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The Board’s commitment is to strengthen and improve the playing squad in every transfer window- the hollow pledge of Lawwell

At the end of February Peter Lawwell told Celtic shareholders about the frustrations of the Board over how the January transfer window had failed to improve Brendan Rodgers’ Starting XI and first team squad.

A incredible £67.3m was sitting in the bank account on 31 December 2023 but it required Rodgers to dig deep into his years of experience to deliver the SPFL title and the Scottish Cup with what was effectively the squad he inherited from Ange Postecoglou, minus a significant few

Jota, Aaron Mooy and Carl Starfelt all left with sub-standard replacements brought in, options were reduced further by injuries to Reo Hatate and Cameron Carter-Vickers while injury and other issues denied Rodgers the use of Liel Abada.

The January 2024 Transfer Window was the opportunity to lay down a marker, to strengthen the Starting XI but it was squandered. By the end of February things were looking bleak following a home draw with Kilmarnock that left the hoops in second place and drifting in the SPFL.

On 23rd of February, in the Interim Report, Chairman Lawwell explained:

The Board shares the frustrations of the supporters regarding the less than anticipated activity in the recent transfer window.

Since the opening of the transfer window in June 2023, and up to the end of the winter transfer window which closed on 1st February 2024, we have committed £23.9m in player investment.

Within this we renewed and extended the contracts of Cameron Carter-Vickers, Liel Abada, Matt O’Riley, Anthony Ralston and Reo Hatate.

The Board’s commitment is to strengthen and improve the playing squad in every transfer window and although resources were available, we were unable to further add to the squad due to the unavailability of identified targets. This was disappointing to us all, and never the intention.

The January transfer window is notoriously difficult as clubs are very reluctant to let their best players go at such a crucial time of the season just as we are.

There was nothing notoriously difficult about the January 2022 Transfer Window when a manager in complete control had Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi announced as signings on 31 December.

When Riley McGree opted for Middlesbrough Ange Postecoglou turned his attention to Matt O’Riley to produce the best ever January transfer window in Celtic’s history.

Rather than wait until January 31 to produce a signing or two Hatate , Maeda and O’Riley were already contributing to the team before that date.

On 2 February 2022 O’Riley and Hatate were pivotal to Celtic’s 3-0 win in the Glasgow Derby which took the club into top place in the SPFL Premiership, a position that they retained through the remainder of Postecoglou’s time at the club.

On 1 July 2022 Mark Lawwell was appointed as Celtic’s Head of First Team Scouting and Recruitment with Daddy officially becoming Chairman on 1 January 2023.

Postecoglou left Celtic on 7 June 2023, Mark Lawwell decided to seek out fresh opportunities on 1 March 2024, so far he hasn’t found any with the Australian bringing Nick Montgomery to Spurs with no sign of a job for Peter’s boy.

There is very little sign of transfer activity in this transfer window, in two weeks time Celtic fly to the USA where they have a demanding schedule of matches against DC United, Manchester City and Chelsea over seven days.

Those matches should be the perfect opportunity to bed in new players and test them against quality opponents, at this stage it doesn’t look like Celtic’s North American support will have much to cheer about.

At this moment there are plenty who will say there is nothing to be concerned about, that all is in hand with signings in the pipeline.

That could be true but with the exception of summer 2021 and January 2022 Celtic’s transfer dealings have been grim over the last dozen windows.

Under Mark Lawwell only Alistair Johnston has become a first team regular, if all seven signings made in the summer of 2023 were released it would be hard to say that the Starting XI has been weakened.

In five weeks time the serious stuff starts with the visit of Kilmarnock in the SPFL, time is racing by to see if Chairman Lawwell can ensure a better summer transfer window than the one he overseen in January.

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1 Comment

  • by William Melvin
    Posted July 1, 2024 11:41 pm 0Likes

    I’m waiting and watching this twice yearly pantomime play out again.

    Only difference this time is that if there’s no discernable improvement in team ready players being added then one lucky person is going to be able to pick up a champions league package because l’ve had enough of supplementing the bonuses of these parasites.

    I’ve also had enough of paying out a couple of hundred quid every season on a home cup ticket scheme to be told that after having bought ALL relevant tickets for cup games l don’t have the relevant criteria to be awarded a cup final ticket.

    The club’s running of the HCTS is an absolute farce where they were withholding Celtic end tickets to boost on corporate packages while having tens of millions of £££££’s in the bank.

    l sympathise with John Paul Taylor who has to deal with this ticketing shitshow every season.

    Enough is enough !!!

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