Report: Forrest and McCarthy missing from Celtic travelling party for AZ clash

By Euan Davidson

August 25, 2021

Celtic will be without James McCarthy and James Forrest for tomorrow night’s meeting with AZ Alkmaar.

The Sun shared that neither player were seen making their way alongside the Bhoys’ camp in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, fringe player Liam Shaw was spotted amongst Ange Postecoglou’s squad.

According to the Sun, both Forrest and McCarthy have stayed in Glasgow instead of flying out with the rest of the squad.

With Celtic in rude health with both midfield and attack, it’s not a huge blow, but it is a disappointment. Forrest was a problem for the AZ defenders in Glasgow, forcing an own goal from Timo Letschert in 61st minute.

McCarthy hasn’t had a great deal of game-time since joining the club at the start of August. His time will surely come, as the wear and tear of the league season presents itself in the winter.

Up front, Celtic have Ryan Christie, Liel Abada, Kyogo Furuhashi, Odsonne Edouard and Albian Ajeti to choose from for a fit front three. There’s also Adam Montgomery, a capable left-winger, who could be of use to Postecoglou.

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With a two goal lead in the tie, don’t expect Postecoglou to retreat or defend. In his press conference earlier today, the Celtic boss said [Celtic FC]:

“[Attacking is] the best approach for us, as if we go there and try to defend for 90 minutes, I just think you’re asking for trouble. They are a good team and we know at home they’re going to be playing fairly high-tempo and high-intensity football to score goals. So if we sit back, we are just going to invite pressure on ourselves.

“I think our best football is going the other way, going forward. And if we score goals, it puts more pressure on the opposition. We won’t change our approach as it’s the best strategy for us.”

Celtic will have to go for it against AZ without Forrest or McCarthy

It says a great deal about how many players have improved, or been brought in, that missing two players isn’t a total nightmare.

Forrest was a significant miss last season. A man close to hitting 100 goals and assists for the club, his delivery, sharpness in front of goal and trickery was sorely lacking under Lennon’s ill-fated 20-21 campaign.

Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

McCarthy, on the other hand, hasn’t had sufficient time to make an impact yet. He surely will as time goes on. Vast Premier League experience and a boyhood affection for the club will drive him on.

Really, Celtic supporters will be sighing in relief that these aren’t injuries to our defenders. The absence of any of our back five (when you include Joe Hart) would make this tie an awful lot tougher.

It’s a shame either player has to miss out. But it shouldn’t make the squad any less confident of completing the job tomorrow evening.

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