The faded Celtic names Ange Postecoglou can revitalise
The next Celtic manager, likely Ange Postecoglou, will have a massive rebuild on his hands when he finally arrives at Paradise.
Or, will he?
To a degree, of course he does. Odsonne Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer have represented two key pieces of the Bhoys’ puzzle in recent years. In attack and in defence, significant investment will need to be made, as well as replacing Scott Brown, likely bringing in a new goalkeeper, and refreshing the squad options in general.
But consider Celtic’s current playing squad [Celtic FC]. By my reckoning, there are 14 players there who are likely to stay, from those who played for us last season. Christie, you could argue, might be on his way. But until there’s a proper bid, it does feel like he can be coaxed into signing an extension.
Of the loan players, Connell and Henderson could be close to solidifying their place in the first-team squad. Boli Bolingoli and Olivier Ntcham seem unlikely to return, though, while Hendry is a certainty to exit, along with Marian Shved. Bayo, who knows.
That’s still the guts of a squad, there. And sadly, so many have under-performed. There’s the obvious Australia link with Tom Rogic, but the likes of the aforementioned Christie, as well as players like Albian Ajeti and Nir Bitton, weren’t exactly outstanding in 20-21.
But we know they can be top players for Celtic, is the thing. Christie, especially. If you ask me (and nobody does), Christie’s downfall has only been so public because, for at least two seasons there, he was a fantastic player for Celtic Football Club. Turning around his fortunes, and some other names in the squad, will be just as key as bringing in new blood.
Of course Ange Postecoglou will have to spend, but there are other issues here
Consider the injuries we had last season. That’s not to make excuses, but think of Christopher Jullien, Mikey Johnston and James Forrest. In three key areas, we were under-manned for most of 20-21. Having them back, and getting them into form, is going to give Postecoglou a significant boost.
There’s something else here, as well. For the first time in a while, the Celtic Academy has significant talents ready to make the step up. Postecoglou’s faith in young players is good news for Adam Montgomery, who shone on his debut, Karamoko Dembele, and plenty more. We have a raft of young players back from loans where they’ve shown just how good they could become, with the right amount of game-time. That’s encouraging, too.
But getting the best of Callum McGregor, of Greg Taylor, of James Forrest – that’s just as important as bringing in the right names. While yes, again, Celtic need to invest, there are still plenty of options who have been more than impactful in the past. Whether it was tactics or mentality that was the issue under Neil Lennon, having a fresh voice at training and for matches could be the spark to revive some Hoops heroes of the past few years.
No pressure, Ange.
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