Celtic boss identified sports science gaps in July and the club need to act now

By David Walton

September 15, 2021

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou is having to deal with quite the short-term injury crisis at the moment, and it’s something he predicted back in July too.

James Forrest, Greg Taylor, Callum McGregor, Mikey Johnston, Karamoko Dembele, and Kyogo Furuhashi are all missing tomorrow via injury reasons. That’s potentially six first-team options that could’ve played a big part.

Postecoglou had a solution to solve something like this from happening. When he was appointed, he pushed the idea of building up the sports science team at Lennoxtown. This would help improve the conditioning of the players and help to avoid a plethora of injury problems.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Here’s what Ange had to say on the issue two months ago as quoted by the Scotsman: “People have asked me about bringing my own people in. Well, it’s not the coaching area that I think we need that extra support in.

“I think the areas we need are particularly in the conditioning area and the sports science area, we need some more people in to help us. It’s going to be a punishing schedule.

“I’m a big believer in needing to manage your squad of players through that period if you want to play the kind of football we want to play, be a team that plays high intensity, pressurises the opposition and really wants to move the ball quickly then that takes a physical toll.

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“So, looking after the players off the field is really important. And certainly we’re looking to bring in people who will help us in those areas.”

Celtic still yet to give Postecoglou all the tools he needs

Even as recently as early August, Postecoglou was still stressing the need to “fill the gaps” [Celtic TV]. He still believes there are staff gaps needing filled. However, even after the transfer window there have been no official updates on who has joined their sport science team.

Jack Nayler left the club as the Head of Sport Science weeks before Postecoglou was appointed [Scottish Sun]. Who is his replacement exactly? Have they been identified? As of yet, it looks as though we haven’t moved to add key hires to help with player conditioning.

We’re now into September. The season has already begun and we’re already at one of the busiest stages of the campaign. Why Postecoglou hasn’t been given the additions he was calling out for back in July must be questioned.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Look, an effective sports science team won’t totally eradicate injuries. But what they do is ensure a player is able to maximise their performance and endurance levels whilst lessening the risk of an injury. They’ll help individualise training programs for players to help them avoid injuring more vulnerable parts of their body.

It’s not an area of the club that should simply be overlooked. It’s no coincidence that we’re enduring a mini injury crisis just over one month into the season with minimal sports science staff in place.

Wherever the manager believed there to be staffing gaps, it should’ve been a priority before the campaign even began. Hopefully, this isn’t something we’ll come to rue as the season rolls on.

In other news, Ange Postecoglou’s brilliant response to media question on Celtic’s UEL approach