Lawrence Shankland Is Not Celtic Class. It’s An Idea We Won’t Even Entertain.

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No sooner do we have the league won, but the media is full of “helpful” suggestions as to where we might do in the summer spending. It is important that Celtic gets the next transfer window right.

That’s why Adam Idah can be a major signing, and why we don’t want to squander anything on foreign projects or over-rated bling.

It is also important that Celtic maintains its core group of Scottish players, and there are a few young talents out there who might grow into first team regulars given time. Scottish “projects” are different from those from abroad; we have traditionally bought top Scottish talent and we usually know what we are getting. The need to do so is obvious.

But the simple fact remains that genuine quality is thin on the ground here. Miovski at Aberdeen might have looked like a player who could make a difference, but he’s gone off the boil just as our own Adam Idah has begun to look like he has the stuff. One player who keeps on getting named over and over again in tiresome fashion is Lawrence Shankland.

This question as to whether we should go for him or Adam Idah was put to Peter Grant on one of those dire “radio shows” the other day, and he offered some pretty good arguments as to why it should be Idah. But here’s the better one, the one he didn’t offer; Lawrence Shankland isn’t remotely good enough to play for Celtic.

The only people really asking this question are those who haven’t a clue what they are talking about, people who mistake watching football for understanding it. They see a player who has scored a few goals and draw all he wrong conclusions. The Village Idiot was a goal-scorer; he has boasted, on a couple of occasions, of having more SPFL goals than Larsson. That shows you what a clown he actually is, that he would ask people to draw such a comparison.

Let me put it this way; one of the other guys being urged on us in January was Kevin van Veen, who came on as a substitute the other night for Killie. At the time he was back in Holland, where he was not scoring goals and barely playing games.

So, on what basis was he being suggested as a Celtic signing target?

Well, the fact that he had scored goals in this league for Motherwell. We got the same advice over their last high-profile scorer, Louis Moult, now back in Scotland at Dundee Utd. The same suggestion was being made about Livingston striker Jon Nouble a couple of years back after one good season; he scored five times this season.

These are SPFL level footballers. The Village Idiot was an SPFL level footballer. We aren’t against signing strikers from Scotland, and two recent ones – Scott McDonald and Leigh Griffiths – did very well for us. But they fitted a certain style of play. We bought them to play in a certain system and it worked very well.

The case of Griffiths is a good study, especially as it’s his name which is frequently mentioned by those citing Shankland.

We signed him after he’d impressed at lower-level teams in Scotland, and won himself a contract at Wolves. He didn’t set the heather on fire at Wolves, and came back up to Scotland to play on loan for Hibs.

He won the Football Writers Player Of The Year award.

That’s when we moved and took him from Wolves on a permanent deal.

Here’s the difference, and it’s a big one; Leigh Griffiths had already amassed 100 career goals … and he was still just 23 years old.

The argument over Shankland is tiresome. He’s 28. He’s played the better part of his career in the lower leagues of Scotland.

He has a certain skill-set which some clubs would find useful; at Hearts he’s got a very decent ratio of goals to games. But he’s one of a number of strikers who have played in this league and who have quite literally found it to be “their level.”

Shankland has played one year outside Scotland, a year he spent in Belgium where he scored five goals. He has never played for a high-profile club where a striker is expected to score every single week. Griffiths was young and adapted easily.

The people asking this question are missing the forest for the trees. Apart from us not knowing if he could cope under pressure, Shankland plays against teams who are much more open against Hearts than they would be against Celtic; we have no idea how Shankland would play in a packed penalty area with his back to the goal, because he’s never had to.

We have, however, seen Adam Idah do it, and so we know that he can. We’ve seen him nick a goal (which should have been a winner) at Ibrox under the most intense pressure. We’ve seen him rough up defences. He, like Griffiths, is 23. He hasn’t scored nearly as many goals, but then he’s played at a more illustrious level than Griffiths had, and a striker needs regular games and to keep his confidence high. He’ll continue to grow as a Celtic player.

Shankland would not give us anything we don’t already have; all he would do is use up a squad place we might fill with someone better. Is he going to get in the side in front of Kyogo, who is a vastly better football player? No. Would he get in the team ahead of Idah? If you surmise that Idah is a player you bring on to unlock a certain type of defence, in a certain type of game, would you give him a job like that? No, of course you wouldn’t.

So, the idea is ridiculous, and the “debate” is really only being had on the margins. It’s not a serious discussion or an idea that anyone at Celtic would seriously entertain, least of all the manager, who puts pace and power at a premium and can point to Idah as the proof of what those things can deliver to the club. Shankland does not fit the profile.

Anyway, it’s not even clear that Shankland himself would entertain such a move, because it’s well known that he’s dreaming of a move to Ibrox and that there are a lot of people at their club who are convinced that he’s the answer to their prayers. Maybe this summer they’ll scrape together enough pocket change to make an offer Hearts won’t laugh out of the room … but I rather suspect that Shankland will wind up in some mid-Championship English side.

You know, at 28. Which is his level.

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  • Martin says:

    The talk is not actually anything to do with Celtic. He’d clearly be a poor fit for our team. But this talk is from the usual places, in the hope he actually goes to their beloved goat fondlers at Ibrox instead and they can write “Celtic pipped to Shankland signature by mighty Gers.”

    Idah is a better option, and looks like what his career has been waiting for was a chance to play in a team with a system and a dominance that let’s him flourish. Miovski is decent and I wouldn’t be against buying him either/as well. Shankland is 28 and talked about with bated breath as if he’s the cat’s dick, yet he doesn’t get picked for the national team… Which is hardly over burdened with attacking talent.

    Slightly off topic but anyway…. Fair play to McInnes winning manager of the year. I thought either him, Tommy Docherty or John McGlynn were all reasonable shouts. Not sure Shankland was worthy of his title though.

    • James Forrest says:

      McInnes had to win it 😉 The media is touting him as the next Ibrox boss.

      • Martin says:

        I know. But if he’s half as smart as I credit him, he’d stay at Killie or go to Hibs. Probably get a bugger budget this summer at Hibs than at Sevco. He turned them down before, presumably because he knew that, despite his loyalties, that job is career ending.

  • Michael McCartney says:

    Agree with every word James, he has found his level at Hearts where he doesn’t play teams who park the bus most weeks. I know some supporters will be looking unrealistically at bringing in a top striker but they cost big big money and earn top wages. Adam Idah is a young powerful striker and different to Kyogo who’s all about sharpness and movement.. Idah has proved himself capable of playing for Celtic since January. The only other striker I would consider is Miovski but I’m happy with the two we’ve got.
    As far as the other signings go I’ll leave that up to BR, the Board had better back him. obviously the defence needs improving as we lost 3 goals against The Dons and the Rangers in recent weeks CCV can’t do it all when it comes to high balls into our 6 yard box.Unlike some fans I wouldn’t dump Scales,Taylor or Ralston they are good back up players to have available and with at least 8 games in the Champions League we’re going to need a large pool of players.
    As I’ve said we’ve got to trust BR’s judgement on signings.
    Just one more point, I would also sign Bernardo as long as Benfica are not too hard to deal with, he is a project who I think will come good.

  • Dennis Begley says:

    I think Shankland would sign for Celtic but if Rangers come for him he’ll go there as he is a heavy duty gers man, he’s a good player but I prefer the Aberdeen boy and like james I think Idah is the best option out of the three of them, he can rough up the defence and will only get better.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      ‘Rangers’ won’t come for him Dennis however SEVCO might well try a bid for him…

      I was one of the ones that was shouting the loudest for him to be signed by Brendan in January as Sonny Lawwell’s signings were proving to be DISASTROUS…

      I looked at it that it would –

      1) Deprive The Sevco Huns of him if they could afford him that is (we certainly could)…
      2) He scores for fun in Scotland – That much is abundantly clear –
      3) Oh has been pretty piss poor as well and we’ve to have a certain percentage of Scottish players for European Squads…

      The one constant is Shankland will score goals for fun in Scotland that much is certain !

  • Jim M says:

    Here we go again, the shitty media scrum throwing every name they can scribble down that they think will encourage more delusional people to buy their fading insignificant rag tag papers, the same clowns that have slagged off almost every signing celtic have made including Brendan Rodgers return, so they can throw any name about but let’s face it these clowns couldn’t pick their arse with 2 pairs of hands!
    Brendan Rodgers will already know who and what he needs to enhance the squad and guaranteed shankland wont be anywhere in his thoughts.

  • John Copeland says:

    I hope that this is just a silly rumour ! I see Shankland as overweight and slower than arthritis ! There are plenty more strikers out there who are better . If Adam Idah gets a full time deal and shows his form like he did against Kilmarnock ,Celtic will have found another top player / goalscorer ,who is as fit as a butcher’s dog ……

    • Gerry says:

      I agree James…Shankland, not for me !

      I think there was a hint of worry and desperation when some of our fans were shouting loudly to sign him !

      Firstly, and most importantly, he’s not what we need, and ( it’s hugely doubtful they have the funds to buy him, even though they want to and Naismith is practically shipping him there,) he’s a huge Sevco fan!!

      If he was good enough, who you support is irrelevant, but Idah at this juncture, is a much better, all round option !

      As I said previously, I’d also take Miovski, but like yourself and others have commented on, BR will have his targets in mind and it’s imperative that the requisite funds are utilised for a huge transfer window coming up !!!

      If we could acquire some good Scottish talent, that would be beneficial, but we are all aware that it’s thin on the ground !
      Time will tell !

  • Bunter says:

    After watching Shankland, he looks very slow and is nowhere near Celtic class. Avoid.

  • DannyGal says:

    Can’t really see Brendan signing Shankland, as his lack of pace wouldn’t really fit. As soon as Brendan arrived first time around he ditched Commons and Stokes almost immediately due to their lack of mobility, talented players though they were. So I don’t see him fancying Shanks and for some reason I also can’t imagine him in a Celtic jersey.

  • The Joker says:

    Jane’s I need to disagree with you Shankland buy him as back up for the strikers in the league as you can rest them after Eugene’s he can step in and do a job,this would also be explained to him when signing.

    He scores goals in this league that’s what wins you titles,I still think he could have made a difference to sevco had they signed him.

    In us going on to sign him it stops sevco getting him especially only for them to see him sitting on our bench knowing we got one o er them again in the signing stakes.

    Remember the above is only my opinion.

  • Phil says:

    As a long standing hearts fan ,james, who regularly dips into your blog for the alternative view i tend to disagree with your assessment of lawrence shankland.
    I would maintain that 59 goals in two seasons is more than ” a few” and finished with both feet and some decent headers,and merits more than a modicum of appreciation.
    Unsurprisingly no complaints from me about his contribution since his arrival.

    • James Forrest says:

      Haha fair points, and it’s good to see other fans coming on and discussing this stuff.

      Don’t be a stranger my man!

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