CELTIC legend John ‘Yogi’ Hughes reckons Ange Postecoglou will be busy again in his third transfer window in the summer.
The Hoops boss saw 12 recruits arrive at Parkhead before the August midnight deadline and another five joined in January during his massive squad rebuild.
But the club’s striking great, seventh-highest goalscorer in Celtic history with 189 goals, believes the boss will take the plunge again, irrespective of how this season plays out.
In another CQN EXCLUSIVE, Hughes, speaking to author Alex Gordon, who co-wrote the fans’ favourite’s autobiography, ‘Yogi Bare: Life and Times of a Celtic Legend’, said: “I don’t think it will be as hectic for Ange Postecoglou as it was when he took over as the long-term successor to Neil Lennon in June.
“Liam Shaw and Osaze Urhoghide were already on their way from Sheffield Wednesday, but the Greek-Australian would have been involved in most – if not all – of the other deals.
WELL SAVED…Joe Hart dives to push away a flying header from Ross County winger Regan Charles-Cook.
“Joe Hart may already have been on his way from Spurs with the goalkeeping position being identified as a major problem area in the previous season.
“Quite rightly, Ange said everyone was starting afresh, a clean slate for everyone. Unfortunately, Vasilis Barkas blundered in his first game, the 1-1 Champions League qualifier against FC Midtyjland in the manager’s first competitive game, and he didn’t play again until Boxing Day in the 3-1 win over St Johnstone in Perth.
“But incomers such as Kyogo Furuhashi, Liel Abada, Carl Starfelt, Josip Juranovic, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Giorgos Giakoumakis and Filipe Jota certainly had Postecoglou’s stamp on them.
“Likewise the five deals in January with the J-League trio of Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi plus Matt O’Riley and the teenage Irish striker Johnny Kenny.
“We are watching Ange Postecoglou’s team and he will stand or fall by his recruitments.
“My good friend Davie Hay always insisted a team boss is judged on two things – results and transfers, in ANDout of a club. I’m not going to argue with my old team-mate who won a league and a Scottish Cup in a comparatively short time as the club’s manager.”
EURO STAR…John Hughes beats Leeds United centre-half Jack Charlton to flash in a header for the equaliser in Celtic’s 2-1 European Cup semi-final second leg win at Hampden in 1970.
Hughes, now 78, added: “I don’t think Ange needs any advice from me, but I wonder if there are any Scottish-based players who have caught his eye since his arrival.
“I make the point because he has yet to buy a player from a club in any of our leagues. I am not surprised because he couldn’t have possibly been aware of the talents of some of those earning outside the bigger clubs.
“One player who has caught my eye this season has been Regan Charles-Cook, a winger who has managed to score 13 goals for Ross County.
“I watched him from the Lisbon Lions stand when Celtic beat Malky Mackay’s Highlanders 3-0 in September. I liked the look of him and took a note of his name.
“In fact, only a superb reaction save from Joe Hart prevented the player from notching a goal. If I remember correctly, we were winning ony 1-0 at the time following Carter-Vickers’ debut strike.
“I noted Hibs were interested in Charles-Cook in the January transfer window and they probably saw him as a straight replacement for Martin Boyle, a pacy wide player who can score goals.
“Obviously, nothing materialised as the raider is still with the Dingwall outfit. I have read he is out of contract at the end of the season and I’m sure there will be a few clubs waiting to pounce.
GOAL-DEN BHOY…James Forrest is congratulated by Kyogo Furuhashi after netting the winner against St Johnstone in the Premier Sports League Cup semi-final in November. Josip Juranovic and David Turnbull prepare to join in.
“He arrived in the Highlands from Charlton the previous year, but, in the midst of the Covid restrictions and no fans in the grounds, the forward took his time to settle in to an entirely different environment.
“But he has really ignited this time around. He is only 24 years old and, if I was the Celtic boss, I admit I would be tempted to at least test the water.
“Do Celtic require another winger? The only person who can answer that is Ange Postecoglou.
“James Forrest is 30 years old, but I still think he has good years ahead of him. I don’t subscribe to putting players on the scrapheap as soon as they leave their twenties. If that was the case, Celtic fans would probably never have heard of a chap by the name of Lubomir Moravcik.
“Like every other Celtic fan, I am hoping Filipe Jota becomes a permanent fixture at Parkhead following his performances during his loan stint from Benfica.
“The fee is apparently pegged at £6.5million. In today’s market, that has got to be viewed as an absolute bargain.
“Anyway, I think the manager will have his own ideas and probably has irons in the fire even now.
“But, for me, Regan Charles-Cook might be worth a look.”