The 3 Celts who could make a huge impact in the Champions League

Celtic’s Champions League group stage campaign is coming thick and fast with fans looking for an improvement on last year’s performance and for multiple different reasons.

Firstly, the draw is a bit more favourable than last year’s, although a tough draw nonetheless. Another reason being that European progress is the only stone left unturned by Brendan Rodgers from his first tenure at the club.

Finally, fans are expecting improvements because last year the players got off the hook a bit as it was the majority of the squad’s first experience of the UEFA Champions League and the campaign acted as almost a learning curve for the Celtic team.

However, they have that experience now and the pressure is going to be on the Celtic team to step up, but which players will raise their game as the Hoops get ready to face off against Europe’s elite?

Alistair Johnston

The Canadian will be one of the only players in the Celtic team who will make his Champions League debut, but he is not the type of player to shy away from the big occasion. The right-back showed on his Ibrox debut that he doesn’t become overwhelmed by the big occasion.

Johnston has big-game experience having performed for Canada at the 2022 Qatar World Cup and has shown the ability to raise his game in big matches for Celtic in his nine months at the club.

Now back in the team following an injury layoff and looking close to full fitness, Johnston will no doubt be a key player for Celtic in the group stages.

Kyogo Furuhashi

Kyogo Furuhashi didn’t have the greatest of Champions League campaigns last year during an injury-disrupted spell last season. He and countryman, Daizen Maeda, were the main culprits for passing up big chances, Leipzig at home in particular. When the chances arrive this time round, Kyogo must make them count.

Kyogo got over his derby goal-scoring duck last season and the floodgates opened from there, netting consistently in big games against Celtic’s arch rivals. Could it be the same for him in the Champions League, where he just needs one goal to start off his account and the floodgates will open there too?

Liel Abada

Abada only saw three starts in the Champions League last year and he was hooked at half-time in the 3-0 home loss to Real Madrid for Daizen Maeda. The Japanese international and Jota were the preferred wing pairing for Ange Postecoglou and the Israeli didn’t have the minutes to cause any real problems for oppositions defences.

Despite the limited minutes, Abada still impressed whenever he played, including winning a penalty at the Bernabeu which Josip Juranovic went on to miss.

Abada has the trust of the manager, as seen with his new four-year-deal at the club, and the Israeli will be looking to make a big splash in Europe’s premier competition.


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