Celtic have made few wrong decisions with regards to recruitment during Ange Postecoglou’s impressive stint in charge, although one move the 57-year-old may well be regretting is the signing of midfielder, James McCarthy.
In particular, the Hoops boss will likely be rueing the decision to hand the Republic of Ireland international a four-year deal upon his arrival as a free agent last summer, with the Parkhead outfit potentially set to be stuck with what appears to be an unwanted asset until 2025.
It had been something of a bizarre call to hand such lengthy terms to a player who had been ravaged by injury prior to his move to Glasgow, with that ultimately backfiring as the 31-year-old has subsequently struggled for both form and fitness over the last 12 months.
The former Crystal Palace man – who is a boyhood fan of the Old Firm outfit – was restricted to just 22 appearances in all competitions in his debut campaign last term, with only six of those outings coming from the start.
A bystander to proceedings during that remarkable title triumph – with only nine league appearances under his belt – the one-time Everton gem has struggled to force his way into Postecoglou’s side, having “hardly kicked a ball” in the words of pundit Frank McAvennie.
That limited role had sparked rumours of a possible swift exit in the recent window although the £1.44m-rated man ultimately stayed put, albeit with the early evidence in the new season suggesting that it could be a similar story to last term for the 42-cap dud.
The Glasgow-born ace – who had been linked with a move to the club during Brendan Rodgers’ time in charge – has been restricted to just a solitary appearance so far in the current campaign, with that coming as a late substitute in the League Cup triumph over Ross County.
With captain Callum McGregor the preferred pick in the defensive midfield role, McCarthy has found it particularly difficult to dislodge his teammate from the starting XI, particularly with the club having been in relentless form of late – having only seen a 38-game league unbeaten run ended last weekend.
The summer addition of 6 foot 4 loanee Oliver Abildgaard is likely to only further shunt the struggling dud down the pecking order, with it hard to see just how the 5 foot 11 man will be able to get regular minutes moving forward.
That will ensure that Postecoglou and co will have to continue to fork out the playmaker’s £20k-per-week wage as he remains restricted to the substitutes’ bench, with no real end in sight with still so long left on his contract.