So Celtic stored up all their good news until transfer deadline day. With many rumours over the last few weeks, the club followed up their early January activity with further deals announced on the final day of the transfer window.
Maryan Shved, Andrew Gutman and Manny Perez (I already like him for his name) have all signed permanent deals, but have gone back out on loan until the summer. Another incoming loan deal was secured as Jeremy Toljan was drafted in from Borussia Dortmund until the summer.
He hasn’t played first team football this season, having only appeared on the bench twice for the Bundesliga side. However, Celtic needed backup at left and right back and he can play both.
It would seem though that he is unlikely to be at Celtic beyond the summer so he is not a long term replacement. I don’t see him displacing Mikael Lustig either.
Brendan has stuck by the Swede even when he’s had awful performances. So much so, he hasn’t even replaced him with Cristian Gamboa or Anthony Ralston unless absolutely necessary.
It’ll be interesting to see how much game time Toljan actually gets and in which position. With Emilio Izaguirre the only fit left back, he may even play there.
Earlier in the week, Celtic had announced that youngster Ewan Henderson had penned a new deal. The younger brother of former Celt, Liam, will hope to force himself into a busy midfield.
Speaking of midfielders signing new deals, Scott Brown put an end to speculation in his future by signing on for another two years. It’s likely to be his final professional contract at Celtic.
By the time hia contract expires he’ll be a month from turning 36 years old. That could mean a player-coach/coaching role at Celtic or somewhere else.
Many felt it was time for Broony to move on, but he is such a huge character on the field, in the dressing room and among the support. The club will not find it easy to find a player with those qualities.
Celtic moved a couple of existing players out on loan until the summer as well. Lewis Morgan joined up with his former manager Jack Ross at League One side Sunderland.
The youngster needs game time badly and I thought he’d get a chance this season. Though he’s managed just one starting eleven place in thirteen appearances.
Competition is fierce in the midfield and Youssouf Mulumbu has also found himself out on loan. Having made two starts in three appearances he is back at former club Kilmarnock until the summer as Steve Clarke side aims to get the club’s highest league finish since the 1960’s.
Also down Ayrshire way is Calvin Miller. After spending the first half of the season on loan at Dundee, he will now be looking to add to his sixteen games and one goal achieved in Tayside by making an impact at Ayr United.
Not going anywhere is former Dundee defender, Jack Hendry. He looked all set for a loan spell having not imposed himself in the Celtic defence since he joined in January 2018.
With injuries to Filip Benkovic and Dedryck Boyata, Brendan is a bit short of options at centre half. Kris Ajer and Jozo Simunovic are his current best choice, but if one gets crocked he’ll need Hendry.
In a strange twist of fate, this could be a good opportunity for the 23 year old. Many fans don’t think he’s good enough so perhaps he’ll get the chance to prove them wrong.
Scott Allan will remain at the club until the summer as well. Despite having signed a pre-contract with Hibs, it was rumoured they tried to bring him in early, but for one reason or another a deal was not struck so he’ll do what he’s done for most of his Celtic career and watch from the sidelines.
I had hoped Celtic would offload Marvin Compper, but he’s still lurking around somewhere. I don’t even know if he still trains with the first team, but he may yet be of some assistance by helping hus fellow German settle in.
Toljan was a youth player at Hoffenheim when Compper was playing in the first team. Compper would later move to Fiorentina with Toljan moving into the first team six months later.
So perhaps there is a role for Compper after all. Just maybe not on the park.
All in all this has been a positive window for Celtic. The squad has been freshened up to keep the green flag flying high.
Next up is Celtic’s first away game of the year. St Johnstone entertain the Hoops at McDiarmid Park for the lunchtime league tie this Sunday.
Brendan Rodgers can expect another stubborn performance from Tommy Wright’s team. Some tweaking was required during Wednesday night’s encounter with the Saints to get the eventual 2-0 win at Celtic Park.
The Perthshire side will feel more comfortable at home, but Celtic will want to maintain their winning streak of 2019. With new faces to bed in and players coming back into contention it is a competitive time within the squad.
That can only be good news for Brendan. Role on Sunday.