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Two key positions that Mark Lawwell has failed Brendan Rodgers

From recent media comments and under questioning at the AGM it seems clear that Brendan Rodgers is looking to get the Celtic squad trimmed down over the next couple of windows.

That sentiment is understandable but seeing it through is going to be a very difficult task, at the end of this season Joe Hart and David Turnbull are the only players who will be out of contract.

A total of 32 players made it into the official picture of the first team squad at the start of September, if you take out Daniel Kelly and replace him with James McCarthy the true picture emerges. Out on loan, missing from the picture were Yosuke Ideguchi, Sead Haksabanovic, Bosun Lawal and Adam Montgomery.

The big question is how did the squad reach such a size? Without a Director of Football to shape things it seems that Mark Lawwell has been given free reign to bring in player after player with the last three windows masterminded by the son of the former CEO.

The club is littered with project signings that barely get close to the team sheet with two positions a particular problem for Lawwell Junior’s eye for talent.


In season one of Ange Postecoglou it seemed like nothing could budge the partnership formed by Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers. Last summer Moritz Jenz came in on loan as cover, played in six Champions League matches then had his loan cut short in January.

Yuki Kobayashi was signed as a free agent on a five and a half year contract, fairly soon it was clear that he didn’t have the physicality of ability to play in Scotland. A 23-year-old allowed to run down his contract rarely means a hidden gem.

At the end of last season Tomoki Iwata was playing in central defence, Ange Postecoglou wasn’t impressed by Kobayashi with two new central defenders brought in during the summer.

Strangely Celtic have uncovered a very able central defender, being left sided is another bonus in favour of Liam Scales.

The acceleration of the Irishman a new contract for Stephen Welsh and the loan signing of Nat Phillips looks ominous for Maik Nawrocki and Gus Lagerbielke. Phillips returning to Liverpool in January will increase their chances slightly but going into December it looks like Kobayashi, Lagerbielke and Nawrocki will be watching from the sidelines.


The inspired January signings of Reo Hatate and Matt O’Riley in January 2022 instantly improved the Celtic midfield, with Aaron Mooy brought in there were four very strong options available to Postecoglou with Callum McGregor a certain pick.

In January Iwata was signed but has made little inroads over the year. David Turnbull is a regular supplier of goals but is out of contract in six months with two more additions during the summer strictly in the project category.

Odin Thiago Holm has impressed a little in his rare outings, after two pre-season appearances Kwon Hyeok-kyu has fallen by the wayside with Paulo Bernardo brought in on loan towards the end of the transfer window.


In two key positions Celtic have four or five players with little chance of playing, if any one of them got called up into the team it would hardly be a surprise if they looked rusty.

A focussed approach to recruitment is required- the big issue is whether Lawwell Junior knows of players over the age of 23 that can improve the Celtic team, over three transfer windows his only success so far is Alistair Johnston with half a dozen or more failing miserably.

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