It is always both exciting and interesting when squads are released with regard to football competitions.

In an international sense, it is intriguing to find out who has been selected to represent their country - both for friendlies and tournaments – whether that be in qualifying or for major competitions. When it comes to club football at the highest level, however, the main source of excitement with regard to announcements is when European squad lists are submitted for each stage of a club’s European journey. Big decisions have to be made, as well as certain criteria that need to be followed in order to submit a squad to compete.

With that in mind – Celtic’s squad for the UEFA Champions League group stage was announced this week, with some notable omissions to say the very least.


No real surprises on the goalkeeping front for Celtic, as Joe Hart and Scott Bain assume their positions as first and second-choice options on squad list A respectively. Perhaps the biggest question mark for this position comes in the form of Benjamin Siegrist, who has not been quoted for some time at Celtic, both under Ange Postecoglou and now Brendan Rodgers. For whatever reason, the Swiss goalkeeper is not contributing on the pitch whatsoever for the club he joined just last year and is clearly not fancied between the sticks. The writing may very well be on the wall for him at Celtic, especially if he cannot displace Bain as backup, though Bain does have the homegrown caveat to his name and inclusion in the squad.

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With only two keepers listed in squad A, it will mean that a young goalkeeper may be included in the B squad. Quite ironically, the keeper named will already be used to this, as a Celtic B team goalkeeper such as Joe Morrison or Josh Clarke will likely make up the numbers for the senior team with regard to options in this position.


Defence is the area which has people talking, and not in a good way. The glaring omission in the team is that of Maik Nawrocki, who only joined this summer. Thankfully for the Polish centre-back, this will not be down to form, as the defender is recovering from a hamstring injury he picked up at Rugby Park against Kilmarnock. Despite their injuries, Stephen Welsh and Cameron Carter-Vickers have both been named in the squad - perhaps indicating that their recoveries are going to plan – with an aim to potentially having them available for the final few matches in the group. Liam Scales – fresh from his impressive display at Ibrox – has made it into the team, but there is no place for Yuki Kobayashi, whose future may well lie elsewhere in all honesty.

Left-back was a problem area pointed out all through pre-season and the start of the domestic campaign whilst the window was still open. It has not been addressed. With Alexandro Bernabei’s struggles both on the pitch performance-wise and off of it with regard to discipline, an out-of-form Greg Taylor essentially is a first pick in the starting line-up for Celtic and Rodgers. Now, Taylor is the only recognised left-back in Celtic’s Champions League senior squad, indicating that Bernabei is simply not up to the standard required to operate at European level as of yet. A damning indictment of a player Celtic paid just under £4 million for last summer.

On a more positive note, both Alistair Johnston and Anthony Ralston are available on the opposite side, as well as Tomoki Iwata providing back-up in a multitude of areas around the middle and back of the pitch. Will Reo Hatate provide that same versatility at left-back, or will Scales be asked to drop in if and when the game requires? Time will tell.


Much like the goalkeeping position, Celtic have not sprung any surprises or shocks in the midfield areas. Perhaps the area that got strengthened most this summer, new additions such as Paulo Bernardo and Odin Thiago Holm have made the cut, with both young players looking to make an impact on proceedings this campaign. David Turnbull and Callum McGregor act as the club’s Scottish-trained and academy-trained options respectively in terms of the midfield.

The main absentee is that of Kwon Hyeok-kyu, who joined the club just a couple of months ago from Busan IPark of the K2 League in the midfielder’s native South Korea. Although Kwon featured in pre-season matches against both Wolves and Athletic Club, the defensive midfielder has yet to make his competitive debut for Celtic, which makes his omission all the more unsurprising in truth. Kwon joins James McCarthy as being unregistered for the Champions League, with the latter not even being utilised as a homegrown player in Celtic’s squad quota.


As is the case for every position apart from goalkeeper (probably because a new one was not signed), a summer signing fails to make the squad for the Champions League. Again, it is a player who has not played any competitive minutes – or any minutes at all – in Marco Tilio, who joined the club already injured from Melbourne City. Despite this, summer attacking reinforcements such as Luis Palma and Yang Hyun-jun both are included, with Daizen Maeda, Liel Abada and James Forrest all providing options out wide for the club. There is even space for Mikey Johnston - who was out on loan at Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal last season – as a club-trained option for Celtic.

If the wide options are looked upon as deep and full of strength in depth, then the same unfortunately cannot be said for the striking options up top. Alas, Celtic only have two recognised forwards in Kyogo Furuhashi and Oh Hyeon-gyu to lead the line in Europe, with the former the only real established option in this position. The club are a Kyogo injury away from a real crisis in this area, which is a lot of pressure to put on one player’s shoulders.

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Despite the good feeling in and around the club at the moment, this squad announcement is a sobering reality of just how lacking the squad still is, especially for European competition at the highest level. With summer signings not quoted, you can sometimes find yourself asking why these players were signed in the first place. Injuries cannot unfortunately be helped, too, but Celtic’s squad should be far stronger than this regardless, at least in name alone, surely?

Celtic make their European return next Tuesday in the Champions League against Feyenoord. Only time will tell if the team will be able to realistically compete with this squad and at this level of competition.