Celtic player hands Ange Postecoglou class injury boost days before St Johnstone
Celtic centre-back Stephen Welsh has handed Ange Postecoglou a major injury boost in the build-up to Saturday’s game against St Johnstone at Hampden.
The Hoops will face off against Callum Davidson’s side in the Premier Sports Cup semi-finals at Hampden. However, it looked as though Celtic could’ve been heading for a slight defensive crisis.
Welsh limped off of Scotland U21s 2-0 home defeat to Belgium on Tuesday night. This comes in the midst of a hamstring injury to fellow defender Carl Starfelt as Postecoglou’s centre-back options threatened to be stretched badly for the weekend.
However, Welsh has confirmed that the injury knock picked up during the week was nothing more than a minor scare that led to a precautionary late sub.
As quoted by the Herald, the Celtic man said: “Personally, I’m fine. It was a knock when their player had a shot and followed through on us, but I just came off as a precaution.
“I’ll be fine for the weekend. You’re always worried when you feel a bit of pain, but luckily it wasn’t a twist or anything. It was just pure impact so I should be fine.
“Belgium are obviously a good team who will go really far, but I thought we were good in spells. It was just wee moments in the game that they were particularly good at and moments where we need to get better. That’s the level that we need to get at if we want to go to the Euros.”
Stephen Welsh delivers big injury boost days before Celtic vs St Johnstone
It was looking a touch concerning for Postecoglou regarding his defensive options for the weekend. Had Welsh had to miss out, there was a real chance we were heading for Nir Bitton at centre-back once more.
Thankfully, that’s been avoided. It’s the last thing many Celtic fans will want to see for a cup semi-final at the national stadium.
It remains to be seen how Starfelt has recovered over the course of the international break too. Postecoglou stated last week that the Sweden international was “touch and go” for the Saints clash. Given it was a hamstring injury, it would be wise not to risk him if we could avoid it.
He looks like returning imminently, but it would’ve been a touch problematic had we looked to force him in for the weekend. Especially against a physical outfit such as St Johnstone.
Welsh being fit allows us to avoid all of that. He can slot in alongside Cameron Carter-Vickers and hopefully that will be enough to see us have a routine shift at the back. They certainly haven’t shown any major weaknesses together so far.
Saturday will be a big test for Welsh in particular, who’s never played for Celtic at Hampden. Hopefully, he rises to the occasion.