Having arrived at Celtic on a free transfer last summer, questions were immediately raised amongst the Parkhead support regarding the club’s decision to hand the 31-year-old central midfielder a four-year deal – with Bhoys Analytics stating their belief that offering the former Crystal Palace player a long-term contract was “insane” and that the move was a “confusing” one for the Hoops to make.
Perhaps more worryingly, Kieran Devlin then revealed in a report for The Athletic back in September that the former Republic of Ireland international had struggled to get to grips with Ange Postecoglou’s demands in training, as well as suggesting that the 56-year-old manager, nor Celtic’s scouting department, had any say into the midfielder’s signing.
In his piece, the journalist wrote: “Dressing-room sources have spoken of how newcomer James McCarthy has struggled in training with the pace and intensity of Postecoglou’s sessions and the demands of his midfielders.
“The Athletic understands neither Postecoglou nor the scouting department had meaningful input into signing McCarthy this summer after his contract expired at Premier League Crystal Palace.”
Indeed, this would go some way to explaining why the £14k-per-week man has featured so sparingly for the Hoops this season, making just six starts in all competitions, as well as featuring for a grand total of 681 minutes – the equivalent of seven and a half games.
Furthermore, when the £2.25m-rated midfielder has been on the pitch, he has failed to impress, averaging an extremely disappointing SofaScore match rating of just 6.80 over his eight Premiership appearances – ranking him as Celtic’s joint 11th-worst performer in the league – in addition to averaging an even more disastrous SofaScore match rating of 6.62 over his five Europa League outings.
As such, considering just how poor the player who RTÉ analyst, Eamon Dunphy, dubbed a “terrible flop” has been for Celtic, Dominic McKay’s decision to commit just shy of £3m on a four-year deal for McCarthy has already proven to be something of a nightmare for the Bhoys – and one that does not seem likely to end any time soon.