We are about to find out how much Celtic trust Nick Hammond.
The club are entering the final week of a critical January transfer window. It’s fair to say that we’ve endured an incredibly slow month on that front so far.
The only confirmed business at Celtic Park, in or out, has been the loan of Leo Hjelde to Ross County.
That’s despite an urgent need for strengthening the centre-back position and, arguably, Neil Lennon’s options on the wing.
Now, there’s a solid theory doing the rounds that the club shouldn’t be spending any more money with Lennon in charge.
If the manager doesn’t have a long-term future at Celtic Park, then there’s little point in letting him sign off on any more players.
Certainly, some of those brought to the club in his second spell haven’t been good enough.
However, that’s where Hammond comes in. He could be the key to maintaining recruitment standards even in a period of transition.
As the head of the scouting department, it’s ultimately Hammond who is responsible for recommending signings to the manager and the board.
Is the relationship between Nick Hammond and Celtic on the rocks?
Website Football Insider reported last week that Celtic were actually thinking of sacking Hammond as part of a grander review into what’s gone wrong this season.
If Celtic follow through with substantial transfer business this week, however, it would surely demonstrate there is still an element of trust there.
Likewise, if there’s little done, or it’s a couple of dodgy until end-of-season loan signings and we can safely assume that Hammond doesn’t exactly have the confidence of Peter Lawwell and company.
Thinking back to the final days of Lee Congerton’s spell at Celtic, it became pretty obvious there were issues, reading between the lines.
The most high profile signings in January 2019 window were loans – Oli Burke, Timo Weah and Jeremy Toljan.
Marian Shved and Vakoun Bayo were also signed, but neither seemed to be of the Brendan Rodgers/Congerton mould.
What will we now see from Hammond and the club?
It’s going to be a fascinating final week of the window at Celtic.