Celtic's ability to sign star doubted by pundit

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Celtic’s recent form has led to genuine questions about their ability to win their 10th successive Scottish Premiership title.

The club have been in remarkably poor form by their standards, as this is a team that expect to win the league season in, season out.

At this point, they sit 11 points behind leaders Rangers, and while they have two games in hand, there is no guarantee they will be winning both.

Their last six games in all competitions have led to just two wins; they have beaten Aberdeen 2-0 in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup and Motherwell 4-1 in the Premiership. However, they have also drawn 3-3 with Aberdeen in the league, 2-2 with Lille in the Europa League and 2-2 with Hibernian last time out. They were thrashed 4-1 by Sparta Prague at home in Europe too.

It adds up to a rather dispiriting picture, as they are second in the league and rock-bottom of their Europa League group.

One player who may be disappointed by the run of form is Diego Laxalt, who is currently on loan at the club from AC Milan.

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He has made a total of seven appearances in all competitions, three in the Europa League and four in the Premiership.

The Uruguay international can play at either left-back or on the left wing, and has done both under Neil Lennon, even scoring from the full-back role against Hibernian.

Former Aberdeen striker Noel Whelan believes that while Celtic will almost definitely want to sign Laxalt permanently given his impressive start to the campaign, he may already be having second-thoughts over the possible permanent transfer.

Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “It is a no brainer from Celtic’s point of view.

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“Laxalt has been fantastic since he came in and he scored a fantastic goal on Saturday as well. A great strike into the roof of the net.

“Celtic will want him to sign permanently but will Laxalt want to sign? That is the problem they have got.

“He is playing so well but others have been very inconsistent. He may feel that if he keeps up this level of performance he could earn a move to another club.

“I am pretty sure he expected to be closer to Rangers when he signed.”

GIVEMESPORT’S Harry Sherlock says…

This is a fair point from Whelan.

Celtic are clearly struggling and one has to think that Laxalt was promised the potential of a title challenge and, also, potentially, a European adventure.

It must be said that, with the latter, Celtic were dealt a difficult group, given the presence of both AC Milan and Lille, but they should be performing better domestically.

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Sitting 11 points behind in November is a cause for serious alarm; if the games in hand go badly, the title race could be over by Christmas.

And that would surely see Laxalt looking for an escape route.

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