Celtic have certainly suffered on the defensive front this season and the kind of fragility that undermined Brendan Rodgers’ stint in charge of Liverpool has crept in of late. Indeed, their inability to properly defend cost them a place in the Champions League and there clearly needs to be a huge improvement if they are going to return.
With that in mind, the Hoops absolutely must strengthen in January. While the club may well have endured a difficult summer on the transfer front – particularly when it came to buying a Hibernian player – Rodgers must cast his glances back to the Scottish capital when the New Year sales open.
Hibs star Ryan Porteous should be of interest to Rodgers. The central defender has emerged as a wonderful defensive prospect over at Easter Road, despite the fact he has struggled to command a regular starting berth under Neil Lennon until recently, at a time during which the Scottish game is calling out for one.
Porteous is by no means a flash centre-back, rather a stoutly resolute one. Despite his tender age of 19, the Scotland U21 man looks a real force in both boxes and could provide a long-term partner for the occasionally imperious, yet often erratic Jack Hendry for both club and country.
As Alex McLeish found out during the international break, Scotland are desperately short on numbers defensively and Porteous is making a real name for himself, so it could potentially be a hugely exciting partnership.
Under a coach like Rodgers, or whoever comes to Parkhead over the coming years, it’s not hard to imagine the young defender developing his ability on the ball, such are the demands of playing for the Bhoys. Indeed, while we’ve not seen a huge amount from him in that aspect of his game, Hibs’ academy does tend to produce good footballers, so he’s coming from good stock.
While Ponteous has a long way to go, Celtic should consider signing him soon to avoid another John McGinn-like saga.