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Rodgers challenges Nicholson with transfer timeline

Brendan Rodgers has sent Michael Nicholson a firm reminder that he is expecting a new goalkeeper before the SPFL opener against Kilmarnock four weeks today.

A well functioning club would already have a stand out first choice ‘keeper heavily involved in pre-season training but with the exception of two Transfer Windows driven by Ange Postecoglou Celtic’s recruitment has been a shambles for years.

Failure to recruit and prepare for Champions League qualifiers has been hugely costly with Rodgers managing to buck the trend in 2016 and 2017 with Eoghan O’Connell, Kolo Toure and Nir Bitton drafted in to patch up chronic issues in central defence.

Rather than taking advantage of automatic qualification for the group stage of the Champions League that status seems to have increased the levels of complacency throughout the club.

Last summer the Recruitment Team thought that a raft of inexpensive projects could be transformed into Champions League players on the back of a few weeks training with disastrous consequences.

Luis Palma started his first Celtic match away to Feyenoord last September, in the same fixture Gus Lagerbielke and Odin Thiago Holm were sent off and suspended for the next match. Emergency defender Nat Phillips never made it onto the bench in Rotterdam.

Marco Tilio, Kwon Hyeok-kyu and Maik Nawrocki failed to make the Champions League squad with the highlight being a dead rubber victory that ended a 10 year wait for a home win in that competition.

It seems as if that experience has paralysed the club, two positions have been crying out for signings over the last two windows, four weeks from the start of the season a goalkeeper and a left-back are desperately needed.

Rodgers quickly decided that Alexandro Bernabei wasn’t upto the task, with Joe Hart entering the final year of his contract the club ought to have had profiles of 20 or more affordable goalkeepers to replace the now retired former England ‘keeper.

Assessing that situation after the draw at Ayr United on Friday the Daily Record reported Rodgers saying:

It’s certainly one of the areas that we needed to improve and we’ve known that since Joe said that he was leaving. So, yes, that again, a bit of time, but we aim to have that, hopefully, done by the beginning of the season, for sure. There are loads of names flying about. So, just a good one would be nice.

Scott Bain played for 45 minutes at Ayr with Tobi Oluwayemi and Josh Clarke getting some second half minutes.

With two League Cup appearances to his name in two seasons Ben Siegrist has drifted further into oblivion, failing to make the squad for Somerset Park despite reporting for training at Lennoxtown.

In two weeks time Celtic face DC United who are in mid season, that is quickly followed by matches against Manchester City and Chelsea, two clubs with ridiculous squad depth.

An injury to Bain or Taylor in those matches would pile the pressure on, highlighting the wastefulness and complacency inside the club with those two positions clearly needing addressed. Taylor is now in the final year of his contract.

As it stands Rodgers’ squad are badly under strength for those matches. Rightly results don’t particularly matter but those matches are to prepare for a new season that includes eight Champions League ties.

Only the incredibly optimistic or deluded would conclude that Celtic are preparing well for the season ahead.

The first deadline was to have players in for the start of pre-season training, that was missed with no additions to the side that played the first pre-season friendly.

The next deadlines are DC United on July 21 and Kilmarnock on August 4, time will soon tell if Michael Nicholson is capable of delivering for the manager the support and on his Fan Forum pledge to be world class in every area.

CLICK HERE for Keevins performs incredible u-turn on Rodgers as he accuses Celtic fans.

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