Aaron Mooy will return to Celtic as a player transformed on the back of four highly effective performances at the World Cup Finals in Qatar.
At the age of 32 it is touch and go whether there will be another World Cup in him but at club level he can pick things up again after almost three years out of the firing line.
The offer from Shanghei SIPG in 2020 was too good to refuse but an inter-continental move during a pandemic played havoc with his career prospects.
A year ago he negotiated his way out of that contract. Australia’s World Cup hopes were looking bleak but Mooy has never been a quitter as his career moves have proved.
Solo training sessions in Scotland topped up by a few international friendly matches put him in the frame, Graham Arnold’s faith was rewarded with two inspirational performances against UAE and Peru as the Socceroos became the last nation through to Qatar.
Then there was the club issue, where to get match fit for a World Cup appearance? In this instance fortune favoured Mooy, with Ange Postecoglou also hitching up in Glasgow a deal was struck for what looked like decent cover for Celtic ahead of a packed fixture card.
As he rejoins his club team-mates Mooy’s status has been transformed. Four high quality performances in 11 days dispelled any fitness questions with Celtic set to enjoy the benefits.
The goat & some random Argentinian guy pic.twitter.com/reBqVsIrtx
— Kevin (@KevinTwist67) December 3, 2022
For much of the 13 fixtures from October 1 to the World Cup break on November 12 Postecoglou was heavily dependent on Reo Hatate and Matt O’Riley, ironically two near misses for their nations World Cup squads.
Mooy and David Turnbull played support roles but in 15 Premiership fixtures the Australian only started five times with eight more appearances off the bench, usually to see matches through.
Callum McGregor’s return gives Postecoglou five strong contenders for three positions before he gets down to Oliver Abildgaard.
The reality of football is that Hatate and or O’Riley could be sold at some stage in the next couple of transfer windows, a fully settled and match fit Mooy should make the transitions a little easier with the ex-St Mirren midfielder finding his home after a decade of travel around the globe.