This season has been a torrid and arduous one for Celtic. They secured the Scottish Cup in December but beyond that, there has been little to write home about.
Heading into this weekend the Bhoys were 23 points behind Rangers with any chance of winning a tenth title in a row surely all but done.
Neil Lennon has been feeling the heat but amazingly, the Hoops hierarchy are sticking with him. For Celtic’s high standards, it’s baffling that he’s still in the job.
It’s not often the Bhoys will be this far off the pace, especially to their rivals, so you can forgive supporters for protesting outside Parkhead a few months ago.
Though, as well as worrying about the future of Lennon, they should have major concerns over the playing squad. That’s because if everything goes against them, as many as 12 players could walk through the exit door in the summer.
We’ll break things down into three segments for you, beginning with those whose loans will be expiring; Mo Elyounoussi, Shane Duffy, Diego Laxalt and Jonjoe Kenny.
Secondly, we’ll look at the players out of contract; Scott Brown, Cameron Harper and Karamoko Dembele.
Finally, there are a host of players all being linked with exits; Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer, Ryan Christie and Tom Rogic. You also need to bring into the equation that Olivier Ntcham has an agreement to join Marseille permanently.
Fears surrounding Edouard and Ajer have been there for a while. The former keeps attracting interest from the Premier League while AC Milan have shown a willingness to sign Ajer. Christie has been linked with Arsenal and Leeds while Rogic could move to Asia according to The Athletic.
With that many players potentially leaving, it would leave Celtic with plenty of recruitment to do.
For starters, this is the team Lennon could be left with.
As you can see, it’s an incredibly patched together XI. We’d tip Albian Ajeti and Leigh Griffiths to continue scoring goals while the midfield still looks indomitable.
Ismaila Soro has been a breath of fresh air to this Celtic team and has only been on the losing team twice in the SPFL. With that in mind, losing Brown wouldn’t be disastrous.
However, it’s in defence where there should be real worries. With Ajer potentially leaving in a few months time it leaves them vulnerable. Jeremie Frimpong is already out the door and Laxalt is presumably heading back to Milan which means defensive recruitment will surely be of utmost importance.
That should especially be the case at right-back. Kenny is only on loan which would leave the lesser spotted Anthony Ralston and Hatem Elhamed as their only right-backs. Stephen Welsh would undoubtedly benefit though. The 21-year-old has only played eight times for the Hoops which goes to show the limit of their exposure at the back.
Whether it’s Lennon or a new manager in charge come the summer, they will have a huge rebuilding job on their hands.