The Celtic centre-back situation will already have improved by the time Saturday’s clash against Dundee rolls around.
The Hoops are back in Premiership action against Tony Docherty’s side in what should be a routine home win. However, some recent results have reminded us not to take anything for granted at domestic level as we eye a Champions League step up.
Just a fortnight ago, we were denied victory by a resolute St. Johnstone. If anything, it was Steven MacLean’s side who created the better chances in the closing stages of that match.
Liam Scales and Gustaf Lagerbielke were the central defenders thrust into the limelight that afternoon. They also played together in our win at Ibrox a week later. Two clean sheets have arrived, even if some of their defending has left a fair bit to be desired.
Celtic will still be without the injured Cameron Carter-Vickers, Maik Nawrocki and Stephen Welsh this weekend. However, on-loan Liverpool man Nat Phillips will be ready according to Brendan Rodgers. Yuki Kobayashi is also back in training but seems to be well down the manager’s pecking order.
So how will Rodgers play it over the coming weeks? Scales and Lagerbielke are yet to concede a goal when playing together, yet you feel Phillips‘ experience may be required with the Champions League firmly on the horizon.
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Our opener against Feyenoord is next Tuesday and you would expect the boss will want to get Phillips some game-time against Dundee. That would mean that we’d have at least one debut at Celtic Park this weekend, with Luis Palma and Paulo Bernardo also in the running.
Scales would be most likely to drop out of the line-up. It should perhaps be Lagerbielke given his error-laden showing at Ibrox. Yet, the reported £3m we shelled out for him a few weeks ago suggests we see him as more of a long-term solution than the Irishman.
So you can probably expect to see Phillips and Lagerbielke on Saturday and next midweek against Feyenoord. Soon after that, Carter-Vickers and Nawrocki will hopefully be back and our options will look much stronger.