Celtic’s injury-list is big enough, but have they suffered another triple-injury scare this afternoon?
The Hoops overcame St Johnstone 5-0 in convincing fashion. It’s booked their place in the Scottish Cup quarter-final, and confidence continues to grow at Paradise.
There was plenty of positives for Brendan Rodgers after the game. The performances of so many key individuals kept up the form that had previously given Celtic six victories with six clean sheets.
But, speaking to Celtic’s official Twitter account after the game, Rodgers confirmed a trio of injury concerns have come out of the match.
🗣️BR: "Ollie Burke took a knock to his ankle, but we’re hoping he’ll be okay. He was absolutely fantastic today. Ntcham had a tightness in his hamstring, which he felt before the game. Jozo was feeling ill at half-time, but Kris comes in and does a great job."
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) February 10, 2019
None sound serious, but Valencia is near
There are positives and negatives out of this.
Firstly, none of the injuries sounds too serious the way Rodgers has described them.
Oliver Burke was clearly seen walking off the pitch without too much discomfort. Olivier Ntcham felt tightness in his hamstring, meaning he felt the same James Forrest felt at St Johnstone. Jozo Simunovic, meanwhile, felt ill.
The overwhelming negative, however, is that Valencia are at Parkhead in just four days. Despite all injuries appearing to be short-term, the Hoops have next to no time left to get players fit.
Ntcham likely wouldn’t start the game. Both Callum McGregor and Scott Brown have those centre-midfield slots sewn up.
But Burke would be an unreal loss. He was sensational today, and you can see our verdict on his display here. And losing him for the biggest game of Celtic’s season would be typical.
His direct replacement, you have to feel, would be young Timothy Weah. The American had three goals – the same as Burke – so far in his short Celtic career. All three, however, have come from the bench.
Simunovic’s illness may not have too much of a detrimental effect on the squad. The natural centre-back choice for Thursday night would surely be Dedryck Boyata and Kristoffer Ajer anyway. But Simunovic’s situation leaves Celtic short of cover again if he misses out.
It’s, at best, something for Rodgers to be keeping an eye on by the sound of things. Celtic’s injury list is long enough, and another three added onto the list certainly wouldn’t be welcome.