Celtic could have avoided the “season from hell” by signing Ivan Toney instead of Albian Ajeti in the summer.
That is according to ex-Scottish Premiership striker Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the striker who Peterborough director of football Barry Fry confirmed had attracted interest from Celtic in the summer.
Toney, 25, ultimately joined Brentford where has been a revelation, scoring 28 goals in 36 Championship matches this season.
Celtic instead turned their attention to then-West Ham striker Albian Ajeti, who joined in August for £5million.
Ajeti has netted six times in 27 appearances this season and Whelan insists that Celtic’s disastrous season could have been averted had Toney taken his place.
“That was their biggest mistake, signing Ajeti over Toney,” he told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs.
“He’s a natural goalscorer, they don’t come around that often. When they do, you’ve got to snap them up quickly.
“Maybe they thought the risk was that he might not adapt. Sometimes you rue those mistakes in not taking a chance on a player.
“It’s one of these where he probably would have gone and got 30-plus goals in the Scottish Premiership, no doubt. Now, they have had a season from hell.
“But they’ve got to move on from that because they’re not going to sign him for the amount of money they were back then.”
Celtic surrendered their nine-year hold on the Scottish Premiership title in March and crashed out of the Europa League at the group stage.
Brentford meanwhile are seeking promotion from the Championship and are 4th in the table with just nine games remaining.