Abada update, buck stops with Nicholson, January delays and Haley’s chance

The Celtic support tends to hold Stephen McGowan at the Daily Mail in higher esteem than most of the other hacks in the Scottish mainstream media. And there’s a good reason why that is the case, as he’s been more accurate in his reporting than the rest as far as covering Celtic is concerned and it’s long standing too.

This morning, as Just an Ordinary Bhoy commented on earlier on The Celtic Star, McGowan’s newspaper column is about Liel Abada, the dreadful situation in Palestine and pressure on the player from his homeland to leave Celtic in the January transfer window.

Much of what McGowan writes seems to reflect the position as it was back at the start of October rather than now. And unless we’ve missed it, there’s been no recent calls from Israel for Liel Abada to leave Celtic. Is there pressure behind the scenes that we’re not aware of? Maybe, but even if that’s the case the Daily Mail reporter doesn’t suggest that he has any new inside information.

Instead a series of facts and interpretations of facts are piled together to come to a conclusion that Abada is unhappy playing for Celtic because of the Celtic fans supporting the Palestinian cause. If that’s the case them to find a support that is going to be supportive of Israel outside his homeland is going to be a difficult task as events have unfolded over the past few months.

Yet as Just an Ordinary Bhoy pointed out, no-one in the Celtic support has any grudge against Liel Abada because of the actions of the Israeli Government and military. Abada came off the bench against theRangers after his long lay-off due to an injury ironically enough picked up international duty, and was given a brilliant reception from the entire 60,000 Celtic supporters inside Celtic Park.

At the final whistle Abada remained at the back of the group of Celtic players who applauded the fans and that seems to have been the case at St Mirren at the beginning of this month. No-one was offended and it certainly wasn’t the case that anything untoward was being directed at the player during these post match celebrations.

Having checked earlier today, The Celtic Star can confirm that there’s nothing in the conclusions that Stephen McGowan has drawn this morning and that there’s nothing happening regarding Liel Abada leaving the club in January. Indeed the player is apparently perfectly happy at Celtic. So that’s that then.

Celtic are expected to make three signings in this window with numerous players possibly leaving, if agreements can be reached. This is what Michael Nicholson and Brendan Rodgers are working on with the recruitment team, but one man who is NOT involved is Peter Lawwell, the Celtic Chairman. His days of January trading are well and truly behind him so any praise or criticism should be directed at the current CEO because that’s where the buck stops these days.

Yesterday, with ten days into the window, frustrations at the lack of signing action, started to boil over but the lack of signings a third of the way through the window, suggests that other markets are being looked at in comparison to the previous few years.

On Hogmanay 2021 Celtic announced the triple signing of Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi to great excitement and that not only raised Ange Postecoglou’s stock even further among the Celtic support, it also saw Michael Nicholson – just a few months into the job – getting praised too. Yet all three players came from the J-League where the season had ended a month or so before.

In the January window last season Celtic signed Tomoki Iwata and Alistair Johnston and the same scenario applied. Indeed Yuki Kobayashi actually joined in November 2022 and trained with Celtic at the training camp in Portugal before being paraded alongside Alistair Johnston at Celtic Park in December against Livingston before Tomoki Iwata was introduced to the Celtic support in the first home game of 2023 against Kilmarnock.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JANUARY 07: New Celtic signing Tomoki Iwata is unveiled at half time during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Kilmarnock FC at on January 07, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

These signings were all done and dusted by early January because of the players coming from leagues in their close-season. This time, Celtic are closing in on German winger Nicolas Kuhn from our old friends Rapid Vienna and are looking at maybe two other additions. These are more than likely going to involve deals with clubs in Scotland or England or mainland Europe as Celtic shop closer to home this January. And that’s the principal reason why there’s been no early action in the window – we’re dealing with clubs who are midway through their seasons.

SOCCER – BL, Altach vs Rapid ALTACH,AUSTRIA,05.NOV.23 – SOCCER – ADMIRAL Bundesliga, SCR Altach vs SK Rapid Wien. Image shows Nicolas Kuehn Rapid.GEPA pictures/ Oliver Lerch

Meanwhile the search for a replacement for Fran Alonso as the Celtic FC Women manager is underway and don’t forget that the women’s team is also in need of strengthening. The Ghirls are currently three points behind theRangers in the SWPL1 and the two sides meet on Friday 21 January at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie in the semi-final of the Sky Sports League Cup.

Celtic FC Women were drawn against Hamilton in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup earlier this week, after Sunday’s 7-0 away win over Ayr Utd in the third round. David Haley took the team on an interim basis and he must be a serious contender for the top job. You would imagine he’d be a very popular choice in the Celtic dressing room.

Ayr United Women v Celtic Women Scottish Women s Cup 07/01/2024. Interim Celtic Manager, David Haley with Celtic Women FC Assistant Coach, Michael Tuohy during the Scottish Women s Cup match between Ayr United Women and Celtic Women at Somerset Park, Ayr, Scotland on 7 January 2024. Photo Colin Poultney PSI

But new signing are needed, the women’s squad is noticeably understrength and more is needed if we are to retain the Scottish Cup, regain the League Cup and win the SWPL1 title for the first time in our history. That was Fran Alonso’s ambition and the new manager – whether it’s David Haley or someone else – needs to be backed.

Over to you Mr Lawwell Nicholson…



About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk


  1. What delay??? Are you an expert on transfers?? You are just a trouble making bell end who can’t wait to through mud at the club at any opportunity

  2. Celtic fans are against violence towards innocent Palestinian and others including Israeli people.