The likely recruitment scenario that's boosting Celtic rebuild

By Euan Davidson

July 2, 2021

Before we start here, it’s important to point out that neither I, nor my colleagues, are involved with recruitment at Celtic Football Club.

That should stand to reason. But without being facetious, it’s vital to point out that there are valid questions about Celtic’s recruitment. After months of talk about restructuring, a Director of Football and all the rest, there are worries. Nick Hammond, who was in charge of our football operations until March, left along with Gary Penrice, the club’s Head of Recruitment.

So, who’s behind the wheel? Again; we’re not dealing in certainties here, we’re not working behind the scenes. But there’s a fairly reasonable argument to make here. The most obvious answer to all of this is probably the right one, to haphazardly paraphrase Occam’s Razor [Mirriam-Webster].

Celtic didn’t lose all of their scouts all of a sudden. The likes of Tosh McKinlay, Peter Houston and Academy Manager Chris McCart, from their combined years of experience, will have volumes of scout reports available. In the event of a new manager coming in, in our case Ange Postecoglou, they’ll have compiled a list of potential targets. From there, and probably with the CEO Dom McKay, there’ll be in-house discussions, video analysis and budget conversations which dictate who Celtic will approach.

Long story short: Ange Postecoglou, as far as we see it, has been given a list for approval. From there, he makes the call, and Celtic try to get a move done.

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Osaze Urhoghide is an example of how Celtic’s recruitment is likely taking shape

Take our latest signing for an example. Osaze Urhoghide arrived from Sheffield Wednesday yesterday. It’s obvious that Celtic were scouting the Championship, as their prior acquisition of Owls midfield Liam Shaw indicates. Urhoghide will have been identified by scouts, analysed, and presented to Postecoglou for approval.

Osaze Urhoghide arrived yesterday / (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

From there, Postecoglou would’ve watched clips, gotten some kind of personal profile and, crucially, had a chat with the player himself. The Celtic boss said [Celtic FC]:

“It’s great. He’s someone that the club’s been tracking for a while and when I came on board, I managed to have a meeting with him and he’s a good young man, he’s very ambitious.

“[Urhoghide is] a modern defender. He’s good athletically, he’s mobile, he’s quick and he wants to get on the ball. He can play a couple of different positions, and from our perspective, and the way we want to play our football, there are certain things I look for in players irrespective of age, and he’s got some really good attributes to be a top defender.”

It’s natural that Celtic fans have doubts and concerns. After all, the club have given us little reason not to over the last while. While this isn’t definitive, it stands to scrutiny; what would make more sense than Postecoglou meeting his scouts and gathering analysis on potential signings? It’s not as if scouting missions become entirely redundant under a new manager.

It might not be the modern transfer model that a lot of fans want. And, until restructuring actually takes place at Celtic, we’ll no doubt have fears. However, if this is the way it’s working just now, it’s not really any different to Brendan Rodgers’ approach.

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