Celtic have been encouraged to make an approach for St Mirren midfielder, Jamie McGrath, by James Cairney writing in The Herald. Cairney makes the inference that McGrath could help solve our woe’s in the central midfield area, after David Turnbull and Tom Rogic have come under scrutiny lately for poor performances in the Celtic engine room.
Ange Postecoglou has a system that is extremely draining for those that play in the midfield area – continually at maximum input for most of the game. Recently it is safe to say both Turnbull and Rogic have looked burnt out to a degree, although Rogic did provide some spice when he came on as a substitute up at Pittodrie to set up the winner.
The Republic of Ireland midfielder is much in the mould of the newly departed Ali McCann, who Celtic neglected to bid for on deadline day. Very mobile, McGrath has been a vital piece of Jim Goodwin’s jigsaw at St Mirren; putting in a sterling performance against Aberdeen to set up a scintillating comeback in Paisley merely a week or so ago.
The voracious midfield player received admiring glances from Hibs’ manager Jack Ross this summer, subsequently prompting a bid for the Irishman from the ex-Buddies boss. St Mirren booted this out however, as Goodwin understood the necessity of keeping hold of McGrath for the forseeable. With his contract running out at the end of the season, it could be an astute move on Celtic’s behalf to procure the services of this domestic talent for a nominal fee in January. If anything it would provide mobility and competition for Ange Postecoglou.
The stats themselves are promising, although Cairney himself admits it is quite a small sample size. The player has jumped 10% in his pass completion under pressure since last season, a key attribute of any Celtic midfielder under Ange. It seems that the St Mirren player is more adept at passing under pressure than most in this category which is noted by the journalist. Furthermore, in comparison with Rogic, McGrath has a far superior in terms of ball turnover, with Rogic being in the tip 1%.
The stats do seem promising, and at 25 there is still room for development whilst he is no longer wet behind the ears. Added to this, is his rising profile and consistency of games at top level and a very modest fee required to lure him away from Paisley. It could very well turn out to be an interesting prospect if Celtic did decide he merited a shot higher up the footballing food chain.