In hindsight, it’s easy to suggest what Celtic should and could have done to avoid such a dismal campaign.
The 2020/21 season is one the Hoops will want to forget about quickly after surrendering their dominance on Scottish football.
The Bhoys ended the term without a trophy to their name but that could have been avoided.
What if they’d signed Fraser Forster instead of the error-prone Vasilis Barkas or what if they’d landed Ivan Toney?
The English forward is one of the most composed finishers south of the border but he could have been playing in Scotland.
However, a deal fell through as he completed a switch to Brentford instead. The striker’s stock has risen week by week as he bagged a colossal 33 goals on his way to earning promotion to the Premier League with the Bees.
Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast earlier this year, Peterborough’s director of football, Barry Fry, suggested Celtic would be cursing their luck:
“Toney would have got 40/50 goals playing in Scotland, no disrespect to Scottish Football. He would have been a sensation because Toney doesn’t only score goals, he makes goals.”
Fry added: “He wants to listen, he wants to learn, he wants to improve. He’ll go to the very top, Ivan Toney, that’s for sure. I’m sure they [Celtic] do [regret not signing Toney] already. I’m sure they regret it, not breaking the bank for him.”
This is a classic story of what could have been for the Hoops.
Coincidentally, they’re turning their attentions to another striker in the English Football League in the form of Charlie Wyke.
They’ve reportedly begun talks with the Sunderland forward this week as they look to secure his services on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of this month.
By luring him to Paradise, it could rectify the mistake they made with Toney 12 months ago.
The Brentford forward was in inspired form for Posh in League One throughout the 2019/20 campaign, scoring 26 times.
The duo are both rather different footballers. While Toney has pace and can get in behind, Wyke is a man-mountain and a bully when he gets inside the area.
That being said, their finishing abilities are both on point. Describing the 28-year-old last term, Sunderland boss Lee Johnson commented: “A top striker can slow down his mind’s eye in the box, be like ice in the box, and Charlie certainly finished with that look.”
It’s uncertain how Wyke will cope in Scottish football but the Bhoys would have had the same concerns over Toney a year ago. Now he’s become a Premier League footballer and looks capable of scoring goals at any level.
The Celtic hierarchy cannot afford to make the same mistake again.