Many great players have donned the mighty green and white hoops of Celtic and the likes of Jimmy Johnstone, Paul McStay and Henrik Larsson all embody by-gone era’s. The 2010s has been as dominant a decade, if not more so, than any in the clubs history so who will define this generation of talent?
It’s a harder question to answer than you might first think. As much success as Celtic have garnered in the past 9 years, Scottish football as a whole has been on a sharp decline so while other European nations inflate transfer fees and player wages to ever growing absurd numbers, we are often left plucking out relative unknowns from the third tier of Portuguese football. It’s had its hits and misses. For every Victor Wanyama there is bound to be a Mo Bangura. The days of top-level players moving to Glasgow are sadly in the rear-view mirror. Of course, this had not stopped a number of quality players from breaking out at Celtic. Perhaps by narrowing down the suspects and creating a shortlist of contenders, we can better find a conclusion to our conundrum.
- Virgil Van Dijk
There is great irony in the fact that in the long line of dreadful centre backs Celtic have signed over the last 9 years, the only good one turned out to actually be the best in the world. Big Virg was even making Efe Ambrose look like a somewhat comprehensive footballer and now he’s captaining the Dutch National team while hunting for Premier League and Champions League trophies with Liverpool. Oh, did I mention he’s the most expensive defender in history?
His stint in Glasgow lasted just 2 years but his impact in that time was unreal. He was scoring free-kicks and making mazy 60 yard runs whenever he felt like it. Keep in mind the man is a centre back. It looked like when someone’s dad joins in down the park and none of the kids can get the ball off him. That was Virgil Van Dijk in Scotland. He was another class completely.
In terms of pure ability VVD may be one of the best Celtic have ever had, but does that make up for his short tenure?
- Scott Brown
The captain for every season of the 2010s has a strong claim to being player of the decade. Longevity plays a massive role in the eyes of all football fans when it comes to the legacy of a career however Broony offers up much more than just kicking aboot paradise for a while. He has twice been named Player of the Year in Scotland and featured in the Team of the Year a total of three times since the beginning of the decade. Add to that an invncibles season, 15 pieces of silverware and a new club record for European appearances and you have yourself a bonified legend.
It could be argued that even with all those accolades Broony is still frequently underrated on the field. His technical ability is overlooked due to his style of play. The captain has always put the team ahead of himself and more often than not been the driving factor in their success.
In 2015 Charlie Mulgrew remarked “Anyone partnering Scott knows the job he does and how valuable he is to this squad.” At a team like Celtic with so many technically gifted players, Scott Brown gives balance by doing the work that others would never do. Work that can sometimes go under the radar.
- Kris Commons
No player has impacted more games for Celtic this decade than Kris Commons. He was the hoops’ key man for much of the early 2010s and if he wasn’t the one finding the back of the net then he was likely orchestrating it. And to think he was signed for £300,000.
He racked up 91 goals for Celtic in all competitions during 7 seasons, picking up almost every trophy in sight. It was not just the sheer volume of goals that Commons is so beloved for but the significance of those goals too. His banger v Shaktar Karagandy sparked an epic 3-0 win after the hoops lost 2-0 in Kazakhstan. He scored the penalty that sent them into the last 16 of the Champions League and a couple cup final goals to boot.
In the 2013/2014 season he even finished as top goalscorer in the country and done so from midfield with 32 goals. He also picked up player of the year that season above the newly signed Virgil Van Dijk. He was incredibly effective and contributed a great deal over the time he spent at the club.
- James Forrest
Second only to Scott Brown in appearances made for Celtic this decade, James Forrest can claim most assists during that period. He was just a youngster when he broke onto the scene in 2010 however his time has been riddled with inconsistencies.
In 2011 Forrest was named in a UEFA list of emerging European talent and his form can only be described as patchy for much of the subsequent years. It wasn’t until the 2016/2017 season that things really changed and Jamesy started to realise his full potential. Since then he has been a key player in the side and astonishingly is just one season away from reaching a testimonial.
He is the only player on the list not to win a player of the year award and has only been named the SPFL team of the year one time.
In terms of who will be most fondly remembered by fans for generations it is no doubt Scott Brown but with that being said, my vote for Celtic’s player of the decade has to go to Kris Commons. I think his influence is key in this choice. Commons was he was the main man both domestically and in Europe through almost all of his tenure with the club. If you take him out of those Celtic teams things may have looked very different. I reckon Broony finishes second on the list, Van Dijk takes third and James Forrest closes out fourth. But let us know what you think. Are these the top four contenders? Who is Celtic’s player of the decade?
Written by THOXSPORTS
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