Celtic must start defensive rebuild straight away

One permanent signing, Vakoun Issouf Bayo, who has yet to make his debut wasn’t quite what Celtic fans were wishing for at the start of the transfer window. But the medium term goal of Champions League qualification has been pushed further down the road with retaining the SPFL title now an absolute priority.

Four league defeats in the first half of the season has brought an increased focus on domestic matters with three loan signings brought in to give the team a short term boost. Timo Weah and Oliver Burke have already provided that lift, with Jeremy Toljan ready to replace Mikael Lustig or ensure that the Swede retains his current impressive run of form.

As things stand Lustig, Cristian Gamboa, Toljan, Dedryck Boyata and Filip Benkovic will be gone by July 1st, forcing a complete rethink at the back as the club attempt to claim the bounty that comes with playing in the group phase of the Champions League.

Jeremy Toljan in action for Dortmund

Whether Kris Ajer and Jozo Simunovic are up to the task remains to be seen – later this month we’ll have a better idea when they face Valencia home and away.

As soon as one transfer window closes, behind the scenes thoughts must turn towards the next opportunity to strengthen the side. Defenders have to be the priority – the experiences of Marvin Compper and Jack Hendry can’t be allowed to cloud judgements.

Each passing transfer window highlights the gulf with English football, but Celtic know their market – it is eastern Europe and Scandinavia. Those areas are well scouted and Celtic have got the Virgil van Dijk, Boyata and Moussa Dembele examples to convince prospective signings.

The rebuilding of a defence has to start today with serious scouting – Celtic can’t wait until August 31st to see what leftovers can be convinced to come on loan to a frozen European outpost.