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SALES TALK: SIR KENNY’S VERDICT ON CELTIC, GERS

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CELTIC legend Sir Kenny Dalglish reckons the January Sales will be crucial to both Ange Postecoglou and his Ibrox counterpart Michael Beale.

Once again, the Hoops boss is wasting no time trying to take care of business with incomings and outgoings.

Postecoglou was forced to hit the ground running in June 2021 when he took over as the club’s long-term successor to Neil Lennon who had departed four months earlier with the team in disarray and heading for their first trophyless season in 11 years.

The Greek-Australian gaffer had no option but to plunge into the market with the likes of Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie heading for the exit after a miserable campaign.

The previous summer’s £9.5million recruits, striker Albian Ajeti, from West Ham, and goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas, from AEK Athens, proved to be expensive mistakes.

Hoops, Liverpool and Scotland icon Dalglish said: “As has been the case at Celtic during Ange Postecoglou’s time as manager, recently they’ve been very proactive in the transfer market.

“This time last year, he recruited the likes of Reo Hatate, Matt O’Riley and Daizen Maeda and it catapulted the club towards the title.

“We’re only at the end of the first week of this winter transfer window, but Big Ange has already signed Yuki Kobayashi, Alistair Johnston and Tomoki Iwata.

“By all accounts, all three will have positive things to offer and can be key in the second half of the season.

“We got a good look at Johnston last week in the Old Firm game and he showed up very well. What a match for him to make his debut in, but that showed the faith his manager has in him.

“He is a World Cup player with Canada, so he knows his way around a football pitch.

“Does his arrival mean the end for Josip Juranovic? Well, he’s been linked with big clubs from the English and Spanish top flights.

“He was signed 18 months ago from Legia Warsaw for around £2.5-million. His valuation now, we are led to believe, is in excess of £15million.

“He had a very impressive World Cup with Croatia, and also has attracted attention for his performances at Celtic. If he does move on, I don’t think it’s because the Parkhead club want to cash in on him.

“I’m sure they would rather keep him as they push to win all competitions at domestic level.

“However, there comes a point when you need to be fair to the player. If there is an opportunity to move to a bigger and better European league, then it has to be looked at.

“If a handsome financial profit is involved, then all the better.

“We will see how this one plays out, but there is no doubt that Juranovic owes a debt of gratitude to Celtic. They really helped put him on the map.”

Dalglish, writing in the Sunday Post, continued: “Giorgos Giakoumakis also appears to be on the radar of a few clubs.

“The striker has scored some excellent goals for Celtic, but isn’t first choice with Kyogo Furuhashi regarded as the main man up front.

“However, Giakoumakis has had a positive impact in some vital games. I rate him.

“Again, I don’t think he is one Ange will be ushering out the door. But if he does go, Celtic appear to have options they are considering.

“They are prepared for all eventualities and that’s the sign of an organised football club.

“The Celtic squad looks very, very strong and very capable and the 2-2 draw at Ibrox – something I predicted in this column – was a measure of their attitude and spirit.

“It keeps them very much in pole position for the title and they must feel confident of retaining it.

“A draw wasn’t the worst result, either, for Rangers.

“I think they felt the loss of John Lundstram when he went off injured. But considering they lost 4-0 in the Old Firm clash in September, there are positives to take.

“Michael Beale, however, knows he needs to bring in some fresh talent. And the sooner he does that, the better.

“Perhaps he will need to sell before he can buy? Time will tell.

“The Rangers boss knows the market and has good contacts.

“I’m sure he would have had targets when he was manager of QPR and maybe he will now move for them to bring them to Ibrox.

“It’s a case of improving the squad over the next two windows because Michael will know that a draw against Celtic this time next year is unlikely to be deemed acceptable.”

Dalglish added: “What also needs to be worked on is VAR. I wasn’t overly impressed with it during the Old Firm game.

“In general terms, the onfield referee must be given the final say on any decisions. He should be allowed to go to the monitor and look at any incidents.

“I’d also like to know how decisions are reached and why John Beaton wasn’t asked to view the monitor for any decisions last Monday.

“There is no harm in giving football clubs and football supporters clearer lines of communication and information.

“I think everybody is entitled to get that. Transparency is important at all levels.”

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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