Season player ratings 2016/17: Celtic

June 5, 2017

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When Celtic appointed Brendan Rodgers last May it showed that the club were taking things seriously again after the…experiment of the Ronny Deila years, and the appointment has proved to be a masterstroke as Celtic completed a domestic treble for the first time since 2001 and went through a league season unbeaten for the first time since 1898. The 2016/17 season will be remembered for many reasons, from losing to Lincoln Red Imps, to winning 5-1 at Ibrox, and all these players played some role in a momentous season.

GOALKEEPERS

Craig Gordon – 7

Did very well to regain his place in the team after a poor performance against Hapoel Beer Sheva in the Champions League Qualifiers meant that he lost the gloves to Dorus de Vries. Hasn’t looked back after regaining his position but needs to cut out his propensity for karate kick style challenges on onrushing strikers.

Dorus de Vries – 4

Signed from Nottingham Forrest to be the new first choice goalkeeper, but seemed to lose poor goals even in emphatic Celtic victories. Was dreadful in our 7-0 Champions League defeat against Barcelona, got injured against Killie and hasn’t played since.

DEFENDERS

Kolo Toure – 6

Added to the squad on a free from Liverpool and used his experience well during the sometime chaotic Champions League qualifying campaign. Lost his place in the side before Christmas and would expect him to leave this summer.

Emilio Izaguirre – 6

Was expected to leave last summer but signed a new one year contract. Only featured during a spell when Kieran Tierney was injured but played well enough. Has apparently signed a new one-year contract so he’ll be back next season.

Efe Ambrose – 2

Oh dear. Played in the catastrophic defeat to Lincoln Red Imps and didn’t feature again, ended up on loan with his old manager Neil Lennon at Hibs and impressed so much that he’s signed a two-year contract with them.

Jozo Simunovic – 7

Celtic’s best centre-half, which makes the fact that we were on the verge of selling him to Torino in August odd. Has the composure that most of our other centre-halves lack, and as he’s only 22 he can still get better.

Cristian Gamboa – 5

Signed from West Brom to be…well, a squad player, the reserve right-back has done well enough but has mostly been a bit-part player. Would expect more of the same next season.

Dedryck Boyata – 6

Talk about the comeback of the season, seemed to be on the way out after some dire performances last season, especially when Kenny Miller bullied him in the Scottish Cup semi-final, but was handed a chance by Brendan Rodgers and has taken it, and even though he always looks dodgy whilst on the ball he has done well.

Mikael Lustig – 6

Been very consistent at right-back, and seems to have added more of an attacking threat to his play, as shown by his goal in the 5-1 victory at Ibrox. Has some truly honking tattoos though, so a point off for that.

Erik Sviatchenko – 5

Has regressed this season, was particularly poor in two games against Rangers, will probably still be at the club as a squad player next season but if we get a good bid in for him I would sell.

Eoghann O’Connell – 5

Played in the Champions League qualifiers as Brendan Rodgers was trying to find his best side, didn’t let anybody down but went on loan to Walsall in January and doesn’t seem to have much of a future at the club.

Kieran Tierney – 8

Another brilliant season for ‘KT. Has remarkable consistency for being such a young player and is adaptable enough to play at both left and right back. Has a huge future ahead of him, let’s hope we can keep him at Celtic for a while yet.

MIDFIELDERS

Nir Bitton – 5

Pretty poor season for a player once thought to be the future of the club. He seems far too passive when involved, which is the exact opposite of most of Celtic’s other midfielders. If we get a good offer for him in the summer I’d expect him to be sold.

Scott Brown – 8

Best season in years for the captain, who bought into the Brendan Rodgers’ system straight away and his turned in some very impressive performances. Has mostly curbed his predilection for getting into daft fights as well – apart from against Ross County – and has completely turned his Celtic career around after some average at best seasons.

Scott Sinclair – 9

Fabulous first season for Scotland’s Player of the Year, chipped in with 25 goals which is a great return for a winger. Had previously had a good spell at Swansea with Brendan Rodgers who knew how good he would be for the club and is now perhaps the most important player at Celtic.

Stuart Armstrong – 9

Another player who has had his career turned around by Rodgers, looked like he was finished at the club last season but has responded fantastically with 17 goals from midfield. Only issue with him is that he hasn’t signed a new contract, but if he does would expect him to be the main man in midfield for Celtic.

Gary Mackay-Steven – 4

Didn’t shine when given a run in the team and quickly was shunted back to ‘squad player’ status. Doesn’t seem to have any future at all at Celtic and with English teams after him I wouldn’t expect him to be at Celtic next season.

Ryan Christie – 5

Didn’t get much of a chance with Celtic but has shone at Aberdeen since he went there on loan in January. Will be intriguing to see if Rodgers gives him a chance next season or if he is part of any proposed transfer deal for Jonny Hayes to Celtic as has been rumoured.

Tom Rogic – 7

Was probably on course to be Celtic’s player of the year until he suffered an injury against Dundee in December and was out for months. Has the best touch of any player in Scottish football and is capable of scoring big goals – as he showed in the Scottish Cup Final. Set to be a big player for the club next season.

Patrick Roberts – 7

Flitted in and out of the team for most of the season but turned into a mainstay in the last few months, as he started to add goals to his wing play. Even if we can’t get a permanent deal sorted, he leaves with our best wishes.

Callum McGregor – 7

Unexpectedly ended up as a first pick in the side after being on the margins for large spells of his Celtic career. Played well enough to be unfortunate to miss out on a Scotland call-up, but the ‘experiment’ of playing him at left-back can’t happen again.

James Forrest – 7

Started off the season on fire and was deservedly given a new contract by the club. Lost his place to Roberts after Christmas but this has still been his best season at Celtic for a few years and he’ll be looking to kick on again next season.

Liam Henderson – 4

Has turned into a bit-part player at Celtic, would probably be best for his career if he moved to a new club either on loan or permanently in the summer.

Eboue Kouassi – 4

Signed for big money from Krasnodar in January, hasn’t featured much but is obviously seen as one of the future as he is only nineteen. Seems to have a propensity for crunching challenges, which can only be a good thing.

FORWARDS

Nadir Ciftci – 2

Featured briefly at the start of the season to little effect, was las heard of on loan to Polish side Pogon Szczecin and the sooner he leaves Celtic the better for both the club and his career.

Leigh Griffiths – 7

Frustrating season for him, as he lost his place to the free-scoring Moussa Dembele after suffering an early injury, but still ended up with 18 goals this season. You can tell he doesn’t like not being the first choice striker so it will be interesting to see where his Celtic career goes from here.

Moussa Dembele – 9

What a signing. The Frenchman has had a remarkable first season with Celtic. Ended up with 32 goals, including the first premier league hat-trick in an Old Firm league game since 1966 and was superb in the Champions League. Will probably end up making Celtic a remarkable amount of money when he eventually leaves as well.

MANAGER

Brendan Rdogers – 9

From the ying of Lincoln Red Imps to the yang of the invincible treble, it has been some adventure for Celtic under Brendan Rodgers. The only small blemish in an otherwise wonderful season were some poor performances in the Champions League, but he will be seeking to correct that next season.

Written by John Reid


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