Charlie Nicholas offers Celtic January transfer window strategy as he reaffirms defensive fragility as area of concern

The former Sky Sports pundit has called on the Hoops to complete ‘next Kieran Tierney’ deal

Former Celtic striker Charlie Nicholas believes his old club should target three new signings during the January transfer window - with talented Hibernian youngster Josh Doig at the top of his wish list.

Hoops manager Ange Postecoglou unearthed Japanese sensation Kyogo Furuhashi and Portuguese wing wizard Jota during an extensive summer re-build, while also adding the likes of fellow success stories Joe Hart and Cameron Carter-Vickers to his new-look squad.

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Despite trailing rivals Rangers by four points in the Scottish Premiership after both Old Firm clubs sealed weekend victories over Livingston and Aberdeen respectively, Nicholas is adamant the Parkhead outfit can mount a serious title challenge this season providing they add a bit more quality to their squad.

Postecoglou’s side have caught the eye so far with their all-out attacking approach but the Hoops defensive fragility remains a concern for Nicholas and something he would like to see the club address in January.

Writing in his Daily Express column, he said: “Celtic need three signings in the January window and my top target would be Josh Doig.

Hibs left-back Josh Doig has been the subject of speculation surrounding his future. Picture: SNS

“There is no doubt Ange Postecoglou is making good progress but they still need a bit more, especially defensively.

“The backline was exposed again in Europe with last week’s defeat in Bayer Leverkusen. There will remain question marks when Celtic play the top team and they are still chasing Rangers in the league.

“They need a left-back and I would go for Doig at Hibs. He has just signed a new contract so they would have to cough up a decent transfer fee but he is one for the future.

“I see him in the Kieran Tierney mould and if he keeps developing he will get better and better.

“Celtic can’t go out and buy the finished article. They need to develop players and sell them on. That is the club’s model.

“It also looks like Celtic are quite far down the road to sign a second Japanese talent in Reo Hatate, who can also play left-back.

“Kyogo Furuhashi has done well and Takehiro Tomiyasu is also doing well at my other club, Arsenal, so it is clear Japan is a developing market for European teams.

“If Celtic signed both Doig and Hatate that would be the left-back spot covered and you could push Josip Juranovic across to the other flank to fight it out with Anthony Ralston for a start.

“I would also like to see another left-sided central defender brought in. The Celtic backline needs more balance and maybe somebody who is a bit more comfortable on the ball.

“If Celtic can make those additions then they would be in a place to really kick on again.

“Christopher Jullien is getting close to fitness but nobody knows how long it will take to get him up to speed, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Stephen Welsh and Carl Starfelt all need too many touches before they get the ball moving and it slows down Celtic and their play.

Celtic's Christopher Jullien has been struck down by the virus (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

“That was the case in the Aberdeen game with James McCarty the same again sitting in front of the defence. If Celtic can make those additions then they would be in a place to really kick on again..

“They looks good going forward and I have been impressed with Joe Hart in goal. I wasn’t sure when they signed him but he has done really well.

“Ange is taking the team and squad forward but he needs more help behind him.”