Celtic transfer lessons must be learned and here is the priority for Brendan Rodgers - Chris Sutton

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers
-Credit: (Image: SNS Group)

All eyes are on the Euros but that doesn’t mean that Celtic can afford to take theirs off the ball in the transfer market.

And while it’s still very early days in the summer, Brendan Rodgers still needs to make a new No.1 his number one priority. There’s no doubt Celtic will need to do plenty of business in the window in several areas of the pitch. But they can’t underestimate just how important it’s going to be to land a top class goalkeeper.

There is a massive hole to fill following the departure of Joe Hart – and it’s going to be nigh impossible to replace him like for like. Hart was a brilliant keeper but also a huge character in the dressing room. You could see the influence he had on the side and he really bought into life at Parkhead. Hart is a born winner and it was a match made in heaven for him at Celtic, coming at a time when he admitted himself his career was starting to drift.

But we’ve had all the goodbyes. Now it’s time for the new man to take the gloves. I can’t see Scott Bain or Benji Siegrist stepping up, so the recruitment department will be on the case for the new man between the sticks. There’s already been a lot of talk around the lines of Newcastle’s Martin Dubravka and Peter Vindahl Jensen at Sparta Prague.

A lot of fans would love to see Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher, but I can’t see that one happening, unless it’s on some kind of loan deal. Kelleher is highly regarded at Anfield and even if he was allowed to leave, there would be a queue of Premier League clubs ready to throw money at him. Dubravka sounds a more realistic target. Look, he's no Joe Hart. He arrived at Celtic as a Premier League winner with 75 caps for England. There's no way Celtic will be able to replace that kind of experience.

But Dubravka is at a similar stage of his career as Hart was before his move. At 35-years-old he probably has one more big move in him. He’s played a lot of games for Newcastle in the last year but isn’t going to be first choice. There’s every chance he saw what Hart achieved at Celtic and fancies a bit of that himself. Does he sit tight and ride out his final year at Newcastle as a back up, or perhaps drop down the division in England to get a regular game? Or does he come to Celtic, play every week and be in with the chance of winning silverware, while playing in the Champions League? I know what I would be doing.

It sounds like he’s waiting until after the Euros to make any decision, and that’s fair enough. If he has a decent tournament there could be more options. Celtic need to keep their options open too, because it’s such an important role. Some people might think it’s easy being a Celtic keeper. After all, most weeks you might not have much to do. That’s what makes it tough though.

Celtic goalkeepers might have to go through spells in games with not much happening – and then make the saves that can be crucial when it comes to tallying up the points at the end.

That’s what made Hart such a good No.1 at the club and why he was so popular with supporters. It was big saves at big moments. It also takes big character. Hart had it in spades and that is what will be required for his replacement.

We’ve seen in recent years when Celtic have got it right – and when they’ve got it wrong. You look at the likes of Fraser Forster and Craig Gordon, top keepers with the right mentality for the club. Then you look at Vasilis Barkas, who arrived with a decent reputation but then never seemed to be able to stop a shot. During his short spell as the main man, it felt like everything that was hit at him ended up in the back of the net.

Celtic need a keeper who can produce the goods when called into action and then pull out the stops when it matters in the Champions League – where he will be busy. There is time to get the recruitment up and running, but they also can’t afford to hang about. Rangers have already got the ball rolling with new signings checking in, but I don’t think Celtic should panic too much about what’s happening across the city.

Rangers need a total rebuild, so there are going to be a lot of comings and goings at Ibrox. There is less work required at Celtic, but that doesn’t mean they can hang about. The lessons from last summer have to be learned. They can’t afford to go into the European campaign looking as undercooked as they did last season. Rodgers managed to turn around a season of transition into one of trophy triumph, but they don’t want to be making life difficult for themselves again.

Ideally, Rodgers will have some of his big targets in the building for the start of pre-season, rather than waiting until the end of the window. I get that it’s not always so straightforward. You sometimes have to wait for the ones you want because they are in demand. But Celtic can’t muck about either and with money in the bank, supporters aren’t likely to be patient.

They want to see the recruitment drive under way – but a No.1 has to be top of the list.