Celtic came out 2-1 winners against Charlton Athletic in their second friendly of the pre-season camp in Wales this afternoon. Ange Postecoglou named two XIs for the afternoon, with both teams featuring a mix of youth and experience. Goals from Karamoko Dembele and Albian Ajeti made it two out of two friendly wins for the new manager.
1. Albian Ajeti
Albian Ajeti scored Celtic’s second of the afternoon but he could have had a couple after a few promising positions resulted in defensive blocks from Charlton. The Swiss striker had a poor debut season in Scotland but he will be extremely excited at the prospect of moving into the season as the manager’s first choice attacker. The player is noticeably trimmer, actively covering a lot of ground. There is still a lot of work to be done but the signs are promising from the £4.5m signing from West Ham.
2. Right Back
Tony Ralston provided an assist for Ajeti and the second Celtic goal of the afternoon and it was an impressive cross from the much-maligned fullback. However, Ralston clearly does not represent a first choice option moving forward. Osaze Urhoghide appeared to be a bit rusty, likely having been the short time since he had with his Celtic colleagues or perhaps being played at RB. Either way, it was a solid enough, if not an overly confident, display from the 21-year-old but he doesn’t seem to be a right back.
The manager needs to get a RB over the line that will join the first team, play in Ange’s system and get a lot of joy down that right side.
3. Reprieve for Ntcham
Olivier Ntcham had a solid enough display in the midfield for Celtic. The 25-year-old played in his first game for quite a while and he began to find some rhythm. The Frenchman was very present in the training videos from during the week and looked extremely active. Perhaps the manager has brought the player in from the cold and said that he can continue to make an impact at Celtic after the failed loan to Marseille.
4. Big season for Mikey Johnston
Johnston rattled the post as he cut in from the left hand side and managed to get a shot away on goal. The goalkeeper was left stranded as the ball ricocheted back to safety. The 22-year-old will see Moi Elyounoussi moving on as an opportunity to really hammer himself into the lineup at Celtic, taking the opportunities afforded to him by the manager before he looks to the market.
Vasilis Barkas didn’t have much to do in the first half, dropping between the central defenders and pushing forward. The new manager appears to be still assessing whether or not to make a move for Socceroos No.1 Mat Ryan. Scott Bain could have done more with Conor Washington’s goal but the ‘keeper redeemed himself with a late save to keep the Celtic lead intact. Ange may think that Barkas can remain at the club as his No.1 but it will likely be decided based upon his work on the training pitch with Celtic still looking to recoup some value from the signing from AEK Athens.