International Debut for Reported Celtic Target Ado Onaiwu in Japan’s win over Serbia

Not a great deal to report this morning Celtic-wise. There’s a story in Daily Mail where it’s being suggested that John Kennedy is ‘considering his future’ at Celtic as he awaits news on whether new manager Ange Postecoglou wants him and Gordon Strachan to remain as part of the backroom staff at Celtic.

Photo by Stuart Wallace/BPI/S

Given the Australian has no local knowledge other than what he’s heard from Tom Rogic about what it like at Celtic, you would imagine that the new boss will be needing several coaches with Scottish Premiership experience on his team, at least to begin with. Haven’t Celtic pieced this plan together, maybe after the decision made by Eddie Howe and given that Howe was offered the job before Postecoglou, what was Celtic’s plan for Kennedy and Gavin Strachan given that Howe stated that his reason for not coming to Glasgow was to do with inability to persuade various members of his own backroom staff to join him in the move North?

Still as we reported previously Postecoglou is likely to be joined by Kennedy and Gavin Strachan and that leave a Director of Football and we’d not be too shocked to find Gavin’s old man getting that gig.

For John Kennedy though if he wants to be a manager in his own right then he should probably have the courage of his convictions and go for it now. However after his underwhelming stint as Celtic Interim Manager where the results nor the performances were particularly impressive, he may well find the opportunities hard to come by. Jim McIntyre won the League Cup for Ross County and Alan Stubbs the Scottish Cup for Hibs yet neither are able to get back into the game after disappointing spells at Dundee and St Mirren respectively. It is an unforgiving game and Kennedy might be better advised to ride out the Lennon association via a few years working under Postecoglou before going it alone, if he is indeed being offered the chance to do so.

Ntcham Scores vs Lazio

Then there’s Olivier Ntcham. We broke the news last night that the French midfielder, our hero from Rome, is on the verge of a Celtic exit. Personal terms have been agreed with AEK Athens which will see the former Manchester City midfielder earn around €1m a year in the Greek capital, with Celtic writing off their transfer investment to get him off the wage bill. A talented player, nevertheless one who will be remembered more for his petted lip and poor attitude – he really disliked living in Scotland. Thanks for that winner against Lazio though.

Celtic may also have got some money off the payments due on the Vasilis Barkas transfer to allow this Ntcham deal to proceed. These kind of details usually emerge when the Annual accounts are released

We reported earlier in the week about Celtic’s new boss looking to bring in his reliable Australian national goalkeeper Mat Ryan. Here’s what Lubo98 had to say about Matt Ryan earlier this week on The Celtic Star:

Celtic should steal Postecoglou favourite from under Arsenal’s noses

Celtic should target Brighton’s Mathew Ryan as they look to address the need for a number one goalkeeper at the club. Supporters are rightfully panicking as the new season nears with no manager and no Director of Football announced yet. However, with Ange Postecoglou close to being announced as boss, one position that he will know requires immediate attention from the Australian is the goalkeeping position. £4.5m acquisition from AEK Athens, Vasilis Barkas, failed to impress and was soon deputising for Scott Bain then Conor Hazard, two players that struggled for appearances on the bench the season before. Barkas will be hoping for another shot at redemption under the new manager but Postecoglou could seek a move for one of his old favourites in between the sticks, Matt Ryan.

Arsenal had Ryan on loan during the second half of last season and are weighing up whether to sign the player on a permanent basis. However, this could depend on whether André Onana receives a reprieve from his twelve-month suspension from playing.

Brighton have already signalled their intent to sell the goalkeeper, who has just one year remaining on his contract with The Seagulls, so that could potentially open the door for Ange Postecoglou signing his former favourite. Celtic have struggled between the sticks this season with none of Barkas, Bain or Hazard impressing. Barkas may yet be afforded an opportunity to make himself the club’s No.1 but due to Arsenal’s dithering, Celtic might be able to sign Ryan.

Arsenal are said to be discussing a move for Ryan (as per Daily Express’ Ryan Taylor); however, James McNicholas of The Athletic says that Mikel Arteta may look at signing a homegrown number two goalkeeper with reported Celtic target Freddie Woodman a target.

Postecoglou and Ryan worked together for the Socceroos, which lead to Ryan winning ‘keeper of the tournament at the 2015 Asia Cup. The 29-year-old was said to be avaliable for £5m and this might be seen as shrewd business for the ex-Valencia goalie.

Speaking in 2017, Ryan praised Postecoglou and said that he hoped he remained as Socceroos manager.

“I’ve always loved Ange’s approach, the way he doesn’t see Australia as an underdog and how he asks the question, ‘Why can’t Australia do great things in the football world?’

“I agree with him. That’s how you’ve got to be. That’s the right attitude.”

The incoming manager will likely want to have players that he can trust and the goalkeeper position is one of enormous trust. Neil Lennon epitomised this in 2019 by signing Fraser Forster and he made some big saves. It was the insistence that Forster was coming back that lead to Craig Gordon leaving.

Ryan is going to be available for a reduced fee and he is clearly someone that Ange rates. At his stage in his career he will likely fancy first team football after Brighton’s snub and if Arsenal do not elect to sign him, a move to Glasgow might suit him.

Then there are the inevitable links with players moving from Japan to join up with Postecoglou in Glasgow. If we can get players anywhere near as good as Shunsuke Nakamura then we’ll be well pleased.

One of several players from the J-League linked with a move to Paradise is Yokohama striker Ado Onaiwu. The 25 year old only has six months of his current contract remaining so the timing is perfect if Celtic are indeed interested in the striker who has scored 10 goals in his last 16 matches. The striker made his debut for Japan last night in the 1-0 win over Serbia.

Ado Onaiwu JPN, JUNE 11, 2021 : KIRIN Challenge Cup match between Japan 1-0 Serbia at Noevier Stadium Kobe, Hyogo, Japan.

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

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