Ralston on the move, Rodgers pleased with Ajer and Hendry, Simunovic is a Croat again and Lustig is back

ANTHONY Ralston today joined Dundee United on an emergency loan until the end of this season.

The 19-year-old right back has just recovered from injury and will now get plenty of first team football as the Tannadice club push for promotion from the Championship. The Arabs are sitting in third place in the league, and who have three crucial home games in the next week – Inverness Caley Thistle on Saturday, then games against Queen of the South and Dunfermline Athletic.

Anthony made his Celtic debut back under Ronny Deila in May 2016, when he came on as a substitute away to St Johnstone in a 2-1 defeat, the team’s long unbeaten run started after this match which Celtic were unfortunate to lose. Ralston certainly impressed that evening. He signed a new 4 and a half year contract at Celtic last December.

Ralston has made 10 top-team appearances including going toe to toe with Neymar in the Champions League. He also grabbed a goal in Celtic’s 5-0 win over Kilmarnock in the Betfred Cup in August.

Meanwhile Brendan Rodgers praised Norwegian defender Kristoffer Ajer whose fine performances for the Hoops have earned him a call-up for his national tea.

“I’m delighted for Kristoffer. It’s been a great journey for him so far, and he’s adapting and improving every single day,” Brendan said.

“He played in the right-back position against Rangers and, of course, it’s not his best position but like every position he plays, he gives it his best, but I see him developing into a top-class player. There’s still a lot of work and improvement because centre-half is a new position for him, but he’s got a lot of real attributes.

“He’s 6ft 5, he’s quick, he can pass the ball, he’s getting more dominant in the air, and he’s hungry to learn, so at 19, it’s a great honour for him to be called up, but I expect him over the next few years to really push on and develop.”

The manager also praised Jack Hendry who had an excellent half hour at Ibrox on Beautiful Sunday.

“He’s a player who has great potential and I think he’ll go on and be one of the top centre-halves in Scotland,” Brendan said.

“He came into the game at right-back because I’m comfortable with his speed, he’s got good agility, he’s a very good defender one-v-one, but also importantly in a Celtic team, you need to be able to pass the ball and he can play football.

“And I think he showed personality. He wasn’t timid when he came into the game. He came in with a specific job to do and I thought he did very well.”

Brendan also mentioned the strange situation surrounding Jozo Simunovic’s international career. When Jozo, who is suspended for Sunday after his ‘RED CARD, RED CARD’ at Ibrox, arrived at Celtic he was committed to play for Croatia, then he jumped ship to commit for Bosnia and Herzegovina but decided against meeting up to play for his ‘new’ country this month and Brendan has tried to clarify what exactly is going on.

“We had a chat about it during the week. He’s a Croatian and he had felt that with the coach of Bosnia also being a Croatian legend (Robert Prosineckia), Jozo had felt that he could maybe go and play because he can play for Bosnia, but Croatia is in his heart.

“That was the nature of the conversation. I think he felt that when he was away it just didn’t feel right, and that’s no disrespect to Bosnia. He’s Croatian and that’s what is in his heart.

“And I think he didn’t want to deny a Bosnian player, who would genuinely have wanted to be in the squad, that right to be there, as opposed to him if he was maybe half-hearted.

“It was a brave call to make and it showed great courage to do it. He now has to fight if he wants to play for Croatia, to get into that squad.”

Mikael Lustig returns to the squad for the trip to Fir Park. He’s still Swedish as far as we know!

And finally Belgium have called up Dedryck Boyata!

This was my, my, my Beautiful Sunday

“There is surely no denyin’, wi’oor captain Willie Lyon, we will win the Scottish Cup once again,” a pre-war Celtic chant

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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