Anthony Ralston has been given a shock Celtic contract extension, tying him to the club for another 12 months [The Scottish Sun].
The Lowdown: Celtic gear up for 2021/22
As Celtic look to re-shape ahead of 2021/22, their supporters will be intrigued to see how the Hoops go about mounting a sustainable title challenge this time around.
Despite not yet entering into the transfer market, the Hoops have been heavily linked with moves for Charlie Wyke and Mat Ryan as they eye positional reinforcements [Football Insider].
Keeping hold of key players will also be of equal importance to newly-appointed Celtic coach Ange Postecoglou, but one of the manager’s first acts of defiance has come as something of a surprise.
Does Ralston deserve his contract extension at Celtic?
The Latest: Ralston agrees one-year extension
Ralston has been given an unexpected lifeline at Parkhead, penning a new deal until the summer of 2022 [The Scottish Sun]. He was originally due to be out of contract at the end of June, but Celtic have triggered a one-year prolongment clause to keep him in Glasgow for the foreseeable future.
The 22-year-old has rebuffed interest in his services from Premiership and Championship clubs by committing his future to the Glasgow giants [The Scottish Sun]. Ralston is now set to be given an opportunity to impress Postecoglou in pre-season training at Lennoxtown this week [67 Hail Hail].
The Verdict: New deal for Ralston necessary
The decision to keep Ralston on at Celtic may divide opinion amongst many Bhoys supporters.
On one hand, he is the only right-back on the books at Celtic Park with any senior experience. Since breaking into the first team picture in 2016/17, he has made just 20 appearances for the Celts, registering four goal contributions, with two goals and two assists [Transfermarkt].
He has never got close to holding down a regular spot in the Celtic starting line-up. Indeed, the 22-year-old has featured on loan for Dundee United, St Johnstone and Queens Park since 2015/16 [Transfermarkt].
Ralston only made a solitary Celtic appearance in 2020/21, partaking in a 0-0 draw at home to Livingston in January in a makeshift Hoops line up as 13 players had to isolate due to virus protocols [BBC], so news of a contract extension may come as a shock to many of the Parkhead faithful.
In reality, only time will tell with regards to whether Ralston becomes regularly involved at Celtic in the forthcoming campaign. Even if he only provides cover for prospective right-sided defensive signings, Celtic probably had little choice but to lengthen his terms due to a severe lack of depth in his positional area, and the decision to keep him appears a sensible one.
In other news, one Celtic midfielder has been linked with a move to mainland Europe.
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