Celtic captain Callum McGregor left the field of play in Saturday’s Scottish Cup fourth round win against Alloa Athletic, and it’s fair to say the facial injury he sustained did not look good, even at first glance. Indeed, post-match Ange Postecoglou called the injury ‘significant’.
It is now being reported that Celtic could be looking at a spell of four to six weeks without McGregor, and with huge domestic games against Hearts, Dundee United and theRangers coming up as well as our Europa Conference play-off with Bodo Glimt also on the horizon, it would be a huge blow to lose our captain and arguably most consistent and influential player to boot.
Scottish Daily Mail are reporting McGregor has suffered a fractured cheekbone and that he will have to have surgery this week.
Major injury blow.. Celtic could be without captain Callum McGregor after suffering a broken cheekbone at tonight’s game vs Alloa. McGregor is set to miss next months derby clash with Rangers. pic.twitter.com/yNoFvPxeha
— All Stuff Celtic (@allstuffceltic) January 22, 2022
Celtic have of course signed Yosuke Ideguchi who can deputise in the captain’s No 6 position, and despite the player being subjected to a dreadful challenge that also resulted in the new signing having to be substituted on Saturday night, the prognosis on the Japanese player has been reported as being far less significant than Callum McGregor’s.
— Football Scotland (@Football_Scot) January 22, 2022
The return of Nir Bitton to action could also therefore be positive when it comes to covering the captain’s absence. However, the influence of Callum McGregor was immediately evident on Saturday night, as Celtic struggled to keep up the tempo in midfield after McGregor left the field, and somewhat lost their dominance in the centre of the park. Having led 2-0 and being comfortable Celtic lost their shape and rhythm before eventually seeing the game out to win 2-1.
How much of that was down to the dreadful officiating by Don Robertson and how much was down to the loss of the captain is possibly up for debate. However, to lose Callum McGregor for four to six weeks, particularly at this stage of the season would be a tough one for Ange Postecoglou’s side to absorb.
There is a counter argument of course, the one that says Callum McGregor has been playing way too much football for near on five seasons for club and country, often quoted as the player who has played the most minutes in any given season. We’re pretty much certain that if the last five seasons minutes played were added together than the current Celtic captain would be the leader, that in itself is a reason why a month to six weeks rest for his body and his mind might be a blessing in disguise in the long run.