Was Mark Lawwell Always Fighting A Losing Battle At Celtic?

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Around this time last week it was announced that Mark Lawwell would be stepping down from his role as Head of Recruitment at Celtic.

It’s fair to say that it’s an appointment which just didn’t work out.

Perhaps it was doomed from the start due to inevitable suggestion of nepotism, or perhaps, as shown by previous incumbents Nick Hammond and Lee Congerton, two years is just about the maximum time that anyone spends in that role.

Ultimately however, the players brought in during his tenure simply weren’t good enough, and for that reason the former City Football Group man is now looking for his next role.

But, with Lawwell now on gardening leave until the end of the season, should Celtic be looking to find a swift replacement OR do we need to review our signing strategy first and foremost before any such moves are made?


Speaking on Graham Spiers’ Press Box podcast at the beginning of this week, journalist Stephen McGowan – someone who’s often first with any breaking Celtic news – revealed what appears to be a startling summer signing policy for a club that would once again be competing in the Champions League.

McGowan suggested that the criteria for any new players stipulated an age bracket of 19 – 23, preferably with international experience, wages of anywhere between £10k – £18k per week, and a transfer fee of under £5M.

Looking solely at our summer signings, and taking loan signings Paolo Bernardo and Nat Phillips (remember him?) out of the equation, then ALL seven players meet this criteria.

Odin Thiago Holm (20 at time of signing), Marco Tilio (21), Yang (21), Kwon (22), Maik Nawrocki (22), Gustaf Lagerbielke (23) & Luis Palma (23).

As we know, only Yang and Luis Palma have had any notable impact on Celtic’s first team so far this season.

Indeed two of these players currently find themselves on loan, such was their inability to forge their way into the manager’s plans.


If these are indeed the constraints that Mark Lawwell had to work under then you could argue that he done EXACTLY what was asked of him in his role as Head of Recruitment.

Were he challenged with finding us players at say 24 – 27 years of age, with experience of European competition, and in a price range of £6M – £10M then it’s feasible that the manager would have been presented with a completely different set of options, and ones far more suited to the challenges of competing in club football’s top competition than the players that were recruited.

We don’t know the inner workings of Celtic’s transfer model, of course we don’t, and can only speculate on the evidence that we see in terms of the players we actually signed.

On that evidence however the summer was a spectacular failure and it’s little wonder we’ve now been dragged into what looked to be a very avoidable title scrap.

It’s indeed possible that we did target players in those higher brackets and were either met with resistance from their clubs, or simply weren’t willing to be held to ransom in terms of transfer fees or wages.

With around £70M in the bank though, that argument is hard to swallow for many supporters.


It’s unclear at this time if Celtic are now actively recruiting for Mark Lawwell’s former role, or if the club may now take this opportunity to review our overall scouting and signing strategy.

In the short statement announcing his resignation no mention was made of seeking out a replacement at this time.

So is this the perfect time for us to appoint a Director of Football?

Someone to work closely with Michael Nicholson and the board on an effective football strategy.

A strategy to see us excel here in Scotland, to nurture the undoubted talent we have in the Academy, and to regain our diminishing reputation in Europe.

Someone to actively support our next Head of Recruitment and to ensure whoever that may be doesn’t endure a similarly short reign to that of Lawwell, Hammond and Congerton.

It’s a move many fans would like to see the club make, and now may just be the ideal time to do so.

For Mark Lawwell – unquestionably a Celtic fan and someone who will have been desperate to succeed at the club – it wasn’t to be and he’ll now be actively pursuing his next role in the game.

We’re not alone in scrutinising and criticising his performance since his arrival in summer 2022, but maybe – just maybe – he was fighting a losing battle from the start.

Tune in now to the latest episode of The Celtic Exchange Weekly // Rodgers Calls It Out, Recruitment Reshuffle Required & The battle To Save Celtic!

Available wherever you get your podcasts or via the player below.

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1 thought on “Was Mark Lawwell Always Fighting A Losing Battle At Celtic?”

  1. You would expect the recruitment side of the club to work alongside a manager to be looking for players that would fit into how the manager wants to set the team up and intend to play?
    Very little evidence on show, to say that has been applied whatsoever?
    Always felt squad numbers was a potential issue when Rodgers first took over, and increased with losing 3 also?
    Yet so many have fitted into whatever Rodgers intentions are, and still no one really knows what was his own involvement within such a bad process?
    Yet I don’t hold any sympathy towards Rodgers with this trying to do the job under such restraints in place?
    Simply because of the regression in form of so many established players who we should have been able to build upon?
    Haven’t a clue what type of players Rodgers is actually looking for now, especially when our team has totally lost the identity we had in place for 2 years and totally wrecked within 6 months of Rodgers management?
    The whole process is a total mess, and heads need to roll for the chaos caused and the wasting of millions to be getting so little in return currently?
    A major rethink is required in strategy, yet no-one in place to be making the decisions required, and possibly can’t be until the future of Rodgers is decided upon?
    Personally think Rodgers decision making has been truly awful in general this season, and looking like a shadow of a manager he once was, and would be happy enough to see him replaced come the end of the season, regardless of how it plays out imo?
    If we really are looking for change then so many have to be replaced, for providing such underwhelming results in positions for which they remain responsible of not delivering upon the demands of the club imo?
    A massive summer awaits, but a massive clear out is possibly required before a new operation for the club can be installed imo?
    It’s not like any new people would be starting with nothing as still plenty there to work with?
    More a case of not the expectations are not been met whatsoever this season, and those responsible should be moved out as far as I’m concerned, and way to many responsible also for my liking?
    We have become very stale within the club, and potentially on the verge of things becoming very toxic?
    This on the back of an historic treble won, to where we currently are is a disgraceful situation to find ourselves in, and just how quickly it was allowed to happen?

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