McNamara claims long-term Celtic transfer hunt as international ace quits at 'right time'


Jackie McNamara has insisted it was the ideal time for Mikael Lustig to leave Celtic as the club continue their long-term transfer hunt for a new right back.

The former Hoops and Scotland star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, says that the Hoops have been hunting for a new first-team full back for a number of years and that losing Lustig will not be a big blow for next season.

The 75-cap international departed Parkhead at the end of his contract and it was confirmed on Friday (21 June) that he would be joining Belgian side Gent.

Asked by Football Insider how big a loss he would be to the side, McNamara said: “I don’t know, I think it was the right time. He’s been a good servant for them over the years but I think Celtic’s been looking for a right back for a while now.

“They’ve not managed to find somebody over the past year or two to fill that gap. They’ve had (Cristian) Gamboa and the lad on loan from Dortmund (Jeremy Toljan) so they’ll be looking to get somebody in there to stamp that position down.”

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The 32-year-old made a total of 276 appearances for the Bhoys during his time in Glasgow, winning eight league titles, four Scottish Cups and four Scottish League Cups but McNamara does not think his experience will be too much of a loss.

“I don’t think so, you’ve still got the lads with experience in with the likes of (Scott) Browny and all the lads over the last number of years,” he told Football Insider.

“You’ve got the younger ones who are now mature, you’ve got (Callum) McGregor, (James) Forrest and everybody else there so I don’t see it being a big problem.” 

Despite the competition from Toljan in the second half of the season, the Swedish ace still turned out 44 times across all competitions for Celtic during the 2018/19 campaign.

In other Celtic news, it can be REVEALED that the Hoops are chasing a Scotland international to add to their squad this summer.