For many football fans, international breaks bring nothing more than an anxiety around injuries. Other supporters love international football and embrace these breaks in the domestic football calendar.
Celtic had a cornucopia of talent on the international parade, as is so often the case due to the depth and quality of the squad. An impressive 14 players represented the club on international duty this time round, and some of the Hoops performed really well.
The most noteworthy moment of the break was Scotland qualifying for Euro 2024 following Norway’s defeat to Spain in Oslo on Sunday. Eagle-eyed Celtic fans would, no doubt, also be been keeping a close eye on all the other Celts on duty, and some of those players haven’t been shy of chipping in amongst the goals over the last week.
Here are the international Celts, who got on the scoresheet during the break:
Mikey Johnston is now in his eighth season as a first-team player for Celtic, yet he has never made more than 23 appearances in a single campaign.
His season-long loan at Vitória de Guimarães seemed to give him that action he has so desperately lacked in his senior career, with the 31 games he played last year being a career high. Not only did his sojourn to Portugal get him back on a football pitch more often, it also attracted international recognition in the form of his Ireland debut in March of this year when Stephen Kenny played the winger against Latvia in a friendly.
The 24-year-old hasn’t been seen wearing the green and white hoops for Celtic this season, not making the squad for any of the club’s domestic encounters, but he has featured on the bench in Europe, having been named in the squad to help fulfil the homegrown quota.
Mikey has been performing well since switching allegiances to Ireland and he grabbed his second goal for the national team as he netted in the 4-0 away win against minnows Gibraltar in a man-of-the-match performance. Coincidentally, his only other goal for Ireland came against the same side in the reverse fixture.
Whilst the Swede has slipped down the pecking order at Celtic following Cameron Carter-Vickers’ return from injury, he grabbed his first goal for the Swedish national team in a 3-1 friendly win against Moldova at the Friends Arena, a ground Celtic played at in a Europa League qualifier against AIK a few years ago.
Lagerbielke doubled Sweden’s lead and the goal will provide a welcome confidence boost after losing his starting place in the Celtic team.
The Japanese forward had gone a spell without grabbing a goal for Celtic, but breaking his Champions League goalscoring duck seems to have brought the finishing touch back to his game. This purple patch carried over to international duty with Samurai Blue, as he opened the scoring for the Japan in friendly action against Tunisia.
Celtic’s Reo Hatate also featured in action against the Tunisians following his return to form in Celtic’s last domestic fixture before the break against Kilmarnock.
The on-loan Benfica midfielder earned his 20th cap for the Portuguese Under-21s and also netted his 7th goal at that level as he started the match and scored on the hour mark against Belarus.
He was later substituted with 14 minutes to play but the 21-year-old will be hoping that, by continuing to showcase his ability for the national team, he can earn further opportunities for Celtic this season.
JAMES MCKENZIE // Follow James HERE