Celtic: Who will be the next star at Celtic Park?
Almost every year a star is born at Celtic. A player who nobody has hardly heard of before in August is suddenly finding his name printed on the back of all the Celtic shirts placed under the Christmas tree in December.
In the past 10 years names like Aidan McGeady, Charlie Mulgrew, James Forrest and Stephen McManus have burst on to the scene as superstars, much to the delight of the Celtic faithful.
So this year who is lurking behind the scenes waiting for the opportunity to test themselves on a weekly basis in the SPL and arrive under Scottish Christmas trees as Celtic’s latest shining light?
The former England Under-19 international defender is still a Celt. He only appeared on 18 occasions for the Bhoys between January 2010 and April 2010 and scored three goals in those 18 matches, not bad for a centre half. He has spent the past two seasons loaned out in the English Leagues, most recently having played 20 games for Chesterfield since joining them on loan in January 2012. This is a player who had fallen out of favour with Neil Lennon but will 2012/2013 be the season when the 21-year-old finally makes it as a Celt or is he destined for another season in England?
The Londoner started his career at Arsenal before moving on to rivals Tottenham but he never managed to establish himself at either of the Premier League giants. The 21-year-old has had well documented problems off the park but has declared over the summer that Celtic have given him the opportunity to sort his life out. Blackman appears to have the enthusiasm and the focus required to succeed at Celtic, but will 2012/2013 be the year that the young left back finally grasps the opportunity that he has let slip in the past?
You may not have seen too much of Rabiu but I can remember reading a lot of promising stories about the 21-year-old Nigerian when he was a teenager. He has an impressive CV, having signed for Sporting Lisbon and PSV prior to arriving at Celtic. He has been on numerous lists compiled by World Soccer Magazine and The Times amongst others as being one of the Top 50 rising stars in the game. He is an attacking midfielder best suited to playing “in the hole” behind a centre forward, but will Ibrahim prove the experts right this season and emerge as Celtic's rising star?
A Sierra Leone international that was recommended to the club by arguably Celtic’s greatest ever player Henrik Larsson. Bangura has had a constant struggle with injuries since his arrival in Scotland and appears to have fallen out of favour with Neil Lennon after his inability to hit the net in 10 appearances last season. His strike rate in Sweden of 25 goals in 45 games suggests that there is a lot of talent here but will Bangura shake off those injury problems and establish himself as a first team regular?
When the inevitable injuries and suspensions start to hit Neil Lennon’s favoured first eleven in the coming months will any of the untapped potential in the squad rise to the challenge?
Article by Jim Barry
Calling all Celtic fans: Who do you think is your next star in the making? What will life be like in the SPL this season with rivals Rangers? Can Celtic reach the group stages of the Champions League? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.
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