Now that Celtic have signed an experienced defender in Carl Starfelt, they are no longer having to rely on youth prospects such as Dane Murray, with Stephen Welsh and Nir Bitton ahead of him.

Celtic might think of bringing in another youth prospect to develop with more experience than Murray as fourth or fifth choice centre-back for the coming season.

One such player that has perhaps gone under the radar is Jamie Hamilton at Hamilton. He has played over 4,000 minutes of football including a full top-flight campaign in Scotland, which is an impressive haul considering he turned just 19 back in March.

Hamilton has been linked with big moves for decent money before, even impressing at a trial with data-driven Brighton.

He is a right-footed, 5ft 10in central defender who is good on the ball and a competent stopper by Premiership standards.

He has played on the right of a back three and on the right side of a back four meaning he has learned different roles at an early stage in his development which would offer Celtic flexibility if he is signed.

He came through the Hamilton Accies youth system, breaking into the team as a 17-year-old a few seasons back. With his contract up in 2022 Celtic could pick him up for a minimal fee and develop him into a first-team player over the coming seasons.

Heat Map/Positional Information

The heat maps, Hamilton (top) and Jullien (below) show the positional difference in systems. On the side of a back three, you can get forward more in wide areas to affect play. This system suits Hamilton as he isn’t fully physically developed yet so it offers him more protection defensively. It also gives more license to use his key attributes on the ball which his team require to progress the ball forward.

Celtic Way:

Celtic Way:


For centre-backs I have created two radars – defensive and ball-playing.

Maximum and minimum data for radars comes from WyScout data of SPFL Premiership centre backs that have started at least 10 games.

Defensive Radar

Hamilton is defensively very active which is unsurprising given the Accies were one of the weakest teams in the topflight.

He achieves a lot of successful defensive actions p90 at 12.71 which is higher than any Celtic centre-back last season. Considering his youth, he has a good defensive duel success rate at 68 per cent, which is just ahead of Welsh.

With his inexperience, there are weaknesses in his game.

This can be seen through his limited number of PAdj interceptions of 5.45, which is lower than any Celtic central defender last season, suggesting naivety in his positioning and decision making. This is reinforced by his poor aerial duel success rate of 50% which will be a product of poor positioning and lack of physical profile.

Overall, defensively Hamilon shows some good indications that he is competent in ground duels but also that he has issues with positional awareness and physicality.

Celtic Way:

On The Ball Radar

Where Hamilton shows early signs of elite potential is on the ball.

In terms of dribbles p90 where he goes past an opponent, he is top amongst centre-backs in Scotland at 2.36 p90, far ahead of Ajer who is at an (also impressive) 1.78 p90.

At the Accies, Hamilton doesn’t get on the ball as much as a Celtic defender but when he does he demonstrates his potential. Across a range of passing styles he provides good accuracy that you would expect to increase significantly if he developed in a more dominant side like Celtic.

Celtic Way:


I think Hamilton would be a safe, inexpensive signing that could benefit Celtic in the long term. The data shows he has elite potential as a ball playing centre-back.

He has a lot of areas to improve and, if signed, would likely benefit from a season on loan within the top flight in Scotland to continue his development.

He profiles defensively similarly to Osaze Urhoghide with many defensive actions and poor ability in the air. On the ball, however, the data indicates he is already more competent than Celtic’s summer signing.

What’s more interesting about this comparison is that Hamilton is around two years younger than Urhoghide, which would indicate when he reaches 20 years of age he could be ahead of Urhoghide in terms of overall ability and development.