Celtic Rebuild – After Toney, Surely Brentford won’t beat Celtic to summer signing of Hibs striker Kevin Nisbet?

Ever asked yourself when Celtic last produced a really good striker through the ranks? Tough one, isn’t it?

Where once there was a conveyer belt, Celtic’s production of striking talent now resembles a dripping tap. Where the likes of Macari, Dalglish and Nicholas and banged in goals and earned Celtic a few quid in fees, the standard has perhaps been somewhat of less inspiring over that last 30 years.

We’ve had respectable strikers of course, but far from top class, as Gerry Creaney offered goals and was sold for a decent fee and the likes of Mark Burchill and even Crag Beattie were promoted from the ranks with high hopes only to not quite reach the required consistency.

Perhaps that’s an article for another time, however when Celtic aren’t producing young Scottish talent, we certainly have to be aware of it when it is blossoming on our doorstep and even more so when teams down south, particularly sides with some of the most robust scouting systems around, are taking notice.

READ THIS…Nesbit next, as Brentford eye £45m profit from Watkins the former Celtic target Ivan Toney

Photo: Mark D Fuller

With Ivan Toney, a player ripping up the goalscoring charts in the English Championship looking to be heading to the Premier League – and possibly Chelsea – for a figure seven times what Brentford paid out for him just last summer, then Celtic really should be on their toes if the West London club are sniffing around talent on our patch as they look to target a replacement.

Having had that very player in Glasgow for talks and sending him back down the road – despite Celtic being the player’s first choice – we can only hope we’ve been learning some lessons.

Brentford’s latest reported, and no doubt impeccably scouted striking target, is a player who has been catching the eye in his first year in Scotland’s top flight following a fantastic season with Dunfermline in the Championship last year.

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Photo: Jane Barlow

Kevin Nisbet has already attracted interest from the English Championship when Birmingham had a reported £3million bid rejected in January. Much like his teammate Ryan Porteous, who was subject of a bid of his own from Millwall, both players had their heads turned and the Edinburgh club will know if bids materialise this summer, they’ll have to offload key assets, and not just for financial reasons. Hibs only have to look to Celtic to see how value can depreciate very quickly if players aren’t sold at the optimum time.

As such with Celtic’s striking department likely to require at least two new faces, and possibly even three, with Odsonne Edouard likely to leave this summer, Patryk Klimala having already packed his bags and Leigh Griffiths waiting on news of a year option being triggered, someone with evidenced goalscoring prowess cannot be overlooked, especially one in which Brentford owner Matthew Benham’s well-honed algorithms have identified potential growth.

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Photo: Alan Rennie

Kevin Nisbet is going places in his career that’s for sure but this time we need to redirect this one from West London to Glasgow’s East End. The striker has already bagged himself 17 goals in his debut season in the top flight and forced himself into this summer’s Euros reckoning for Scotland.

His career trajectory has been impressive. After being one of many players released by Partick Thistle and being self-critical of his own attitude towards his craft, Nisbet joined Raith rovers where he scored 35 goals in League One before somewhat controversially signing for Championship side and Rovers’ rival Dunfermline Athletic.

The goals however kept flowing at a higher level and whilst many of the headlines landed on Dundee United’s Lawrence Shankland in United’s much publicised promotion campaign, Nisbet went about gaining many plaudits and as the goals continued his all-round game improved. 23 goals in 32 games in the Championship encouraged Hibs to sign the striker from the Pars and once again he’s stepped up to the higher-level bagging 17 so far this year in Jack Ross’s impressive young Hibs side.

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Photo: Alan Rennie

It now seems Nisbet is ready for another challenge. So, much as Celtic initially attracted Ivan Toney with the thought of silverware and European football, Celtic now need to ensure they don’t throw away the opportunity to sign one of the best young players in Scottish football and one who it appears is yet to reach his full potential.

It would seem Celtic will have to act quickly and pitch a Celtic career as a far greater prospect than the English Championship. They should be able to do that without too much trouble, and financially when it comes to wages Celtic can certainly still compete with clubs like Brentford. Perhaps the prospect of a coach like Eddie Howe and an impending Celtic revolution could seal the deal?

One thing is for sure when we haven’t been producing our own goalscorers for far too many years we can’t afford to allow prospects like Kevin Nisbet to slip down south without making our case. Let’s learn the lessons from Ivan Toney Celtic and beat Brentford to the punch.

Niall J

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About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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