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McGowan’s warning as recruitment nightmare takes Lawwell to his rainy day

Stephen McGowan has warned the Celtic board that their failings with recruitment could be sending the club towards rainy day territory.

Back in September when the 2023 Annual Report was published Peter Lawwell was bullish about the £72m that cushioned the club against not reaching the Champions League group stage.

Next season’s new look competition could be worth upwards of £40m to the SPFL champions but as today’s Interim Results were announced Celtic are sitting in second place with eight points dropped since the start of December.

McGowan is closer than most reporters to the news inside Celtic Park, his anlysis carries more authority than most other media observers.

The bank balance at December 31 was still a very healthy £67m with improvements underway at Barrowfield, Lennoxtown and Celtic Park, unfortunately events on the park are far from healthy.

Celtic can point to the total sum spent and the number of new players brought in over two windows but on the evidence of this season it is clearly a policy of quantity over quality.

Last Saturday’s draw at home to Kilmarnock was accompanied by chants of abuse at the board, the following day Celtic found themselves in second place.

The record breaking finances would normally be viewed as good news but with the state of affairs on the pitch there was no acclaim from supporters at today’s news.

In his Daily Mail column McGowan joins the dots together with:

As a club, Celtic live or die by their recruitment. And spending £24m on a squad demonstrably weaker than last season’s doesn’t say much for the players sourced by the chairman’s son, Mark, and his scouting colleagues.

Handed a get-out-of-jail card in the January window, fans don’t want to hear about how hard the board tried to spend their millions. They just want them to do it. If not with abandon, then with a little more ambition than they’ve displayed in recent windows.

While Rodgers can’t be absolved of blame for handing Rangers the title initiative, he also can’t be expected to win the league with the back four which finished last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock.

Rodgers believes a risk-averse Celtic hierarchy need to be braver in the market and spend their millions a little better. From time to time they need to supplement younger players with experienced campaigners brought in for  serious money.

If they really are holding back cash for a rainy day, then Lawwell, Michael Nicholson and Chris McKay run the risk of making the rainy day a self-fulfilling prophecy.

16th April 2023; Rugby Park, Kilmarnock, Scotland: Scottish Premiership Football, Kilmarnock versus Celtic; South Korean national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann centre of frame watches from the stand

The £24m spent last summer has lumbered the club with sub-standard players sitting on lucrative long term contracts. Marco Tilio and Kwon Hyeok-kyu were shipped out on loan in January with only an injury to Cameron Carter-Vickers denying Gustaf Lagerbielke a similar deal to Lecce in Serie A.

Claims that January is a difficult month to do business in don’t stack up with the recent experiences under Ange Postecoglou.

In the Australian’s first season in charge Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi were announced as signings on December 31, last season Alistair Johnston made a huge impact on his January 2 debut at Ibrox.

There appears little in the way of goodwill towards the Celtic board, if the title is lost the size of the bank balance and healthy accounts won’t provide any defence against the anger of fans as the club launch their campaign to renew Season Tickets for 24/25.

CLICK HERE for Celtic’s Interim Results.

CLICK HERE for Joe Hart’s perfect delivery.

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