I have a lot of time for Bolton Wanderers. During their extended stay in the English topflight, their late chief exec., Phil Gartside, was a regular supporter of Celtic joining the English and Welsh league pyramid.
When we signed 18-year-old Luca Connell from them in 2019, Bolton were in financial trouble. Celtic could have acquired the player without paying a fee, but as an act of solidarity, agreed to meet the terms Bolton were asking from English clubs, who, operating under different criteria from Celtic, were required to pay.
£350k made its way into the bank of the Greater Manchester club. Three years on and Luca has been released, having made no competitive appearances for Celtic.
The football department at Lennoxtown have decision makers at various levels, each with responsibility to recruit for a part of our internal player-pyramid and with an authority to spend budget. The manager has oversight, but he cannot know enough about who is right for the youth squads.
Paths crossed when it came to Luca. He was at Bolton as a youth when Neil Lennon was manager there. Neil became ‘permanent’ manager at Celtic five weeks before that £350k payment went south in return for Luca.
All managers have their pet projects, so this is no reflection on Neil, but we have people in positions lower down the ladder for a reason. Sometimes the boss needs to stay in his lane.