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.
The manager rates him as a possible for the weekend, which says it all. It’s the biggest lift we could have had.
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.
You can discuss this and and all the other stories by signing up at the Celtic Noise forum at the above link. This site is one of the three that has pushed for the forum and we urge all this blog’s readers to join it. Show your support for real change in Scottish football, by adding your voice to the debate.