John Park has spoke out about the transfer and recruitment policies that put Celtic ahead of the game more than a decade ago.
After moving to Celtic while Gordon Strachan was in charge Park was given a much more prominent role under Neil Lennon who had complete faith in his judgement.
Needing to revive and rebuilt the squad that he inherited from Tony Mowbray the decision was taken to sell Aiden McGeady for a club record fee of £10m.
Gary Hooper, Tony Stokes, Joe Ledley, Emilio Izaguirre, Beram Kayal and Efrain Juarez were brought in with only the Mexican failing to make an impact. After two loan spells Fraser Forster became a permanent signing.
It was a risky strategy but ultimately the McGeady money rebuilt Celtic with Victor Wanyama and Virgil van Dijk also making huge impacts at Celtic.
Picking up on his interview with The Athletic, the Daily Record reports Park saying:
I was never asked by Peter (Lawwell) to balance the books. We never once spoke about it. If the right type of player was available at a good price for each of the coaches, for each manager I worked with, then Peter was happy to work with that.
We were ahead of the game. We had our own data analysis department back then, with Craig Dunbar and Paul McLeish.
They ascertained the facts from the data to compare players and value them against what we’d got in the club at the present. When you look at the stats and leverage them against the scouting reports, you come to the conclusion that they can be the right ones for the club.
That level of analysis is now very much in vogue with Brentford the perfect example with Celtic fans looking on painfully at the success of Ivan Toney while Kris Ajer settles in with the EPL new boys.
Since Park left Celtic have turned to Lee Congerton and Nicky Hammond as the quality of signings has gone downhill.
After losing out on John McGinn in the summer of 2018 Celtic fans have had to watch Youssuf Mulumbu, Marian Shved, Vakoun Bayo, Hatem Abd Elhamed, Boli Bolingoli,, Ismaila Soro, Patryk Klimala and others get compared to Wanyama or van Dijk only to sink with barely any trace of their Celtic careers.
Since Hammond left in March of this year there has been no identifiable head of Celtic’s recruitment and transfer business.