Short-term hit or long-term flop? 25-year-old Celtic ace needs to start performing
COMMENT By James Black
Celtic’s Stuart Armstrong was expected to be a huge part of Celtic’s success this season after rising to prominence as part of Brendan Rodgers’ ‘Invincibles’ last season but so far the former Dundee United midfielder has been a shadow of the player who was unplayable as the Hoops romped to an undefeated domestic treble.
When Armstrong moved to Glasgow in February 2015 in a double-swoop alongside Gary Mackay-Steven, big things were expected for one of the most naturally-gifted midfielders in Scottish football but almost three years on the Scotland international is still fighting to establish himself as a key member of the starting XI.
Callum McGregor, Tom Rogic and Olivier Ntcham have all replaced Armstrong in the starting XI at one point or another and against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, Armstrong looked much more like the player of last season.
Six months ago, Armstrong was taking games by the scruff of the neck and making things happen for Celtic but too often now he drifts out of games and only shows the briefest of glimpses of his undoubted ability.
The 25-year-old started brightly in the 2-1 loss against Bayern but faded in the second-half before being replaced by Leigh Griffiths after the German side’s second goal.
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He was far from the worst player for Celtic against Jupp Heynckes’ side and actually had one of the his best games in the last few months and – at times – showed exactly how effective he can be.
Mackay-Steven has already left the Scottish champions to try his luck elsewhere and, while Armstrong reportedly had offers to leave Celtic over the summer, it’s unlikely that he is also going to be heading out of the exit door any time soon.
Armstrong needs to get back to the level of performances he was putting in last season and prove to be a long-term hit for the Glasgow titans.
In other Celtic news, Chris Sutton has delivered his thoughts on Tierney’s new contract.