Celtic, Rangers, Filip Bilbija and the missed trick - how things could have been so different for Bayern loanee Malik Tillman
Celtic were urged to sign Rangers loanee Malik Tillman before he made the switch to Ibrox.
The 20-year-old US internationalist is on a season-long deal at Ibrox from Bayern Munich and has made a strong impression already, scoring the crucial goal as Rangers overcame Royale Union Saint-Gilloise in the Champions League third qualifying round match between the two.
However, Tillman was recommended to Old Firm rivals by their former academy player and ex-Hertha Berlin assistant Mark Fotheringham, who feels Ange Postecoglou’s men have missed a trick in not landing him.
“Tillman’s a brilliant talent. just wish he was at Celtic,” Fotheringham said. “I know their European scout and bumped into him last year at a Greuther Furth game. I told him all about Tillman. I actually said, ‘Mate, sign him blind. Trust me, he’s a great player who’d be perfect for Celtic’. He had been asking me about another player, a boy called Filip Bilbija who I’d coached at Ingolstadt.
"Now, he’s also a great talent and actually joined Hamburg a few months ago on a free transfer. I’m convinced after two seasons he’ll move to a Bayern or Red Bull Leipzig. Anyway, my conversation with him turned to Tillman. I don’t know what happened afterwards, whether he passed on my comments to the first-team management or made up his own mind on the boy. It doesn’t matter now.”
Fotheringham added in an interview with the Scottish Sun: "He actually said, ‘Yeah, we like him’. But I’m disappointed nothing happened. At the time, he seemed more interested in Bilbija. Fair enough, he’s quality too. But I believed Tillman was a big opportunity missed."