Celtic

Profit Players: Tony Watt never kicked on at Celtic after famous Champions League goal

This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.

Celtic enjoyed a memorable Europa League victory a few days ago when they beat Lazio 2-1 in Rome to secure their passage to the knockout stages and record their first win in Italy in European competition. [via Sky Sports]

That result came seven years to the day after another famous night for the Hoops in Europe, when they beat Barcelona by the same scoreline at Parkhead in the Champions League.

Neil Lennon, who was Celtic’s manager that night as well, introduced teenage striker Tony Watt during the second half with the home side 1-0 ahead and the youngster repaid his manager’s faith by finding the net in the 83rd minute with a goal that ultimately proved decisive after Lionel Messi scored a late consolation. [via BBC]

November 2012 would be a hugely rewarding month in Watt’s career, as he followed up that goal with another off the bench in a Premiership game at St Johnstone four days later and signed a new contract at the club the following week.

The youngster had hinted at plentiful promise earlier that year when, on his Celtic debut, he scored twice in five minutes upon coming on as a substitute, but he would not manage to build on the famous winner against Barcelona.

He wouldn’t score again for the rest of the 2012/13 season after that wonderful week in November and, with the Hoops signing Amido Balde and Teemu Pukki the following summer, the Coatbridge native was loaned out to Lierse for the 2013/14 campaign, as per BBC.

He had a good scoring return with the Belgian club (nine goals in 18 games) but fell foul of manager Stanley Menzo on more than one occasion, with the coach questioning Watt’s fitness and sending him home following a training ground argument, as well as demoting him to their reserve team after the player criticised him in public.

Watt returned to Celtic in summer 2014 and was on the bench for a Champions League qualifying win over KR Reykjavik, but having reportedly attracted interest from several Belgian clubs after his spell at Lierse, the Hoops sold him to Standard Liege for £1.2m, as per Sky Sports.

That transfer was less than five and a half years ago, but the now 25-year-old has since played for no fewer than eight clubs, including three loan spells during his time as a Charlton player. [via TransferMarkt]

He might only have played for Celtic’s first team 34 times, but that is still his third-highest appearance total for a club during his nomadic career, one which has taken in Scotland, Belgium, England and now Bulgaria, having joined CSKA Sofia this summer.

Watt’s highest scoring return for a single season since Celtic sold him was the eight-goal haul of 2014/15 between Standard Liege and Charlton – the Belgian outfit moved him on just six months after purchasing him from the Hoops, as per TransferMarkt.

Having failed to settle down at any one club during his career, and having never really pushed on since that goal against Barcelona seven years ago, Celtic’s decision to sell Watt for £1.2m has proven to be a smart piece of business.

Celtic fans, were the club right to sell Watt when they did? Were you disappointed that he never pushed on after the goal against Barcelona? Comment below with your views!

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Profit Players: Tony Watt never kicked on at Celtic after famous Champions League goal
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