Celtic vs Hearts team news: Forrest drops out as Ange hints at rotation and illness hits Tynecastle camp

By John McGinley

March 7, 2023

Celtic winger James Forrest has picked up a muscle injury and will likely be out of action until after the upcoming international break, Ange Postecoglou confirmed in a media conference today.

The Bhoys have been pleasingly injury-free for the most part since the return from the World Cup but Forrest will now sit out a few weeks after dropping out of training in the build-up to St Mirren at the weekend.

There are no other injury concerns and Postecoglou has suggested the full depth of his squad will be used across the doubleheader against Hearts, though he has yet to make firm decisions on team selection.

Photo by Richard Callis/MB Media/Getty Images

Squad updates from Celtic and Hearts

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, the Celtic manager said [Celtic YouTube]: “James Forrest got a bit of a muscle strain at training, so he’s going to be out for a little while, it’s just unfortunate for him. He’ll probably miss the next period of games beyond the international break.

“Everyone else was OK from the weekend. I’ll assess everyone later today and make decisions. We obviously played on Sunday and it’s a short turnaround to tomorrow and then a short turnaround to Saturday. It’s three games in six days so we’re definitely going to make some changes. Whether that’s tomorrow or Saturday, I’ll see how the squad is. But from a health perspective, everyone apart from James is available.”

Forrest has made 20 appearances for the Bhoys this season, though has started just five. Celtic are well covered in the wide areas in his absence with Sead Haksabanovic and Liel Abada ready to come in as part of any rotation from Jota and Daizen Maeda.

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson, meanwhile, is contending with a few minor injuries amongst his own group, also admitting two of his players have been ill recently.

He told The Edinburgh Evening News: “Most of them are fine. We have a couple of boys with a few niggles after Saturday’s game so they will get tomorrow and Wednesday to see how they are, and then we will take it from there.

“Stephen Kingsley has had a wee bit of a bug over the last couple of days. A couple of them have had it. Stephen Humphrys was ill and a couple of the younger ones weren’t feeling great either. It’s probably just the time of year.”

Both Kingsley and Humphrys have played a significant amount of games this season so that’s far from ideal from a Hearts perspective if they miss out on Wednesday night’s Premiership match, though whether it’s about Neilson keeping some players as fit as possible for Saturday’s cup clash remains to be seen.

Neither side will be holding back too much tomorrow night even with that quarter-final on the immediate horizon. Rangers and Hibs play at the same time at Easter Road, with both rivals in league-table pursuit of the Bhoys and the Jam Tarts as second and fourth-placed outfits.

In other news, Celtic camp reacts as youths beat Rangers XI that included John Souttar and Ridvan Yilmaz.