From a defensive point of view, Celtic haven’t had much luck with injuries throughout 2021.
He who must not be named – Shane Duffy – was sent away from his loan spell with the Hoops early due to fitness-related issues while Christopher Jullien won’t return until the final few months of the year.
Greg Taylor has had several problems, particularly over the last few weeks but Anthony Ralston is the latest to hit the treatment table.
Josip Juranovic started Celtic’s game with Ross County at right-back over the Scot who was left out of the entire squad due to injury last Saturday.
It was a huge game for the new signing to stake his claim, something he did efficiently over the international break with three clean sheets in as many games for Croatia.
You sense that Juranovic will become the number one choice in that third of the pitch as the season goes on but a huge statement could be made on Thursday.
That’s because in a huge boost to Celtic, he is set to return from injury.
According to the Scottish Sun, Ralston should be available when the Bhoys begin their Europa League group stage campaign with Real Betis.
Although Juranovic is the most experienced option in a game of this magnitude, particularly with international know-how in his locker, Ralston has shown he’s more than capable already in Europe this term.
He has been ever-present throughout their qualification phase and has become a sudden fan favourite during what’s been a breakthrough season.
Consequently, they will be delighted to see him back in action.
The 22-year-old has been incredibly consistent, rampaging forward and scoring two goals from full-back. His defensive work has also been reliable; the complete opposite of how Jonjoe Kenny performed last term.
Ralston has made more tackles per game (3.5) than any other Celtic player this season while his two dribbles a match are also a team-high. As for chance creation, only Liel Abada in the current squad has achieved more key passes an outing.
Based on that, it will be a welcome sight for fans to see him return. That being said, Ange Postecoglou does now have a selection dilemma between him and Juranovic.