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Whoever comes into Celtic as the new manager will also have to become a bit of an Eliot Ness in the process.

Ange Postecogolou may have quit for Tottenham Hotspur but the Aussie will soon find out that if he comes back north of the border to raid his former club for their prized assets, then he may find that they are 'Untouchables'.

Celtic's key players must not be allowed to follow Postecoglou out of Parkhead, not if they are to make a fist of it in the Champions League. The hierarchy at the club has to ensure that all the good work and everything that has been built over the past two years is not dismantled in the space of one reckless transfer window.

Managing Celtic is a difficult task in its own right and any new boss will need every tool at their disposal. The most influential players simply have to stay put.

Alistair Johnston

The Canadian scooped a domestic treble in just 20 first-team games for Celtic. The rapid recruitment of the defender looks to be an absolute snip at £3 million. The supporters have quickly forgotten all about the man he replaced, Josip Juranovic. That in itself is no mean feat. The player showed what he was all about at the World Cup finals last year. Johnston seems to possess all the attributes that will see him go right to the top of the game. Any potential suitors at this juncture of his career will certainly not be welcome. He simply has to stay at Celtic.

Cameron Carter-Vickers

Quite simply a colossus in defence and the best centre-back in Scotland by a country mile. The American international has three years left on his current deal, so the Hoops hold all the cards here. While the American owes a lot to Postecoglou, it is Celtic who have given him the platform to shine firstly by winning a double and then a domestic treble as well as competing in the Champions League. He also recently ended his three-year international exile while on the book of the Hoops and this culminated in him featuring for his country at the World Cup. Absolutely no bids should be entertained for such an influential and inspirational player who was also trusted with the captain's armband in the absence of Callum McGregor early in the last campaign. He cannot be sold.

READ MORE: Why Celtic should forgive Brendan Rodgers - Ryan McGinlay

Reo Hatate

The midfielder is reportedly being monitored by Tottenham after being signed by Postecoglou in January 2022. It would now appear that Hatate is on the radar of the Australian who will wish to be reunited with him in North London this summer. Hatate contributed nine goals and 11 assists last season in all matches. His form dipped in the latter part of the campaign as he sustained an injury. The playmaker eventually got his call to the Japan national team squad and reckons that he could have even waltzed off with the Scottish Player of the Year award if he had applied himself more. He said: "Looking back on my own season, I played 32 league games, scoring six goals and assisting nine. In all official games, I had nine goals and 11 assists. I was aiming for double-figure goals and double-figure assists, so while I achieved my assists, I didn't reach my goalscoring target, which will be the challenge for next season." Undoubtedly a talent, Celtic must resist any offers that are tabled for the player.


The winger carried on from where he left off last season as he helped Celtic clinch the domestic treble. He bagged 15 goals and 12 assists in 43 appearances, comprising some 2,924 minutes of football in the 2022-23 campaign. Jota is a vital cog in the machine and remains under contract for another four years. Celtic should rebuff any tabled offer that comes their way, as he is not the finished article. However, the wide man has provided plenty of highlights for his showreel, not least of all his goals against Rangers in the 4-0 win at Parkhead in September as well as his header for the 1-0 Scottish Cup semi-final victory in April which ended Michael Beale's men's quest for silverware.

READ MORE: Brendan Rodgers left Celtic like a fugitive - but he's still my pick

Kyogo Furuhashi

Celtic's goal-scoring talisman is worth his weight in gold to the side. He is a prolific marksman who has also been rumoured to be the subject of a £20 million plus bid for his services in order to work under Postecoglou at Tottenham should they finally cash in on Harry Kane. Kyogo netted 34 goals and five assists from 50 appearances in all competitions this season during a wonderful campaign and has two years left on his current deal. Kyogo has also been compared to club legend Henrik Larsson who bagged 242 goals in 315 games for the club over seven years. The striker admits that he wants to cement his place in Celtic folklore just like countryman Shunsuke Nakamura: "Shunsuke is the Celtic legend. When I joined, I honestly had no idea that I could be able to catch up with his achievements. I’ve been trying to get people to remember my name at Celtic. I’ve been playing hard, hoping my name will be engraved in the history of Celtic one day. Now I feel like that I could catch up with Shunsuke a little." Kyogo is the very definition of an untouchable and unsaleable asset.

This piece is an extract from the latest Celtic Digest newsletter, which is emailed out every weekday evening with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from The Celtic Way team.

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