Mention a certain Aaron Hickey around a Celtic supporter and you’re likely to be greeted by frustration.
The young Scot was on Celtic’s books in the academy but then left for Hearts in 2018. Within a year, he was a regular in the SPFL for the Edinburgh based outfit.
His emergence in the Hearts team happened to fall at the same time Celtic sold Kieran Tierney to Arsenal for £25m. The timing was unfortunate, but there was nothing Neil Lennon and co could do to prevent it all from unravelling.
What Celtic’s recruitment team set about doing was bringing the defender back to Glasgow. Craig Levein revealed last summer that the Hoops had tried to sign Hickey on five or six occasions.
Why, therefore, did they fail?
Hickey was long-touted with a move away last summer with Bayern Munich even casting their eyes towards him. Though, it was Bologna in the Italian top-flight that eventually lured the defender away from Scotland.
Celtic did profit, receiving 30% of the transfer fee from their initial sale to Hearts. However, there must have been a sense of regret.
The Hoops acquired Diego Laxalt instead but he has hardly been a picture of consistency since arriving on loan from AC Milan.
This transfer window or the summer market could present the Bhoys with an ideal opportunity to correct their Hickey mistake. That’s because they’re targeting another young left-back in Josh Doig.
Like Hickey was, the 18-year-old is attracting beady eyes. Manchester City, Leeds and the Hoops are all interested and similarly to the former Hearts man, he has impressed in the SPFL as a teenager.
Doig has made an impressive breakthrough this term under Jack Ross at Hibernian and has played 11 league matches. In the process, he’s proven to be a stable defender, especially in the tackle.
Ross remarked earlier in the term that he’d been “brilliant this season” and it’s difficult to argue with that statement. The Hibs defender has won 2.1 tackles per game, which for context would make him the joint-best at Celtic.
With Laxalt due to return to Milan in the summer, finding a new left-back will definitely be at the height of Lennon’s agenda. Though, if they can bring in one similar to Hickey it would certainly go down a treat.
After losing out on the Bologna youngster, they must push hard to ensure they don’t miss out on another of Scottish football’s most promising young players.
This is a chance to correct their mistake. With the player available at a reported £1m, they must take it with both hands.