It seems that Charlie Nicholas has gone back to his old way of criticising Celtic and our players.
Nicholas has been surprisingly positive about Celtic ever since manager Ange Postecoglou took charge last summer, after building a career in the Scottish press criticising everything Celtic for as long as he’s done the job.
But it looks like the mask has slipped with this latest rant.
Writing in his Express newspaper column, Nicholas wrote:
“In my view, Ange Postecoglou only has four players who are established at this level in Europe – Joe Hart, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Josip Juranovic and Callum McGregor.”
“I don’t think Matt O’Riley is too far away and if he continues to progress he will hit those heights. But as well as Jota, the jury is out on Japanese trio Kyogo Furuhashi, Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda.”
“There is no question these guys are top players for Celtic in domestic competitions but question marks will remain until they are doing the business on a regular basis in the Champions League.”
“There have been fleeting moments here in this season’s games against Real Madrid, RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk but they need to bring more and truly deliver in this competition.”
” I certainly believe they all have the ability and potential – but it is about them showing it.”
“They need to use tomorrow’s group curtain-closer against Real to prove to their manager that they are good enough to help Celtic take the next step in the Champions League.”
First of all, adding that Jota hasn’t proven himself after missing two of the five games through injury, even though he scored away to Leipzig, is very harsh.
There are several players that he hasn’t mentioned, such as Giakoumakis, Taylor, Jenz, Haksabanovic, etc, so why could he not have just left him out of the conversation like those players, instead of insisting that the “jury is out on Jota”?
Kyogo and Maeda, I can accept, because you’d be hard pressed to find any Celtic fan who could convincingly argue that they both had anything other than poor Champions League campaigns this season when they’ve played.
What I can’t accept is his criticism of Reo Hatate, who has been one of Celtic’s stand-out performers in the competition this season.
For Charlie to also say the “jury is out on Hatate” is quite frankly ridiculous.
Josip Juranovic and Joe Hart have both gotten a lot of criticism during the campaign, yet, Nicholas has chosen to add those players to a list of only four in his eyes who are Champions League quality.
Either Nicholas doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about, or he hasn’t even bothered to watch Celtic’s games this season.