IN A whirlwind 17 weeks, Celtic have introduced a new manager and completed 12 signings while five former first-team regulars have left the club.
Ange Postecoglou became the third boss to take charge of the team following the February departure of Neil Lennon who was replaced with John Kennedy in a caretaker capacity for the remaining 10 games of an ill-fated and wretched campaign.
The Greek-Australian will lead the Hoops in his 12th competitive outing when they face Ross County in the Premiership at Parkhead a week today. Ironically, the Highlanders played a pivotal role in the champions’ fall from grace when they knocked them out of the Betfred League Cup in Glasgow in November and took three points off them in a 1-0 shocker in Dingwall on February 21 – two days before the exit of Lennon.
FAREWELL…Scott Brown and Jonjoe Kenny say their goodbyes at the end of the goalless draw against Hibs in May.
Celtic’s first trophyless campaign in 11 years limped to a sad conclusion with a drab goalless encounter with Hibs at Easter Road on Saturday, May 15.
Remarkably, SEVEN of the 15 players utilised by interim gaffer Kennedy that afternoon in Edinburgh are no longer at the club.
Skipper Scott Brown, 35, quit at the end of his contract to join Aberdeen as player-coach, Kristoffer Ajer, Ryan Christie and Odsonne Edouard, who had made noises about wanting leave for practically the entire term, finally got their wishes to join Brentford, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace respectively.
Right-back Jonjoe Kenny and left-sided attacker Mohamed Elyounoussi returned to parent clubs Everton and Southampton after their loan deals expired while 61st-minute substitute Leigh Griffiths has agreed a season-long temporary switch to Dundee.
ON THE MOVE…Odsonne Edouard fires a blank in one of his last outings for Celtic at Easter Road in the final game of 2020/21 season.
Goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas lined up in Leith, but after a howler against FC Midtjylland in the Champions League qualifying failure, the Greek has dropped to number three in the pecking order behind former England international Joe Hart and Scott Bain.
It looked as though the £4.5million blunder Bhoy might leave Parkhead in the summer window, but there was no firm interest in him either on a permanent or temporary basis.
Stephen Welsh, Greg Taylor, Callum McGregor and David Turnbull started against Jack Ross’ side while Adam Montgomery, James Forrest and Karamoko Dembele also came on as second-half replacements.
AWAY DAZE…Josip Juranovic made his debut at Ibrox last weekend and could take his Parkhead bow against Ross County a week today.
Only three who performed against Hibs look certainties to play against ex-Celt Malky Mackay’s County – new captain McGregor, centre-back Welsh and midfielder Turnbull.
Taylor could still be struggling with the shoulder injury he sustained in the Europa League play-off final in Alkmaar nine days ago which could see natural left-sided Montgomery get the nod against the Highlanders.
Defenders Josip Juranovic, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Liam Scales, winger Filipe Jota and striker Giorgos Giakoumakis could make their first appearance for the Hoops at a packed Parkhead on Saturday.
FOR THE RECORD: The team that played in Celtic’s final game last season on May 15 was: Barkas; Kenny, Welsh, Ajer, Taylor (sub: Montgomery 81); Brown, McGregor; Christie (sub: Forrest 61), Turnbull, Elyounoussi (sub: Dembele 81); Edouard (sub: Griffiths 61).