Celtic’s squad players have been backed to take their opportunity in the first team after a string of injuries to key players created an opening for upcoming matches.
Top goal scorer Kyogo Furuhashi was the latest Parkhead star to suffer an injury when he had to be taken off during Thursday night’s win over Real Betis.
It means the Hoops will be without a recognised striker against Motherwell in their return to Premiership action on Sunday with star winger Jota also among the absentees.
However fringe players including Ewan Henderson and Osaze Urhoghide impressed against the Spanish side and manager Ange Postecoglou has backed whoever comes in for the game against Motherwell on Sunday to do themselves justice.
The Australian said: “It really just comes down to them continuing to do what they have been doing.
“They haven’t had a lot of opportunities, but they have been working hard every day waiting for their chance and that (Real Betis) was their chance.
“Definitely, they have done their efforts no harm in terms of getting another opportunity. And that’s what we expect.
“Thursday was that platform for them against a very good team, on the European stage, and I thought they handled it really well considering they hadn’t had the ideal preparation for a game like that.”
A hush befell Celtic Park when Kyogo went off holding his hamstring, but 21-year-old midfielder Henderson immediately raised the home fans’ spirits by netting his first goal for the club with his first touch of the season as the Hoops sealed a 3-2 win in their final Europa League game.
Postecoglou said: “It’s the same with all these guys, sometimes you wonder whether they really understand or listen when I’m on my daily preaching session.
“But I keep telling them, just work hard, you never know when your opportunity is going to come and, when it comes, you don’t want to miss it because you haven’t been playing or you’re not ready.
“That’s why we push them hard every day in training, to understand their roles, understand our football. Hendo knew where he was supposed to be when the ball flashed across and he got his reward.”
Postecoglou was also without Jota, James Forrest and Anthony Ralston on Thursday, with the Portuguese winger definitely missing in the coming weeks.
But he will get some fresh players back for the visit of Motherwell.
He continued: “We left out a few (on Thursday night) which will help us, so that will be good to get them back involved,”.
“It’s a good test for us because Motherwell have been in good form, but there’s no doubt we are also in very good form and here at home we want to make sure we continue the momentum we have gained in the league, and play our football, and put pressure on an opponent who obviously will try and stop us.”
Albien Ajeti also taken off during Thursday’s Europa League game and new signing Giakoumakis remains on the side-lines with a calf injury meaning Celtic will be without a recognised centre forward against the Steel Men.
Wingers James Forrest and Mikey Johnstone have both played the role in the past and it is expected that one of them will fill in again at Celtic Park on Sunday.
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