The career path of former Celtic star Shaun Maloney is a strange one.
For the Hoops, he was one of the most exciting players in the Scottish game, combining close-touch control with the ability to find the back of the net and create goals on a regular basis at Parkhead. During his stay at Paradise, the Scot played 135 times, scoring 30 goals and registering 31 assists.
Since then, he has gone on to win the FA Cup with Wigan and now he’s the assistant manager of Belgium, the number one-ranked international side in world football. It’s funny how things work out for some players in the game.
Another footballer with an intriguing story is Ryan Gauld. The midfielder left Dundee United for Sporting Lisbon as a teenager, moving to Portugal as one of the most vibrant young talents around.
Instantly, that was what set Gauld apart from everyone in Scotland. It’s also why he managed to attract suitors on the continent.
The attacker is now 25 years of age and, although he hasn’t lived up to the Messi hype, he’s beginning to flourish in Portugal.
His form earned shouts for him to be included in the Scotland squad for the European Championship, while Celtic have also been tipped to sign him.
“For me, it’s a no-brainer for Celtic to just inquire because he is now a massive person of interest,” Tony Haggerty told ACSOM this week.
In luring him to Glasgow, the Hoops could unearth their new Maloney. After all, the former Bhoys gem is a player to whom he has been compared by Gordon Strachan.
The former Celtic manager commented in 2014: “He’s a little bit like Shaun Maloney. Ryan has got things, he can see things on the pitch. He can execute passes and, invariably, he gives you a good weight of pass.”
In carving out 2.4 shots per and 2.3 key passes per game this term, there are clear similarities with the way Maloney played. The latter often rampaged forward before providing the finishing touches to a Celtic attack.
Another figure who has been effusive in their praise for Gauld is Sergio Vieira, Farense’s head coach, who remarked: “Ryan’s got quality in his passing and dribbling and he’s now shown he can score goals too.”
Vieira continued: “He’s aggressive and competitive, despite his smaller size and tactically very intelligent. I feel he’s the complete player and as a person, he’s humble, ambitious and self-determined. He’s been easy to deal with, always listening and ready to improve.”
Gauld may have ultimately missed out on Scotland’s squad for Euro 2020 but Celtic should jump at the opportunity to sign him if it arises.