Stephen Welsh has to be ready for Celtic opportunities this season after recent blows

By David Walton

October 13, 2020

After yet another blow for Celtic yesterday with Hatem Elhamed’s positive test, it’s time for Stephen Welsh to start getting himself prepped.

Not necessarily for this Saturday’s Glasgow derby of course. Even if Neil Lennon does go with a back three, which feels unlikely, he would still be on the bench with Shane Duffy, Kris Ajer, and Christopher Jullien ahead of him respectively.

But with Nir Bitton, Elhamed, and Odsonne Edouard all suffering from positive tests, whilst Ryan Christie has had to self-isolate due to the “close contact” rule, it’s clear we’re in for a long season. There are going to be plenty of blows similar to this in the coming weeks and months.

Celtic star Hatem Abd Elhamed has Covid / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

And that’s why Welsh needs to be ready. With Celtic so often utilising a back three this season, it looks almost certain that injuries and Covid cases will open things up for him at various stages throughout the campaign.

Postecoglou hints at big week of Celtic announcements

Lennon could of course switch to a back four with a central defensive partnership, but that’s clearly not how he wants to play against Scottish Premiership opposition.

Therefore, with the global health pandemic set to plague the campaign with absences, Welsh has to be prepared for some first-team chances. It only takes one more injury and he would have to be utilised in order to stick with a back three. Either that or you play someone out of position.

Celtic made the right choice on Welsh

And this ironically all comes after it looked like he should’ve moved on loan during the summer. With opportunities in the team initially looking minimal, it appeared that getting Welsh some senior minutes elsewhere was the obvious decision.

Celtic decided to hold onto the youngster however, and it’s starting to look like a shrewd decision.

Yes, Bitton and Elhamed will return in around a week to two weeks’ time. But the virus has shown just how easily a squad can be decimated. It shows just how easily the likes of Welsh could be thrust into things if necessary.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon / (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

And you have to say it would be a treat to see him at some stage this season. Remember, he starred in his debut during a 4-1 win at Hamilton Accies last season. So much so that Neil Lennon labeled his performance as “excellent” (Celtic). Unfortunately, he wouldn’t be seen again in the team before the virus ended the season back in March.

Of course, there’s a time and a place that would be ideal to ease him in. Games against bottom six clubs always look ideal for giving a youngster or two their big chance. But the fact is that the virus may not give us that luxury this season.

Welsh could find himself in any match out of nowhere this season if the virus and injuries dictate.

In any case, it looks like Celtic may a fine decision in keeping him at the club last week.

In other news, the Celtic supporters have been lauding a treble-treble winner after his complimentary comments about the club.