The international break was never going to be kind to Celtic, and our first real doubt has occured with Mikael Lustig.
The Swedish defender was taken off during his country’s clash with Romania yesterday. It looks doubtful that he’ll face fellow Celtic star Kristoffer Ajer on Tuesday too. The Swedes play Norway in a crunch Euro 2020 qualification match.
And now, he even looks a doubt ahead of the match with Rangers on Sunday.
Celtic, therefore, should be getting in touch with Lustig today and attempt to lure him back to Parkhead. This isn’t a week to be risking any potential injuries.
It’s also vital considering the poor form of Jeremy Toljan too. The on-loan Borussia Dortmund defender hasn’t convinced at Parkhead. If he was to play, it’s hardly easy to argue that he would have a good game against Rangers. He’s yet to really have a standout performance since signing.
At the very least, Lustig knows Rangers inside-out. He knows the threat they’ll pose, and has a host of experience in this fixture. Given its importance to Neil Lennon and his hopes of getting the job permanently, he needs that experience in his side.
Celtic need to get in touch
Allowing Lustig to play touch-and-go with Sweden is risky business. Fellow defender Dedryck Boyata dropped out of the Belgium squad with an injury scare. At least that way Celtic can monitor him at Lennoxtown throughout the next seven days.
Lustig, however, is still with his national team. It could be the case that he features on Tuesday against Norway and aggravates his injury further. And losing him for the Rangers clash would be a massive blow for the reasons mentioned.
Of course, Lustig has the final decision on dropping out. It’s not particularly down to Celtic, and it will come down to what the Swede wants to do in the end.
But Celtic have to get in touch and see if they can sway him to return. His international place will always be there given his popularity back home.
If he plays on Tuesday and worsens the knock, Celtic have every right to be furious. The club could do with getting him back and monitoring him over the next week.