Celtic Players - Stay or Go

A rushed and badly-worded assessment of the current Celtic squad follows. This is an evaluation of players based on their worth to Celtic, ignoring the potential to cash in on “assets” like Forster or Baldé.

Stay. Has his issues, and frustratingly neglects or refuses to address his command of his area. It’s not just about coming for crosses – it’s basic advancing off his line to gather through balls and to allow the defence to keep a higher line. Instead we get camped deep because there’s nobody sweeping behind, we don’t take advantage of a pacy back four and we end up giving up chances around our area.
That said, he’s an excellent shot-stopper, very good on one-on-ones and possibly the best English keeper in football today. He also has plenty of time to improve, it’s just that he seems to be making little headway on his biggest weaknesses.

Stay. Why bother recruiting another backup? As long as Forster stays, he’s fine as a backup.

Stay. Probably our best defender at blocking crosses. Not as useful on the ball as Lustig, and not as helpful in the air. Has pace though and certainly isn’t a weakness in the current team. Has looked plenty good enough in Europe.

Stay. A slightly slower and more deliberate version of Matthews. Completely recovered from a very indifferent start to his Celtic career. Biggest remaining questions are around his injury proneness, but unquestionably good enough.

Stay. Not as solid defensively as the other full backs and not at the level he was before his bad injury but he’s a very competent full-back at Celtic’s level and remains a consistent attacking threat. Probably the best crosser of a ball at the club outside Mulgrew.

Stay. Has ironed out plenty of his errors from last season and has benefited enormously from playing alongside Van Dijk. Still liable to make plenty of mistakes and he needs to work on his contributions at set pieces at both ends. Very capable squad player at the minimum.

Van Dijk:
Stay. Top class defender. Has made the odd mistake recently and could do with a reminder about complacency not setting in but he oozes class. Excellent on the ball, contributes some great goals and makes defending look very easy.

Stay. Not setting the world alight but looks a capable squad player so far.

Go. A low-risk signing. Injury wasn’t his fault but he’s out of contract and hasn’t proved himself worthy of another unfortunately.

Go. 22 years of age and still hasn’t come close to breaking into the team. Eoghan O’Connell is apparently now higher rated. Pointless renewing his contract which is up in the summer.

Stay. Versatile to the point of frustration at this stage. Seems to be played every week irrespective of the opposition or the players available. He is comfortable enough as a defender at domestic level and probably in Europe too. Should really only feature in midfield in emergencies, but that seems to be his and Lennon’s preferred role for him.

Stay. Along with Van Dijk, he was the signing of last summer. It says much about Celtic’s recruitment success rate that a medium-term prospect outshone the buy-for-now attacking “talents” but it’s also indicative of a classy young player. Comfortable in possession, good positional discipline and a growing influence on games before his injury. A genuinely exciting prospect.

Stay. A slightly underwhelming January acquisition when there was much talk of a budget to spend and high profile targets being identified. Has mixed the very good with the very ordinary but the positive has outweighed the bad. Might be a bit light in midfield alongside Biton, but would be very much at home in a trio with Brown joining that pairing.

Stay. Commons, Van Dijk and Mulgrew have been players of the year in the last couple of seasons but Brown is the consistent class act in the team. A born leader, not always as composed in possession as he should be and still capable of frightening immaturity, but he’s the most rounded midfielder in the squad and probably the most talented too.

Go. His fall from grace is painful to witness. Seemed to have all the qualities required in his first season but injuries and a loss of confidence crippled him and he is so far off that pace now it’s equally sad and frightening. Has another 12 months on his contract so may be around the fringes for another season if no offer is forthcoming, but he’s not a viable option for the future.

Stay. Still far too early to weigh up his flashes of potential and decide whether they will ultimately translate into meaningful, consistent talent but he has plenty of time on his side. Has certainly looked the part so far.

F Twardzik:
Go. May or may not be good enough to be a fringe player but time has run out and he’s slipping down the pecking order.

P Twardzik:

Stay. Injuries are still the prime concern with Forrest and the pattern is becoming increasingly desperate. He needs a few games to recover his form after each absence and they’re alarmingly frequent. Bizarrely he’s not even Celtic’s most injury-prone winger. There’s no point in selling him because he will have little value on the market given his repeated absences. His talent isn’t undisputed but on his day he’s extremely effective and a balanced alternative to other attackers short on pace.

Go. Sometimes love ends. It hurts.

Go. Celtic don’t often sign players even vaguely familiar to their Irish or Scottish fanbase so it’s disappointing when a guy you’ve heard of joins and turns out to be a charlatan. Dazzled on his debut before picking up a slight knock. Then picked up knock after knock after knock and eventually became a figure of fun. To add to the equation of misery, he has little confidence and little appetite for the physical side of the game.

Stay. A less stellar second half of the season at Notts County, eventually losing his place but contributed from the bench near the end. His goal-scoring suggests he’s more of a Commons-type forward than a genuine attacking midfielder. Should be plenty good enough to contribute in the SPL anyway.

Stay. I presume. Not sure why.

Stay. The most natural striker at the club, despite not being a very natural orthodox striker. Suffered for form when played alongside Samaras – a partnership that never worked in their time together. Resurgence in recent months proved he wasn’t just playing for a contract early on in the season. He has the talent to contribute, but would be far more effective playing with a genuine striker.

Stay. His goals are invaluable. His supposed versatility masks a lack of effectiveness in wider areas and he’s infinitely more comfortable in a central role. But when he’s given that freedom he contributes goals, creates chances, links well with Stokes and is a constant attacking threat. Replacing his goals would cost a small fortune.

Go. Nowhere near the required level. A bit of a cult hero, more because he’s brutal than in spite of it. No first touch and another player who seems to have the confidence drain out of him when he steps onto the pitch. Not the answer to any of Celtic’s problems.

Go. A much neater player than Baldé but still way off the required level. He’s not physical enough and he’s not assertive enough. Seems more at ease dropping off the front and looking for passes and flicks but that’s the area Commons and Stokes operate in and both are much more effective than the Finn. Might have been an idea to scout him before signing when that sort of thing might have come to light.

Stay. Worryingly influential in terms of goals. A natural striker was always going to score in this Celtic team against the quality of opposition regularly faced. The concern is that he’ll now be viewed as the perfect solution to the Gary Hooper void instead of a stop-gap that he should be. No harm in keeping him as an option but it shouldn’t take a trial run in Europe to figure out he won’t be particularly effective at that level.

Stay. Worthy of another chance on talent anyway. A goal every other game from Lierse is neither brilliant than dreadful. He has more to show than just the memorable goal against Barcelona and providing there are no disciplinary issues, he deserves the chance to prove that.

Apologies to anyone left out.

Read the whole post here.

Forgot McGeouch anyway. He can go.

kayal will be joining Guy Luzon’s Standard Liege or Maccabi Tel Aviv

Forster - stay
Would sell if a bid of £6m plus came in.

Lustig - stay
Definitely our best right back, but injuries are a concern.

Matthews - meh
I don’t rate him, he’s a mediocre player and if we got a reasonable offer in he then he should go.

Fisher - stay
Looked promising this season, he offers more going forward than Matthews does.

Van Dijk - stay
Wouldn’t be selling for anything less than £10m

Ambrose - stay
Much more assured this season.

Izzy - stay
Our only left back and a very consistent player, he does need competition though

Mulgrew - stay
Versatile player who can fill in at left back and midfield if need. He won’t cut it in midfield on a regular basis though which is disappointingly where Lennon plays him the majority of the time. I like Charlie but unfortunately he is one of those players who Lennon sees as undroppable to the detriment of the team.

Moyoukolo - go

Kayal - go
Pitiful the last three seasons. Unfathomable if he is here next season

Biton - stay
He has shown promise this season and good be a good player for us in the anchor role.

Brown - stay
Very consistent and a player who always leads by example, rarely seems to let his performances dip and always gives his all which is very impressive given Lennon’s reticence to rotate and the complacency that has creeped in as a result.

Johansen - stay
He has won me around, good energy and he’s a classy footballer.

Forrest - meh
Nearly always injured and he seems to have regressed badly over the last two season. If we get an offer in and around £5m then he should go.

Samaras - go
Too much of an enigma and one of those who like Mulgrew always seems to have to be in team irrespective of form or team shape of his effectiveness in the role he is asked to carry out. Great servant and I’ll miss him but now is the right time to go.

Boerrigter - go
Think he could be a decent player but I don’t think he is positionally flexible enough and always seems to be injured.

Rogic - go

McGeouch - Loan
I haven’t completely given up on him yet but we should send him out on loan to another SPL side next season and see what he can do with a full season of SPL football.

Irvine - Stay/loan
Give him the preseason to show us if he’s good enough to be called up or give him another season in the SPL on loan.

McGregor - Stay/loan
Ditto Irvine

Henderson - Stay
Looks promising

Pukki - Stay
Needs a proper chance, think he has much better in his limited outings in the second half of the season and his goal tally hasn’t been bad in the minutes he has played in this period. A good pre-season under his belt and the experience of this season should have served him well. Needs minutes on the pitch though and I think both he and Balde have been very badly handled this year.

Balde - Loan
Hasn’t got the minutes this season. I predicted back in January that he probably wouldn’t get more than 300 minutes for the rest of the season despite the fact we had nothing to play for and I have been vindicated. I know some will have their reservations about him but it’s been really unfair on both Balde and Pukki with the little time they have been give. Loan him to the SPL and let us see what he can do with regular football.

Stokes - Stay
Our best player this season, IMO. Really selfless and creative and works very hard which is unnoticed, he had a bit of a lean period with goals for a while but goals are an added bonus with Stokes as he contributes so much more.

Commons - meh
Probably most people’s player of the season and he has been red hot in front of goal. He has had a great season but like Mulgrew and Samaras he is a problem to the team shape and undroppable to Lennon which is troublesome. The team has basically been structured to play for Commons this season which has undoubtedly boosted his game but not the team’s as a whole. I think he may want a crack at the EPL and if an offer of £3m comes in then I’d be happy to take it. Commons for me is too inflexible and while a good player, he is not good enough to have a team built around him.

Griffiths - stay
Good goalscoring option, probably a better player than Hooper as well as he seems to be much more willing to help out when we don’t have the ball and is far more willing to run the channels and challenge in the air. Very good squad option

Watt - stay
Physically he is very impressive and looks like he will be a prolific goalscorer. He should start the season as our main striker.


Stay. Best player at the club. Will be sold though and couldn’t blame him at all for leaving.

Stay. Why bother recruiting another backup? As long as Forster stays, he’s fine as a backup.

Stay I suppose.
Stay. Was really poor for their second goal last night, having watched it again but we need to hold on to one or two players and his age profile and his pace make him useful.

Stay. Hasn’t covered himself in glory so far under the new manager but he’s a useful player.

Go. The collapse in his form is alarming. He’s shirking every challenge and ignoring his responsibilities.

Stay. Fairly reckless but we won’t get many better options in our price range.

Van Dijk:
Stay. But could understand the club selling him if a reasonable bid came in (and the funds were used to buy new players). Poor for both goals last night. Looks like he thinks he can just stroll through games.

Stay. No idea where he is.

Go. If he’s not gone already.

Meh. Probably worth holding on to for options but he’s not good enough to play in Europe.

Stay. Hopeless last night but has room to improve.

Stay. Has plenty of room for improvement but at least he fits the style of the new system.

Stay. We’ve missed him badly.

Go. Long since past it.

Stay. May as well.

F Twardzik:
Go. May or may not be good enough to be a fringe player but time has run out and he’s slipping down the pecking order.
P Twardzik:
Stay. Needs to prove himself this time.

Meh. Not sure what his story is, is he injured again? Hardly worth keeping but not sure it’s worth trying to sell him either. See what he can do if he gets fit.

Stay. Looks a properly decent prospect.

Eh. He has some work to do.

Go. Taking up a place in the team when he’s just not contributing enough.

Stay. His goals are important in Scotland. If a bid over £5m came in though…

Go. Useless.


Stokes go?? :rolleyes:

Season over and it hasn’t even started. @Dirty Hands Walter laughed at me when I told him Celtic needed Rangers.

I wouldn’t really care if anyone in the squad left bar Forster and maybe Brown.

I haven’t seen anything from Johansen in 8 months to suggest he’s a good player.

Van Dijk was impressive in his first season but he looks like he doesn’t want to be there. His demeanour is telling and his on-pitch attitude was really poor over these two games. Not putting in the required effort or going in where it hurts.

Deila said we need to sign young, ambitious players with pace.

The sign low, improve and sell high(er) model only works if the cycle keeps refreshing. We had a bit of success initially with Wanyama, Hooper, Ki and Ledley but we haven’t replenished the squad with good enough players since they left.

Johansen is a poor imitation of Ledley. Likewise Bitton and Wanyama. Pukki and/or Griffiths and/or Balde for Hooper.

[QUOTE=“Dirty Hands Walter, post: 995654, member: 9”]I wouldn’t really care if anyone in the squad left bar Forster and maybe Brown.

I haven’t seen anything from Johansen in 8 months to suggest he’s a good player.

Van Dijk was impressive in his first season but he looks like he doesn’t want to be there. His demeanour is telling and his on-pitch attitude was really poor over these two games. Not putting in the required effort or going in where it hurts.

Deila said we need to sign young, ambitious players with pace.

The sign low, improve and sell high(er) model only works if the cycle keeps refreshing. We had a bit of success initially with Wanyama, Hooper, Ki and Ledley but we haven’t replenished the squad with good enough players since they left.

Johansen is a poor imitation of Ledley. Likewise Bitton and Wanyama. Pukki and/or Griffiths and/or Balde for Hooper.[/QUOTE]
I think Johansen has something about him, but it’s nothing extraordinary. Just a sort of mediocrity that’s absent in most of the rest of the squad.

If even one of Wanyama or Ledley were available in Poland, we wouldn’t have capitulated. Wanyama’s departure was probably inevitable but we did nothing to replace him (aside from taking a punt on a very unproven Bitton who is a completely different type of player anyway). Ledley moving to Crystal Palace was alarming. He wanted to stay. I think Lennon has to take much of the blame too on that one, it was apparent he didn’t really rate Ledley and often dropped him for big games.

The continued demise of Kayal and Izaguirre should be a signal that we need to reinvest urgently. I think the Board will instead see it as further evidence that we should be cashing in on players at the earliest possible opportunity.

[QUOTE=“Rocko, post: 995681, member: 1”]I think Johansen has something about him, but it’s nothing extraordinary. Just a sort of mediocrity that’s absent in most of the rest of the squad.

If even one of Wanyama or Ledley were available in Poland, we wouldn’t have capitulated. Wanyama’s departure was probably inevitable but we did nothing to replace him (aside from taking a punt on a very unproven Bitton who is a completely different type of player anyway). Ledley moving to Crystal Palace was alarming. He wanted to stay. I think Lennon has to take much of the blame too on that one, it was apparent he didn’t really rate Ledley and often dropped him for big games.

The continued demise of Kayal and Izaguirre should be a signal that we need to reinvest urgently. I think the Board will instead see it as further evidence that we should be cashing in on players at the earliest possible opportunity.[/QUOTE]

I mentioned the buy low, improve, sell higher model and how we haven’t replenished the squad well enough. An additional point being that when Celtic had success with it, qualified for the Champions League group stages and commanded large fees for the players already mentioned, it should have allowed us to raise the bar as we went along. We didn’t necessarily have to keep signing “projects” or “unheralded” players; the funds are there to sign established first team players but the Board aren’t releasing them. Ewan Murray actually has a decent Guardian article about it today. We didn’t need Rangers when we were qualifying for the CL last 16 and we don’t need them now.

There is an issue of quantity too. If the aim is (unrealistically) to keep making large transfer market profits on the likes of Wanyama then that requires an investment in a large number of players to increase chances. The number of players that the likes of Porto buy, to sustain their far superior model, is enormous. They don’t always hit the mark but they are throwing enough darts with a decent enough success rate to make it pay.

So Wanyama could have been replaced by an established professional or by 3 or 4 Bitton types. Or by a semi-established professional and then reinvestment in someone like Ledley. Instead it was simply pocket the cash and opt for a wild punt on Bitton who needs time to develop.

Players I would let go are:

Matthews - highly overrated and extremely frustrating when he goes forward. A bid of £4m and he can go.
Kayal - his peformances and injury troubles the past 3 seasons make it an easy choice here
Commons - hasn’t looked good this season, don’t think he will fit in The Rocket’s system and well upset the team balance if others have to be knocked about for him.
Balde - clearly he doesn’t figure in the managers plan

I think you are being a bit harsh on Izzy, @Rocko. He’s been here for 4 years now and hasn’t had any competition for all that time so he’s bound to get a bit of complacency. We need to sign another left back who will push him on and keep a bit of pressure on his performances. As for Commons - his goals are not important in Scotland - we will win the league with or without him and he creates a problem for the manager in how he is able to accommodated in the team. It’s early days yet but he hasn’t looked good under Deila yet. I think Deila needs to come up with a system that best suits his players and not just his preferred shape. Also Mulgrew should not be a starting XI player, I think he is much more at home in defence but he’s probably so out of touch with not being deployed there that he will be rusty but I’d go with him and Van Dijk as our first choice defensive pairing for now.

I think we need the following:

Left back
Centre back
Central midfielder x2 - one being a midfielder destroyer in the mould of Wanyama and another being a box to box player of Joe Ledley’s standard
Wingers x2
Striker - natural goalscorer with a high work rate and good movement and who attacks the ball well in penalty areas

I think we should be investing about £20m on that and the sales of Forster and those mentioned should more than cover that.

Decent enough analysis of the squad from some random blogger:


[SIZE=6]Deadwood - Who at Celtic should stay, and who should go?[/SIZE]
Celtic need to be rebuilt from top to bottom in terms of the squad. Ronny Deila has taken over a team at the end of it’s cycle and has to build a new one - quickly.

So who, in my opinion, should be going? Here’s the full list of the Celtic first team (as taken from their website) with thoughts and whether I feel they should be punted or not. It’s worth noting that a lot of these players are young prospects whom you may not have even realised were classed as part of the first team squad due to the lack of playing time they’ve been given. This isn’t intended to be a piece of just slating players, rather to actually stir some debate as to who fans feel should be going. With the full first teamers (as such), I will have a Keep/Replace system, for youth prospects, I won’t as that would be somewhat unfair considering the paucity of time they have been afforded.


Craig Gordon

While Gordon’s injury record speaks for itself, the simple fact is that, when fit and with games, he is a better keeper than Fraser Forster. Getting those games is the big thing with him. As long as he can stay fit, then he is a massive boon to the side. That, more than anything, will determine how good his time at Celtic will be as, if it all pans out, Celtic have one of the best goalkeepers in Europe and got him for nothing.


Lukasz Zaluska

But, the issue is that, if Gordon’s fitness doesn’t hold out, Celtic need a reliable, talented deputy. Zaluska has been given a lot of chances at the club to fill in and has never really satisfied on any of them. It is hard to have total confidence in the squad depth of Celtic when, should Gordon get injured, Zaluska could have to be relied upon for 15-20 games or more. And that must concern any fan.


With who? Mark Gillespie (Carlisle United) - 22 year old keeper with a growing reputation and a tendency to excel when it is most needed. Overdue a move to a bigger side.

Leo Fasan

For once, Celtic shouldn’t have to loan in a random keeper from somewhere to be the third keeper. Fasan has that nailed down now and played well in pre-season.


Adam Matthews

Matthews has been linked with Swansea and it is clear that he has huge potential. Realising that potential has been an issue and, while it is worth giving him a chance for another season, this season is the one that is make or break for him. Get a run in the side and impress and he has the right back slot for years. Fail to and he will be on the scrap heap.


Emilio Izaguirre

Where to begin? For those who love their statistics (and you should), Izaguirre was the worst player of the entire World Cup. Worse than Fred, even. This should tell you a lot about where Izaguirre is in his career right now. After a great first season, his form has slid into a permanent funk where he is simply a liability and nothing more. That reliable one great cross a game he’d have is gone completely and defensively, he is not aware enough to do the job any more. If you had to select one regular starter to punt out of the door, it would be him.


With who? What Celtic need is basically a left footed clone of Mikael Lustig. Were Deila to raid Norway, as he seems keen to, the most likely candidate would be Stian Ringstad of Lillestrom who has played for Norway at every youth level and sits on the edge of the full national squad.

Efe Ambrose

The St Johnstone team sheet probably said it all. Deila prefers a part time centre back in Lustig to Ambrose. Jason Denayer has likely been brought in to replace him already rather than as a pre-emptive strike as a replacement for the now seemingly staying Virgil van Dijk. A good player but so regularly capable of complete brainfarts that he can no longer be relied upon.


With who? Already replaced and made superfluous.

Virgil Van Dijk

It’s obvious that he has to stay. Technically proficient, sensible and strong - he is the blueprint of the modern defender. He has growth left in him as well.


Charlie Mulgrew

The solution to the question no-one was asking, Charlie Mulgrew has evolved into a utility player that has more or less played every position on the park for Celtic, managing to be just about adequate in every single one. To be honest, he is never going to go anywhere because having him about means that there is at least one less player needed in the squad for depth until he is too old to do the job, which will be a while yet.


Jason Denayer

It’s hard to rate a player who has never played for the club, but being described as the heir to Vincent Kompany certainly bodes well and it is hard to imagine that any player making strides through Man City’s youth system wouldn’t have at least a bit about him. I do, however, hope his name is pronounced “Denier” as that would be very suitable for a defender.

Mikael Lustig

The irrepressible Swede is an endless runner and, for many, has become an icon of the team - no matter how bad the performance is, Lustig will always be galloping up the flank and giving it 100%. Although he has had fitness issues, if he is over them and can get the full season in the side that his talent and effort deserves, he is nigh on irreplaceable.


Eoghan O’Connell

Possibly the best placed young defender, having made his debut for the side late last season, O’Connell will need first team football at some point this season. The introduction of Denayer probably frees him up to go somewhere on a short term loan to the Championship once any UEFA Youth League duties are done with.

Stuart Findlay

Findlay got his short term loan by spending the second half of last season at Morton. However, that was a dire Morton team and he will be sent out to get another chance on loan to prove his worth in a team that, hopefully, isn’t so woeful.

Darnell Fisher

Thanks to injuries to Matthews and Lustig, Fisher got plenty of game time last season, a luxury he is unlikely to be afforded this season, but something which he has proven himself adequately ready for. Ronny Deila will improve him no end by fine tuning his attacking sensibilities, but this is a season where he fits in as a capable back-up rather than having a breakthrough season.


Marcus Fraser

Having done his cruciate ligament, Fraser is in the unenviable position of having had to sit on the sidelines while other youths have jumped ahead of him. With his contract up at the end of the season, it is hard to see him staying on.

Lewis Toshney

Had his chances on loan but clearly didn’t do enough to impress Neil Lennon and while a new manager may have a new opinion, he is a player who, again, may be nearing a natural end to his time at the club.

Calum Waters

Promoted from the youth team this season, his job this year is to make a spot on the bench his own and take any chance that may come his way. Hard to assess at this point (as he’s never played senior football) but the fitness and physical conditioning orientation of John Collins at the club will give him a better chance of making the grade.


Nir Bitton

The lanky Israeli clearly has something about him. The key to unlocking him is, perhaps, getting him to adapt his game to a less physical holding role that amplifies his somewhat languid playing style. One concern is that this may not be something that is best suited to the somewhat higher pace of Scottish football. He shows plenty of promise, but needs to find his niche.


Scott Brown

The captain is injured and, as his injuries pile up, eventually one has to worry that they will catch up with him. The whole Keep/Replace choice is an irrelevant one as Brown’s use to the squad isn’t defined by his talent, as that isn’t in doubt, but rather by his body’s capabilities to be able to cope with the rigours of the modern game while still performing to the same level. As soon as that balance tips against him, he would have to be replaced immediately but, for now, he remains the club’s most dynamic midfielder.


Derk Boerrigter

Boerrigter came to the club with a reputation for being injured and has lived up to that reputation. When he has played, he has shown glimmers of talent and is able to beat a man and get a cross in, but has two main issues with his game: That he is injured far too often and that his heart just isn’t in it. There is a good player in there somewhere, but whether he would ever come out at Celtic is unlikely.


With who? Arguably, with a fully fit James Forrest and a welcomed back Calum McGregor, Boerrigter doesn’t need to be replaced. But a fully fit Forrest is a rare sight. In terms of a cheap replacement, Banel Nicolita, who can play on both wings and is a real workhorse with plenty of Ligue 1 experience would work but better still would be his international team-mate Florin Tanase. At 19, he is one for the future but having broken into the senior Romanian national side without having even played 20 league games stands him out as talent.

Kris Commons

To assess Commons seriously, he has to be assessed as a player who has a year left on his contract. Is he going to improve on last season? Probably not. Is he going to contribute a lot? Yes. But his value has never been and will never be higher. He may be essential, but if Celtic feel they have to cash in on him, then now would be the time.


Jo Inge Berget

Having flopped at Cardiff, Deila seems intent on giving Berget a chance. His performance against Legia was woeful but, after only being at the club for 48 hours, it is somewhat forgivable. His cameo against St Johnstone showed a bit more of what he’s like in so much as that he is a powerful attacker and capable in the air, something Celtic have lacked. But if there’s one position that was already filled at the club, it was that of attacking midfielder who gets in the box late and, in that respect, Berget is just a bit pointless.

Tom Rogic

Rogic would also fit that “pointless” moniker. It’s not that he’s not a good player - he is - but there are better at the club and, after his time on loan in Australia, one gets the feeling that he’d rather be playing somewhere else and that the gamble he took on moving to Scotland is one that just didn’t pan out for him. This is a pity as, while Celtic may not have played in a manner suitable for him when he joined, as they moved to a diamond at the end of last season and a 4-2-3-1 under Deila, the position at the top of the midfield that he wants is there. But now he has Commons, Berget and McGregor all in front of him, his time is up.


With who? Already replaced by Calum McGregor coming through.

Stefan Johansen

I like Johansen, although I know not everyone shares that opinion. He is a talented workhorse who lacks one key aspect of his game and that is making the right decision with his final ball. Once he gets that sorted out in his head, then he will take giant strides in his game. As it is, he is a useful water carrier with the potential to become the heart of the team. His issues are mental - and at 23, that is something that will likely develop out of him in the next 2 years.


John Herron

Having been given chances by Deila in pre-season, it is clear that Herron is at least in the shake up. He has had limited chances before but has the advantage of being right sided - a position where Celtic are hardly flush with options. This season is one for him where, like many others, if he is unable to make the breakthrough now, he is unlikely ever to.

Beram Kayal

Kayal, the guaranteed yellow card, came with the potential to become a great ball winning midfielder and has not realised that. Instead, he often looks uncommitted, sloppy and scrappy. He is, at this point, an anti-Bitton and, in that respect, is almost the opposite player to what Celtic actually need. A worse workhorse than Johansen or Brown and a worse deep lying playmaker than Biton, there is no longer a place in the team for him.


With who? Kayal is one player who is already superfluous and I would argue that there are young players at the club who can already take his position and perform competently.

Alexander Tonev

Having just signed on loan from Aston Villa, it is too soon to assess Tonev, but that his career at Villa has gone so badly makes it hard to be too confident that he can do the job at Celtic.

Jackson Irvine

The man who would be the obvious stand in for Kayal - having had a full season of Premiership experience at Kilmarnock, while he may not be ready to slot into the side on a permanent basis, that experience sets him fair for being given a chance as he should now be at a stage where he can perform competently.

Callum McGregor

While it is too early to call McGregor the breakout star of the season, his quick integration to the side and his tendency to score has already made a good impression. That he has so rapidly adjusted to Deila’s style is more to do with not having been tainted by playing under Lennon - he is so good because playing Deila’s way is all he knows at the club. There is still plenty to work on with his game and his shooting covers up other flaws in his game but if he can kick on from here, he can be an essential part of the team for years to come because of his directness.


Dylan McGeouch

McGeouch has had his chances and has now seen McGregor jump ahead of him in the pecking order, a decision driven much by the fact that McGregor excelled on loan where McGeouch did not, in spite of playing as part of a better team. His time at the club is up.


With whom? Again, not necessary to replace him due to other youngsters

James Forrest

If he can get fit over an extended period, he can find his form and start to show why we was so highly rated earlier in his career. He still has the electric burst of pace and this makes him all the more important as Celtic are not blessed with many speedy players. His final ball has always been what has let his game down, though. If he can improve that, he can be the first name on the team-sheet. What he cannot afford, however, is another season where he flits in and out of the side and, once more, this season is make or break for him.


Paul George

He has has injuries consistently stunt his progress and another season out on loan would be the best thing for his development.

Liam Henderson

Henderson has already made a partial breakthrough at the end of last season and everything points to Deila continuing that in ensuring that he gets requisite game time. His potential is huge and he is too good to be going out on loan but how the balance works in terms of how much time he can be given in the first team will be a big factor in his development. Many players before have gotten stuck in-between the youth team and the first team and it would be interesting to see if a short term loan is considered to get him some game time come the end of the transfer window.


Filip Twardzik

Speaking of player who have gotten stuck between the youth team and the first team, Twardzik is becoming the dictionary definition of that player. He has been stuck on the outskirts of the first team for the past three seasons without making any advance up the pecking order and without ever really showing why he should make a first team spot his own, it’s time for him to move on for the betterment of his own career as it looks unlikely once more that he will be getting the playing time that he needs to progress.


With who? In terms of young attacking Eastern Europeans, the time is now to get Belarussian Pavel Savitskiy. He is a left winger (so not a direct replacement for Twardzik but also not a position where Celtic have much strength). His contract is up in December and he is currently stuck at a smaller club - in other words, he is ripe to be plucked away for next to nothing. He has broken into the national team and has scored 2 in 2 for them also.


Anthony Stokes

Stokes is hard to criticise - he is perfectly adequate for the Premiership, but also completely inadequate for any level higher than that, which he has shown at all points through his career. His usefulness to the club is, then, defined by how much you think the club need a merely good Premiership striker. And, because of that, for any fan with any ambition at all, it’s hard to see Stokes as all that useful when the club have so many similar players in the respect of fairly athletic, reasonable strikers.


With who? Stevie M… ah, crap. It’ll have to be Nadir Ciftci, then - the man with the fleetest footwork in the SPFL offers a very different threat to any other striker at the club - big, nimble, skilful and capable of some ridiculous final balls (see his assist from the 3-0 win at Aberdeen for proof of this) he is equally capable of leading the line as he is playing as a support striker and his talents allow the starlets of Dundee United to buzz around him - something Celtic haven’t had since the days of Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink.

Amido Balde

The worst signing of the Neil Lennon era? Balde has no place at the club, simple as that.


With who? While the ghost of Dixie Deans would probably be an upgrade on Balde, of those options with corporeal form, it’d be remiss to not mention Jack McInerney of Montreal Impact. He has a perfectly decent scoring record in the MLS, which is stronger than the Scottish Premiership, wouldn’t ask the earth in wages and has the whole “Irish-American” thing going for him in terms of marketing. He is very very streaky though and can look woeful when he’s on a bad run, something which playing against lesser defenders in the Premiership could well knock out of him.

Holmbert Fridjonsson

Lesser sighted since joining, it’s hard to assess Fridjonsson simply as he hasn’t played. That he can’t get on the bench but Balde has been able to probably says all you need to know.


With who? Should Deila go back to Norway for his buys, swapping Fridjonsson for Icelandic team mate Vidar Orn Kjartansson, who has been scoring a goal a game for Valarenga would be a sensible move - at the very least, he’s prolific.

Teemu Pukki

Some will no doubt expect Pukki to be one I rate as for the off as well. But I don’t. One thing about Pukki is that he works hard. He has the talent to score plenty, so I’m prepared to write last season off as him just having a bad run. That he works is half the battle and there’s no reason that, should he be able to get the monkey off his back and score in a few games on the bounce, he wouldn’t be able to consistently score once his confidence is boosted.


Leigh Griffiths

Griffiths’ future could already be decided if the rumours about him going on loan are to be believed. To accept Griffiths in the side, you also have to accept the baggage that comes along with him and, while he is undoubtedly a talented player and an accomplished goalscorer, he is also a bit of an immature idiot and that is a personality trait that time does not appear to have blunted. That he has played so well at previous clubs yet those clubs haven’t shifted heaven and earth to keep suggests that that plays on their mind also - Griffiths is a good player who appears to be, for many, simply not worth the hassle because, at heart, he is a ned. He does a job and it would be a pity to see him leave but, at the same time, it is hard not to see his career eventually going the same way as those of Derek Riordan and Garry O’Connor.

Keep (until he does something stupid again)

Bahrudin Atajic

You won’t find many who don’t think Atajic has what it takes to reach the top. In spite of this, he is one who is stuck on the fringes, in spite of everyone seeing that he is capable of more. But fans don’t see training sessions so there is clearly a reason why he has stuck on the fringes. He deserves a chance under Deila. If he doesn’t get it, this is his last season at the club.