Celtic return to action this weekend, when they take on Motherwell in the SPFL Premiership, kicking off a heavy schedule of fixtures up until early January.

Several loan players are also entering busy periods of their season as they attempt to catch the eye of manager Brendan Rodgers during their temporary spells away from the club.

Here, we look at how three of Celtic’s younger loanees are getting on at their respective loan clubs…

Bosun Lawal

Republic of Ireland under-21 international Bosun Lawal has already seen plenty of action during his loan at English League One side Fleetwood Town. Signed on a season-long loan by former Hoops captain Scott Brown, alongside fellow young Celt Adam Montgomery, the centre-back has been a virtual ever-present for the Cods.

Although Fleetwood has had a difficult start to the season, which resulted in Brown losing his job in early September, Lawal has been one of their most consistent performers and he has played his part in their recent upturn in form under former Hibs manager Lee Johnston.

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Making 15 appearances in all competitions, Lawal has been used primarily in his central defensive position but he has also filled in at full-back, on either side, on a few occasions and chipped in with one goal.

Using Wyscout per-90 data converted into percentile ranks, the above chart compares the former Watford academy prospect to other centre-backs who have played over 1,000 minutes in EFL League One this season.

Despite his team’s struggles, and the Town registering ball possession numbers that are around average for the league, Lawal has been productive on the ball so far. His passing numbers are around the average for a League One centre-back, while he stands out for carries, a combination of dribbles and progressive runs, ranking in the 94th percentile for this particular metric.

Given Fleetwood has faced the third most shots per 90 in the 24-team league, Lawal has, unsurprisingly, been fairly active defensively. He ranks highly for shots blocked and possession-adjusted (PAdj) interceptions, while he is just under the average mark for both aerial and defensive duels, boosting a higher rank for his aerial win rate than his defensive win rate.

Celtic are arguably overstocked at centre-back with summer signings Gustaf Lagerbielke and Maik Nawrocki currently struggling to force their way into the team, mostly due to the surprising form of Liam Scales. However, Lawal will hope he can build on an encouraging start in a highly competitive league and force his way into Brendan Rodgers' plans next summer.

Ben McPherson

Another young Celt looking to catch the eye with a successful loan is Ben McPherson. The young full-back is currently also on a season-long loan, with SPFL Championship side Queen’s Park.

Included in Rodgers’ pre-season squads over the summer, the academy product made appearances against Yokohama F Marinos and Wolves before making the move to the South side of Glasgow to link up with the ambitious Spiders.

Although Queen’s have so far not enjoyed quite as successful a season as last year when they missed out on promotion to the Premiership via the play-offs, the right-back has been a consistent performer for Robin Veldman’s side and has already clocked up over 800 minutes in Scotland’s second-tier.

Albeit a smaller sample size than Lawal, the above chart, which also uses Wyscout per-90 data converted to percentile ranks, can give a bit more insight into how McPherson’s performances compare to other full-backs in the league.

Here, we can see McPherson ranks just above the bottom quartile for his goal contributions (G+A) and expected goal contributions (xG+xA). He has attempted a high volume of crosses (likely down to team style, Queen’s Park attempts more crosses per 90 than any other team in the Scottish Championship) but he does rank in the bottom quartile for his crossing accuracy percentage.

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Team style is also likely affecting McPherson’s high possession volume metrics here as Queen’s Park averages more of the ball than any other team in the league. His pass completion is amongst the best for a Championship full-back but he looks as if he has taken on safer passes more often than not with lower ranks for his volume of progressive passes and dangerous passes (through passes and key passes).

Defensively, the Scotland under-21 international’s defensive duel win rate is more impressive than his aerial one. Encouragingly, he ranks in the top quartile for his PAdj interceptions.

Like Lawal, despite playing in a side that is perhaps underperforming, McPherson has been a steady performer who looks to be benefitting from regular minutes at senior level. 

Ben Summers

Also looking to make the next step in their development in Scotland’s second tier is 19-year-old midfielder Ben Summers.

Handed a first-team debut by Ange Postecoglou in the Hoops 4-1 win over Kilmarnock towards the end of last season, Summers was also part of Rodgers' pre-season squads, turning out against Yokohama alongside McPherson.

On loan at newly-promoted Dunfermline Athletic, the young attacking midfielder has linked up with former Celtic academy teammates Ewan Otoo and Owen Moffat at East End Park.

Summers has had a mixed start to his time at Dunfermline though. He has so far made six appearances and contributed one assist but picked up a knock last month and has struggled to force his way back into James McPake’s recent squads.

Mostly playing as a central attacking midfielder, Summers has still played just enough minutes to put together a chart, again using Wyscout per-90 data converted to percentile ranks, that compares him with his positional peers in the Championship.

Like McPherson, this is still a fairly small sample size but we can see Summers has put up some good underlying goal contributions numbers with his rank for expected goal contributions (xG+xA) just below the 75th percentile. He has taken on plenty of shots but ranks towards the lower end for his on-target percentage but while he has produced fewer crosses on average than other attacking midfielders and wide players in the league, he does boast a high rank for his accuracy rate percentage there.

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In the possession section, Summers’ dribble success rate stands out as one of the best for an attacking midfielder or wide player in the division while his defensive section highlights an impressive work rate in his early matches for the Pars. He has been involved in a high number of defensive duels and impressively, for a young player in a competitive, physical league, scores in the top quartile for his win rate in these types of duels.

Again, this is admittedly a small sample size but Summers shows some encouraging signs too. The Hamilton-born playmaker will be hoping he can get himself back into McPake’s starting eleven in the coming weeks though to ensure he makes the most of the rest of his spell in Fife.