Ange Postecoglou has led Celtic to back-to-back Scottish Premiership titles; they will secure a domestic treble if they beat Inverness Caley Thistle in the Scottish Cup final, but what are the big issues and priorities facing them ahead of next season?
Tuesday 9 May 2023 11:00, UK
Celtic have secured their second successive Premiership title and are just one win from a domestic treble, but what is next for the Scottish champions and Ange Postecoglou?
"Enjoy the summer and we'll come back bigger and better - because we never stop!" - Postecoglou's words to the Celtic fans after they lifted the league trophy last May.
He was a man of his word as Celtic have stormed to yet another title - and are on course to break all sorts of club and Scottish records, even surpassing the points total of Brendan Rodgers' 'Invincibles'.
In just two years, Postecoglou has completely rebuilt a side that finished 25 points behind Rangers and put them back on top with four trophies to his name already - with only Inverness Caley Thistle standing in the way of the Australian completing Scotland in terms of major honours.
Here, Sky Sports News' Anthony Joseph looks ahead to the big issues and priorities facing the Scottish champions - and their boss - this summer…
There is no doubt domestic success will remain the number one priority for Celtic - retaining the title being the main thing.
Making a mark in Europe will be very high up the list, perhaps even more so than in previous seasons with Celtic's Champions League campaign this term frustrating but promising.
Postecoglou's debut season in Europe's elite competition provided some very strong and, at times, dominant performances.
Celtic, though, only managed to pick up two points and finished bottom of a group that included champions Real Madrid, RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Across their six games, Celtic had 82 attempts on goal and hit the woodwork three times.
Out of all these chances, they only scored four goals. When you watch the games many of these chances would be deemed as sitters and perhaps it could be argued that if they were to create a similar amount of chances in a group again they would deliver more than two points.
Champions League football, as this crop of Celtic players learned, is ruthless and that extra bit of quality will be needed to turn those chances into goals and wins next season.
There was enough to see that Postecoglou's relentless and 100mph style of football could possibly work at this level, but it needs a bit of fine-tuning.
The Celtic boss will also know his own reputation outside of Scotland will be heavily judged on what he can do in Europe.
Next season Celtic will be aiming to secure European football after Christmas as a priority to show continued progress.
Celtic have a lot of fringe players and the focus to start the transfer window will be to assess players' futures at the club and look to move on those who are unlikely to be part of Postecoglou's first-team plans.
Goalkeeper Conor Hazard has been on loan at HJK Helsinki and is out of contract in the summer.
The club will also be looking to offload Albian Ajeti, Vasilis Barkas and Ismaila Soro in the summer window and all have an option-to-buy clause on their current loan deals.
The Hoops are also open to offers for forgotten man James McCarthy and Liam Scales, who has spent this season on loan at Aberdeen.
Question marks remain over the futures of Mikey Johnston, Yosuke Ideguchi, Osaze Urhoghide, Liam Shaw, Adam Montgomery and Johnny Kenny. Some of these players may be given another chance to impress on loan, while others could be put on the transfer list.
Goalkeeper Joe Hart is about to enter the final year of his contract.
The former England international is expected to remain first choice for next season and Celtic will have to decide whether or not to extend his current deal.
Long term, the goalkeeper situation is something the champions will have to address. Barkas and Hazard are likely to leave and out-of-favour Scott Bain is also entering his final year next term.
They do have Benjamin Siegrist but he is yet to prove he is capable of being the mainstay in goal.
Another player entering the final year of his contract is David Turnbull, who has struggled to break into Celtic's regular starting XI under Postecoglou.
There is a lot of interest in Celtic's key players and keeping the likes of Kyogo Furuhashi, Jota, Reo Hatate and Cameron Carter-Vickers will be vital this summer.
A number of clubs from the English Premier League and across Europe are interested in Carl Starfelt.
His current deal expires in the summer of 2025 and if they do decide to sell, they have a replacement already in Yuki Kobayashi, who was signed from Vissel Kobe in January.
Ajax have a keen interest in winger Liel Abada and Celtic could be faced with the decision on whether or not to cash in on the 21-year-old and look for a replacement. They could command a decent fee as Abada still has a few years left on his contract.
Postecoglou will be looking to add extra quality to his squad. Another striker to add strength in depth would be beneficial.
If Kyogo is injured, then Hyeongyu Oh is the only natural replacement.
Celtic's biggest asset at the moment is their manager and that has not gone unnoticed from clubs in the top five leagues of European football.
Postecoglou has already been on the shortlist at a few Premier League clubs, including Tottenham, and his continued progress with Celtic will only see that interest continue.
There does not seem to be any sign that Postecoglou is looking to leave Glasgow, but if he secures a treble he will have won every domestic trophy in the country in his first two seasons.
What is left for him to do? All signs point to him wanting to have another crack at the Champions League, while maintaining domestic success.
That will be the mark of progress for the former Australia boss, who has also won leagues titles in his homeland and in Japan.
A good run in Europe next season could also determine what type of club he joins in the future. He is a project manager and very much believes there is still work to be done at Parkhead.
Celtic will have to be ready for life after Postecoglou, who is pretty much in charge of everything in the football department.
Things are going well under the current structure, but modernisation is needed for the club going forward if they want to consistently be competitive in Europe, while challenging for domestic dominance.
This summer, Celtic are looking to boost their global brand in Asia, with a tour of Japan and South Korea booked for July. The club laid foundations in Japan with the signing of Shunsuke Nakamura nearly 20 years ago. Now the Hoops have six Japanese players - Yuki Kobayashi, Reo Hatate, Tomoki Iwata, Yosuke Ideguchi, Daizen Maeda and Kyogo. They also signed South Korea striker Hyeongyu Oh in January.
The J League and K League markets have proved fruitful for Celtic under Postecoglou and the club are now putting a lot effort into maximising their potential commercially in these countries. Celtic's Japanese language Twitter account is already one of the most followed football club accounts in the country.
Sky Sports News understands Celtic will take part in friendly matches in Japan and South Korea this summer and also participate in various commercial and promotional events. This proved very successful in Australia, when Postecoglou took his side Down Under during the World Cup.
Closer to home, the club are looking at innovative ways to boost revenue, as well as improve the matchday experience for fans. New bars in the stadium have opened in the turnstiles, after the club were granted a special licence to serve alcohol until two hours before kick-off at some matches. The Hoops hope this will be the start of the conversation to end the 43-year-old blanket alcohol ban in Scottish football stadiums.
Another issue that is likely to take prominence in the next 12 months is the campaign from supporters to create a 'Celtic End' at Parkhead. Their ultras groups, Green Brigade and Bhoys Celtic, want to create something similar to Borussia Dortmund's Yellow Wall and Liverpool's Kop End - with a safe standing section right across the Jock Stein Stand behind the goal. This campaign is picking up a lot of momentum among the Hoops support and is something the club will be forced to look at.
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