Ange Postecoglou’s first summer as the new manager of Celtic was an extremely busy one.
Together with Dominic McKay, the Hoops boss carried out a thorough upheaval of the playing staff, with plenty of bodies coming and going.
Twelve first-team players arrived, including three on a frantic transfer deadline day, but Postecoglou was also keen to strengthen the ranks in the reserve team. They brought in the likes of Liam Shaw and Osaze Urhoghide from Sheffield Wednesday, while Joey Dawson was also recruited from the English Football League to Parkhead.
Shaw looks as though he’ll have a bright future in Glasgow, but sadly he has not been able to work his way into the manager’s plans so far. Instead, it was claimed by The Athletic this week that Dane Murray and Bosun Lawal were ahead of him in the pecking order.
Murray earned his Celtic debut in the Champions League at the beginning of the season, while Lawal was one of many signings this summer, arriving from Watford in a deal worth just £120,000.
He has made an instant impact at the club, taking on the captaincy of the B team, who have enjoyed a vibrant start to their life in the Lowland League.
A tough midfield player, he could well become the Hoops’ new Olivier Ntcham over the next few seasons.
Ntcham left Celtic this summer as he headed to Swansea following a dismal last 12 months in Scotland. The Frenchman was labelled a “disgrace” by Noel Whelan after he appeared to down tools with his performances and it was a sad way for such a talented player’s career in Scotland to end.
When he was on song, he was a fabulous asset. Discussing the midfielder in 2015 when he was still at Manchester City, The Guardian wrote: “Despite still being a teenager he already appears a powerhouse, a quality that is balanced by mobility, the ability to play the simple or clever ball, and a natural instinct to ghost into the penalty area at the right time to score.”
Genoa president Enrico Preziosi added: “I’ve been in the world of football 26 years and I’ve never seen a similar player at his age. He has an unlimited potential, and is really a fantastic talent.”
Ntcham never lived up to that potential, but in being a long-legged midfield general, Lawal has similar attributes at his disposal. The 18-year-old won’t be seen in the first team for a while and has yet to feature at senior level but he looks an incredibly promising player.
During his time with the Hornets, Watford icon Troy Deeney loved what he saw from the teenager, saying: “You know what, he’s got a little bit of [Abdoulaye] Doucoure about him.
“He can get past people effortlessly and keep striding, he has that big long stride. I thought he did really well.
“Three or four days after playing in the U23s, he played another 90 minutes and it was effortless to him.”
The tireless youngster clearly made a big impression in Hertfordshire, and by being entrusted with skipper duties in the Celtic B team, he is already making enormous strides at his new club.
Lawal is certainly one to watch.