BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Alan Stubbs insists Scott Allan is good enough to grace the English Premier League – so sees no reason why the midfielder cannot star for Celtic.
Allan has had to be patient for opportunities with the Hoops since opting for Parkhead when both halves of the Old Firm battled for his signature at the start of the campaign.
The 24-year-old resurrected his faltering career with a series of hugely impressive displays for Hibernian last season, performances that led to him being recognised by his peers when he was crowned the players’ player of the year for the Championship.
Injury and greater competition for places have, however, ensured he has not yet had the same kind of impact after stepping up to the Premiership.
The former Dundee United and West Brom play-maker has made just five appearances for Celtic, all from the bench, as he has sought to establish himself in the east end of Glasgow.
But, with manager Ronny Deila talking up his talents in recent days, Allan appears to getting to grips with what he himself has described as a ‘step-up’ and a ‘learning curve’ since moving west.
He has certainly shown glimpses of the vision and passing ability that he displayed so frequently at Hibs, and Easter Road head coach Alan Stubbs has backed his former protege to prove himself worthy of the first start he could earn in tomorrow night’s Europa League encounter with Fenerbahce.
“I don’t doubt Scott’s ability,” said Stubbs. “He is a very talented lad. He has got his mind set for the very first time since he started playing professional football.
“If he thought that he was going to go to Celtic and walk straight into the first team he was kidding himself on. Now, by all accounts, he is doing what he did here at Celtic Park in training.
“Scott has just had to be patient but he will get an opportunity and then it will be down to him. He is a very talented lad and I do not doubt that he will get his opportunity at Celtic.
“I have said all along that Scotty can play in the English Premiership, so if he can do that then he has definitely got a possibility of playing in Celtic’s first team.
“However he is going to have to do what he does best. You have seen little glimpses of him and those glimpses need to be more consistent and have a bigger contribution in games.
“If he does that then Celtic have, potentially, an exciting player.”
Allan grew up a Rangers supporter and seemed certain to join his boyhood heroes when the Ibrox club bid for his services in the summer.
Plumping instead for their rivals, Celtic, instantly heaped pressure on his shoulders, and that he was not able to make an immediate impact may have sparked doubts in the minds of some who will also have been able to point to a checkered past since breaking into the Dundee United first-team in 2011.
However, Stubbs believes the slide-rule pass Allan threaded into the path of Leigh Griffiths during the recent Europa League defeat to Ajax was just a hint of the extraordinary moments the former Scotland under-21 cap is capable of.
He added: “I wasn’t surprised to see him do that. When you play with better players they see things quicker.
“I think Scotty, on that pass, made Leigh’s mind up and not the other way about because of Leigh’s run.
“Scott already knew what he was going to do next when that ball arrived at his feet. I don’t think many on that pitch would have been able to do that.”