Celtic manager Postecoglou's message to international stars
With a litany of Celtic players heading out on international break, manager Ange Postecoglou has sent a clear message: “do well”.
The Bhoys, on an excellent run of form, meet St Johnstone in the Premier Sports Cup a week on Saturday. Before then, 9 first-team players will head out on international duty.
Callum McGregor and David Turnbull will join Steve Clarke’s Scotland side, with Stephen Welsh and Adam Montgomery representing the U21 team. Kyogo Furuhashi has headed out to join Japan, with Liel Abada and Nir Bitton meeting their Israel teammates. Josip Juranovic will be playing his natural right-back role with Croatia, and Conor Hazard is with Northern Ireland.
There aren’t as many as there could be, of course. James McCarthy and Liam Scales will want to be in future Ireland squads. Giorgos Giakoumakis, surprisingly, wasn’t called up by Greece.
Tom Rogic is injured for Australia, and Carl Starfelt will miss international fixtures with Sweden.
For those who are away though, Celtic manager Postecoglou said he’s hopeful of a full squad to choose from after the break. And, he’s counting on his international stars to represent the club well.
Postecoglou said [Scottish Sun]:
“Obviously we want the boys to do well, the ones that go away.
“They have some big games and we are wishing them well. Hopefully, they get through unscathed.
“We have some here who will be at Lennoxtown, some who have played quite a lot of football and need a break. Others we need to put some work into, so it’s an important period and there is a massive game when we get back, so we want to be ready for it.”
International break an obvious source of anxiety for Celtic boss Postecoglou
With the way Celtic have been playing, an international break is a mixed blessing.
Certainly, you want Bhoys players to be of international standard. In terms of player morale, their value in the transfer market and the boost in profile for the club, international football is a good thing.
But we were probably very lucky to have each of our internationals come back from the last break unscathed. With the sheer amount of football and travelling these players are doing, there’s obvious risk attached.
As a former Australia manager, Postecoglou knows the score here. But he’s also right to point out that he’ll have plenty of players to train at Lennoxtown over the next 10 days.
The likes of Anthony Ralston, Jota, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Christopher Jullien will be available to him. James Forrest can build his fitness, alongside Mikey Johnston.
So it’s not all bad. But the manager’s message? Do well, don’t hurt yourself.