Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou said his team is having to cope with “a ridiculous amount” of games and that’s playing a part in the number of injuries he is having to contend with.
Thursday’s 3-2 win over Real Betis saw the team finish the Europa League campaign with a flourish but the downside for the Celtic boss was seeing Albian Ajeti and Kyogo Furuhashi both substituted with hamstring injuries.
Postecoglou had made eleven changes to his team for the match, which would have no effect on their place in the group, with Celtic already assured they would be moving into the Confernece League after Christmas.
Though he had intended to rest his top players, Ajeti’s injury after 28 minutes meant he introduced Furuhashi from the bench only to see him suffer a similar complaint.
With Jota already ruled out for the next couple of weeks and Giorgos Giakoumakis also sidelined, it gives the manager a headache in attack ahead of the League Cup final and a series of Premiership matches running up to the clash with Rangers before the January break.
Postecoglou believes the fixture schedule is a factor in the number of injuries but also said that the style he sets his side out to play can play a part.
“There’s no doubt about that,” he said. “It’s a ridiculous amount of games that we’re having to play and I guess it’s the way and the manner in which we play our football as well.
“It’s very demanding on the players. We don’t have the squad yet to cope with that and that’s putting stress on us.
“It’s what we’ve to deal with the whole way through. We’ve still got seven games to go, remarkably, between now and the break so we’ve got to make sure that we keep presenting ourselves well.”
The Australian praised the players who started against Betis, with Liam Shaw and Osaze Urhoghide making their debuts and a number of relatively inexperienced players impressing against La Liga opposition. Postecoglou said he may have to count on some of them continuing with that form over a demanding spell.
He said: “Hopefully getting some game time for some guys tonight gives us options in terms of having them game ready and we’ll just have to adjust as best we can.
“It’s not ideal but we’ve dealt with it in the past and we’ll deal with it again. From my perspective, as you saw tonight, irrespective of what team we put out there, there’s a good level of energy, good intent to play our football and we’re just going to keep doing that every game we play.
“Hopefully when the break comes along we get reinforced and ready to become stronger from that.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country