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The three worst Celtic signing made by Mark Lawwell

Mark Lawwell may be on gardening leave as his Daddy tries to find the next opportunity but his legacy will live on for some time at Celtic.

Four disastrous transfer windows has seriously diluted the quality of the squad and left Brendan Rodgers wondering why he had endorsed the brilliant recruitment work of the Chairman’s son when he returned last June.

The drop off on quality between Ange Postecoglou recruitment and the work of Lawwell is frightening, why it took four windows for someone inside Celtic to suggest resignation is just another mystery among many.

In January 2022 Postecoglou brought in Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda, Matt O’Riley and Yosuke Ideguchi. A 75% strike rate in January destroyed a few favoured myths about that transfer window.

With Lawwell announced in May 2022 Ben Siegrist, Alexandro Bernabei, Sead Haksabanovic, Moritz Jenz and Oliver Abildgaard were brought in alongside permanent deals for Jota and Cameron Carter-Vickers. Aaron Mooy was clearly brought in by the manager and contributed more to the first team that Lawwell’s job lot with a legacy of long term contracts.

Alistair Johnston’s signing was a good move, a rare example of forward planning with Josip Juranovic expected to move on later in the January window.

Rodgers is now left with a first team squad consisting of 30 players which even in terms of arranging training sessions becomes a major issue.

To move forward it really requires three players to move out before anyone else is signed but as the pre-Lawwell signing of James McCarthy illustrates it is very difficult to move on players that are sitting on contracts that are far more lucrative than they would get anywhere else.

Lawwell, Nicholson


Signed during the January transfer window his arrival was matched by the loan deal for Moritz Jenz being cut short. Far from the greatest the German did play in all six Champions League matches last season, Kobayashi wasn’t even registered for this season’s squad.

There were a few reasonably promising early performances from the former Vissel Kobe defender last season but his lack of physicality was an obvious problem. If you are outstanding in other areas of your game you might get away with that as a central defender but the back-to-back defeats last May at Ibrox and Easter Road were the end of the road for Kobayashi.

Postecoglou elected to play Tomoki Iwata alongside Carl Starfelt for the last two matches of the season, Kobayashi never made the substitute bench for the Scottish Cup Final against Inverness Caley Thistle.

As Celtic365 revealed in July Brendan Rodgers quickly made his mind up that Kobayashi wasn’t going to be part of his plans, a return to the J-League was planned but a pre-season injury killed off that option.

Cameron Carter-Vickers, Liam Scales, Nat Phillips, Stephen Welsh, Maik Nawrocki and Gus Lagerbielke have all played in defence this season with Kobayashi’s only involvement coming in September when he was an unused substitute at Ibrox.

A loan move to HJK Helsinki was recently rejected, with a contract running until 2028 this is a problem for the player not the club.


After intensive scouting from Joe Dudgeon Celtic shelled out what was reported to be an A-League record transfer fee to sign the winger from Melbourne City, on another five year contract. Endorsed fully by Mark Lawwell.

In his introduction media conference Tilio admitted that he had arrived in Scotland injured with Celtic scouting him for three years before completing the transfer.

Soon afterwards Yang Hyun-jun was signed, towards the end of the summer transfer window Luis Palma was also signed, pushing the injured Tilio into Kobayashi territory in the pecking order for first team action.

Eventually Tilio was spotted in training, in October he was called up to train with the Australian Olympic squad which was followed by two brief appearances off the bench- a home to Motherwell and Hibs totalling less than 30 minutes.

Tilio was called into the Australian squad for the Asian Cup, appearing as an 89th minute substitute against Uzbekistan, but returned on loan to Melbourne City where he is currently out injured.


A real, real mystery. Why did Celtic go into the second tier of South Korean football for a midfield enforcer when they had already signed Tomoki Iwata and Odin Thiago Holm that year and had Daniel Kelly emerging from the B team?

By the age of 23 you really shouldn’t be playing for Buson I Park in the second tier if you have aspirations of reaching the top if European football but Kwon arrived with translated interviews outlining his hopes of playing in the Bundesliga.

He did come off the bench and look capable in the Dublin friendly against Wolves but that was followed by a horrendous 45 minutes at home to Atletic Bilbao in the James Forrest Testimonial.

There were a few listings on the bench before a loan move to St Mirren where he appears to have acquired cult status.

St Mirren looks like his level, after signing Lewis Morgan it is unlikely that impressing in Paisley is the making of a Celtic first team player.


Whoever follows Lawwell has a massive job on their hands, an extensive contact book is required, not just a few agent pals of their Dad.

A complete restructure is required to get back to the Ange model that revived andf transformed the squad in two windows is needed but unlikely, instead a Director of Football should be sought out but any candidate prepared to work for Michael Nicholson with Peter Lawwell on his shoulder will instantly lack independence and credibility.

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