Celtic’s recruitment policy over the summer was a strange one at first. The Hoops weren’t entirely clear on what they were doing but that was hampered by the delayed arrival of Ange Postecoglou.
They took months to nail down their new head coach and once they’d decided on the Australian, he needed to quarantine before getting to know the players.
Celtic weren’t too active and after losing in the Champions League, the manager issued a rallying cry for more investment.
That came and in signing 12 new first-team players, they looked well set up for the new campaign.
Kyogo Furuhashi has been outstanding since signing, scoring seven goals in nine outings, while Liel Abada and Jota also look like big threats from out wide.
However, not all of his summer signings have hit the ground running with the same aplomb. Carl Starfelt has been criticised and James McCarthy also looks out of his depth.
The Irishman didn’t have a full pre-season but he has now started three games for Celtic, all with varying degrees of success.
He was appalling against Livingston last weekend, surrendering possession on 15 occasions. McCarthy was poor again in the draw with Dundee United before being taken off because of an injury at half-time.
During Sunday’s clash, he won just 33.3% of his defensive duels in a mediocre showing.
There was a sense of life against Raith Rovers when he supplied a delicious assist for Jota but that’s about as good as it’s got for the 30-year-old.
Tied down to a four-year contract, many supporters have already seen enough of the midfielder as he struggles to acclimatise to Postecoglou’s methods. Some reports suggest that he wasn’t even keen on the Republic of Ireland international at Parkhead.
He did call him “top-class” after arriving but it’s difficult to see a vibrant future for McCarthy in Glasgow after his arrival on a free transfer.
His form has dwindled in recent years, going from a regular Premier League player to one who’s now struggling against some of the poorer teams in the Scottish Premiership.
On that evidence, it’s hardly a surprise to see his transfer value crash in recent years. Back in 2016 when he was playing for Everton, the midfield general was valued at £15.3m by Transfermarkt.
However, fast forward to the current day and it has fallen by £12.6m to just £2.7m. That’s despite McCarthy arguably being in the prime of his career.
Possessing no sell on value and fixed down to a long-term deal, Celtic will be stuck with him for a while yet.