As with any negative Celtic result – regardless of the competition or opposition – there is always a bit of a backlash and outcry, particularly online.

A few days have passed since Brendan Rodgers and his side fell 2-0 to Lazio, fronted by the lethal Ciro Immobile. As you would expect, the support has been venting their frustrations into many different areas and avenues, with criticism being directed to the players, manager and the hierarchy of the club.

However, there has been one sector in particular that has been almost universally condemned since Celtic’s game in Rome concluded, and that is the recruitment over the past two years. With good reason, too, as a quick Google search reveals just how much the scouting team has misfired over the last three transfer windows.

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Appointed in 2022, Mark Lawwell – son of chairman and former chief executive Peter - has fronted the recruitment processes of Celtic. His official job title is that of Head of First Team Scouting and Recruitment, similar to the role he had at CFG (City Football Group). Interestingly, the press release by Celtic has former manager Ange Postecoglou as its cover photo, as well as quotes from the man in charge of the team at the time.

Indeed, Postecoglou’s quotes offered a glowing reference to the man who spent the last 10 years working alongside clubs such as Manchester City, Girona and Yokohama F Marinos. He said: “I was very keen for Mark to join the club and clearly I am delighted that he has accepted this important role and that we have been able to bring him to Celtic.

“I know he will be a great addition to our team, leading our first team scouting and recruitment function and delivering on our key objective of identifying and bringing exciting, talented players to the club.

“I didn’t want to make changes just for the sake of it, but we always aim to build and develop everything we do and in bringing Mark in I know we have made an appointment which will be hugely beneficial for us moving forward."

A glowing endorsement by the then-manager, who is now plying his trade in North London with Tottenham Hotspur. Officially assuming his post in the summer of 2022, Lawwell has now been in charge of Celtic’s recruitment for three windows now, which gives us a good base to analyse and assess the job he has done so far.

On paper, the summer window in 2022 had its high points, thanks to the permanent signings of both Jota and Cameron Carter-Vickers from Benfica and Spurs respectively. You can easily omit these signings from Lawwell’s record, however, as they were previously on Celtic’s books in loan capacities before both of their option-to-buy clauses were exercised. Celtic would go on to net a healthy profit for their ‘superstar from Portugal’ whilst the affectionately abbreviated ‘CCV’ has been an ever-present for the club at the back when fit.

There were a couple of astute signings, such as the free transfer pick-up of Aaron Mooy from Shanghai Port, as well as the compulsory buy of Daizen Maeda from City Group side Marinos. Loan signing from Lorient Moritz Jenz started well at the club before his minutes were cut following the World Cup break, with his deal terminated in order for the defender to return to his homeland at Schalke. He now plays for Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga after moving there permanently in the summer.

Unfortunately, this is where the positives end, as Lawwell’s record begins to turn sketchy, especially concerning permanent signings. The highest profile transfer is that of Alexandro Bernabei, who signed for just under £4 million from Lanus in his native Argentina. A lot was made about the arrival of the left-back, and how he would push Greg Taylor aggressively for a starting spot, but the 23-year-old has been a liability both on and off the pitch for the club.

Similarly, the arrival of Benjamin Siegrist has been a massive disappointment, though the reasons for his disappearance from matchday squads remain a mystery amongst both supporters and the mainstream media in general. Scott Bain’s career as direct back-up to Celtic’s number-one goalkeeper has been extended thanks to this quite bizarre turn of events for Siegrist, who has played essentially no part since he arrived at the club.

From one bizarre signing to another, the temporary signing of Oliver Abildgaard is one that had many scratching their heads. A big song and dance was made of the Denmark holding midfielder’s signing from Rubin Kazan, though this would be the most fuss made about him, as he would only play nine times before being shipped out to Hellas Verona in Italy by his parent club in Russia.

Sead Haksabanovic – also from Kazan – made more of an impact, though he finds himself out on loan at Stoke City, aided by his game-time outburst on Instagram. A talent, but an inconsistent one at that, whose Celtic career looks over after just one full season.

If we’re being fair and balanced, the January window was slightly better, as all four players are still in and around the squad, though their successes vary by individual. Alistair Johnston – fresh off the back of the World Cup – has been a consistent starter for Celtic, though his performances have dipped in recent weeks and months, particularly in Europe.

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The Japanese duo of Yuki Kobayashi and Tomoki Iwata have both found game-time hard to come by under the new manager but started several games under Postecoglou. The latter has made a handful of appearances, while the former may have to look for a new club next month. Striker Oh Hyeon-gyu has had a mixed start to life at Celtic, though goals recently have suggested a resurgence under Rodgers.

It must be said, however, that the inspiration for this article was largely motivated by how poor Celtic’s recruitment has been this season, off the back of another failed European escapade. Of the 10 senior players Lawwell’s team have signed to aid Rodgers’ return, you can only give distinctive pass marks to Luis Palma, who has delivered goals and assists since his arrival from Greece’s Aris FC.

Yes, there are potentially good players in the likes of Yang Hyun-jun and Odin Thiago Holm, as well as the known quality of Maik Nawrocki, but many of Celtic’s recruits have left a lot to be desired concerning their quality. For some, we are not even aware of how much quality they possess, as the likes of Kwon Hyeok-kyu and Marco Tilio have played a combined SEVEN minutes of competitive action between them. An estimated £2 million has been spent on these players combined, which works out at around £285 thousand for every minute each of them has played. That being said, it has only been Tilio who has taken to the field in a competitive sense, so the signing of Kwon leaves a lot to be desired in more ways than one.

The jury is still out on Gustaf Lagerbielke, who was signed as Carl Starfelt’s replacement. Despite being called up by Sweden, he has been benched – when he makes the bench – by Liam Scales, who has felt like a new signing this campaign. Nat Phillips was brought in as defensive cover, though you wouldn’t expect his loan deal to be extended in January. Paulo Bernardo has shown some glimpses of promise – especially in Europe – but his spot in the midfield isn’t a secure one. Time will tell if Celtic exercises their option to buy with that one.

Have I made my point clear enough yet?

This is not the recruitment befitting of a club like Celtic, and it is no surprise that you have started to see the team falter as a result. There is now added pressure on Celtic with Sunday’s trip to Perth at McDiarmid Park, as Rodgers’ side have failed to win their last two games. As much as some of the blame has to fall on the players and manager for yet another negative block of results, perhaps the problem lies higher up in terms of recruitment.

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The parallels to Rodgers’ first spell in charge are aligning once again, and not in a positive way. Despite the unprecedented success that he delivered in his two and a half years in charge of the club, there was an obvious disconnect between the manager and his hierarchy, who refused to sufficiently back a born winner with the tools to succeed. Need I make the Maryan Shved example again?

As much as the manager talks about his lack of issue with the transfer model, that very model is failing him. The time for so-called ‘projects’ littered through this Celtic side is over. It is time to move the needle ever so slightly and ensure that the club has the quality on the park to at least lay a glove on Europe’s elite when the time comes.

For now, Lawwell’s recruitment report card has a ‘must do better’ marked next to his name. Here’s hoping we see the beginnings of those much-needed improvements soon, starting next month in the January transfer window…