Celtic were playing a numbers game last season at the beginning of the summer – some deals working out very well. There was little chance Anthony Ralston would have been signed to his one-year extension had the club had other right back options. Ralston grabbed his chance and has kicked on incredibly.
The same opportunity wears afforded to Leigh Griffiths and we all know what a disaster it turned out to be.
One incoming deal this summer didn’t make a lot of sense at the time and still remains a mystery with the season over – the signing of James McCarthy.
James was signed after Ange came through the door and spoke about a high intensity, high pressing style of football. It made no sense for James to be signed for that type of team and even if it had, signing an injury prone player to a four-year deal was not something we would’ve previously considered.
What boxes did he check? He was a good EPL player for some defensive playing sides, he’s a Celtic fan and he was out of contract. None of those boxes is a good enough reason to sign someone. We see guys like Juranovic, Kyogo, O’Riley who have been signed with Ange’s system in mind. James may well have got a game in a Neil Lennon side but Ange knows what he wants from his squad of players and we know it’s not James.
This isn’t pick to pick on James McCarthy – I’d have loved to see the midfielder at the club earlier in his career. Celtic missed the boat when he left Hamilton and after that he forged his own path down south.
The signing is more about the decision makers at the club who decided the deal was worthwhile – you have to imagine Ange signed off on it in the hope James could add something – it hasn’t transpired.
James has made 4 starting appearances in the SPFL and 5 from the bench totalling 354 minutes of football.
The Irish international has a total of 21 appearances for the bhoys across all competitions.
James certainly has more to give as a footballer and it would be great to see him thrive at Celtic, it’s just not in the cards. If the player and the club can find a move for him this summer it would be best for all parties.