IT'S THE international break which means one thing: it's time to update The Celtic Way power rankings again.

Last time out Kyogo Furuhashi took the top spot while Liel Abada's lowly 12th place caused some debate. 

Since the last international window, Ange Postecoglou's men have won six of their seven matches.

Their fine run of form cut the gap at the top of the Premiership from six points to four while, in Europe, successive victories over Ferencvaros lifted the Hoops from bottom and pointless to third and assured of continental competition after new year.

Plenty of positives, then, as we arrive at another chance to take stock of player performance.

READ MORE: Why Celtic striker Kyogo Furuhashi is the best player in Scotland - Tony Haggerty

First, a wee explainer in case this is your first visit to the TCW power rankings.

Subscribers will already know that we produce detailed man-by-man match ratings for every game, so international breaks seem the perfect time to collate those marks and put the results to you.

The threshold for inclusion on this occasion is a straight 250 minutes of action in the first-team. Again, it's not a particularly high bar; participate in not even the equivalent of three matches worth of game-time and you're in.

Using this metric Vasilis Barkas, Scott Bain, Dane Murray, Christopher Jullien, Boli Bolingoli, Liam Scales and Mikey Johnston do not qualify.

Like before, appearances from the bench not long enough to warrant a match rating of more than a two or three are removed from the tallies. Where two players have finished level in rating, the tie-breaker gives the nod to the player who has played more often.

And away we go...

20. Giorgos Giakoumakis

Previous ranking: Unranked.

The summer signing made his long-awaited debut in the 4-0 loss to Leverkusen just before the last international break. Since then he has made a further seven appearances and garnered two starts.

A well-taken goal on his full debut against St Johnstone should have served as a nice confidence boost for the 26-year-old but his next start - against Livingston at Parkhead - brought a costly missed penalty (explored further here).

His physicality and penchant for buying fouls has proved a useful tool in the Europa League, allowing Celtic to take the sting out of any late opposition momentum, but more will be expected of the Greek given his outstanding goal record in last season's Eredivisie.

Average rating: 5.3 (out of 10)

19. James McCarthy

Previous ranking: 19

At the time of the last rankings, McCarthy's entry contained the following:

Questions over his suitability to play a central role for a fast-paced, ball-dominant side linger on.

Virtually nothing has happened to change that, with the Irishman playing just 17 more minutes since.

Rating: 5.3

18. Nir Bitton

Previous ranking: 20

He propped up the rankings last time out but Bitton's two most recent appearances have propelled him off the bottom of the pile.

A return to midfield seems to have boosted the Israeli's confidence, with his last outing against Dundee standing out as particularly impressive (indeed, he received an 8 from us for his efforts).

Sustaining that level when in the team will be the key to his contributions under Postecoglou this season, as you suspect he will once again find game-time rather limited when Tom Rogic returns from injury.

Rating: 5.5

17. Adam Montgomery

Previous ranking: 17

Just one appearance since the last rankings means Montgomery's potential coming-of-age season has stalled.

He performed ably enough on that occasion - against Ferencvaros at home - but has yet to be seen since with Josip Juranovic holding down the left-back spot for now in Greg Taylor's absence.

Rating: 5.6

16. Ismaila Soro

Previous ranking: 16

The Ivorian has made no further appearances in the latest run of matches, neither has his ranking moved.

Rating: 5.9

15. Albian Ajeti

Previous ranking: 13

A four-minute outing against St Johnstone is all Ajeti has to show for himself since the last installment of these rankings. He has slipped back two places as a result.

Rating: 6.0

14. Liel Abada

Previous ranking: 12

The Israeli's topsy-turvy form has continued of late.  Abada has seven goals in 24 appearances but has netted just once in his last 10 outings: in the 3-2 Europa League success over Ferencvaros in Budapest last week.

Abada is still a potent weapon out on the right flank when he is on-song but, having hit the ground running when he came to the club, he has allowed his standards to fall below that early high bar too often to threaten the top 10.

With James Forrest approaching full fitness, Abada faces a real battle on his hands if he is to keep possession of the starter's shirt but you feel the ability to rotate him out could actually benefit the youngster as the season progresses.

Rating: 6.0

13. Tom Rogic

Previous ranking: 15

The Australian may well feel hard-done-by to be sitting 13th but it is a rise of two places from last time and he is surely unlucky to have picked up a hamstring injury just when he was finding his stride again.

One of the better facets of Postecoglou's reign has been the fact that he has gotten a tune out of his compatriot; Rogic has looked like a player reborn at times. His 40-minute cameo in the 3-1 destruction of Hibs at Easter Road rendered him unplayable while he lit up Fir Park when Celtic won 2-0 on October 16 too.

Celtic Way: Rogic's final-third key passes so far this league seasonRogic's final-third key passes so far this league season

The 28-year-old should be back as Celtic launch their assault for the first silverware of the season with a League Cup semi-final clash against St Johnstone at Hampden on November 20. As he has shown in the past, the national stadium is a bit of a happy hunting ground for him.

Rating: 6.1

12. Carl Starfelt

Previous ranking: 14

Injury struck at a particularly inconvenient time for Starfelt. The Swede's somewhat ignominious start had begun to abate and public perception was swinging his way after a few solid matches, something reinforced by his two-spot rise here.

A hamstring issue suffered against Livingston has forced the 26-year-old onto the sidelines for now but his partnership with Cameron Carter-Vickers was starting to show positive signs and the hope is that continues upon his return to action.

Rating: 6.1

11. Greg Taylor

Previous ranking: 10

Taylor's shoulder problem means he hasn't clocked up any game-time since the last rankings were published. As a result, his average rating has stayed the same but he has fallen out of the top 10 due to the form of others.

Despite the presence of Boli Bolingoli, Liam Scales and Adam Montgomery, it is right-back Josip Juranovic who has deputised for Taylor in his absence. 

The Croatian has performed admirably but, nonetheless, the fact the young Scot was handed a new contract to sign while he recovers from surgery perhaps gives an indication of how much Postecoglou values him.

Rating: 6.2

10. David Turnbull

Previous ranking: 11

The Scotland midfielder is starting to hit form and he was one of the standouts for Celtic in the recent trio of away wins over Hibs, Ferencvaros and Dundee.

Turnbull is one of the few players who possess the ability to put - in his own words - some "swazz" on the ball. That was in evidence with his wonder-strike against former club Motherwell a few weeks ago as he took his personal goal tally this season to seven in his team-high 25 appearances.

READ MORE: How Celtic have out-punched Leicester City and Real Sociedad amid 'outside chance' of Euro trophy

However, there is still a school of thought that suggests the Celtic supporters still expect more from a player whom they believe is both technically gifted and sublimely talented and the expectation will be that he starts to surge up the top 10 instead of just making it in.

Rating: 6.2

9. James Forrest

Previous ranking: 6

Despite having played little football of late, Forrest is still hanging onto a top-10 position by virtue of his performances earlier in the season.

Cameos in the last three matches against Livingston, Ferencvaros and Dundee show that Postecoglou is slowly but surely building up the Scotland winger's fitness levels.

Celtic Way: Forrest's carry map this league season (red successful, orange not successful)Forrest's carry map this league season (red successful, orange not successful)

When Forrest gets up a head of steam then he will certainly vie with Israeli winger Abada for the starting berth - a situation which is surely a win-win for the manager.

Healthy competition in certain areas for places is something that Postecoglou has had to do without since his arrival, so he will no doubt welcome this particular right-wing headache with open arms.

Rating: 6.4

8. Josip Juranovic

Previous ranking: 9

Before his arrival, TCW pondered whether Juranovic could be the answer to Celtic's right-back problem. As it turns out, he's probably closer to solving the perceived issues on the opposite flank instead.

Due to a heady mix of Anthony Ralston's scintillating form and Greg Taylor's injury, Juranovic has spent eight of his 11 Celtic appearances on the left of the defence.

While deploying the predominantly right-footed Croatian there provokes the occasional frustration that perhaps using a natural left-footer wouldn't, the biggest feather in his cap so far has been that his composure and technical qualities are such that he has slotted into the system near-seamlessly.

There is still a certain curiosity over what a fully-firing Juranovic in his proper position can bring to the team but, with Taylor's injury issues ongoing and Ralston in fine fettle, on the left is where he'll likely stay for the time being.

Rating: 6.5

7. Stephen Welsh

Previous ranking: 4

Welsh falling down the rankings slightly is hardly surprising given his lack of game-time since the arrival of Cameron Carter-Vickers. 

The youth product has found himself back in the team over the past couple of games due to Carl Starfelt's injury - and has coped well - but his early-season run in the first XI has petered out and he has ultimately assumed the deputy role most would have earmarked for him before the campaign began.

Nonetheless, it is testament to his impressive form in the early days of Postecoglou's tenure that he still finds himself securely in the top 10... for now, at least.

Rating: 6.7

6. Anthony Ralston

Previous ranking: 7

Against the odds, Ralston has made himself near-indispensable to Ange Postecoglou.

That the 22-year-old has started 23 of Celtic's 25 matches so far and never been withdrawn in any of them suggests he has worked his way up to becoming one of the manager's most reliable players. Four goals from right-back doesn't harm his case either.

His reversal in fortunes was typified last week when he deservedly signed a new four-year deal and he goes into the international break off the back of a three-assist display against Dundee which surely made Scotland boss Steve Clarke take notice.

Ralston's recent form makes it somewhat surprising he has only moved up one place since the last rankings - a 5 rating against Motherwell at the start of Celtic's most recent run, as well as the impressive form of those above him, likely goes a way to explaining why he hasn't cracked the top five.

Rating: 6.7

5. Joe Hart

Previous ranking: 5

You can now add keeping Ralston out of the top five to Joe Hart's list of stops this season.

His most recent outing may have included some dubious decision-making but since arriving at the club Hart has been pretty much a picture of consistency.

Celtic Way:

The Englishman's match ratings line includes 10 7s and four 8s from his 22 appearances as he continues to endear himself to the Parkhead faithful with some timely stops and a presence between the sticks that was conspicuous by its absence in the recent past.

Upon his arrival, TCW's scouting report suggested the club was going for an unlikely hat-trick of career renaissance goalkeepers after Fraser Forster and Craig Gordon - but with Hart it does look like Celtic have once again found the net after all.

Rating: 6.8

4. Cameron Carter-Vickers

Previous ranking: 8

The centre-back seems to have found a spiritual home in Glasgow's east end and has started all 14 matches since his arrival.

It's fair to say that Carter-Vickers has added solidity and calmness to a backline that was crying out for a player of that ilk - he has garnered a match rating of 7 or 8 in six of his last seven games to move up four places since the last break.

Confusion still reigns as to whether the club has an option to buy the player at the end of this season. Tottenham were willing to offload him for £5million last season and Celtic could well be tempted into striking a deal before the end of his loan spell if he continues his current trajectory in green and white.

Rating: 6.9

3. Callum McGregor

Previous ranking: 3

In many ways the type of football Celtic now try to play is in the captain's own image: boundless, technical and intelligent. 

McGregor is setting about writing a new chapter in his already-considerable Celtic legacy: that of the club captain.

Succeeding Scott Brown was never going to be easy but the 28-year-old has so far risen to the challenge well and is leading in his own style.

READ MORE: Callum McGregor was born to be Celtic captain, he is simply a joy to watch - Kevin McKenna

And, like Brendan Rodgers before him, it's clear Postecoglou appreciates McGregor's all-round ability and trusts him to be the one who pulls the strings in this new era.

The captain's 21 matches have so far brought him 11 7s and a clutch of 8s in the match ratings. More evidence, were it even needed, that while his positioning on the pitch might change every few weeks, his level of performance rarely does.

Rating: 6.9

2. Kyogo Furuhashi

Previous ranking: 1

In this instance, a drop in ranking does not equate to a drop in standard.

Kyogo has continued 'doing his thing' this season and now has 13 goals in all competitions. His latest two - a clever header and a left-footed pearler against Dundee - capped off a magnificent few days in which the Japan international also scored a crucial goal against Ferencvaros in Budapest.

His pass for Liel Abada's goal that night showcased his ability to spot a pass as well as finish them. It was statistically his first assist of the season but, with four second assists already, his importance to Celtic's attacking style of play is undeniable.

Kyogo also remains, for now, the only player so far this season to earn a match rating of 9 (against Dundee in August) so even though he's not quite number one in these rankings, he's arguably still the team's most valuable player.

Rating: 7.0

1. Jota

Previous ranking: 2

The on-loan Benfica winger can do no wrong in the eyes of the Celtic faithful.

Jota's double against Dundee at the weekend took his tally to six goals in 14 outings. That's impressive enough on its own but, when you add those stats to his six assists, then a return of 12 goal contributions in just 14 appearances for the club is simply sensational form.

Celtic Way:

It is small wonder the Celtic supporters are clamouring for his signing to be made permanent and, even at around £6million, it might well prove to be a sound piece of business should the club conclude a deal.

The 22-year-old may look like a ringer for the late George Michael but this young gun is playing with the type of freedom that accompanies red-hot confidence.

As for his standing with the fans, well, they certainly have plenty of faith in their new cult hero who now sits proudly atop the TCW Power Rankings.

Rating: 7.1

Celtic Way: