Who were Celtic’s top performers during the international break?

The latest international break has come and gone, which reopens the door for domestic action to resume as Celtic take on Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday afternoon.

As always, plenty of Celts answered the international call of duty with 14 players called up for their countries over the last week.

In amongst that group were plenty of players who impressed on the international stage.



Here is A Celtic State of Mind’s roundup of the top performers during the most recent international break:

Gustaf Lagerbielke // Sweden

Gustaf Lagerbielke kept his place in the national team and won his second cap for Janne Andersson’s side.

Playing 90 minutes at the heart of Sweden’s defence, Lagerbielke was at the top of his game and even grabbed his first goal for his country in a friendly against Moldova. He wasn’t that busy defensively given the opposition, but he still completed 11 recoveries as well as making two successful tackles out of the two he attempted.

Lagerbielke was on the bench for the following game in Brussels against Belgium, but that European Championships qualifier was called off at half-time due to a tragic terror incident before the game that claimed the lives of two Swedish football fans.

After losing his place in the Celtic team due to the return of Nat Phillips and Cameron Carter-Vickers from injury, the 23-year-old will be hoping that his exploits during the break can allow him to reassert himself into Brendan Rodgers’ plans for Sunday.


Kyogo Furuhashi // Japan

Kyogo retained his place in the Japanese national team after a positive start to the season, something that isn’t always a given as Japan’s manager Hajime Moriyasu left the 28-year-old out of their squad for the Qatar World Cup.

The striker had a part to play in both fixtures, initially getting 17 minutes on the park against Alistair Johnston’s Canada side in a friendly, a game in which Johnston didn’t exactly cover himself in glory.

Following this appearance from the bench, Kyogo started against Tunisia in another friendly. The Celtic forward put in another positive performance, opening the scoring for the Samurai Blue just before the break, a goal in which fellow Celt Reo Hatate had a massive part to play.

Kyogo hasn’t been as free-scoring this season as he was during his last campaign, but given his good form over the break and his scoring record against Sunday’s opponents, he will be a good bet to be in amongst the goals again this weekend.

Mikey Johnston // Republic of Ireland

Johnston hasn’t featured once in a Celtic shirt this season, only making the bench for the Champions League due to the homegrown quota. The lack of action for his team hasn’t limited his importance to his national team, however, as he continues to be one of the standout performers for Stephen Kenny’s side.

Johnston featured in both European qualifiers for Ireland against Greece and Gibraltar. Against the Greeks, Mikey got 20 minutes off the bench in a 2-0 defeat. It was his man-of-the-match performance away to Gibraltar that caught the eye, though, where Mikey grabbed Ireland’s second goal of the game just before the half-hour mark.

Given the fitness question marks surrounding Daizen Maeda, Johnston will be hoping his performances over the last week will have caught Brendan Rodgers’ eye ahead of Sunday’s trip to Tynecastle.


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