Why Celtic should return for Stephen O’Donnell to bolster their defence
Back in May 2019, a report from The Scottish Sun had mentioned Celtic among the potential suitors for right-back Stephen O’Donnell, who was then plying his trade with Kilmarnock. Several EFL Championship outfits were also understood to be interested in the 28-year-old but he ended up staying put at Rugby Park.
O’Donnell eventually opted to run down his contract at Kilmarnock before joining Scottish top-flight rivals Motherwell on a free transfer this past summer.
Stephen O’Donnell started his professional career with Partick Thistle in the Scottish second-tier before guiding his club to top-flight promotion at the end of the 2012-13 season.
The right-back went on to establish himself as a quality player in the Scottish Premiership over the next two campaigns before moving south of the border to join Luton Town in EFL League Two.
The defender quickly established himself as a regular starter for the Hatters following his move to England. He made 72 appearances for the club over two seasons before returning to his homeland with Kilmarnock in 2017. O’Donnell went on to register an impressive tally of 7 goals and 12 assists in 122 appearances, spending three productive seasons at Rugby Park.
The 28-year-old joined Motherwell on a free transfer this past summer and has tallied 17 appearances in all competitions so far this season, registering a goal and two assists in the process. O’Donnell has also represented Scotland at the senior level, earning 16 caps for his nation.
O’Donnell would add more stability to the Celtic backline
Celtic recently completed a historic quadruple-treble with a victory over Hearts in last season’s delayed Scottish Cup final. But the Hoops have fared well below expectations this term, facing early exits from the League Cup and the Europa League.
The Hoops have struggled defensively this season. While reinforcements at centre-back should be high on Celtic’s agenda, the Hoops also need to consider reshaping their options at right-back.
Hatem Abd Elhamed has been linked with a departure from Parkhead after failing to adapt to life in Glasgow. A potential exit for the versatile Israeli international would leave Jeremie Frimpong as the only recognised right-back in Lennon’s side.
Considering that the youngster has often struggled this season, the Hoops would be wise enough to seek some additional cover in that department.
Stephen O’Donnell ticks plenty of boxes to come through the door at Celtic as a useful addition. The Scottish international has been one of the best-performing right-backs in the league outside the Old Firm sides in recent years and looks more than capable of adding more depth and quality to the Hoops’ backline.
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Stephen O’Donnell still has several years remaining in his prime at 28 and would undoubtedly represent a defensive upgrade on the likes of Elhamed and Frimpong at Celtic. Having said that, the Hoops should try and bring him to Glasgow in January.