“Be Part of the Magic” – Old Pros argue out the Aaron Hickey v Josh Doig Celtic left back debate

Two old pros have been considering the vacancy Celtic appear to have at left back as Ane Postecoglou’s rebuild gains momentum and have each come to a different conclusion on the best young Scottish talent who would be best suited to become a star in the Australian’s Celtic side.

First up and arguing the case for Aaron Hickey to get a move to Celtic is his former Hearts captain Christophe Berra, who is now at Raith Rovers. Celtic are reported to have a £3.5m bid under consideration by Bolonga at the moment but there seems to be reports that Fiorentina and possibly Roma are now looking at the former Celtic academy star. Much is going to depend on whether Hickey wants to remain in Italian football or return to his boyhood heroes. If he opts for a move back to Paradise Berra certainly believes it will work out well for all parties.

“Aaron’s a Celtic supporter, he’s from Glasgow and Celtic were his first club. So, it’s not a surprise if they’re looking to take him back,” Berra told Scottish Sun. “I’ve seen talk of a fee in the region of £3.5m and that probably won’t all be paid up front. You’re looking at basically less than £1m for every year of say a four-year contract and I think for Aaron’s age and potential — especially when you consider some of the fees elsewhere for players that young — it would appear good business.

“I’m pretty confident Aaron would be a quality player for them. Celtic will know him well enough as it is because he came through their academy system.

“Their transfer model has been proved for long enough — selling players on for big profits. Aaron could go back there, do really well and then get another big move. Then again, he might return and spend the next ten years of his career with Celtic and be a mainstay — which would be great for them.

Photo: Francesco Scaccianoce

“There’s a lot of improvement from him to come. He can be a very good investment for Celtic. I don’t know how many games he has played for Bologna, but if his value has gone up so dramatically in less than a year since leaving Hearts then they could make a nice profit. It can be good for all parties.

“As long as he can stay fit, with the right attitude and remain grounded, there’s no reason why Aaron couldn’t become a big player for Celtic and Scotland. He was still only 16 when he came into the first team. But the manager had faith in him and put him in for the Cup final.

“Aaron’s a very quiet lad and, obviously, he’ll mature as he gets older. But he’s got the talent already and temperament to play at the highest level. Aaron’s very composed and technically good with either foot.

“He’s played in the Premiership and in a Scottish Cup final while over the last year he’s also starred in Serie A, one of the best leagues in Europe. Aaron did well towards the end of that particular breakthrough season. He then followed that up with good displays in the season we ended up being relegated.

Photo: Andrew Milligan

Meanwhile writing in his weekly column in The Express, former Celtic, Arsenal and Aberdeen striker Charlie Nicholas reckons that Hibs left-back Josh Doig is a better option that Hickey and has urged his old club to switch their focus from Bologna to Easter Road in the pursuit of a new left back.

“Celtic have targeted Aaron Hickey but Josh Doig should be the standout left-back option,” Nicholas notes. “It looks as if the Hoops have identified the Bologna ful-back. It poses the question: why didn’t they buy him last summer when Hearts were selling him?

Photo: Alan Rennie

“Celtic didn’t buy him for £1million because he was defensively weak and they were right. Hickey’s strengths are going forward. Now all of a sudden, they look ready to pay in excess of £3million for the same player just 12 months later.

“He has been in Italy for a season. Has his defensive game improved? I don’t really know because I have not really seen that much of him.

“That is why I would rather go for young Doig from Hibs. You can see what he has got and you can work on his defending.”

As Hickey is comfortable at either side of the pitch, is it too mad an idea to suggest that Celtic should look at signing BOTH players?

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who 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

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