So the news that Jozo Simunovic will be back in the team for the weekend is welcome. The news that Compper is back in training is equally good. But he’s a long way from the first team and we’re a long way from being ready for Zenit a week tomorrow.
The defence for that one is likely to include our new Bhoy Jack Hendry; that’s fine.
The kid needs to be blooded on the European stage sometime, and better now than in Champions League qualifiers in the next campaign. Let’s see what he’s got. Let’s see him get that experience. He will partner Jozo provided he doesn’t wind up injured at Firhill.
Left back will be Kieran
. Right back is where we’re going to have problems.
Ralston is said to be back in training, but like Compper he’s still ways from match-fitness. Lustig we won’t see for weeks. We don’t yet know the situation with Ajer and Boyata; both are set to undergo tests and that will tell us where we are with those two, but neither will be fit for Europe.
That’s what it is. Those who think we didn’t do enough in the window to prepare for this game, I can see where they are coming from to a certain degree, but I disagree with the fundamental point. We signed two centre backs. We lost no-one.
And yes, one of the centre backs cannot play in Europe, but he was bought for the next campaign, not this one.
We have to plan for more than just one tie.
The news that Stuart Armstrong is back in training is a positive for the midfield area, but this too doesn’t mean that he’ll be fit for the Zenit games. I think he will be rusty at best, and it’s not clear if we can afford to play someone, especially in that first leg, who isn’t 100%.
In spite of a lot of doom and gloom mongering, I think we could do this. They are coming off a long break without competitive football, and this might be the right time to catch them. The first game being at home helps us; if we are convincing we can travel to Russia knowing exactly what has to be done. It definitely won’t be easy, but it’s not impossible either.
The easing of our injury woes will, ultimately, prove to be more useful and beneficial over the course of the domestic campaign. There is light at the end of the tunnel, at last.
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