One of the main discussion points following Celtic’s European exit was the perceived lack of European calibre players in the Celtic squad.
This has been the case for years now where Celtic have stumbled whenever faced with Europe’s elite time and time again, and this has also been the case in the transfer market where fans have been delivered with a lack of European quality signings and too many project players.
Now that the Champions League campaign has been and gone, the question around European-quality players lingers. How many does this Celtic squad currently have?
The American centre-back has been a colossus for Celtic domestically. Despite games in European competitions being far more competitive, with the side relying far more on the defence against higher calibre strikers, Carter-Vickers has still defended astutely when faced with Europe’s elite, never shying away from the challenge.
Carter-Vickers has never looked out of place in Europe and has been one of the best defenders at the club since arriving from Spurs.
Other than the trip away to Atlético Madrid where the entire team had an off-day, Johnston hasn’t looked out of place in the Champions League.
Continuing the trend he set of always stepping up to the plate no matter how tall the order of the challenge, Johnston has been one of Celtic’s top performers in Europe this season.
The Japanese midfielder hasn’t had a proper crack at the Champions League this season due to injures. In last season’s group stage campaign, however, he was the focal point of the Celtic attack with his risk-taking passes and creativity being vital to Celtic carving open some of Europe’s top teams, something that caught the eye of neutral supporters.
His presence has clearly been missed in the Celtic team this time round as his attacking qualities could have been game-changing against teams such as Atlético Madrid or Lazio.
O’Riley has put in some battling performances in the middle of the park for Celtic in the Champions League, something that hasn’t gone unrecognised with the Dane picking up two UEFA Player of the Match awards across his two group stage campaigns.
European clubs are taking notice of his qualities and the sharks are beginning to circle, but can Celtic afford to lose another European-calibre player when they really should be adding them?
A regular fixture in the Celtic team and the Scotland squad for years now, McGregor is always in control and dictates the tempo in the middle of the park against some of the best in Europe.
As he gets older, though, he will need the players around him to provide the energy to allow McGregor to keep playing at his best.
Potentially a controversial choice given he has missed this year’s Champions League campaign, but Celtic have dearly missed his clinical finishing as well as his knack for popping up with a goal even when he isn’t at his best.
Abada also has a knack for popping-up with a top performance when the stakes were raised, with his track record in Glasgow derby matches illustrating this point.
In last season’s Champions League, the Israeli winger may have hoped to get in amongst the goals, but he was a top performer in the Europa League in Ange’s first season and will be one of Celtic’s key players if he is still around for next season’s campaign.
The Japanese frontman finally broke his Champions League goalscoring duck against Lazio this season and he hasn’t looked back, adding to his tally against Atlético Madrid in the following fixture.
Whilst the goals may have dried up slightly domestically, he is operating on a new level on the European stage and that should heavily benefit Celtic next season.
JAMES MCKENZIE // Follow James HERE