Celtic find themselves in the rather unusual position of trailing the league leaders in the Scottish Premiership, with Aberdeen sitting at the summit.
Ronny Deila’s side haven’t really exerted the dominance we have come to expect from the Bhoys traditionally, especially with arch rivals Rangers rotting in the division below. Despite this, the Norwegian coach was still able to secure a domestic double in his first season in charge at Parkhead.
However, with the Dons pushing them all the way – Celtic must improve. The domestic league won’t be a walk in park, as it had been in years gone by. It would take a brave man to bet on Aberdeen walking away with the league title in May, but these are nervous moments for Deila and his side.
Attacker Kris Commons returned to the first team fold after a period out, and looks to be back to his best. Should Celtic wish to push on and catch Aberdeen – they must carry on using their superior squad to full effect during a long, gruelling season.
As the January sales approach, here’s a look at FIVE players they should axe in order to free up funds to aid their title assault in the New Year…
The Aussie midfielder will mark two years with the Scottish giants when January rears its ugly head, but the Parkhead outfit should mark the anniversary with a sale. Harsh I know, but the 22-year old provides many of the same qualities as Nir Britton – who simply is a far better player.
The Israeli star has formed a solid pairing with Scott Brown in the 4-2-3-1 setup deployed by Delia, and Rogic looks to have missed out.
There’s logic in selling Rogic.
The Nigerian defender has been on an amazing journey with the Bhoys since arriving in Glasgow from Israeli side Ashdod. However, with Delia strengthening his back-line since the departure of Virgil van Dijk – it’s time to shift the 26-year old on.
With the likes of Jozo Simunovic, Dedryck Boyata and Tyler Blackett able to operate in the centre of defence, Delia has a wealth of options. Even at right-back he can call on Mikeal Lustig or Saidy Janko, so the Bhoys are well stocked in that area.
Fond memories of the Barcelona win are never to be forgotten, but previous questions about his attitude should not be forgotten. The club are in a new era now, like it or not, and they need to freshen up the squad.
Should Carton Cole (yes, Carlton Cole) impress while training with the squad, it could free up space to see Anthony Stokes depart. Leigh Griffiths is clearly the first choice hitman at the club, and any deal to bring the one time England man into the team would see Stokes pushed even further down the pecking order.
The 27-year old has been a loyal servant since joining his boyhood heroes from Hibernian, but a Griffiths – Cole combination can cause far more devastation. Linked with a move to the MLS, it could be time to cash in on the Republic of Ireland international.
The former Dundee United man arrived only in January of this year, but has failed to kick on since his move. He’s hardly looked like the player Deila rushed through a deal in order to fend off competition for, and the Scottish international has found himself behind a 32-year old Kris Commons in the pecking order.
Stefan Johansen and James Forrest partner Commons in support of Leigh Griffiths, and Celtic would be wise to shift the 25-year old on.
Perhaps a loan away from the giants could be the best solution for all parties.
Should Mackey-Steven be given more time to probe himself for the Hoops, it may be wise to shift out the 28-year old Flying Dutchman.
He’s struggled with injuries since his move from Ajax, failing to impress his new fans. Though in glimpses, he’s looked a good buy, it’s been hard to truly see him in full flow.
A Dutch international, Celtic should be getting a lot more out of the player. Equally frustrating as he is fascinating.