AS the only two members of the Celtic squad to have played a part in every season of the current nine-in-a-row run, Scott Brown and James Forrest have counted them into the dressing room and counted a fair number of them out.

Brown, as Celtic captain, is especially well positioned to offer his appraisal of the current squad, and how capable this squad of players are of rising to the challenges ahead. And in his view, Neil Lennon and head of recruitment Nicky Hammond have Celtic in a stronger position now than they were going into this prolonged transfer window.

Shane Duffy is the latest arrival on a season-long loan from Brighton, joining goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas, midfielder David Turnbull and striker Albian Ajeti as the new Bhoys on the block. Moi Elyounoussi, meanwhile, rejoined the squad from Southampton.

For Brown, the skillset and competition that they bring to the party means that Celtic will very likely be celebrating once more come the end of this hugely significant campaign.

“It’s been a great transfer window for us,” Brown said. “We have signed four or five now. They have all come in and strengthened the squad.

“They just need some game time to get themselves going. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone fully fit. It will be a great squad with great competition.

“That’s what the manager wants. He wants competition from the lads, whether it’s a goalie, a striker, a centre midfielder, a centre half. He wants everyone to have competition. So, the standard of training is tip-top as well.

Given his own no-nonsense demeanour, it is perhaps unsurprising that Brown has immediately been impressed by the cut of Duffy’s gib since checking in at the club earlier this week.

And he reckons that the centre-half’s lifelong allegiance to Celtic can be no bad thing either.

“He’s a great lad,” said Brown. “He spoke really well the last couple of days to all the lads.

“He’s a big strong lad who has played English Premier League and Republic of Ireland.

“It’s great for us because it’s another leader at the back. He’s strong, he’s aggressive in the air.

“The manager felt we needed to bring in another centre half and that’s what he’s done. We’ve found a fantastic centre half.

“He wants to be here. He loves Celtic. It’s always been his dream to play for Celtic. It’s amazing to have that opportunity.

“He has played in the English Premier League and wants to come to us, which shows you what a big club Celtic is. For him to be a boyhood fan and play for the club he loves, it must mean a lot to him. “For him to come along here and play for the lads, it means a lot to us too.”

While the experience of Duffy is a welcome addition to the Celtic ranks, Brown is also enthused by the arrival of a man at the other end of his career arc, as Turnbull has adjusted to the step up from Motherwell with ease.

“He’s been great since coming in,” he said. “He’s not trained too much but I’ve seen some great glimpses, he works hard and is an honest boy.

“As a Scottish lad coming to Celtic, he knows what it’s all about. Having been on the other side as well he knows what it means to everyone else to try to beat Celtic.

“I like that he always looks forward, he’s got great touch and awareness. I’m looking forward to playing alongside him.

“I saw he said he wanted to emulate me, is that a compliment of a sign of my age? Maybe a bit of both!

“I was an attacking midfielder when I came in as well so maybe I’ll pull him back a bit.

“He’s a great lad who is willing to learn and he has that ability to change a game. At Motherwell he scored and created a lot of chances so here’s hoping he can do even more with us.”

Turnbull will also have to handle the change in expectancy that comes with playing for one side of the Old Firm, but after fighting back from the knee problem that derailed his move to Celtic last summer to prove his worth once more, Brown has no doubts over his ability to shoulder that responsibility.

“I came in and drew at Kilmarnock in my first game, so I found out right away from Gordon Strachan that you must win every week here,” he said.

“A point is not good enough. You would accept that at Hibs at the time but not here, as the fans expect us to win every single game, week in, week out.

“There’s always going to be bumps along the way but it’s about how you bounce back. We’ve been unbelievable at it over the years.

“We have maybe been poor in a game but then won 10 or 11 on the trot.

“We need to make sure we get back to doing that but from what I’ve seen, Turnbull has that winning mentality. We’re looking forward to seeing him.

“He’s a very strong person. You’re going to need that here. You need to take the stick as well as the pats on the back, but you need to believe in your own ability.

“It’s a great story. He almost signed, goes away and gets two operations and comes back in great shape and gets the move to us.

“It’s a dream come true for him.”