Lee Congerton, who left his post as Celtic chief scout, to re-join Brendan Rodgers at Leicester, will not be remembered fondly by Celtic supporters. We can look to Olivier Ntcham, a £4.5m acquisition from Manchester City, whom Celtic had a pre-existing relationship with, and to Odsonne Edouard, a 2018 £9m acquisition from PSG, whom Congerton identified as a loan signing during his first transfer window at the club in 2017, as success, but they were few and far between.
The debit column has Marvin Compper and Jack Hendry, two central defenders who Lee should have discovered were not what Celtic required before putting his name to the players, but the most alarming signing was Charly Musonda.
Charly was one fo the slightest players I have seen in a Celtic jersey. He had something about him, but so do lots of players. What Charly did not possess was the detrmination to success at Celtic, or the physical attributes necessary to work in the professional game. He was an extravagant signing, at the time the best-paid player in the Scottish game, and a complete misfit at Celtic.
Five transfer windows did not produce as many players able to command a regular starting place.
Football loves a scapegoat at Lee is a perfect fit. I have little sympathy for him, but scouting is as nuanced as any other aspect of life. Scouts are repeatedly employed by managers because they do not wipe their bums without the boss telling them to do so.
The fact that Lee left Celtic surprised no one, but the real question is, why did Brendan employ a scout who was so ineffective for him at Celtic? It seems an incredulous appointment, but Lee got the Leicester gig because he did what he was told at Celtic to the satisfaction of Brendan.
Chief scouts who keep their jobs and are repeatedly re-employed by the same manager observe one rule: Let the boss control everything. I have heard this straight from one well-known chief scout, who suffered the odd period of negative publicity, while only privately despairing at his manager’s signing choices.
A chief scout acts as gatekeeper to the countless agents promoting undiscovered never-will-bes, while trying to convince an agent with a talent in demand that his club is the perfect platform for the next stage in the player’s development. It is a job of phone calls, video feeds and airports – so that the manager doesn’t have to. The manager, often inspired by his confident ability to produce Lazarus-type recoveries, will then allow everyone to marvel at his wisdom.
I have no idea if Lee Congerton is a good scout or not. I can tell you his knowledge of obscure European players was impressive and his analysis was consistent with other good analysis I checked, but the data is not complete. Judging him is a big like judging a striker on his goals tally without known his Expected Goals stat.
All we know for sure is that the outcome was not good enough for Celtic, but was good enough for Brendan to give him another job.
Auction ends tomorrow (Wednesday): Directors’ Box Champaign Reception for 4 v Hearts, 19 May
Celtic sponsor, Intelligent Car Leasing, have offered four tickets to the Directors’ Box on trophy presentation day at Celtic Park against Hearts on 19 May 2019.
Package includes champagne reception on arrival, four-course meal, seats in the Directors’ Box over the halfway line and complimentary bar both pre and post-match.
This is an opportunity for four people to experience a special day in Celtic’s history from the Directors’ Box. Tickets can be collected from Glasgow on Thursday 16th or Friday 17th.
All proceeds from this auction will go to Celtic FC Foundation. The Foundation support people living in poverty in Scotland, England, Ireland and in many of the world’s most impoverished countries. The provide support to people with Downs Syndrome, Autism and Dementia. They reach out to those excluded from many aspects of normal living with educational and social projects, often providing life-changing opportunities.
Thanks for the fantastic help of Intelligent Car Leasing – again!