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Celtic TT Roundup: Hoops scouting Ismaila Soro and Jarrad Branthwaite as opposition manager lauds Neil Lennon’s team

In this instalment of our TT Roundup, Football Transfer Tavern have gathered three of the biggest stories to have involved Celtic recently and have provided our thoughts on the reports published.

Hoops scout Ismaila Soro

Celtic manager Neil Lennon

According to the Daily Record, Celtic sent scouts to Israel last weekend to watch £3m-rated midfielder Ismaila Soro.

The 21-year-old Ivorian was playing for Bnei Yehuda in their 2-1 win over Hapoel Be’er Sheva and has been on a list of the Hoops’ transfer targets. [via Daily Record]

The Daily Record claims that Soro has caught the eye of manager Neil Lennon and director of football Nick Hammond, with Celtic potentially making a move for him in the January transfer window.

Verdict

Defensive midfielder Soro has started in all but one of Bnei Yehuda’s league games this season and is the latest player in his position to reportedly draw interest from Celtic, following on from Victor Wanyama (Football Insider), David Turnbull (Football Insider) and Niklas Dorsch (The Telegraph).

Oliver Birch of Read Celtic described him as “a bundle of energy who is good on the ball and has the ability to jink past players in midfield after dispossessing them”.

Apart from a handful of Europa League qualifiers, he is untested outside of Eastern European leagues, although the Hoops raided the Israeli league for Hatem Abd Elhamed last summer and he has been a regular in their excellent European campaign to date.

Nick Hammond watches Jarrad Branthwaite in action

General view outside the stadium before the Celtic v RB Leipzig Europa League - Group Stage - Group B match, 2018

Celtic’s director of football Nick Hammond has made a visit to Carlisle in person to watch teenage defender Jarrad Branthwaite in action, according to The Scottish Sun.

Football Insider had reported last month that the Hoops were keeping tabs on the 17-year-old and The Scottish Sun has since claimed that scouting of the £1m-rated centre-back has begun.

There could be a transfer tug-of-war for the teenager’s services, though, with The Scottish Sun adding that Rangers have also sent scouts to watch him.

Verdict

Branthwaite, a 6 ft 4 centre-back, has broken through at Carlisle this season, making six starts in League Two for Steven Pressley’s side after his debut against Blackpool in the EFL trophy. [via TransferMarkt]

The manager described his performance against Plymouth last month as “outstanding“, while he has won 15 aerial duels in six league matches so far this term, attesting to his strength in the air.

However, with him only starting out now at English League Two level, he would likely join young Celtic defender Lee O’Connor in needing to bide his time before getting his chance in the first team.

Hamilton manager has high praise for Celtic

Hamilton manager Brian Rice is under no illusions about the size of the task facing his team as they travel to Parkhead to face Celtic on Wednesday night.

Speaking to PA [via Sports Mole], he said that the fixture is “as hard a game as we could possibly get” and spoke of the attacking threat that the Hoops pose.

He told PA [via Sports Mole]: “They are steamrollering teams. The goals they have scored in the last games – sixes, fours and fives. And that is not counting the chances they are missing and hitting the woodwork and whatever.”

Verdict

Rice is understandably wary of Celtic’s attacking potential, with the Hoops scoring 11 goals in their last three games and hitting four or more in a game on 10 occasions already this season.

That ruthless nature is what has Neil Lennon’s team top of the Premiership at the moment, with their 44-goal haul one ahead of Rangers, with whom they are level on points (as per Sky Sports).

However, when Celtic travelled to Hamilton earlier in the season, they had to work hard for a 1-0 win, so Rice’s team shouldn’t be dismissed completely despite their lowly ninth position.

Celtic fans, what are your thoughts on these stories? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Celtic TT Roundup: Hoops scouting Ismaila Soro and Jarrad Branthwaite as opposition manager lauds Neil Lennon’s team
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Article title: Celtic TT Roundup: Hoops scouting Ismaila Soro and Jarrad Branthwaite as opposition manager lauds Neil Lennon’s team

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