Celtic’s Loan Bhoys: A Dozen Difficult Decisions for Ange Postecoglou to Reach

We’ve already reported on Ange Postecoglou’s comments specifically about Liam Scales’ situation at Celtic amid Aberdeen interest in making his time at Aberdeen permanent with an approach to Celtic already in the pipeline.  The Celtic manager gave his thoughts on that and widened the issue to explain what will be happening and when in regard to the ten players who will be coming back to Celtic this summer looking for their future’s to be sorted out.

READ THIS…Celtic’s Loan Bhoys: “The guys will all need some sort of clarity moving forward,” Ange Postecoglou

The Celtic manager will set out to do what is best for both the club and the player and you would expect that this will all have to wait until after the Scottish Cup Final against Inverness Caley Thistle is out of the way.

Lets’ have a look at who will be coming back to Celtic at the end of the season and there chances of having a viable longer term future as part of Ange Postecoglou’s squad for the coming season. The list of Celtic players out on loan includes the following players…

HeereNVEEN – FC Utrecht goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas during the Dutch Eredivisie match between sc Heerenveen and FC Utrecht at the Abe Lenstra Stadium on October 29, 2022 in Heerenveen, Netherlands. Photo ANP Sport

1. Vasilis Barkas – on loan at FC Utrecht, his family are Dutch and he would like to remain at the Dutch side if a deal can be brokered with Celtic. Barkas is Celtic’s record signing for a goalkeeper and the club will be looking at recovering at least some of the £5m paid to AEK Athens. If any of that figure is performance related then it almost certain that the sum paid to the Greek outfit will have been lower. Barkas, most folk believe, has absolutely no chance of making the Celtic first team.

 Tobi Oluwayemi of Celtic (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

2. Tobi Oluwayemi – Highly regarded young keeper who has been getting match day experience with Cork City. Would be a surprise if he was surplus to requirements at this stage. No for the future though.

Osaze Urhoghide of Celtic is challenged by Cristian Tello of Betis during the UEFA Europa League group G match between Celtic FC and Real Betis at Celtic Park on December 09, 2021. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

3. Osaze Urhoghide – The big defender has been on loan at Belgian side KV Oostende, who are unlikely to want to pay much in transfer fees for any player really. Celtic might prefer to cut their losses if it’s possible, Urhoghide is a decent defender though so should have a promising career ahead of him.

Photo by Stuart Wallace/Shutterstock Connor Allan of theRangers B challenges for the ball with Ewan Otoo of Celtic B. Celtic B v Rangers B, Scottish Lowland League, Football, Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland, UK – 30 Dec 2022

4. Ewan Otoo – On loan at Dunfermline and unlikely to be given a chance with the Celtic first team next season.

Arfield of theRangers vies with Adam Montgomery of Celtic

5. Adam Montgomery – Has enjoyed a decent season in a St Johnstone side that has struggled once again after their incredible success becoming the most successful club in Scottish football in the Covid season. Has he improved enough to merit a place in Celtic’s squad next season, perhaps as a back-up full back? That’s a tough call for Ange and his coaching staff.

Real Betis Jose Andre Guardado R in action against Celtic Glasgow s Ismaila Soro C during a UEFA Europa League Group G soccer match between Real Betis and Celtic Glasgow at Benito Villamarin stadium in Sevilla, southern Spain, 16 September 2021. Photo Julio Munoz

6. Ismaila Soro – Highly regarded when he arrived at Celtic, touted as Scott Brown’s replacement in the heart of the Celtic midfield. It’s not really going to happen for Soro at Celtic and he was given his chance to impress by Ange Postecoglou. He’s played his football this season on loan at Portuguese side FC Arouca and Celtic won’t be hard to deal with if they want to make that a permanent move.

Celtic’s Liam Shaw during the UEFA Europa League match between Celtic and Real Betis at Celtic Park stadium December 9, 2021. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

7. Liam Shaw – Arrived as part of a double signing from Sheffield Wednesday alongside Osaze Urhoghide but it hasn’t worked out for either player. Liam Shaw had a loan spell at Motherwell last season and has been playing for Morecambe this year in the lower leagues in England. Not much chance of any future at Celtic.

Celtic v Blackburn Rovers Yosuke Ideguchi warming up during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Celtic and Blackburn Rovers at Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland on 16 July 2022. Celtic Park Photo Craig Galloway PSI

8. Yosuke Ideguchi – The first Ange Postecoglou signing to get a mention. Arrived alongside Daizen Maeda and Reo Hatate early in the January 2022 transfer window, then got injured by some thug playing in the Scottish Cup at Alloa later that month. Never recovered from that really and has been back in Japan on loan at Avispa Fukuoka with that deal running through to 31 January 2024. Unfortunately we won’t get the chance to see if Ideguchi would have made a name for himself at Celtic, just like Kyogo, Hatate and Maeda.

22nd March 2023 Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland: International Football Friendly, Republic of Ireland versus Latvia Mikey Johnston of Ireland thanking the fans after the full time whistle. Photo ActionPlus Peter Fitzpatrick

9. Mikey Johnston – He’s done well over in Portugal at Vitoria SC where he has been getting the much needed games-time after an horrendous time at Celtic with injury problems. Mikey’s ability has never been in doubt but its fitness, the physical demands of the game and securing the necessary game-time that is the concern. There’s a theory he could be a ready made replacement for Liel Abada in the squad if the Israeli was the subject of a big money bid. Last week Abada was talking up staying at Celtic so that could be a factor in the decision that’s reached regarding Mike, who is now an international player with Ireland.

10. Johnny Kenny – The Irish striker has been out on loan with Shamrock Rovers. Impressed in the first pre-season friendly last season, scoring one and almost another that was pinched by Albian Ajeti! Maybe not yet quite at the level Celtic require but another loan season could push the ultimate decision down the road and give the player a chance to make his claim.

Albian Ajeti of Celtic reacts during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Livingston FC and Celtic FC at The Toni Macaroni Arena on September 18, 2021. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

11. Albian Ajeti – Anyone remember that smug tweet the club put out at the close of the Summer 2020 transfer window? How did that work out? For Albian Ajeti, a £5m signing from West Ham, not very well. He’s been on loan back in Austria with SK Sturm Graz and their chairman has been making encouraging noises about wanting to sign the striker. He’s unlikely to get much football at Celtic under Ange Postecoglou.

Conor Hazard consoles Hearts keeper Craig Gordon after Celtic win the penalty shoot-out in the 2020 Scottish Cup Final. Photo: Andrew Milligan

12. Conor Hazard – His saves in that dramatic penalty shoot-out in the Scottish Cup Final in December 2020 at an empty Hampden went a very long way to securing a Quadruple Treble for Celtic and has had various loan spells with Scottish clubs as well as a very successful time in Finland with HJK Helsinki where he helped them with the Veikkausliiga title in 2022. The Northern Ireland international goalkeeper  returned to Celtic and rejected the chance to go back out on loan in January and has been seen on match day as part of the warn up staff for established first pick Joe Hart. Unlikely that he’ll want to hang around beyond the summer but he’s always going to be remembered for that day at Hampden.

Here’s Ange Postecoglou’s take on when and how decisions on these loan players will be taken, each one being for the benefit of both the player and the club.

“We’ll wait until the summer. But those decisions will be made at the end of the year. The guys will all need some sort of clarity moving forward. We will look at them all on an individual basis. We’ll get to that when the time is right.”

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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