Celtic have just gotten exactly what they wanted from the international break
For Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou, the international break couldn’t really have gone any better.
With two big games coming up against Motherwell and Ferencvaros, the last thing he would’ve needed is an injury scare. Given the key players he’s missed of late, not least Kyogo Furuhashi and Callum McGregor, any more walking wounded would’ve been a really significant blow.
It’s not to say we automatically win both of our next games. Far from it. However, in the longer-term, this was the ideal timing and consequence for a respite from club action.
With everyone making it through unscathed, there’s still the thorny issue of match sharpness and travel fatigue. However, we’ve seen before that it’s not too big of an issue for the vast majority of Celtic players. Tom Rogic’s exertions aside, we generally have a pretty fit compliment of returning players.
Meanwhile at home, there were chances for some of those injured players to both rest and train. Josip Juranovic isn’t too far from coming back. Christopher Jullien is surely due a return before long. The likes of James Forrest and Mikey Johnston will have benefitted too. Meanwhile, Giorgos Giakoumakis can’t be too long from featuring in a sustained way.
Ange Postecoglou and Celtic got exactly what they wanted from international break
Add to the mix a fitter Callum McGregor, and there’s a very decent looking squad ready for Motherwell and Ferencvaros. More than that, it’s given the manager and players some time to consider tactics, roles and form.
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The Aberdeen result was perfect in a number of respects. It showed Celtic could win ugly. And, that we’re capable of winning on the road. Postecoglou’s in-game management is improving at the club.
More than that, though, it provided Celtic supporters with optimism heading into yet another international break. Coming into two World Cup qualifiers on the back of another disappointment would’ve set a very different mood.
For those those who missed out entirely, there’ll surely be immense hunger. The likes of Anthony Ralston, David Turnbull, even former England keeper Joe Hart, will feel they have something to prove.
Postecoglou, meanwhile, has had two weeks to tweak his formula. He’s unlikely to ever change his approach, but he’ll be even better prepared for what’s coming ahead. His newest hire, Anton McElhone, has now had time to get to grips with the squad he’s been tasked to keep fit.
Postecoglou’s two-week opportunity
In terms of transfers and staff hires, the international break has also given time to the manager. With the J-League finishing in December [ESPN], the former Yokohama F Marinos boss can prepare to bid for the league’s top talents.
Alternatively, he can even mine his old team for coaches, physios or whoever he might want to bring to Celtic.
All told, it’s been a fruitful time. Most crucially, Postecoglou isn’t missing any more players. A former international boss himself, he knows what can happen.
Onwards and upwards for Celtic, then!