The closure of the window and the completion of Phase One of the manager’s squad building plan has left Ange Postecoglou with some real decisions to make at last. Who does he start at the weekend and who does he drop? It’s not easy to answer.
First, does he play Ralston at right back or go with Juranovic? A few months ago it would have been open and shut. Not so anymore.
Ralston has been excellent and he can’t simply be jettisoned because the club has signed someone new. He’s entitled to that spot until he drops the ball. But of course, we haven’t signed a Croat international to sit in the stand.
That suggests playing him at left back for a while. Not ideal. But it’s an area where we had little competition unless Bolingoli was going to feature, which he isn’t.
Now we have Scales as well though and the kid Montgomery.
There are options there which don’t necessitate Juranovic on that side of the pitch, but the manager may do it to keep Ralston on the right.
This is just one of his dilemmas. Depending on who’s fit there are others. If Forrest is fit, who does he go with on the wings? Does he play Forrest on the right and drop Abada? Does he put Forrest wide left and leave out Jota?
I’ll go you one better; if the Greek proves himself a predator in front of goal, might we not go with two up front? Or might the manager not play Kyogo out wide again? The top half of the pitch is where we have the most options, and the boss the most decisions to make.
There are decisions in midfield too. The manager could ditch a midfielder to play the extra forward. Or if McCarthy is fit he could change the balance of it to deal with the absence of Christie there. He could play Forrest or Jota “in the hole” behind the forward.
And none of that takes into consideration the possible promotion of Shaw into the team, which would be a different dynamic again.
The biggest choice may be at central defence, where he can now choose from Bitton, Urhoghide, Welsh, Scales, Starfelt and Cameron Vickers.
This is where we’ve done really well over the summer, in signing four players for that problematic role.
The big Dutch boy from Sheffield Wednesday seems the furthest away from the team, but as he improves in training his chance will come.
The make-up of this squad is radically different for those signings in the final days; Jota, Scales, Giakoumakis and Cameron Vickers have certainly given the manager something to think about.
We’ll see who’s available to him when he speaks to the press tomorrow … but it’s likely that he’ll have a better squad at his disposal than a Celtic boss has had in a long time.