Celtic boss delivers fresh update on James McCarthy ahead of Hearts

By David Walton

December 2, 2021

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has credited James McCarthy for getting through 90 minutes against Aberdeen and states the midfielder has no knocks or complaints heading into the Hearts clash.

The Hoops come up against the Jambos this evening in the Scottish Premiership. It’s bound to be a cracker with Postecoglou’s men having the opportunity to pull away from Robbie Neilson’s men in the title-race.

McCarthy, meanwhile, could finally be on the verge of a Celtic turnaround. After a frustrating first 3 months in Glasgow, he completed his first full match against the Dons on Sunday. He put in an assured display and was part of a Celtic midfield that saw the game out comfortably.

Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

And in a further boost to the Republic of Ireland international, his manager was extremely impressed with what he saw too as he pushed the idea of James being a big player for us this season:

As quoted by the Daily Record, Ange said: “I thought his performance on Sunday was good. We need to remember that he’s had a disrupted pre-season and that was his first meaningful start for a while.

“It’s not an easy task to come into a team and perform at those levels so he got through the game well which was the main thing physically. He had no issues and he got a taste of it. James is one we are going to need this season because of his experience and the way he plays. Everyone knows he can improve and we want him to improve.

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“Like the rest of the players, when you come into the team, that’s your baseline and he’s getting the chance to perform at a high level.”

James McCarthy now has to show Celtic fans that he has the consistency

It was great to see such a composed and assured display from James on Sunday. Granted, the first half was a touch shaky with even the most basic of tasks being made to look a touch awkward. However, he grew into things in the second 45 and managed to keep Lewis Ferguson quiet in a dominant enough display.

Getting through 90 minutes was undoubtedly the main thing here. With so many doubts swirling around about his fitness issues, you feel that he needed that. He needed to prove to the Celtic supporters that he can last a full 90 and is now in a good physical condition.

Granted, don’t expect him to start against Hearts this evening. At best he’ll likely be on the bench and available to come on later in the game. Instead, Ange is likely to put Nir Bitton back into the side or potentially go with that Tom Rogic/David Turnbull once again.

Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Even so, McCarthy will just be pleased to be back in the fold again. He’s the kind of experienced head that can be invaluable in a title-race. The kind of player we want to be able to entrust to come on and help us secure the midfield battle and see out games.

Since signing for the club, he hasn’t ever been in a better place than the one he’s in now. Finally, things are looking up and it’ll now be down to James to run with the opportunity he’s been given.

Hopefully, he bags himself a strong December to really give his Celtic career the kickstart it requires.

In other news, Tottenham Hotspur supporters left perplexed at the thought of their player joining Celtic