Celtic finally got some of the good news it’s been waiting for on the injury front today, as Neil Lennon announced that some of our crocked stars are on their way back to the team. It is a welcome boost, and especially as we go into the business end of the campaign.
Callum looks like he’s the furthest down in the line in terms of his readiness to return.
Ntcham has trained properly, and so has Benkovic, but neither is going to be ready for the weekend and perhaps even not for the visit of the Ibrox NewCo in a fortnight.
In short, Neil knows it’s important to have these guys back but equally it’s vital not to rush any of them and thus risk their rehabilitation. I have no worries on that score, not as far as Lennon is concerned, but Celtic ought to be monitoring the situation when McGregor meets up with the Scottish national team.
He needs to be carefully put through the paces in those games, not thrown in there as if he’d not missed a match in months.
If McLeish and his people don’t respect Celtic’s position on this, then on their own heads be it.
I don’t believe that our board will take kindly to it.
This entire season has been a nightmare in terms of injuries.
Neil inherited a squad where a grand total of eleven players – most of them first team footballers – were on the treatment table, many of them with long term ailments. Indeed, neither Ntcham nor Tom Rogic has featured for our team since the turn of the year, which is quite incredible.
We shouldn’t take any chances with any of these guys. As good as it would be to see Callum in the team at the weekend, I’d rather he got a half hour and no more. As good as it would be to unleash the full range of firepower at Gerrard’s pitiful band, some of our players will clearly not be ready for that game no matter how much time in training they have.
Rogic and Ntcham, we’re probably not going to see back at their best until next season, although they’ll undoubtedly make a contribution before this one is done. But that’s alright, the team is strong and we’ll get by with what we’ve got right now.
As I said in an earlier piece though, whatever we were doing in training which made the injury count this high in the first place ought to have ended the minute Brendan and his team left the club. They brought us unprecedented domestic success, but I’ve never known injury crises like these in all my years watching football.
Something was clearly wrong there.
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