Charlie Mulgrew tips breakthrough Celtic star for POTY success

Charlie Mulgrew has been consistent in his praise for Liam Scales this season and is now of the opinion that the breakthrough Celtic and Ireland central defender is in the frame for this season’s Player of the Year awards.

Charlie Mulgrew of Celtic celebrates after he scores during the Scottish Premiership League Match between Celtic and Dundee United, at Celtic Park on August 16, 2014. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Maybe it’s a bit early for considering that at the moment but you can certainly see where Mulgrew is coming from with his assessment and he’s correct to note that Scales is almost certainly one of the first names on Brendan Rodgers’ team sheet these days. That’s a fare cry from the summer when Rodgers was close to giving into Barry Robson’s persistence in trying to sign Scales for Aberdeen after a successful loa spell at Pittodrie last season.

“Liam’s a good player who has done so well this season. He’s one of the players of the year,” Charlie Mulgrew stated, as reported by Scottish Sun. “He’s been a big surprise for everybody, but has really taken his chance when it has come his way.

Liam Scales and Gustaf Lagerbielke celebrate following the victory during the UEFA Champions League match between Celtic FC and Feyenoord at Celtic Park on December 13, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“Sometimes, it can take an injury here or there. Or if you’re a bit lower down in the pecking order, you need to wait for that chance. Liam has done that and maybe it was unexpected.

“It did look as though he might go out on loan again, maybe to Aberdeen or someone. But he’s hung in there, got his chance and taken it with both hands. Fair play to him, Scales has been one of Celtic’s best players this season, and taking those chances when they come along are what football is all about.

“He’s kept clean sheets, he did well against Rangers at Ibrox in one of his first big games. What a big test for him. Liam must be one of the first names on the teamsheet now, and he has really stepped up with the injuries to the likes of Carter-Vickers too.”

Liam Scales during the UEFA EURO 2024 Group B match between Netherlands and Ireland at The Johan Cruijff Arena, on November 18, 2023. (Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)

Indeed Mulgrew admits that Scales reminds him of himself in the way he plays the game. “The way he plays, a left-sided centre-half, and the way he got into the team, all reminds me a bit of my time there and it’s good to see it.

“He has the attributes. He’s composed on the ball and that’s important with the way Celtic want to play. Scales seems to sense danger well, he sniffs it out and heads the ball when it comes into his box.

“It’s hard, but you just have to keep training away and hope that opportunity comes. Sometimes you need an injury or something to get that wee break, but you then need the mental strength when it comes around to go on and step up and take it.”

Scales also gives better balance to the Celtic central defence that under the previous partnership of Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt as both were right footed players. Scales is a left-footer and that something that Celtic have been looking for, for a few years now.

There’s some chat about Scales being an average player going through a purple patch but that’s both unfair and unkind. Judge him by his performances in the Hoops and also for Ireland and if you do that it’s hard to find fault. And Charlie Mulgrew is perfectly correct, Liam Scales is going to be a contender for the POTY awards if he can remain as consistent as he’s been so far this season. Long may that good form continue!

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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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