The Celtic players that took to the field at Ibrox on Sunday are unlikely ever to start together again.

Looking back with the benefit of a few days, it really was an extremely impressive feat for Brendan Rodgers‘ side to win at the home of our rivals given everything that was going on.

We were missing Cameron Carter-Vickers, Maik Nawrocki and Reo Hatate — all players who would have been likely to start against Rangers. Almost half of our new signings — Paulo Bernardo, Marco Tilio, Nat Phillips and Luis Palma — were also not available to start for various reasons.

There were big question marks over several of the guys who were named in Rodgers’ line-up. Alistair Johnston is just back from a medium-term injury, while centre-backs Gustaf Lagerbielke and Liam Scales have been thrown together in recent weeks.

All of that is probably why there’s suddenly a bit of excitement about what’s to come this season. If we can win at Ibrox while contending with all of the above, as well as having no supporters, then imagine what we’ll be able to do when things improve.

So what will Celtic look like in a number of months? Let’s say for the next derby at Celtic Park on December 30. Of course, it’s hard to know for sure. While this may be the earliest Predicted XI in history, it’s nice to look forward.

Rangers FC v Celtic FC - Cinch Scottish Premiership
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Joe Hart is likely to be our number one unless injury or a horrendous run of form befalls him.

Alistair Johnston will be the club’s leading right-back this season with Greg Taylor probably the best option on the left. Hopefully the Scotland international can kick-on after a slow start to the season.

Central-defence is pretty hard to call with Rodgers seeming to have about 38 options at present. The Cameron Carter-Vickers and Maik Nawrocki partnership did show some early promise, although Lagerbielke and Phillips won’t have come to the club to sit on the bench.

Midfield could suddenly become quite an interesting area. Callum McGregor will always feature in big games if fit. Then we’d probably be looking at two from Reo Hatate, Matt O’Riley and Paulo Bernardo. We can’t help but feel Bernardo may be a sensation in Glasgow. Sorry Matt, Odin and David.

Celtic v Athletic Bilbao - Pre-Season Friendly
Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Liel Abada seems to be our leading right-winger this season after spending much of last year on the sidelines. For all of Daizen Maeda’s off-the-ball brilliance, Luis Palma looks like he’s been signed to make us all forget about Jota.

If fit, Kyogo Furuhashi will still be leading the line, and probably have about 40 goals to his name by this point.

So, once everyone is fit, the best Celtic side could look something like: Hart, Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Nawrocki, Taylor, McGregor, Hatate, Bernardo, Abada, Kyogo, Palma.

Don’t hold us to it though. We’re famously bad with predictions.

In other news, the Japan picture is looking better for Celtic during this international break

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