A total of 12 Celtic players jetted off on international duty this September with Hoops players representing eight different nations across the globe.

Some prospered for their countries whilst others failed to capture the imagination. Nonetheless in this piece, we’ll examine how they all got on as we take a deep dive into Ange Postecoglou’s international Celts.

Callum McGregor, Greg Taylor and Anthony Ralston – Scotland 

It was a hugely prosperous September international break for Scotland. Steve Clarke’s side secured top spot in Nations League group B1 with their 3-0 victory over Ukraine kickstarting an impressive run of form.

In said win, Callum McGregor played the full match in midfield, controlling the play and latching on to countless loose balls as he put in a stand out display. Greg Taylor came on for the final few minutes meanwhile Anthony Ralston remained on the bench.

Soccer Football – UEFA Nations League – Group E – Scotland v Ukraine – Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain – September 21, 2022 Scotland’s Callum McGregor in action with Ukraine’s Andriy Yarmolenko REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

Then on the Saturday night against The Republic of Ireland, the Scots secured a memorable 2-1 victory in front of a sold out Hampden.

McGregor once again played the full match although was slightly slack in some of his passing. Taylor had to be called upon towards the end of the first half as a result of an injury to Kieran Tierney and as he has been for Celtic of late, the full back was ever-reliable and done what was asked of him, getting up and down the left hand side with ease. Also representing the Hoops that night was Anthony Ralston who came on with half an hour to go – whipped a fair few balls into the box as he linked well with Ryan Fraser.

This duo of Scotland wins set up a showdown with Ukraine in Krakow in the final game of Nations League.

Steve Clarke’s men put in a traditionally stout defensive display. Greg Taylor played the majority at left back while McGregor was in midfield for the full 90, recovering from his dip in performance against Ireland with a vibrant performance. Anthony Ralston came on for the closing stages of stoppage time as he played a small part.

The benefits for Scotland from their September international break in which they topped their Nations League group are vast. Promotion to League A, a Euro 2024 play-off and pot two place in the draw for said competition’s qualifiers were all achieved by Clarke’s side and these feats were ones to which Callum McGregor, Greg Taylor and Anthony Ralston all abundantly contributed.

24th September 2022; Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland: UEFA Nations League football, Scotland versus Republic of Ireland;

Kyogo, Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda – Japan 

Japan partook in two friendlies this international break, both of which were played in Germany.

Firstly against the USA, Hajime Moriyasu’s side won 2-0 as Daizen Maeda played up front from the start. The 24 year old was subbed off at half time after failing to make an impact on the game.

In this particular match, none of Maeda’s Japanese Celtic teammates got on the pitch with Kyogo remaining on the bench and Reo Hatate not even in the match day squad.

Then against Ecuador in Düsseldorf the following Tuesday, the Samurai Blue drew a blank. A goalless draw made for a fairly boring match up, one in which just one of Celtic’s Japanese trio played.

Kyogo started and came off at the break whilst Hatate remained on the bench throughout the 90. Maeda wasn’t in the squad at all after sustaining a thigh injury. The 24 year old, was in the stands for the game, indicating his knock may not be too serious.

Nonetheless, Maeda was still unable to play which is a concern in itself although thankfully for Celtic, Kyogo and Hatate, two of the club’s foremost performers so far this season returned with a clean bill of health.

Josip Juranovic – Croatia 

After being rested in Celtic’s final game prior to the international break, Juranovic played one of Croatia’s two games in September as they finished top of their Nations League group securing their place in the finals tournament in 2023.

Soccer Football – UEFA Nations League – Group A – Croatia v Denmark – Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia – September 22, 2022 Croatia’s Lovro Majer celebrates scoring their second goal with Josip Juranovic and Josko Gvardiol REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

In the pivotal 2-1 win over Denmark, Juranovic played the full match at right back yet was demoted to the bench against Austria a few days later. This is in no way a bad thing for Celtic as it means the 27-year old will be fresh and ready for the visit of Motherwell.

Aaron Mooy – Australia 

In the September internationals, Australia played two friendlies, both of which were against Australasia neighbours New Zealand. The first of the double header took place in Brisbane where Mooy completed a solid 90 minutes in midfield.

Then three days later in Auckland, one would’ve expected to see the 32-year old’s name on the team sheet however Australia boss Graham Arnold allowed Mooy to returned home to Glasgow early. This is surely of benefit to both the player and Celtic going into a gruelling fixture run throughout October.

Sead Haksabanovic – Montenegro 

Sead Haksabanovic added to his 28 Montenegro caps as he made a further two appearances for his country.

Away at Bosnia and Herzegovina in a 1-0 loss, Haksabanovic came off the bench for the final 20 minutes although the one big chance he created couldn’t salvage anything for his nation.

Then when playing Finland in Podgorica, the 23-year old started yet 32 minutes in, pulled up injured and was forced to be subbed off.

The extent of the damage done to Haksabanovic is currently unknown although all those involved with Celtic will be hoping it is not too harmful.

Liel Abada – Israel 

He started the international break with Israel’s senior team although by the end of it,  Abada was turning out for the nation’s under-21s due to them having a pivotal European Championships play off match with The Republic of Ireland.

For the first team against Albania, Abada started on the wing and as of stats provider FotMob, created the most chances in the match whilst wielding an xG of 0.44. In the 2-1 win, the 20 year old was brought off on the 77th minute.

Then a few days later for Israel’s under 21s, Abada started against Ireland although was subbed off prior to the penalty shootout which saw his side qualify for the under 21 Euros.

Now as he comes back to Celtic, the 20-year old will be aspiring to recapture his form of late August and early September which saw him net five goals in just two league games.

Giorgos Giakoumakis – Greece 

As expected, Giakoumakis was called up to the Greece squad for the September internationals although because of an issue with his leg, the striker didn’t play in either of his country’s clashes with Cyprus and Northern Ireland.

Heading into the weekend for Celtic, it looks like Giakoumakis will remain on the sidelines.

Matt O’Riley – Denmark under-21s

The Danes lost the first tie away from home, O’Riley would score ten minutes into the second leg in Vejle, cleverly holding his run to powerfully head home from inside the box.

And that caps us off for this piece which has examined how every senior Celt has got on for their respective country this September.

In terms of standouts, McGregor and Taylor particularly caught the eye for Scotland and Ange Postecoglou will be hoping they can carry these performances into Saturday’s game when Motherwell come to Celtic Park.




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