Are ‘project’ signings truly what Celtic need right now?

The past twenty-four hours have seen one Australian depart Celtic to be rapidly replaced by another one, maintaining the recent strong link we have had with the country who have also provided us with the likes of Tom Rogic and indeed Ange Postecoglou in recent years, not to mention current first team coach and Australian legend Harry Kewell.

Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic and Robbie Kruse of Australia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group C match between Australia and Peru at the Fisht Stadium, Sochi, Russia on 26 June 2018. Photo Peter Dovgan

Rumours have been abound in recent weeks regarding the future of Aaron Mooy and his possible retirement from the game but I have to say I was quite shocked when I read this morning that he had decided to hang up his boots for good. Mooy made a bigger impact last season than a lot of us expected and at one stage during the campaign had grown to be an integral part of Ange Postecoglou’s team, becoming almost undroppable. He definitely played a big part in bringing the treble back to Celtic Park once again and for that Celtic fans will be forever grateful to him.

St Johnstone v Celtic – s Aaron Mooy celebrates scoring the third Celtic goal of the game during the cinch Premiership match at McDiarmid Park, Perth. Sunday February 5, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

Usually you can tell when a player is coming to the end of his time in the game, to Mooy’s credit however I never saw it with him. Whether it be injuries catching up with him or just the sense that he had achieved all he wanted to in the game and wanted to move on in his life and spend more time with his family I’m sure we would all like the wish him the best and thank him for giving his all for Celtic. Playing in the World Cup then winning a treble before calling it a day isn’t a bad way to go out!

As I mentioned earlier, as one Aussie departs Celtic Park, another one enters. Our new signing is a bit more of an unknown compared to his fellow countryman, we hope however he can have as big as an impact as Mooy did in the green and white hoops.

If I’m totally honest, the signing of Marco Tilio is not one that has really excited me. I obviously get the fact that we are not signing the finished article here, I understand he’s possibly one for the future hence the five year deal but personally I just feel like I have saw so many of these type signings before and most have ended up being totally underwhelming.

Like most of you I don’t know much more about our new signing other than the clips of him playing for Melbourne that are going about and reading through his stats during his time in Australia. His stats are average for someone playing for the top team in that country, in a league that is probably beneath the Scottish one in terms of quality might I add.

The clips I have seen definitely make him look exciting, full of tricks and turns, but I didn’t see a lot of end product. I couldn’t help think about Daniel Arzani when I watched these highlights. Another young Aussie tipped for stardom who, after a terrible injury picked up while playing for Celtic, disappeared into obscurity.

I hate to be negative when the club is bringing in new faces but the like of Tilio and Odin Thiago Holm, who we signed recently from Norwegian side Valerenga, just don’t get my pulse racing.

It’s absolutely no disrespect to either player who hopefully will go on and fulfil their promise at Celtic Park but are these types of signings really what we need? When Ange left I looked at our squad and thought whoever the next manager will be doesn’t have a lot to do to make this team ready for a decent tilt at Europe next season. The squad was looking strong and I felt possibly three or four quality signings was all that was needed to be added to bring us up a level. Unfortunately, so far anyway, this hasn’t happened.

Jota of Celtic celebrates after scoring the team’s first goal during the Scottish Cup Semi Final match between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden Park on April 30, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Look I understand there is a good couple of months left in this transfer window and it could all change, but right now we are potentially weaker than last season. Now the Jota news hasn’t been confirmed yet but if what we are reading about the fee being offered Celtic and the wages being handed to the Portuguese winger are true, I doubt we will ever see him in the hoops again. If so, this would mean we have lost two top players from last season in Mooy and Jota, and so far have replaced them with two projects in the form of Holm and Tilio.

Hopefully the big signings I crave are on the horizon. Thinking positively will lead me to believe that the club are giving Brendan Rodgers time to assess this current squad and deliver to them a list of what is needed before they go out and get what he desires. I truly hope that is the case because now certainly is not the time to be resting on our laurels. With a double cash injection of Champions League football and the sale of Jota incoming, us fans will certainly be looking to see a large chunk of that reinvested into the squad.

What keeps me positive that this will eventually happen is that I have absolutely no doubt that Brendan Rodgers would not have agreed to come back unless this was promised to him. It’s the only way forward if we truly want to progress in Europe and maintain our domestic dominance.

Conall McGinty

Matthew Marr’s outstanding debut Celtic book, The Bould Bhoys! “Glory to Their Name’ – The story of Celtic’s First League Title is currently available in the summer sale for just £11 plus postage from

About Author

Hailing from Cushendall in the North of Ireland my formative years were spent watching Celtic during our barren spell through the 90's which meant I have appreciated our recent trophy-laden spell even more. Favourite matches home and away I've attended has to be beating Man Utd 1-0 at Celtic Park and being with my 2 brothers watching us beat Lazio 2-1 in Rome. Best away day experience? Has to be Munich with friends from Coatbridge...what a few days!


  1. Trophy Laiden on

    BR second signing?!? Really?? I dont think so….BR wanted NONE of these two, he did NOT specifically ASK for either of these lads, so stop pretending he had a choice in it. Lawell is back with his fingerprints all over the place yet again. What *&^&^&* let that g1mp back in?? Already back to buying potential and players the manager never asked for….Lawells’ M.O! I dont care if they were Ange type players, they were NOT requested by the manager. Lawell was with the arabs a few weeks previous, selling some of out players as well. Get him tfa from CP.

  2. You are been nagative Rodgers will have told the Celtic deal makers and they will be addressing it nitbevery players cup of tea to play in spl who hate everthing we represent its not jeluosy its more serious but they know we are the team that has kept spl going we know its not oldfirm thats proved that when they were liqudated 2012 and owed money to clubs that needed it Celtic have pushed on with top sponsirs since thename oldfirm is now known as Glasgow derby but still they dont give Celtic F.C.1888 there true place sevco sins are forgotten they are going down again i hooe they bring scotyish football with to realise Celtic F.C.1888 from these shackles Celtic Could bring in top players spl is like a dead weight round our neck

  3. Justshatered on

    I agree.
    I’m underwhelmed by our current lack of activity .

    I’m hoping that Rodgers is currently assessing the targets identified by the recruitment team and Ange. After all Ange did say we were ready to go on our targets before he left.

    Our “Trading Model” was supposed to be sell and the buy better. That clearly is not the case if we already have Jota’s replacement today.
    The idea sold to the fans was that when players were sold better players would be identified and purchased even before the previous player had left.

  4. You’re spot on. The boy reeks of Shved and Arzani. I’ve seen him multiple times and he is quick, decent dribbler and good left foot, he lacks high level skills or technical ability. He’ll be lucky to play half a dozen game before getting shipped back to Australia.