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The Celtic Squad and 25 positions

The season is nearly over and it won't be long until that time when we are all talking about the new season and preparation for it.

With that will be players leaving and new players arriving but the new guidelines on Champions League squads make these transitions more intriguing.

Celtic's Champions League Squad will have 25 players in it but 8 have to be locally trained and 4 of that 8 have to be Celtic trained. Some players can be registered for the B List if they were born after 1st January 2002. *There are some more stipulations regarding locally trained and B List players so it is not as straight forward as it sounds.

Three players in the squad have to be Goalkeepers but one of them can be from the B List.

So if we look at the restrictions first and what players could fill those positions;;

  • B List - Tobi Oluwayemi, Adam Montgomery, Johnny Kenny, Rudi Vata, Ben Summers, Dane Murray and Bosun Lawal

  • Celtic trained - Mikey Johnston, James Forrest, Anthony Ralston, Callum McGregor and Stephen Welsh.

  • Locally trained - Greg Taylor, James McCarthy, David Turnbull and Scott Bain

Celtic could have all 5 of the Celtic trained players if they only used 3 of the locally trained. (IE Celtic could have 8 Celtic trained players and 0 locally trained but they couldn't have 0 Celtic trained and 8 locally trained). Or Celtic could put 1 of the 5 Celtic trained into the main squad.

The main squad then is for 17 players and selection starts to be tricky.

In my opinion there needs to be;

  • 2 goalkeepers (if using Bain or Oluwayemi as the 3rd)

  • 2 right backs

  • 2 left backs

  • 4 centre backs

  • 2 defensive midfielders

  • 4 number 8's

  • 4 wingers

  • 2 strikers

Given that Celtic usually play with 4 wingers per match (2 starting and 2 subs) and that's the same for number 8's and strikers you could definitely make a case for 5 or 6 wingers and number 8's and a 3rd striker.

The above is 22 players as well and Celtic are only allowed 17 outwith the locally trained players. Working from the top down McGregor and Taylor are the only two from the locally trained list that are definites so 3 of the above positions would have to be compromised (either left out or covered by locally trained players).

In an ideal world it would be;

  • New keeper, Joe Hart (as back up) and Scott Bain (I'd say Bain is ok for insurance purposes as 3rd choice).

  • Johnston and a new right back as cover.

  • Taylor and a new left back as cover although there is still a case for a better than Taylor left back with Taylor as cover.

  • Carter-Vickers and new centre back with Starfelt and Kobayashi as cover. It's time for Welsh to move on as a sellable asset and 5th choice would not be ideal for him.

  • McGregor and Iwata as defensive midfielders. (But is that enough if Celtic decide to play with 2 defensive midfielders?).

  • Hatate and another creative midfielder as number 8's with O'Riley as back up. Mooy and Turnbull would be fine for 4th / 5th choice but Mooy without game time might not be as effective and Turnbull may be best moved on so possible another 2 midfielders needed. Although Haksabanovic is an option.

  • Jota on the left with a new pacy, good dribbling, right winger signed. Maeda is a good back up. It's probably time for Abada to move on as is a valuable asset and doesn't contribute to the team as effectively as Celtic would want. It's probably a season too far for James Forrest as well. So another 2 wingers needed at least. Although I've not included Haksabanovic here as see him more suited to the attacking number 8 position.

  • A back up striker for Kyogo with Oh as 3rd choice allowing him to develop further.

Therefore in an ideal world Celtic need to sign;

  • A new keeper

  • A new centre back

  • A new creative number 8

  • A new right winger

All for the first team and that hasn't included a new left back. So 4 first team signings.

Then also to be signed;

  • A new back up right back

  • A new back up left back

  • Another number 8 (even assuming for Haksabanovic) being utilised in this position.

  • Another winger and possibly a right winger to be back up to the new signing but ideal if they could play in all positions across the front 3.

  • A back up striker

So another 5 signings making it 9 in total.

9 signings are not going to happen so it's where is Celtic's priority. If it was based on aiming high and getting the 4 new signings for the first team then compromise could possibly be found in the back up areas.

Therefore after going through this process Celtic's squad could be (locally trained and B List in red);

  • New keeper, Hart, Bain and Oluwayemi

  • Johnston and Ralston

  • Taylor, Bernabei and Montgomery

  • Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Welsh and Lawal

  • New centre back, Kobayashi and Murray

  • McGregor, Iwata, Ideguchi and McCarthy

  • Hatate, Mooy, Turnbull and Summers

  • New attacking number 8, O'Riley and Haksabanovic

  • New right winger, Abada, Forrest and Vata

  • Kyogo, Oh and Kenny

  • Jota, Maeda and Johnston

The above includes 21 players from an allowed 17 and 9 locally trained. If Celtic sold Welsh and released Ideguchi that still leaves Celtic looking for 3 non locally trained players to drop out and I also think the above is light in the back up striker position. Personally I would sign Kevin Nisbet for back up striker as he is locally trained and who knows how better he could be under coaching with Ange. Although I do get he's 26 now.

I can see Mooy being given another season however despite the fact he has been good this year he's another year older and keeping him blocks the pathway for signing a new more dynamic number 8. Turnbull could be sold to generate cash but he would need replaced by another squad midfielder. McCarthy could be released to free up some wages but he doesn't impact on the squad above due to his locally trained status.

Despite centre back being discussed for a while with Starfelt and Carter-Vickers trusted as a pairing and Kobayashi already signed I can't see Celtic signing a centre half this summer. Lawal or Murray may need to replace Welsh as 4th choice which I'm fine with. The other alternative is that Starfelt is sold and that money is used for a new left sided centre back. Starfelt's attributes may be better suited at another team but given Ange's trust in him and Carter-Vickers coming back from injury I can't see any movement at centre back.

With the way the squad is with numbers and restrictions etc I can't see any movement at full back either. There could be an argument for moving on Bernabei but in my opinion that should only really be looked at in the process of getting a first team left back and using Taylor as back up. Bernabei is not ideal for first team in Champions League games if Taylor is injured but neither is Montgomery.

A new goalkeeper is much needed, especially for the big games and it would be ideal with Hart as back up and to help the new goalkeeper settle in. However my gut instinct is that Hart will be given another year as number 1. But that then leaves us with the need for another goalkeeper in the squad anyway and more than likely it is going to be Siegrist.

This leaves the position of right winger as the possibility and something that I would be really hoping for. I think in games where we are struggling to create a more creative winger (with pace) is needed. There is not much depth there either so ideally keeping Abada too but given his value and the time to sell him being key I can see it being an Abada out and new winger in scenario this summer. With this in mind it is not wide of the mark to give Mikey Johnston a squad position especially given his Celtic trained status.

Where does that leave us then;

  • Hart, Bain, Siegrist and Oluwayemi

  • Johnston and Ralston

  • Taylor, Bernabei and Montgomery

  • Carter-Vickers and Lawal

  • Starfelt, Kobayashi and Murray

  • McGregor, Iwata and McCarthy

  • Hatate, Mooy, Turnbull and Summers

  • O'Riley and Haksabanovic

  • New right winger, Forrest and Vata

  • Kyogo, Oh and Kenny

  • Jota, Maeda and Johnston

That leaves us with the above and only one new signing for the first team and one new signing in total. It also leaves the precarious position of only Oh as the back up striker.

Even selling Turnbull doesn't help the above as he's not counted as 1 of the 17.

There is still the option to sign a keeper and leave out Siegrist and sell Starfelt and sign a new centre back but all in all there probably won't be much movement this summer.

What is everyone's views on the above and is there any thoughts on what Ange will do or what we think he should do?

Also is there any other locally trained players out there that could be valuable additions to our squad that free up positions elsewhere? IE Josh Doig could be better than Bernabei and would be counted as locally trained.

Who are the 4 best locally trained players available? Are Taylor, Bain, Turnbull and McCarthy the 4 best that we could get?

PS I deliberately left out Barkas, Scales, Urhoghide, Soro, Shaw and Ajeti because the 17 is already over populated and neither of them can be listed as locally trained players or B List.

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