Celtic manager issues injury update ahead of Betis clash

By Euan Davidson

December 8, 2021

Ange Postecoglou has confirmed he won’t risk either Anthony Ralston or James Forrest for Celtic against Real Betis tomorrow night.

Los Verdiblancos come to Celtic Park to finish Europa League Group G tomorrow. While the group has been decided, there’s still a chance for the Hoops to bloody a nose before heading to the Europa Conference League. Financial and coefficient incentives are factors, too.

If Celtic are to win, though, it’ll be without either right-sided player. Anthony Ralston has been sensational in a total comeback season. James Forrest has been blighted by injuries, but made a crucial contribution in the Premier Sports Cup Semi-Final.

Stephen Welsh, however, will be fit for the Celtic v Betis clash. This was reported by Sky Sports’ Alison Conroy, who tweeted:

Earlier, we shared the news that Jota would be a continued absence for Celtic. He’ll miss our next run of fixtures, including the Premier Sports Cup Final against Hibernian.

In an unforgiving schedule, it makes sense for Postecoglou to rest two of his players in such a manner. If Ralston or Forrest were rushed back and aggravated the injuries suffered against Hearts, we’d be back at square one.

Betis will be resting two of their own key players. Both Juanmi, so dangerous against Celtic in the reverse tie, and loanee Willian José are unlikely to take part.

Andrés Iniesta poses with another Celtic target, as ridiculous Hearts whining continues

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Andrés Iniesta poses with another Celtic target, as ridiculous Hearts whining continues
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Celtic v Betis still matters, but Ange Postecoglou is making the right call here

Yes, we know; we’ve said it a lot. But there’s no reason to take tomorrow lightly, for a number of factors.

That said, there’s also no point of Celtic risking longer-term injuries against Betis. We’ve seen already this season that rushing players back is a futile task. Greg Taylor injured his shoulder against AZ Alkmaar, came back into the team, then injured it for longer.

Consider Mikey Johnston, who played past being fit in January 2020 [Daily Record]. Only now is he really able to play matches.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

So yes, ample evidence of the risks we don’t need to take. Especially with players like Liel Abada and Josip Juranovic able to perform. An Israel and Croatia international respectively, there; hardly bad options.

Whether Celtic are all-guns-blazing tomorrow night against Betis is to be seen. Certainly, Ange Postecoglou’s attitude seems to be in the right place.

He won’t, though, have James Forrest or Anthony Ralston in tow. And that’s probably for the best.

Read more: Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou delivers significant blow for Premier Sports Cup final