Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor in race to be fit for Bayer Leverkusen

By David Walton

September 23, 2021

Ange Postecoglou yesterday dropped the news that Callum McGregor is racing to be fit for next Thursday’s clash against Bayer Leverkusen.

The Hoops captain came off against Ross County almost a fortnight ago during a comfortable 3-0 success. Callum would then miss games against Real Betis and Livingston respectively. And yesterday, it was revealed by Postecoglou that he wouldn’t be back for tonight’s game against Raith Rovers.

A timeframe hadn’t previously been put on his return. Many simply expected the captain to hopefully be fit for Sunday’s game against Dundee United at Celtic Park.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

But Postecoglou has revealed that his leader will also miss that one as he tries to make the Leverkusen match.

As quoted by the Herald, Postecoglou said: “It’s hard to put a timescale on it but it’s nothing major. Callum is obviously not 100 percent and with him you would know even if he was close then he’d be available.

“If I had to make a call then, all going well and if the rehab goes well, he should be available to face Bayer Leverkusen but likely to miss the next two. It’s one of those things every footballer goes through. Some are pretty durable and get through it but it’s just our luck that for Callum it’s come at this time as he’s started so well for us.

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“It’s disappointing for him but he has played so much football it’s probably inevitable at some point that he would need a break and hopefully this might even be a positive for him in that he gets refreshed for when he comes back. I know that when he’s available he will hit the ground running and won’t need any time to adjust. We just have to be careful he is 100 percent because we wouldn’t want to lose him for an extended period.”

Celtic need Callum McGregor in engine room for Bayer Leverkusen

Postecoglou sounds hopeful, but we know from experience never to be certain when it comes to players’ injury returns.

McGregor adds balance to the Celtic engine room. He’s a key cog in the Postecoglou system, and that much has been proven. Just look at how all over the place the Hoops were in Real Betis.

It would’ve been interesting to know what the score would’ve been had Celtic had McGregor available. It’s doubtful we would’ve conceded four goals. Having Callum in there adds some calmness to our play – something that was clearly missing in Spain.

Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

That midfield balance is going to be essential against Leverkusen as well. We need McGregor to be fit and available. If he isn’t, it’s going to be a major struggle for the engine room to seize control of the game. Especially against a top Bundesliga side.

Even if Callum is back, there will be question marks over whether he’s 100% fit. It’s highly frustrating that he’ll be missing the Dundee Utd game too. That would’ve provided him an opportunity to ease back into things.

Hopefully, his rehab continues to go well. Not having him next Thursday would be a big concern.

In other news, Celtic man David Turnbull discusses details of behind-the-scenes post-Livi meeting

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