CELTIC great Davie Hay did a fair bit of wheeling and dealing in the transfer market in his years four years as manager and then as a chief scout with Tommy Burns and Wim Jansen.

It was the Hoops legend who played a key role in bringing Henrik Larsson to Parkhead from Feyenoord in the summer of 1997 and he had previously scouted exciting talents such as Pierre van Hooijdonk and Paolo di Canio.

In another CQN EXCLUSIVE, we put Hay on the spot to give his verdict on some of the players who have been introduced to Celtic by Ange Postecoglou in the past 13 months and to reveal the new Bhoy who has impressed him the most.

The club ambassador, speaking to Celtic book author Alex Gordon, who co-wrote his autobiography, ‘The Quiet Assassin’, admitted: “It must be stated straight away that the manager can spot a player.

“The quality he has brought to the club has been excellent, there can be no argument about that.

“I have always insisted a manager is judged on two things – results and transfers. Ange has delivered on both fronts so far.

“He has somehow contrived to bring in so many high calibre performers and fit them into his system. It’s been a phenomenal achievement when you stand back and spend a little time analysing the process.

WATCHING BRIEF…not much gets past Ange Postecoglou – during a game or on the training field.

“First up, he was coming from Japan to take over a side that had won nothing the previous campaign and had trailed in 25 points off the top of the table in the awful attempt to win a historic 10 in a row. That failure, of course, cost Neil Lennon his job.

“The whole place was dispirited and there was a queue of players who wanted out of the club. Scott Brown was already heading for Aberdeen at the end of his contract, Kristoffer Ajer, Odsonne Edouard and Ryan Christie were being linked with an assortment of clubs across the border while Olivier Ntcham, who could have been a big player for the club, was also clearly on his way.

“In that sort of climate, Ange may have been justified in saying he will need time, maybe a year or so, to attempt to turn things around.

“Instead, he piled pressure on himself by saying you do not get two or three years at a club such as Celtic to win trophies.

“Instantly, I liked the guy’s style.”

SAFE HANDS…Joe Hart has been a bargain at £1million from Spurs.

Hay was intrigued at the next steps of the incoming gaffer and continued: “He had to rebuild and he had to do it quickly. He had some major decisions to make, too.

“Vasilis Barkas looked sloppy at FC Midtjylland’s equalising goal in the Champions League qualifier at Parkhead that went a long way to Celtic being eliminated from Europe’s elite competition.

“Apart from a Boxing Day outing in a 3-1 win over St Johnstone in Perth, the Greek keeper was never chosen again. And I doubt if he would have played against the Saints if either Joe Hart or Scott Bain had been available.

“Very quickly, Ange made up his mind he needed another goalkeeper and he got one of the best in Joe Hart. Now that was £1million well spent.

ON A WING AND A SLAYER…Liel Abada celebrates another Celtic goal.

“He brought in an unknown Israeli 19-year-old winger and there must have been a risk factor for the manager and the player. Liel Abada was still abit of a rookie and was suddenly being asked to play in a different country in vastly contrasting conditions.

“But the youngster hit the ground running and immediately looked like £3.5million well spent.

“Others introduced in the August window were the likes of Josip Juranovic, Carl Starfelt, Giorgos Giakoumakis and James McCarthy while Cameron Carter-Vickers and Filipe Jota agreed season-long loans.

Hay added: “And there was Kyogo Furuhashi, of course. What a signing he has been!

“I’ll discuss all the nwcomers tomorrow, but please allow me to dwell a bit of the Japanese striker. For me, he is the pick of the bunch.

“I watched his first start against FK Jablonec in the Europa qualifier in the Czech Republic and I was astounded at his contribution.

SIGNS ARE GOOD…Kyogo Furuhashi lights up Hampden six days before Christmas.

“Here was a guy, at the age of 26, who had a good reputation in the J-League, but let’s be honest, who knew too much about the standard of football in Japan?

“Kyogo came in and began playing as though he had been in the Celtic line-up all his life. He linked up play, played neat one-twos with team-mates he had just met a couple of weeks ago, fought for everything, chased down lost causes, kept pressure on his opponents and scored a nice goal, too, in a 4-2 away success.

“You only get one chance to make a first impression and he certainly took it on his Parkhead debut the following weekend when he claimed a hat-trick in the 6-0 victory over Dundee.

“The Tayside team didn’t know what hit them that afternoon in the east end of Glasgow. They must have thought there were about THREE Kyogos on the pitch that day.

“He scored three, but, if I remember correctly, he could have had another three. His movement all along the line was amazing plus he could drop a little deeper and allow players to go ahead of him.

NUMBER ONE…Kyogo Furuhashi makes his point after hitting the leveller against Hibs in the Premier Sports League Cup Final.

NUMBER TWO…Kyogo Furuhashi lifts an exquisite effort high towards the Hibs net for the Hampden winner. Hibs defender Ryan Porteous gets a close-up view on how it’s done. 

“And what can you say about his two goals against Hibs in the League Cup Final in December? Celtic had just conceded when he zipped in the equaliser with a precise low drive and his lobbed effort for the trophy winner was just sublime. He summed everything up in a heartbeat before leaving Matt Macey helpless.

“It was such a pity he missed the first three months of this year before making his return against Ross County on April 24 and, naturally, marked the occasion by heading in the opening goal in a 2-0 win in Dingwall.

“Kyogo completed the campaign as Celtic’s top scorer with 20 goals – three ahead of Giakoumakis – and you can only wonder what his total would have been if his persistent hamstring problem had not forced him to miss almost 20 matches after the turn of the year.

“So, step forward and take a bow, Kyogo Furuhashi. I would have been proud to claim you as one of my own signings!”

* TOMORROW: Davie Hay continues his EXCLUSIVE verdict on Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic buys.

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