The 13 Celtic stars set for international duty and who they are playing
The domestic football may have come to a close last weekend for Celtic, but there are still plenty of Ange Postecoglou’s squad involved in action.
Players such as Joe Hart and Carl Starfelt will be remaining behind at Lennoxtown to rest and recuperate after a busy start to the 2022/23 campaign. However, over the next seven days, 13 of their Celtic teammates will be involved on the international stage across the globe in friendly and competitive outings.
So, here is a closer look at those players involved, as well as who they will be playing against.
Starting closest to home, four of the Scottish contingency at Parkhead – Callum McGregor, Greg Taylor, David Turnbull and Anthony Ralston – have been called up to Steve Clarke’s squad for fixtures against the Republic of Ireland and Ukraine (x2).
Starting tonight at Hampden Park against the familiar Ukrainian side, the Tartan Army are hoping to secure top spot in their UEFA Nations League group, with McGregor and Taylor the most likely to be involved from the start.
Of course, Scotland aren’t the only side involved in Nations League action and looking to take top spot in their group, with Josip Juranovic and Croatia facing off against Denmark and Austria, which would see the former World Cup finalist top a group involving France.
Liel Abada is also expected to be in action from the start for Israel, despite only making his debut for his nation’s first team earlier this year. Now, Abada is seen as one of the international hopes as they take on Albania, before a friendly against Malta next Tuesday.
As Sead Haksabanovic continues to build up his match fitness, Montenegro boss Miodrag Radulovic has confirmed that the winger will have his part to play against Georgia and Bulgaria, with his nation currently sitting just three points behind top spot in the group, going into its closing games.
On a more relaxing note, Giorgis Giakoumakis and Greece have all but wrapped up top spot within their group, having taken 12 points from their opening four games.
Now, all they must do to see things out is collect at least a point during their fixtures against Cyprus and Northern Ireland, which they are expected to be favourites for given their performances internationally earlier this year.
Finally, from a European point of view, Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley will spend the next week with the Denmark under-21s side as they attempt to book a place in the under-21 European Championships in their two-legged clash against Croatia u21s.
Three Celtic stars – Kyogo Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda and Reo Hatate – have also once again been selected for the Japan international squad and will be hoping to impress before the World Cup taking place later this year.
Ange Postecoglou won’t have to worry about the crucial trio travelling too far on this occasion, with Japan’s friendly fixtures against USA and Ecuador being played in Germany.
But, on the other side of the world, squad player Aaron Mooy has been selected for the Australian side set to play a double-header of friendly matches against New Zealand.
With plenty of Celtic stars jetting off across Europe and the world across the next week, Ange Postecoglou will be keeping his fingers crossed that all 13 stay fit.
Some may only be in friendly action, but I am sure they will be played out like competitive games, as those playing for Japan and Australia battle it out for a place in their nation’s World Cup squad.
As the former Australian international boss, Postecoglou knows how much playing for your nation means for those players.
But, with a busy period of fixtures to come over the next few months, a clean bill of health is crucial, and the next seven days will provide those not on international duty with the time to rest ahead of the return of domestic action in October.