Celtic v St Johnstone – Injury concerns subside, fan media missing the action

Ange Postecoglou delivered some encouraging injury news at yesterday’s Mainstream Media Conference by stating that both Josip Juranovic and James McCarthy will be fit enough to be included in the squad against St Johnstone this Saturday afternoon, which has a 3pm kick off time.

Last season The Cynic were invited to attend a number of Media Conferences with the then first team manager Neil Lennon but despite a commitment from the club over the summer to expand fan media access this season this has been limited to asking one question each to some of the new signings and press access for the Celtic FC Women and Celtic B team media conferences.

At the lost two Celtic FC Women conferences events with Fran Alonso and two of his players, only The Celtic Star turned up for the first and we were joined by Cynic Women for last week’s events. Given the attitude that the mainstream media have towards Ange Postecoglou – in total contrast to the support’s view of the manager – then it’s hard to understand what Celtic’s concerns are on this matter.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – OCTOBER 19: Fans of Celtic FC wait for the team to arrive prior to the UEFA Europa League group G match between Celtic FC and Ferencvarosi TC at Celtic Park on October 19, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Anyway back to St Johnstone today. With the match being played at Celtic Park, Ange Postecoglou will be eager to take maximum points. Hearts and Dundee United, who are currently above us in the league, are also participating in home matches at the same time so it will be important to keep our good run of form going. theRangers are the only team in the top 4 with an away match this weekend, travelling to St Mirren on Sunday.

Juranovic has been missing for around three weeks now getting injured just before the International break. It remains to be seen whether Juranovic will be utilised as our number one right back going forward as Anthony Ralston has played commendably in his absence.

Josip Juranovic of Celtic celebrates a goal during the Europa League, Group G, football match played between Real Betis and Celtic FC at Benito Villamarin stadium on September 16, 2021, in Sevilla,. Photo Joaquin Corchero

Personally I’m torn on this issue as I think Ralston has probably been our best defender recently. He has genuinely came on leaps and bounds under Ange Postecoglou and has worked extremely hard to cement his position at right back, even winning the support of some of the fans who have been very harsh on him previously.

On the other hand Juranovic has serious pedigree, being the first choice right back in the Croatian national team which is no easy achievement. So far we haven’t got to see much of him and when we have he has been employed as a makeshift left back due to injuries which you can see hasn’t suited him. I think we would all like to see more of him but as I said it would be extremely harsh on Ralston.

James McCarthy on the other hand returns to the squad but it is hard to see him being in the reckoning to start the match having been used sparingly before his injury troubles flared up once more. It is of course a bonus to have him back on the bench and he may definitely come into consideration as a substitute if we are defending a lead late in the game, although Bitton and Soro may be slightly ahead of him in the current pecking order.

 James McCarthy left in action during the match at the Tony Macaroni Arena, Livingston. Photo Andrew Milligan

Ange was also able to clear up a few other queries regarding injuries to James Forrest and Christopher Jullien. In regards to winger Forrest she had some good news that he will be returning to full first team training this Monday which will be a great boost as Abada at the moment looks like he could do with a bit of a rest.

Jullien on the other hand isn’t quite ready to return to full training yet but hopefully it won’t be long before the Frenchman can get back to full fitness after a serious injury that has kept him out since December last year. It will be great to see him back playing in the hoops as he was an integral part of the team previously.

You can watch Ange Postecoglou’s latest Mainstream Media conference below…

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Hailing from Cushendall in the North of Ireland my formative years were spent watching Celtic during our barren spell through the 90's which meant I have appreciated our recent trophy-laden spell even more. Favourite matches home and away I've attended has to be beating Man Utd 1-0 at Celtic Park and being with my 2 brothers watching us beat Lazio 2-1 in Rome. Best away day experience? Has to be Munich with friends from Coatbridge...what a few days!

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