What happened to the Champions League class of 2016?

Brendan Rodgers will be taking charge of his first Champions League group stage campaign since way back in 2017 when Celtic finished 3rd in a group consisting of Paris-Saint Germain, Bayern Munich and Anderlecht.

However, we want to look at Rodgers’ first home Champions League group stage match as Celtic manager, as the Hoops welcomed the visit of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City team to Parkhead back in 2016.

The action-packed contest finished 3-3 on the night with the highlight of the match being a brilliant display from French forward Moussa Dembele. But where is the Celtic XI who started that night now?

GK – Craig Gordon

The Scottish stopper has seen a career rejuvenation after falling out of the picture at Parkhead, Now back at Hearts, the currently injured keeper has been in great form at Tynecastle and had even reclaimed his place as Scotland’s starter before a horrific double leg-break meant Steve Clarke had to convince Angus Gunn to change nationality.

Back in training recently, Gordon should be back in action for the Jambos soon.

RB – Mikael Lustig

The Swede left Celtic after the club secured their 9th title in a row, going out in a perfect fashion. Lustig spent a year at Belgian side Genk before returning to his homeland to join AIK, where he eventually retired in January 2023, calling an end to a trophy-laden career.

CB РKolo Touré

The only player in the team to have played for two invincible teams, the Ivorian only had a short spell as a player at Parkhead before retiring in the summer of 2017.

Since hanging up his boots, Toure has spent time in coaching and in management. Acting as a technical assistant and coach to Brendan Rodgers at Celtic and Leicester, he was also the assistant manager to Marc Wilmots for the Ivory Coast national team.

He tried his hand at management this year at Wigan Athletic where a short tenure as boss only lasted nine games, none of which were won.

CB – Erik Sviatchenko

Unlike his centre-back partner on the night, Sviatchenko is still playing.

The Dane returned to Midtjylland after two years at Celtic where he became club captain before moving on to MLS side Houston Dynamo in March 2023.

LB – Kieran Tierney

Tierney has had a career plagued with injuries since leaving Celtic Park.

Having moved for a Scottish record fee to Arsenal, injuries meant game time on a regular basis was always being interrupted.

A consistent starter for Scotland, Tierney’s quality is known but after falling out of favour with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, he now finds himself on loan at Real Sociedad.

CM – Scott Brown

The legendary captain departed Celtic after the club’s unsuccessful attempt at winning the elusive ten-in-a-row.

Finishing his playing career at Aberdeen, Brown still had a big part to play in taking points off Rangers which helped Ange Postecoulou’s side return to the top of Scottish football.

Now testing the waters in management, Brown was recently sacked by Fleetwood Town in a spell of highs and lows where he took the Fishermen further than they have ever been in the FA Cup. However, a poor start to the season saw him given his marching orders.

CM – Nir Bitton

The Israeli left Celtic in 2021 after almost a decade at the club in which he amassed 18 domestic trophies.

Bitton, now 31, plays for Maccabi Tel-Aviv in his homeland.

CM – Tom Rogic

The Aussie departed Celtic alongside the aforementioned Nir Bitton in what was an emotional trophy-day exit.

Rogic’s trophy haul amounted to 16 over 272 appearances, which meant he won a trophy for every 17 games he played in.

Rogic has had a strange time since leaving Glasgow, as an unsuccessful spell at West Brom saw him depart the club in the summer. As of yet, the 30-year-old has yet to find a new club.

RW – James Forrest

The only player in the starting 11 that day to remain at Celtic, Forrest now sees himself as a bit-part player with his key attribute – his pace – swiftly dwindling with age.

What constitutes being afforded the ‘legend’ title? 23 trophies, nearly 500 appearances, and over 100 goals and assists should go some way to achieving such a moniker.

Celtic celebrated the winger’s testimonial this summer with a win over Athletic Club.

ST -Moussa Dembele

The Frenchman departed Celtic on deadline day of 2018 after a very public falling out with Brendan Rodgers.

Scoring goals for fun at Lyon, he saw his services being very much in demand but no team seemed to strike whilst the iron was hot on the forward.

A goalless loan spell at Atletico Madrid saw Dembele’s career taking an unexpected turn. He is now playing alongside former teammate Jack Hendry in Saudi Arabia at Al-Ettifaq, currently managed by former Rangers boss Steven Gerrard.

LW – Scott Sinclair

Sinclair still plays now at the age of 34.

After departing Parkhead for Preston back in 2020, Sinclair now deputises for Bristol Rovers in the English League One.

JAMES MCKENZIE

Leave a Reply