Tom Rogic (29) leaves us tomorrow, 8 months shy of a decade at Celtic. After a couple of loan spells back in Australia he became a mainstay of the Celtic side in Ronny Delia’s second term. Tom will be remembered as an artisan, a throwback to an earlier era, when grace was more common.
His goals stick in the mind more vividly than most. The league winner at Kilmarnock, the last-minute winner at Motherwell, he was the scourge of Newco, scoring against them at three different venues. He leaves Scottish football as one of four nominees by his fellow professionals as Player of the Year. This season, outstanding performances against Hibs, Dundee United, Motherwell and Ross County all come to mind. He harvested votes across the season.
Nir Bitton (30) also wears a Celtic shirt in battle for the final time tomorrow. He arrived seven months after Tom and leaves on a high, bookending his career here with a controlled cameo at Ibrox that saw Celtic comfortably over the line.
Their contemporary, James Forrest (30), signed a new deal yesterday that will keep him at the club until 2025. All three have more to offer the game. None were likely to be first choice at Celtic next season, but, when fit, James has the ability, pace, experience and goalscoring threat that the manager values.
Having watched Scott Brown interact with the rest of the squad, I also believe there is an important role in maintaining an identity about the club, one that is best secured from within the dressing room.
You will have lots of memories to deal with tomorrow, none more than the incredible Hampden moment in May 2017, when Tom ran from 30 yards out, evaded two challenges and slipped the ball into the net to secure the invincible treble! Some heroes are destined to inspire long after they leave.