How does Celtic’s recruitment look with the benefit of hindsight?

It has been a very good season for Celtic, a treble looking like it’s on the cards, two cup wins at Hampden against theRangers and of course the title win, picking up more points and scoring more goals than last time out.

It is important to not let a couple of poor showings of late make it look like this season was anything other than what it was. The only fly in the ointment was a disappointing Champions League campaign, though even that showed promise and if it wasn’t for poor finishing and missed chances it could very well have been a different story, or at least a longer one.

As it stands, sports betting sites such as Betway will have the Hoops as favourites for next year’s title, but the club cannot rest on its laurels. Additionally, if they are to make a bigger impact on the European stage, then the recruitment needs to reflect that ambition. Only by looking back at the hits and misses of this season’s transfer activity can they see what went wrong and what went right.

Jota – 9/10

Celtic v Aberdeen – Tomoki Iwata and Jota celebrate after the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Saturday May 27, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

Ange Postecoglou’s biggest outlay of the summer came in the form of Benfica’s attacking midfielder/winger after impressing during his loan spell. Eleven goals and ten assists are just the type of statistics you want from your wide men and auxiliary strikers, and what is particularly pleasing is that he was one of the players who was able to step up in the games in Europe. His goal against theRangers picked up one of the several gongs the club received for this season. There are plenty of other advantages to having the Portuguese star on the books as well, given what he brings to the club.

Cameron Carter-Vickers – 9/10

Cameron Carter-Vickers of Celtic shakes hands with Joe Hart after the team’s victory in the Scottish Cup Semi Final match between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden Park on April 30, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Like Jota, CCV arrived on a permanent deal after his season-long loan, a move that is good for all parties involved. Defensively is the area that the Hoops have been found wanting this season when CCV has been out injured. CCV is definitely quality, a fact made more obvious when he has not played. Who the club are able to bring in alongside him in the summer will have a huge impact on just how they are able to perform in Europe next season although it has to be said that Carl Starfelt has had a very good season too. It’s just that Celtic need three top quality central defenders and the evidence suggests that the club currently only have two.

Alexandro Bernabéi – 6/10

The Hoops’ recruitment has spread to Argentina. 22nd October 2022. Alexandro Bernabei of Celtic during the cinch Premiership match at Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh. Photo: Neil Hanna / Sportimage

When the Argentinian international signed, he was the first player from that esteemed football nation to pull on the famous green and white hooped jersey. Hopes were raised, not just because of the quality Bernabéi would bring to the squad, but also because it was evidence that the clubs tentacles were spreading into the cauldron of talent that is the South American market.

The left back has had an underwhelming debut season in truth, finding it hard to impress in the games he has had, and more importantly finding it a challenge to get game time. Much of that has been down to the performances and improvement of Greg Taylor. The Scottish international’s improvement may have something to do with Alexandro’s arrival of course. We should not give up on the Argentinian full back, and at least one Celtic legend is tipping him to make his mark at the club.

Alistair Johnston – 8/10

The January window signing of the Canadian international has been a resounding success, and the fans instantly took to the right back. His loss through injury has been one of the reasons along with that of CCV that they have shipped goals of late, although thankfully that happened after the league was won. It was expected he would be out for the season, but he appears to have made a remarkable recovery returning for Trophy Day last Saturday and the Canadian will play in the Scottish Cup Final tomorrow against Inverness Caledonian Thistle looking to pick up his third major honour in Scottish football in just five months.

For context theRangers right back and captain James Tavernier has won just two winners medals in EIGHT YEARS!

Best of the Rest

Celtic v Aberdeen – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park Celtic s Oh Hyeon-gyu celebrates with the trophy after the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Glasgow. Picture date: Saturday May 27, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

Alistair Johnston aside, perhaps the biggest impact signings have been ones from the bargain basement, at least in terms of cost, which shows that one there is still value to be had, and two Ange and his recruiting team know what they are doing. Hyeon-kyu Oh, Sead Hakšabanović, Daizen Maeda and Aaron Mooy have all contributed to the successful season, and with the exception of the veteran Australian Mooy, are players for the future whose value will only increase.

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