what a difference – Celtic’s line-up is unrecognisable from last year

This time last summer, Ange Postecoglou had just begun starting his reign as new Celtic boss. After the catastrophic season the supporters endured under Neil Lennon in 2020-21, there was considerable fire damage done and the squad was in need of an overhaul and some much needed confidence injected.

Our first training match or friendly would be against one of the teams hailing from the English city of Sheffield – namely United. The club had just swooped in and stole two of the Owls emerging talents that very summer, as both Liam Shaw and Osaze Urhoghide signed for the Parkhead outfit under previous boss Lennon and arrived for pre-season with a new man in charge.

One Celtic fan has highlighted on Twitter the stark contrast to this exact date in last year’s calendar; with some not so pretty sights in the starting line-up as Ange dealt with the aftermath of our horrific Ten-in-a-row campaign. There was no sign of our wantaway stars Ryan Christie, Odsonne Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer, whilst subuteo goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas assumed the portion of goal line statue.

The only real senior player was the confidence shy Swiss-Albanian striker, Albian Ajeti, who coincidentally captained the extremely inexperienced side. A back four of Montgomery, Murray, Welsh and current most improved player Anthony Ralston, were tasked with protecting the hapless Barkas against the English side.

The midfield saw the erratic Soro play alongside new signing Shaw, who were also paired with current Hibs player Euan Henderson and Kilmarnock’s Kerr McInroy. The young forward Owan Moffat accompanied Ajeti up top as we began our forray into uncharted territory, having never started pre-season as underdogs in nine years!

Alas, we eventually ran out 3-1 winners in the end up, coming from behind in the process with goals from Ajeti, Moffat and the lassez-faire Frenchman Odsonne Edouard. It was the beginning of major changes at Celtic Park and Lennoxtown under the new manager Postecoglou, as he rebuilt the side in his image and imparted the most crucial of messages: “We Never Stop!”.

Paul Gillespie

About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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