Celtic’s injury crisis seems exceptional only to the manager of the club, a man who hasn’t been around for previous injury crisis. But we’ve seen this film before, and it never gets any better. As bad as the current situation is, we’ve actually seen worse.
There was as spell under Brendan Rodgers when we had an injury list in the double figures.
This was players who had featured in the first team.
Under Lennon we were struck by a similar problem. Last week, in the aftermath of losing Kyogo, there was a lot of chatter about simple bad luck, and there was a lot of bad luck in what happened here.
But the manager also said that he thinks it’s a result of the demands being put on the players in training. It’s a good theory, if this was the first such run of injuries we’d actually had. But as we’re well aware, this is becoming typical.
This is becoming normal for us.
It begs the question as to what we might be doing wrong to keep on running into this problem. Ange only thinks it’s down to his demands because he wasn’t here for previous similar situations.
We, who have been, remember them clearly.
The question I asked Ange at his fan press conference was on sports science and analytics.
It was a major concern that our footballers just didn’t seem fit last season.
He has fixed that, and you can see that clearly, so something is being doing better … but the number of injuries continues to be difficult to credit. Working harder might have caused that, but it shouldn’t have resulted in us losing two strikers in a single game and Forrest so soon after his return.
Kieran Devlin from The Athletic has suggested that former players have expressed their frustration at Celtic’s sports science and medical advances. Apparently it’s been a bone of contention inside the club for a long time.
Ange must have heard these whispers, and he will know as well as anyone if there are problems there which need to be fixed.
We can’t keep doing this though, we can’t keep suffering this many problems with players who aren’t fit.
If it costs us a few million quid to upgrade our sports science department, even if it means the sacrificing of some transfer funds, I think it would be worth it just to cut down on the number of players we keep losing to knocks and muscle strains and hamstring injuries.
These things can cost you titles and trophies.
It’s a problem, then, that is well worth fixing. It’s something which we’ll see the benefits of for years to come. It is not something that can afford to wait much longer either. Whatever it takes, Celtic should do.