Celtic’s first team stars should all be back in training on Thursday as the team gears up for their next match.
It’s the best part of two weeks since our glorious derby success sent us all into the international break on the highest of highs. That good feeling still exists but it’s now all about what comes next as Dundee lie in wait in the Premiership on Saturday.
While the two-week club lay-off has been a frustrating one for fans, it has served a purpose for a number of our players. We’re now expecting big things from them from this weekend onwards.
Alistair Johnston is an obvious beneficiary of the time on the training ground. The full-back only made his first appearance of the season in the 0-0 home draw with St. Johnstone. He played 60 minutes of that match and 65 at Ibrox the following week.
With no Canada matches to concern him during this break, he will have been able to build up his fitness just in time for the Champions League starting.
We’re hoping that he’ll now be ready to kick on again and remind us what an exceptional signing he has been.
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Nat Phillips is another who is in a better condition than he was a fortnight ago. Phillips has declared himself fit for this weekend after getting two weeks of training under his belt.
The Liverpool loanee was not able to play in the recent derby but he says that was just a case of the game coming a bit too soon. With Cameron Carter-Vickers out for the next few weeks at least, we could do with him making a strong start at the heart of our defence.
It will be interesting to see if he starts against Dundee.
Finally, Paulo Bernardo is someone who finds himself in a better place to make an impact for Celtic than he did when his loan move from Benfica was confirmed.
Brendan Rodgers spoke in the aftermath of the derby about the midfielder, saying: “He’ll go away with the Portugal under-21s and hopefully get some game time and then come back and we’ll assess it from there.”
Bernardo was an ever-present for his country over the break as they battered Andorra and Belarus in qualification matches. The fact that he appears to have come through the games with no issues is good news.
He is another who we can expect to play some part in Saturday’s match.