All of the injured Celtic players who could return immediately after the winter break

By David Walton

December 23, 2021

One of the biggest pros for Celtic when it came to the winter break moving forward was that it gave some of our injured stars more time to recover.

Ange Postecoglou has had to endure a host of selection knockbacks due to hamstring, knee, and ankle injuries just to name a few. So many top stars have been missing in action in recent weeks, with Joe Hart and Kyogo the latest to drop out the squad against St Mirren.

After Sunday’s Boxing Day clash against St Johnstone, a 3-week break will kick into gear. The hope for Celtic fans is that a host of their star players are back for the resumption against Hibernian on January 17th.

Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images

And here, we take a look at the full list of players who could return to action immediately after the winter shutdown.

It would be a touch naive to put both Kyogo and Hart into the list. Many fans will be hoping that both men recover for the Boxing Day gig in Perth. With neither man ruled out for Sunday, it seems likely both will be fit and available. Carl Starfelt will also return after seeing out his 1-game suspension for a red card picked up against Ross County.

Giorgos Giakoumakis, however, is one who should definitely be back in contention after the break. Postecoglou said exactly 3 weeks ago that he would be out for 3 weeks at the most. It remains to be seen if he appears against St Johnstone. But it also seems more plausible that Postecoglou will give him the time off to recuperate and come back fitter and stronger in mid-January.

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James Forrest, meanwhile, is another who could make a timely return for the Hibs game. Forrest came off against Motherwell earlier this month with a muscle injury. The severity of it hasn’t been revealed by Ange. However, given he’ll have had over 5 weeks recovery time come the Hibs clash, you would hope he’d be ready to go.

Celtic will hope for plenty of injury returns in January

Long-term crock Chris Jullien is another who’s due to return to action in early 2022. Postecoglou has always been wary when it comes to putting a firm date on it. After all, we all hoped he would be back competing for his spot 2 months ago.

The manager told 67HailHail last week that Jullien’s rehab wasn’t going smoothly. But even so, it’s still another 3 and-a-half weeks before we entertain Shaun Maloney’s Hibees. When the winter break is over, Celtic fans will expect a positive update on Jullien’s progress. Fingers crossed we get one.

Finally, it looks promising when it comes to a potential return for on-loan Benfica star Jota after the break. Postecoglou stated earlier this week that he doesn’t expect the player to return until after the 3-week stop [Daily Record].

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Granted, with the break pulled forward by a week, it remains to be seen if he’s ready to go instantly under the new timescale. But it’s clear he’s closing in on a return, and there’s every chance he’s back in the fold for January 17th.

The likes of Albian Ajeti, David Turnbull, and Karamoko Dembele unfortunately look more longer-term. Celtic are still badly lacking some quality in reserve. But should the above players return to the fold, the squad will be looking a lot stronger once more.

This is undoubtedly the biggest boost of the break being brought forward. Going into games against Hibs and Rangers with the squad we currently have never did look ideal. The break gives us the opportunity to have a more familiar look about us.

Hopefully, we get what we need from the next few weeks.

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