Everything Ange Postecoglou said on Celtic pair Karamoko Dembele and Mikey Johnston

By David Walton

July 20, 2021

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou refused to provide a timeframe for when Karamoko Dembele and Mikey Johnston will be back in action for the Hoops.

Both men came off in the first half against Bristol City in what proved to be a troubling friendly for the Hoops. Up until then, both Johnston and Dembele were having strong starts to pre-season.

However, a nasty challenge on Karamoko saw him hobble off in the first 45, whilst Johnston came off clutching his hamstring. And in typical fashion, neither man will be back anytime soon.

Instead, Postecoglou has informed Celtic fans that he’s awaiting advice on how to move forward. But regardless, both men have a big rehab period ahead.

As quoted by the Scottish Sun, Postecoglou said: “We’ve had some early diagnosis, but they have both had fairly significant injuries and will be out for a period of time.

"Not many Midtjylland fans would've hoped for Celtic" | Danish journalist Jakob Nørgaard

“We don’t want to put a time frame on it but it won’t be less than a month. How much longer? We are waiting for advice. It’s disappointing for both of them. I was looking forward to working with them as they are exciting wingers, the kind of players I love having in the team.

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“Unfortunately, that game at Bristol has really cost us, through no one’s fault. One was a bad tackle, and the other an innocuous event. It’s a blow and they have some fairly significant rehab ahead of them. They have youth and time on their side so hopefully they will work hard and get back.”

Celtic boss needs to come up with a plan to fill Johnston and Dembele slots

James Forrest quite clearly couldn’t be back at a better time for the Hoops. Whilst he’s unlikely to play against Midtjylland tonight, it shouldn’t be long before he’s back in Celtic starting XIs once again.

With Dembele out for a month at least, we need Forrest to be ready to take up his usual spot on the right flank.

As for Johnston’s position, Liel Abada should have no issue playing on the left if necessary. He’s comfortable playing anywhere across the final third, so even if he is at his strongest on the right, it could be a case of needs must for now.

Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images

With Abada on the left and Forrest on the right, Celtic will feel they have the cover. So long as both men can get up to speed quickly.

Of course, that doesn’t take away from how massive a blow this is for Johnston and Dembele. Both men have been working extremely hard in pre-season and looked ready to kick on. Whilst these injuries won’t be the end for them, it’s something they could both have done without.

They should take heart from the fact that Postecoglou loves them as players. This gives them a strong chance to burst their way back into things when they’re both fit. But even so, a first-team spot lay there for them to clutch. That it’s been temporarily robbed from them will be extremely disheartening.

In other news: Ange Postecoglou names 3 players he feels will help boost Celtic against Midtjylland