It’s a squad game these days and no one can get near the unit assembled by Ange Postecoglou in Glasgow’s east end.

Granted, Celtic do have that bit more cash to flaunt than almost all of their domestic compatriots, but that has been the case since time immemorial, and yet they have not always been so strong across the board as they are now. The manager has proven himself a shrewd operator in the transfer market, and in balancing a squad littered with talent.

Keeping them all happy cannot be easy, but Celtic have had contributions across the board in just about every position this season. There are a core group who tend to feature week-to-week, but Postecoglou has managed to instil a real togetherness which has helped drive them over the line to yet another Premiership title.

Here’s how they have shaped up, excluding those who departed mid-season, over the course.


Still an ever-reliable presence in goal, something Celtic fans have not always been able to take for granted before his arrival. Hart can often find himself a spectator in certain matches but, more often than not, he is there to bail his team-mates out should they ever require him to. The influence of his leadership and experience cannot be underestimated either, bringing years of know-how to a squad that does have its fair share of younger members. There have been occasional grumbles about Hart's proficiency in playing out from back, but he has been a solid signing overall.


A truly inspired transfer from CF Montreal in the winter window, perhaps the biggest compliment you can pay the Canadian is you don’t hear the name Josip Juranovic uttered with wistful longing much, if at all, since his departure to Union Berlin in the Bundesliga. Johnston has slotted in seamlessly at right-back, and is arguably a better defender than the man he replaced. The 23-year-old has also excelled consistently in big matches, as well as instantly connecting with the club and fans. As the kids like to say, he just ‘gets it’.


Were it not for the prolific goalscoring exploits of a certain forward, Carter-Vickers may just have been nailed-on for a clean sweep at the Player of the Year awards. He may take home a gong or two yet, though – his insistence on playing through the pain barrier despite a knee problem that now requires surgery will have been appreciated no end by his team-mates. The USA international has been a powerhouse at the centre of defence and very rarely finds himself being bested by an opposition forward. He can certainly play, as well, and has proven himself the perfect player for this Celtic system.


His central defensive partner takes the bulk of the plaudits, but Starfelt, too, has excelled over the course of the season. A rocky start to his Celtic career had some casting unfavourable judgements upon him, and that can be hard to shift in this part of the football world. But the Swede has barely put a foot wrong all season, especially impressive considering he would probably rather not be playing as a left-sided centre-back. He has been particularly solid in recent derby matches, an all-important yardstick in playing for Celtic.


Another Player of the Year nominee, the left-back has enjoyed his strongest season yet in a Celtic shirt. Earlier in his Parkhead career, Taylor was often accused of not bringing enough to the team going forward, but he has particularly benefited from Postecoglou’s use of the inverted full-back, stepping into midfield with poise and confidence.

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It’s the perfect example of a player being brought to the fore by the correct system, and Taylor has gone from strength to strength, even chipping in with the odd goal here and there. Deserves recognition for an excellent campaign.


Another stellar year for the Celtic captain, he is on course to become the first footballer ever to win five trebles across his career. Given the frequency with which Celtic are racking up the clean sweeps, it could’ve been easy to take such a feat for granted. But it is testament to the midfielder’s talent and winning mentality that he continues to require extensions to his own personal trophy cabinet. McGregor has led by example all season and it’s hard to recall him having a notable off-day. Remains the absolute key player for Postecoglou and the team.


Has been injured of late, but there was a period beforehand where it felt we were witnessing a footballer who was beginning to operate on a higher plain to almost every other player in the country.  His absence has been felt in recent weeks, and that underlines the Japanese midfielder’s quality. He has vision, can pass, dribble and score goals from midfield – in other words, he is potentially the full package. His performance in the win over Aberdeen at home in February sticks in the mind, as does how comfortable he looked at Champions League level.


May not have delivered the goal numbers he himself admitted craving, but the 22-year-old is a classy operator who continues to improve. O’Riley flitted in and out of the team for a period amid the suggestion of some unspecified personal issues, but has been back to his best in recent weeks. The midfielder brings yet more poise and inventiveness to Celtic’s midfield and has perhaps found himself the victim of Hatate’s excellence at times in terms of taking plaudits. But to finish the season with the highest number of assists in the league speaks for itself.

JOTA – 8

Wingers are largely judged on their numbers these days and there is no question Jota has delivered in spades for Celtic on this front. The Portuguese star has 25 goals and assists across 38 domestic appearances this season. Not only does he provide more than his fair share of telling contributions, he has that knack of delivering in the big games. His dink over Jon McLaughlin will live long in the memory for Celtic fans, and it was his header which proved the difference again in ousting Rangers from the Scottish Cup at Hampden. He is one who bought wholesale into being a Celtic player, and is certainly reaping the rewards.


Maeda rarely finds himself as the headline name in Celtic’s attack but his role and contribution is as valuable as anyone’s. His boundless energy and eagerness to press opponents into submission makes him perfectly suited to this Postecoglou system, and is likely a highly influential factor as to why the manager consistently picks him over the likes of Liel Abada and Sead Haksabanovic. The Japan international has also contributed with crucial goals, underlining the depth and variety of reliable difference-makers Postecoglou can call upon. Has made himself a real fans’ favourite this season.


Hot favourite to clean up at the end of season awards and it is little wonder why. The striker has racked up goal after goal in green and white, proving the scourge of Premiership defences the length and breadth of the country. The ever-present smile and amiable nature have endeared him no end to Celtic supporters, but put the 28-year-old between the width of the posts and there is no one more ruthless.

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Winning titles so often requires such a figure to produce goals when you really need them, and Kyogo has made the difference at so many crucial moments – including his double in the all-but-title-confirming win over Rangers at Celtic Park in April.



Only two appearances this term for Celtic’s backup keeper so it would be harsh to assign him too low a rating. Both of those came on the road to lifting the Viaplay Cup and Siegrist proved capable when called upon. It will be interesting to see whether he decides to remain at the club come the end of the season, as he will have no doubt arrived with the intention of pushing Hart all the way. Game-time, however, has been extremely difficult to come by for the former Dundee United shot stopper, and that could influence his thinking – he will be 32 before the end of next season.


The right-back will no doubt have craved more minutes on the pitch this season but has proven the ideal squad player whenever called upon. Ralston was a player reborn following Postecoglou’s arrival but has largely found himself playing backup since, first to Juranovic and now to Johnston. But the 24-year-old has stood ready to fill in and still manages to impress when he is afforded an opportunity. With Johnston injured, Ralston will take on a more prominent role between now and the end of the season, one he will likely feel his patience and diligence has deserved.


Another who is set to be thrust into the limelight as the season draws to its conclusion, the Japanese centre-back was signed precisely to provide the depth that mitigates the absence of Carter-Vickers for a number of months. The 22-year-old, signed from Vissel Kobe mid-season, is still very much one for the future, but the next few weeks will give a decent indication as to his readiness for regular football. Kobayashi has looked an assured presence thus far, very comfortable on the ball and whose left-footedness brings added balance to Celtic’s back four.


There was considerably excitement around the Argentine left-back’s arrival from Lanus last summer – he looked a real attacking talent based on the various clips circulated on social media. He has shown he can be a threat bursting forward, but has been reduced to a bit-part role by the continued excellent form of Taylor. His season will be best remembered for a smashing home a rocket in an otherwise forgettable win up at Ross County. It’s fair to say he has not always entirely convinced from a defensive perspective, but at just 22 he has plenty of time to improve in this regard. It will be intriguing to see if he is able to kick on next season.


Another whose involvement has been limited due to the form of others, the 23-year-old academy graduate has been limited to just six appearances over the course. Found himself out of the picture after Celtic’s only league defeat of the campaign to date away at St Mirren in September, and the signing of Kobayashi in the January transfer window has further pushed Welsh down the pecking order. The centre-back is under contract until 2025 but could feasibly consider his options when the summer arrives.


Another January arrival who has shown plenty of promise when called upon. Iwata, acquired from Postecoglou’s former club Yokohama F. Marinos, was named J-League Player of the Year before heading for Scotland and it was immediately clear he is a talented player. Although he is yet to be afforded a sustained run in the side, Iwata has shown real glimpses of his ability and was the standout in an otherwise drab draw with Motherwell last month. He looks a real technician and his new nickname ‘the Tank’ tells you all you need to know about his competitiveness. One for next season.


Some eyebrows were raised in the Australian’s direction after a few uninspiring early displays where he looked some way off the pace. But a highly impressive showing at the World Cup in Qatar lit a fire under the midfielder’s season, and there was a period afterwards where he was arguably the form player in Scotland. Mooy has contributed some vital goals and assists, and was a real standout in the Viaplay Cup semi-final win over Kilmarnock. Injury has stalled his momentum of late, but he will be one of a few pushing for a place in Postecoglou’s Scottish Cup final midfield over the next few weeks.


After years of ‘will they, won’t they’ surrounding McCarthy and Celtic, the midfielder’s eventual Parkhead stint has been a disappointment. His signing appeared a strange one at the time and he has been barely utilised by Postecoglou over the past two campaigns.

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He did make one memorable contribution this season, though, his sheer perseverance helping set up a dramatic winner for Giorgos Giakoumakis at St Johnstone in October last year. McCarthy still has a further two years left on his contract, but at 32 and with an almost overabundance of options in midfield, he could be one who makes way in the close season to create breathing space for Postecoglou to further optimise his squad.


It has been a strange season in some ways for the Israeli winger. He can almost always be counted upon to provide goals and assists when on the pitch, but he has started far fewer Premiership matches than he would have liked. After a hugely promising debut campaign, it felt as though this season was Abada’s time to really take his game to the next level. That has not quite materialised, albeit his absence in recent weeks has been enforced through a hamstring injury. There have also been rumours circulating over potential interest from Europe that could come to fruition in the summer. Whatever happens, that double against Rangers in the first derby of the season won’t forgotten at Celtic Park any time soon.


Another whose campaign is difficult to make a cast-iron judgement on. Of his 36 appearances so far this term, only seven having been in the starting side. He has, however, made a habit of contributing off the bench, scoring five times and registering four assists. The competition for places in Postecoglou’s forward line is fierce, and although it is clear Haksabanovic is a talented footballer, you could say he has not always grasped his opportunity to become a mainstay whenever he has played from the outset. Flitting in and out can make it tricky for players to build any momentum, in fairness. Perhaps we could see the absolute best of the 24-year-old winger next term.


Celtic’s midfield is a tough place to carve out a regular berth and Turnbull has occupied the role of supporting cast for much of the year. That being said, he is a very handy option to have at your disposal, and one who again emphasises the sheer depth of squad Postecoglou has amassed. Turnbull has helped himself to five goals and seven assists, a decent return, without ever really looking like he was going to force his way into regular contention. He will enter the final year of his contract come the summer, and at 23 will feel this is the age where he needs consistent game-time to truly reach his potential. One to watch in the close season.


It has been a relatively low-key season for one of the club’s most experienced and decorated campaigners. Mind you, he did hit 100 Celtic goals with a hat-trick against Hibs in October, entering him into an exclusive club containing just 29 others. It also ensured Forrest got his name on the scoresheet for a 14th successive campaign – a record in itself. The 31-year-old, though, has missed much of the second half of the season through injury, his last appearance coming in January in a Scottish Cup win over Morton.


The South Korean striker is still bedding into life at Celtic Park following his signing from Suwon Bluewings at the tail end of the January window. He has popped up with a few goals and shown glimpses that he can be an effective alternative to Kyogo when the situation requires it. As far as backup strikers go, Oh did have a hard act to follow in the consistently effective Giorgos Giakoumakis after the Greek decided he wanted to head for pastures new.  At just 22, however, he is one who will require some time to adapt to his new surroundings. Like Iwata and Kobayashi, he is one who Celtic fans will hope to see plenty of next season, where strong squad options will once again be required.