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Celtic: Scott McKenna lined up by Hoops if other defenders leave

Celtic: Scott McKenna lined up by Hoops if other defenders leave - Celtic

Celtic are believed to be considering a move for Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna if other players depart the club before the transfer window closes.

Bristol Live reported that the Scottish champions are interested in the 22-year-old, but would only make a move if they end up selling either Kristoffer Ajer or Jozo Simunovic.

According to The Scottish Sun, Ajer has emerged as a transfer target for Leicester as a possible replacement for Harry Maguire.

Bristol Live claimed that Bristol City are also in the race to sign McKenna, for whom Nottingham Forest have had two bids rejected by Aberdeen.

McKenna has been a regular presence in the Aberdeen defence in the last two seasons, making 78 appearances and scoring five goals, prior to handing in a transfer request on Monday, as reported by The Scottish Sun.

He enjoyed a rapid rise during 2018, making his Scotland debut and then captaining his country less than three months later while also being the subject of an unsuccessful £3.5million bid from Celtic, as reported by BBC.

At 6 ft 3 (1.89m), he should offer a tall, commanding presence at the back, with a scout report on Soccersouls describing him as a “left-footed, ball-playing defender“.

Bristol Live noted how he frequently plays as a left-sided centre-back who is comfortable with operating in either a three or four-man defensive system.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has used both of those defensive line-ups so far this season, tending to favour 4-2-3-1 but deviating to 3-5-2 for the first leg of the Champions League second round qualifier against Nomme Kalju (via Transfermarkt).

However, if McKenna ends up at Celtic Park as a replacement for either Ajer or Simunovic, he would have some hefty boots to fill should either of the current Celtic centre-back duo leave.

Celtic conceded only 13 goals in the Scottish Premiership last season in 28 games with Ajer on the pitch (10 in 23 games during the regular season, three in five after the split), an average of just 0.46 per game. In the 10 Scottish Premiership games Celtic played without him, they leaked seven goals (0.7 per game).

Simunovic was limited to just 18 Premiership appearances during an injury-hit season but Celtic let in a mere seven goals with him on the field (four in 13 regular season games, three in five post-split), a concession rate of 0.38 per game. In 20 games without him, they shipped 13 goals, an average of 0.65 per game.

Celtic’s defensive records with and without Ajer and Simunovic illustrate just how vital those two are to the cause.

Even though McKenna has enjoyed a rapid rise over the last couple of years, he would likely find it very difficult to match the standards set by Ajer and Simunovic if either of those leave.

However, with Scotland’s transfer window remaining open until September 2nd, Celtic may have the edge on the likes of Bristol City in the hunt for McKenna’s signature.

Celtic fans, do you think McKenna would be an adequate replacement if either Simunovic or Ajer leave? Let us know your views in the comments section below!


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Article title: Celtic: Scott McKenna lined up by Hoops if other defenders leave

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