JOHN PARK was Celtic’s chief scout for nine years between 2007-2016. During that time he can be credited for bringing the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Tom Rogic, Victor Wanyama and Fraser Forster to name a few.
But when asked about his involvement in the Virgil van Dijk transfer back when Celtic signed him, the chief scout was coy and reluctant to take the praise for bringing the defender to Neil Lennon’s attention.
John had his misses as well as hits with the likes of Saidy Janko, Teemu Pukki, Amido Balde and the infamous Derk Boerigtter; but when he got it right, wow!
Speaking about the move for Virgil, who is now the worlds most expensive defender, the former chief scout gave the credit to Neil Lennon. The final say came to Neil but John revealed he had a great relationship with the Irishman who trusted his judgement when it came to players.
“I was over in Holland extensively watching Virgil, he was a machine back then as he is now.” he told RecordSport.
“He has developed into a top, top drawer defender but I’m not being disrespectful to anyone when I say that it was Neil Lennon who signed him.
“It wasn’t me who signed him, there are a team of people in any scouting network and these are people we trust.
“I didn’t make the final decision, it’s the manager who has the final say.
“It’s not as though you can put your hand up and say, ‘you need to sign that player’.
“I was fortunate to be working at that time with a manager who trusted my judgement. But it’s Neil who should be the one credited with what Virgil achieved at Celtic, from his arrival from Groningen, getting into the first team and developing on from there.”
Park was replaced by Lee Congerton who fans just can’t see what he’s done to improve the side. There have been strange signings in among some decent acquisitions and fans are hopeful Lee will be moving on in the summer.
Is there room for a possible reunion between Park and Lennon at Celtic Park if the Irishman lands the role full time?