Man oh man, that was a slow day yesterday, right? A day when James McCarthy getting a hamstring injury is painting in some circles as a blow to Ange and the team. You know what? I think we’re going to cope with it. I think we’ll hardly notice it at all.
James has not, since signing, provided us with much more than a decent backup option. This saddens me because I thought, when we secured his signature, that he would offer us a hell of a lot more than that. He has been a victim of the strength of the squad, that’s obvious anyway, but actually this time last year he had a good chance of playing.
That was before we secured the signings of Ideguchi, Hatate and O’Riley in January. It was before we added Abildgaard and Mooy. His opportunities are more limited now than they were then, although in addition to McGregor and Turnbull he had Soro, Rogic and Bitton in front of him in the queue. He has never been further down in the pecking order.
What has gone wrong? McCarthy is a good player and no-one will convince me otherwise. He would stroll into any other side in this league. Good but just not good enough? Like Ideguchi, who you could argue is Ange’s one real failure?
Or is that being too harsh on them both? The Japanese midfielder has struggled, but he’s had injuries to contend with. Both players are also finding it difficult to break into a midfield where, in spite of rotation, the manager has such a range of options.
Ideguchi looks set to remain at the club but there have been rumours swirling about McCarthy for weeks now, some suggesting that he may be on the brink of a move away, perhaps initially on loan. Certainly, he is too good to rot on the bench at Celtic Park.
It might well be that this injury has scuppered that move, and if that’s so then he obviously should have the sympathy of the fans. But let’s be honest here, this isn’t a big blow to the manager or the team no matter what some hysterical headlines suggest.
It’s another personal setback for the boy himself, and that makes me sad … but the show goes on, and Celtic is not affected in any significant way.