic supporters.

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