Celtic already dealing with injury losses better than last season

By David Walton

August 16, 2021

Nobody can deny that Celtic had it bad last season with injuries and Covid setbacks, but this term it looks as though niggling injuries here and there won’t be a major problem.

Postecoglou has only been in charge for seven games. At differing stages he’s been without James Forrest, Christopher Jullien, Liel Abada, and Ryan Christie. Four major first-team stars who Celtic fans will expect to make a major improvement to the team from last season.

Perhaps somewhat ironically, Neil Lennon had the cover to deal with injuries last season. His squad was a strong one in terms of depth, with back-up in every position on the pitch.

Yet whenever there was an injury, it appeared to rock us for six. When Edouard and Christie were ruled out of the first Glasgow derby due to Covid-related requirements, for example, it had a shocking effect. Not one of our attacking stars managed to step up in their place.

The same goes for when Chris Jullien suffered his injury back in December. Lennon couldn’t get a competent centre-back pairing up and running. Shane Duffy was all over the place, whilst Stephen Welsh was still in his infancy as a Celtic first-teamer.

However, Postecoglou appears to be building something special at Parkhead. Something that can withstand a few cogs being replaced here and there.

Celtic 3-2 Hearts | LIVE Reaction

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Celtic injury niggles not affecting performance levels

The new manager’s ability to replace like for like and keep things flowing has been impressive.

Abada came in and immediately replaced Forrest and actually added some extra impetus into our game. Then, when he picked up a knock, Ryan Christie started to take the headlines whilst Forrest slipped back into the right-wing position.

Leigh Griffiths’ calf injury has barely been noticed either. Due to the addition of Kyogo Furuhashi and the addition of goals from midfielders such as David Turnbull, Callum McGregor, and Christie, Griffiths isn’t particularly needed. In fact, even when fit he likely won’t be getting into the team anytime soon.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Granted, some may have fears over the centre-back position. Carl Starfelt has made some early errors, with Jullien still on the road to recovery.

But Celtic are still winning games due to their potency in attack. Finally, we’re at a stage where one or two injury knocks doesn’t affect the performance levels. Replacements can be found and our level of tempo will remain high.

Sure, a mass injury crisis would change all of that. We’re not naive. But if Edouard picked up an ankle knock in training, would you be as concerned as you were last season? Nowhere near it. Postecoglou is managing to ensure the efficiency of his squad isn’t reliant on individuals.

Sadly, that wasn’t something you could say was the case last season.