Celtic as a club always strive to bring in fresh and exciting players from the continent and further afield in order to bolster their squad, particularly for European participation.

However, there is a limit to this, especially when competing in UEFA-ran competitions. Fully enforced in time for the 2008/09 season, the European governing body established the homegrown player rule, which meant that participating clubs had to name at least eight players that were trained in the same national league as themselves, with four of them having to have originated from that club’s own youth system.

In turn, this rule restricted the maximum of foreign-based players in European competitions to 17. Of course, teams can work their way around these rules in terms of buying players from their own country, but this is easier for bigger teams in other nations as the talent they produce is normally of a higher standard than of those in the Scottish market.

At the moment, Celtic are in the process of clearing out players who do not fit into Brendan Rodgers’ plans. Individuals such as Ismaila Soro, Albian Ajeti and James McCarthy are not going to feature this season and, thus, must be moved on. There are still question marks regarding Stephen Welsh and Liam Scales too in defence, a position which is set to be further depleted following the impending departure of Carl Starfelt to Celta Vigo in Spain.

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Still, this does not mean that there are no solid options out there. That said, here are three players who could help Celtic both on the pitch with performances and off of it for European quotas.

Scott McKenna – Nottingham Forest

A name that will be familiar to Scottish football fans, the centre-back has been at Nottingham Forest for three years following his six-year professional spell at Aberdeen, where he began his career. He was a key part of Forrest’s promotion drive under Steve Cooper in the 21/22 season, making 51 appearances in all competitions as his Forest side made their long-awaited return to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs.

Last season McKenna went on to make 24 appearances in total - with 20 of those in the Premier League – but spent time on the bench and on the sidelines throughout the second half of the season through both tactical and injury reasons. Indeed, two separate injuries to his shoulder and hamstring prevented him from making a bigger impact for Forest, though his side still managed to steer clear of relegation.

Celtic and Rodgers have clearly been keen admirers of McKenna’s defensive capabilities, as Aberdeen knocked back bids in 2018 and 2019 from the club at £3.5 and £5million respectively. With a year left on his current deal, McKenna may be a potential avenue for the club to go down and revisit, especially as he fits the bill for a home-grown player. With space opening up following Starfelt’s inevitable departure, McKenna may finally get his move to Celtic after all.

Josh Doig – Hellas Verona

Another Scottish talent that has done well, Doig had a successful first season plying his trade in Italy’s Serie A with Hellas Verona following his £3 million move from Hibernian. Verona were also not dissimilar to McKenna’s Nottingham Forest, as they, too, managed to avoid relegation, helped in part by their Scottish defender.

Following an ambitious move to a foreign country at an early age, Doig contributed to the cause last season with two goals and four assists for his new employers. Interestingly, he played the vast majority of his minutes deployed as a left midfielder for Verona, where his output in terms of goal contributions increased as a result of this positional change.

Celtic, rumoured to have been interested in the player during his Hibs days, are presumably in the market for left-sided players following the sale of Jota to Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia. This, following the early-season shortcomings of Greg Taylor, could mean a dip into the market for a player of Doig’s profile may be in order for the club as a matter of urgency.

Standing at over six feet, he would offer a noticeable increase in terms of height and physicality to Celtic’s backline, in a position where teams target the incumbent player due to his height and build in Taylor. A pricey acquisition, but perhaps a worthwhile one given his potential both in the short and long term.

Harry Souttar – Leicester City

This is a move that could and would attract headlines from all possible angles.

Yes, it is a well-established fact that Souttar’s older brother plays for Celtic’s biggest rivals, but that should not put the side off from at least testing the water with the Australian international, who admirably represented the nation at last year’s World Cup in Qatar.

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Born in Scotland, he came through Dundee United’s academy before moving to Stoke City after a handful of first-team appearances at the Tannadice club. His performances in the English Championship, along with his starring role in the aforementioned World Cup run with the Socceroos, prompted then-Leicester boss Rodgers to sign the towering defender for £15 million in January this year. His time with the now-Celtic manager was cut short due to his dismissal at Leicester, though he regularly featured under Dean Smith as Leicester suffered relegation.

With five years left to run on his current contract at Leicester, Souttar was an unused substitute for Enzo Maresca’s debut match in charge of the Foxes. Although a move for the defender seems unlikely given the undoubtedly high fee attached to the player, perhaps a return home and the lure of Champions League football may be an attractive proposition to Souttar, despite the noise that this move would no doubt make in Scotland.