By Alan Hutton

15th Jan, 2021 | 8:00am

'He didn't fancy Celtic' - Exclusive: Pundit reacts as Hoops suffer transfer heartache

Celtic may have to take another risk in the transfer window after missing out on re-signing Filip Benkovic from Leicester City, according to Alan Hutton.

The former Rangers and Scotland full-back, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, has admitted the Bhoys need a new centre-back this month and that the Croatia international would have been a welcome return to the squad.

As revealed by Football Insider on Monday, Celtic had held talks over re-signing the centre-back for the second half of the season but were beaten to his capture by OH Leuven.

Leicester confirmed the 23-year-old’s move to Belgium on Tuesday after an unsuccessful spell at Cardiff City during the first half of the campaign.

Hutton has insisted Celtic need a player who can “hit the ground running” at Parkhead and that missing out on Benkovic will be a bitter pill to swallow.

Hutton told Football Insider: It’s always good to go back to a player who’s played at that level, who’s playing at a high level at the moment, obviously at a very good team.

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“He’d have known, coming back to Celtic, what he was on, as we mentioned he’s played in the league and things but maybe he’s looking at it and saying: ‘I don’t fancy going back there, it’s not the right time for me or the right move in my career.’

“They’re maybe going to have to go out to the unknown and that’s where it can be very difficult as we’ve seen with Barkas. They’ve paid a lot of money for a goalkeeper and it’s not quite worked.

“They’re going to have to pick someone who is going to be able to come in and really hit the ground running as soon as possible because it’s been a problem area for them this season.” 

Benkovic spent the 2018/19 campaign in Glasgow and played 27 times on the way to winning the Premiership title, the Scottish League Cup and the Scottish Cup.

In other news, Frank McAvennie has been left raging over a decision involving Tom Rogic.