The strange Celtic handling of Scott Robertson this week

By John McGinley

January 17, 2021

It’d be fascinating to know what Scott Robertson thinks of his return to Celtic this week.

Enjoying a successful spell on loan at English League One side Gillingham, Robertson was hastily called up the road in the wake of the Dubai debacle.

The squad had been decimated by self-isolation and Neil Lennon needed more options for the visit of Livingston.

He was even talked up by coach Gavin Strachan twice in the build-up to the fixture.

On Friday, Strachan declared him ‘ready to go’, stating in his press conference: “Scott Robertson is back in. His loan at Gillingham has been ended, so he has come back into the fold.

“He is another one, good player, good character, who has come back in. He is still a young lad, but he played nearly 20 games for Gillingham, so he is primed and ready to go.”

Pre-match on BBC Radio Scotland, Strachan would also namecheck Robertson’s presence as a bonus for Celtic for the Livingston game, telling the broadcaster: “It’s been a challenge. We’ve got a couple of bonuses coming back in terms of Nir Bitton and Scott Robertson being available again. That’s made things a little bit easier.”

Yet, he didn’t even get off the bench against the West Lothian outfit. There was no opportunity, nothing.

Did Celtic really need Scott Robertson?

Now, Robertson is hardly the most attack-minded player, so perhaps that came into coaching staff’s thinking during the 0-0 draw against Livingston. We were pushing for a goal after all.

However, I really hope we haven’t hastily brought the promising midfielder back from England with no plan or thought to his development in the second half of the season.

Surely if Robertson was needed so badly, he’d have been given a chance to show what he can do against Livi.

Celtic youngster Scott Robertson / (Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images)

He was doing well under Steve Evans at the Gills, making 19 appearances in total. The Bhoys daft manager has spoken highly of Robertson’s ability and character at various points throughout the current campaign.

In many ways, it looked like the kind of loan that could be the making of the youngster. Much like Callum McGregor’s move to Notts County.

Hopefully, the recall doesn’t prove to be a mistake and we see more of Robertson in the team moving forward. We don’t have much to lose at this stage.

We wrote earlier this week that Celtic can’t mess about with his development. That remains the case.

In other news, Marian Shved has made his first start since 2019.