Tonight, some sterling news on the injury front.
Earlier today, the youth team took on Hibs and secured a credible 2-2 draw. I say credible because they managed what their first team compatriots couldn’t manage yesterday; they fought back from 2-0 down to get a point.
They deserve enormous credit for that, but the game might have passed almost un-noticed but for one of the players who featured in the match; it was none other than Nir Bitton, who has been out for almost a year, and was a dreadful loss to us at the time of his injury.
I said at the time that I understood exactly why Brendan valued Nir so much.
He was our version of Javier Mascherano, who Barcelona signed as a midfielder and in whom Guardiola saw a very different player; a defender who could use the ball to create attacks. It was a revolutionary idea, copied by several clubs since.
Our former player Victor Wanyama has frequently played that role.
The manager really rates Bitton. He gave him a new contract which doesn’t expire until 2020. It’s clear that he still has a role at our club, and I expect we’ll see a lot of him in the coming months. I am delighted he is back in training and playing once more.
Equally good is the news about Ryan Christie; I think we all feared the worst when we saw those stretchers come on in midweek. I assumed it would be months before we saw him again. In fact, he might be back before the turn of the year.
Honestly, I sometimes think we have the worst luck in the football world when it comes to players being injured. Kieran and Rogic missed the weekend; we might see those guys back soon as well, but neither will be rushed so as not to make things worse.
We have been through the wars this season and last; at one point in the last campaign we had a total of 14 players out through injury. That’s an entire starting eleven plus subs. Look at the players who’ve been out with medium term ailments this year … it’s as if someone has cursed Lennoxtown.
But the end is in sight. We’re coming out of it now, at just the right time.
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