Jackie McNamara has told Football Insider that Celtic still need at least one more right-back, despite signing Hatem Abd Elhamed.
It’s been a busy summer at Parkhead and there are no signs that it’ll quieten down anytime soon. Nearly £12m has been spent on four new arrivals with those figures likely to increase as we get closer to September 2nd.
One area of the park where there has been a great deal of change is right-back. Only Elhamed has come in, signing from Hapoel Be’er Sheva for a £1.6m fee, but three have departed; Mikael Lustig and Cristian Gamboa were released and Jeremy Toljan’s loan expired.
This has led to Celtic being linked to and failing to sign many new right-backs, according to The Scottish Daily Mail.
The approach of targeting new right-sided defensive reinforcements is something McNamara agrees with, stating to Football Insider: “There’s obviously the right-back position that needs strengthening. You could do with another one there to make it two right-backs.”
McNamara’s claim that his old side needs another right-back is well supported.
Anthony Ralston is the only other right-back at the club and Neil Lennon clearly doesn’t trust him yet. The Celts boss preferred to alter his shape rather than play the 20-year-old, so it would be a surprise to see him act as Elhamed’s back-up this season.
When Lennon has opted for four at the back he’s gone for Kristoffer Ajer on the right. While he filled in admirably, it’s a waste of his talents as a central defender to have him marooned out against the touchline.
The Norweigan will likely be a part of the Bhoys’ first-choice centre-back partnership this season, so having him as Elhamed’s only cover would be spreading very thin indeed.
Failure to bring in the likes of Tommy Smith, Jack Stacey and James Justin is worrying, but the Hoops must persist and heed McNamara’s advice.
With Ajer wasted on the flank, Elhamed inexperienced in Scotland and Ralston simply not trusted by Lennon, a new right-back must still be near the top of the shopping list.