BRENDAN RODGERS will get his first opportunity to appraise most of his squad when his players return for pre-season training at Lennoxtown tomorrow.
The second time-around Celtic manager has a monumental task on his hands as he decides the future of several stars who will be returning to the champions after season-long loans.
Mikey Johnston is one of THIRTEEN players who was allowed to leave on a temporary transfer by Ange Postecoglou last year with young Irish forward Johnny Kenny figuring twice with a move to Queen’s Park in the summer and another deal with Shamrock Rovers at the turn of the year.
QUESTION TIME…Mikey Johnston faces a showdown with Brendan Rodgers.
Johnston, who recently switched allegiances from Scotland to the Republic of Ireland, has spent the campaign with Portuguese club Vitoria Guimaraes and will be eager to discover if he has a part to play under Rodgers.
Others such as £5million misfit striker Albian Ajeti (Sturm Graz), defenders Liam Scales (Aberdeen) and Adam Montgomery (St Johnstone) will also be in line to find if they have futures at Parkhead.
James McCarthy, who joined his boyhood favourites in August 2021 on a four-year deal after being released by Crystal Palace, didn’t start a solitary game for the club last season.
The 32-year-old Republic of Ireland midfielder saw a meagre 62 minutes of action. His last first-team sighting was as a substitute in the 2-1 win over St Johnstone in Perth on October 8 last year.
McCarthy last figured in a match day squad on November 2 when he was an unused substitute in the 5-1 Champions League loss to Real Madrid in the Bernabeu.
QUESTION TIME…James McCarthy hardly fugured last season, but still has two years to run on a lucrative contract.
In the league, he had an eight-minute outing in the win at McDiarmid Park and had another 14 minutes the following weekend in the 6-1 romp against Hibs at Parkhead.
There have been two games in the League Cup – 14 minutes in the 4-1 success over Ross County in Dingwall on August 31 and 18 minutes in the 4-0 win over Motherwell at Fir Park on October 19.
McCarthy, earning a reported £25,000 per week, clocked up eight minutes in the 3-1 Champions League defeat to RB Leipzig in Germany on October 5.
One player who will not figure is Vasilis Barkas, the most expensive keeper in Hoops history after his £4.5million arrival from AEK Athens in July 2020, who spent the season at Dutch outfit Utrecht.
The flop netminder had his contract scrapped last month.
£4.5MILLION MISFIT…Vasilis Barkas has seen his deal scrapped.
It will be judgement day for several Hoops players as Rodgers prepares to reveal his plans for the upcoming crusade.
The full list of players loaned out by Postecoglou last season reads:
Vasilis Barkas (FC Utrecht), Albian Ajeti (Sturm Graz), Conor Hazard (HJK Helsinki), Liam Scales (Aberdeen), Adam Montgomery (St Johnstone), Ismaila Soro (FC Arouca), Osaze Urhoghide (KV Oostende), Mikey Johnston (Vitoria Guimaraes), Liam Shaw (Morecambe), Johnny Kenny (Queen’s Park and Shamrock Rovers), Ben Wylie (Airdrie), Tobi Oluwayemi (Cork City) and Yosuke Ideguchi (Avispa Fukuoka).