With the transfer window now officially open, rumours are abuzz about Celtic’s potential targets, with Ki Sung-yueng the latest name to be linked with the club. While Celtic have had mixed results with January transfers in the past, attempts must be made to strengthen the defence, with a new goalkeeper the top priority.

Craig Gordon is a goalkeeper who divides opinion with Celtic fans. At his best, he is an excellent shot stopper, highlighted by two outstanding saves in the second half of the last game of the calendar year against Rangers. His fingertip save to deny James Tavernier’s volley and his reaction to get down low and stop a header from Alfredo Morelos arguably rescued a point in a half in which Celtic were the weaker side.

However, it could be argued that shot stopping is a fundamental basic of goalkeeping and in the modern game – and in this Celtic team it’s not sufficient if your distribution is substandard, which Gordon’s unfortunately is. He is also always capable of a mistake, evident in the recent draw with Hibs where his clumsiness almost ended Celtic’s unbeaten run in stoppage time. We cannot see what goes on during training; however, Brendan Rodgers must be seeing enough to continue placing his trust in Gordon, as Dorus de Vries and Conor Hazard have not been used. De Vries is reaching the end of his career as he has just turned 37 while the young Hazard is perhaps too inexperienced and could potentially be doing with a loan spell to get some game time. Kristoffer Ajer certainly benefited from his time at Kilmarnock and Rodgers will be hoping to have the same result from Kundai Benyu, who is reportedly set for a loan move to Oldham.

Previously, some huge names have made their way to Celtic in the winter transfer window and there is nothing wrong with fans speculating about who could arrive. However, there are areas of the park which need to be attended to urgently and the defence should be the priority. Marvin Compper has been signed to bring some experience to the back line and should be filtered in with the likes of Ajer and Dedryck Boyata as it looks like Erik Sviatchenko will also be leaving the club and Jozo Simunovic continues to struggle with injuries.

Undoubtedly a fan’s favourite, Mikael Lustig’s performances of late have been poor and his lack of pace and his refusal to use his left foot have rendered his play too predictable. When Anthony Ralston returns from injury, he should be given a chance, as he was impressive against Neymar when Celtic faced PSG in the Champions League.

It is perhaps too much of a task for Celtic to sign a goalkeeper who fits the style of play Rodgers desires at this stage of the season however fans can only hope that the manager is already looking at targets as it is clearly a weakness of the team. Compper recently spoke about how impressed he was with Rodgers’ background knowledge of him and it is clear that the scouting team takes every aspect of a player into account. While marquee signings are always beneficial regarding morale and fan appreciation, Celtic must look at issues within the team at present and a new goalkeeper should be the top priority, whether now or in the summer.

Ciaran Vance

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  1. Guess that a few of us listening to Off the Ball earlier in the day had the misfortune to hear one the walking penis brigade Lee McCulloch being given an opportunity to espout his verbal diahorriea. On being asked, mibee even a prerehearsed question between them, as to who was his most famous hun player from over the years was, well quick as a flash oot came souper ali.
    Of course, when then asked about the 69 in-a-row bhoys, well you just knew there would be this long pause as he silently giggled into his handbag. And so it proved. What a vagina he is………

  2. While much of this negativity is media support for the new club, and subliminal mind games with our fans, Gordon is a bomb scare. You only need to look at his facial expresions. He looks unsure at all times. Compare that look to Boruc, Forster, even Zaluska. They were focused, confident and commanding. Gordon has never been that.
    This window is a good opportunity to clear out some dead wood though. Its not a time for overhaul, but it is time to clean up a little.
    Players who want to be there versus players who don’t. Players like Armstrong for example, who wanted to move on in the August transfer window should go. He had the first half of the season to prove he wanted to play here. Instead, he has been a big part of causing disruption in our camp. He thought he was invincible after one good career season! He needs to go, if anyone will have him. Bitton, Boyata, Gamboa, Sviachenko, Siminovic, and possibly Dembele need to follow.
    Add two more experienced defencemen, bring in McGinn and a goalscorer.
    With Europe though we can’t clean up too much this month. So it’ll be done in stages I suspect.

    • Some good points raised here Joe. Apart from the facial expressions, it also irritates me when he throws his hands up in despair, sending out negative messages to the defence.

  3. No wonder Gordon flaps…..passback after passback would un-nerve anyone. Panic passbacks from Boyata are ridiculous…even Broony v the Huns….pasdback from 40 yards out.
    Stop all this passbacks mania.

    • Jay correct, biggest problem is when ball played back to him most of the time, there is nobody wanting it, also when in his hands he seldom has a target to throw it too, wish fans would get off his back,

  4. We need players that Will Give There All for the Celtic Cause.Some first teamers fall way way Short on Numerous Occassions Constantly…We know who they are,They know Who They Are…Armstrong Isnt Playing for Celtic he is playing for a Wage,End Of.Sooner He Goes The Better.If we are serious about progressing in Europe and Dominating Our Premier And Doing 10 In A Row.We Need Some More Quality Signings.And show we mean business on and off the Park.HH

  5. Brendan Rodgers insists on a tactic that brings the worst out of players like Gordon and Boyata. We spend 80% of the game passing the ball between our goalkeeper and backline despite half of them being useless with the ball.

  6. There has been no bigger name at Celtic than Jan Venegoor de Hesselinck (just my wee joke). However, my personal favourite was Georgios Samaras, not only for his skill but also for his obvious humanity and loyalty to the club.

    In my opinion, you are spot on with your observations in this very enjoyable article. Gordon is a problem, despite his shot stopping ability. Only now and then does he seem capable of catching the ball. I cannot understand why de Vries (or young Connor) has not been used more, nor why we let a really good goalkeeper (Logan Bailly)with excellent distribution go. It would be a really good idea to try to get Vorm on board.

  7. I think the criticism of Gordon is Ott. He is IMO a great shotstopper and reflex keeper. However he is very weak in the air and if I was a defender I would be extremely nervous at corners,freekicks and crosses! The manager and coaches MUST know this so why is he not working on it AS WELL as passing. Come on guys,get a grip!! ( pun not intended).

  8. If Celtic don’t get their central defence and lustig and Gordon shipped out, they will do nothing in Europe, also Rodgers has no plan b, as regards his style of playing especially in defence with his passing game at the back which only invites teams onto you and against top European opposition they have been an embarrassment and have the worst results, of any Celtic team in Europe, Celtic do not have the quality in defence to carry out this style of play, and the Celtic fans know it.

  9. gordon should have been rested ages ago he is butter fingers , y not go for lewis from aberdeen , and bring in john mc ginn from hibs and use liam henderson as part payment

  10. Celtic have a million managers,but we only need one,Brendan is the best in scotland,champions of Scotland,scottish cup winners ,Scottish league cup winners,69 league games in row,don’t let anyone rattle our cage,just enjoy this walk with Brendan,Celtic champions of Scotland , after all we don’t want to be like our friends across the city,vomiting in to the sink every morning,ach anyway happy New year lads.


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