Celtic will gear up for their next European encounter on Thursday evening a little frightened and short of confidence.
The Hoops have been poor in recent weeks with new manager, Ange Postecoglou, struggling to come up with an answer to their lengthy injury list.
They’ve tasted defeat to Livingston and Real Betis while a dismal 1-1 draw with Dundee United took place last Sunday.
Postecoglou’s side now face Bayer Leverkusen this evening and they will have to show a similar sort of attacking performance as they did in Seville two weeks ago to stand any chance of winning.
Their defence, however, will need to be much improved after conceding four in that opening tie.
Sadly, it’s unlikely that Celtic will be able to welcome back any of the injured players.
Kyogo Furuhashi remains out but the biggest frustration falls at the feet of Callum McGregor. Per the Glasgow Times, it’s almost certain that the skipper will miss the game today.
The Scot picked up a knock a few weeks ago and despite optimism that he’d return soon, he is still an injury doubt.
Speaking last week, Postecoglou was quietly hopeful that he might be fit for the clash with Leverkusen but he will now have to call on different options instead.
With Celtic stuck in a rut, being able to use McGregor would have been a huge boost. He is the main leader in the team and a player with vast experience, especially on the continental and international stages.
The manager is likely to be gutted by recent developments, especially when he considers how few options he still has in the middle of the park.
James McCarthy has started three matches in a row but his form has been sketchy since being introduced into the team.
He’s not had a full pre-season to work with and it’s clear to see how that’s impacting him. The Irishman is wasteful in possession and he’s providing little going forward either.
Against Livingston, for example, he registered no attacking actions despite the Hoops chasing the game.
McGregor, however, is a player who can do a bit of everything. He has popped up with important goals – namely against Midtjylland earlier this term. Furthermore, his 1.4 tackles per game are more than any other midfielder at Parkhead this season.
He is such a valuable asset that missing him for big European nights is a seismic blow. This setback is certainly far from ideal for Celtic.