Celtic will be looking to bounce back to winning ways when they welcome Aberdeen to Parkhead for their Premiership clash over the weekend.
The Hoops saw their nine-game unbeaten run ended by Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday night as they crashed out of the Europa League group stage following a 3-2 defeat in Germany.
However, Ange Postecoglou will have taken plenty of positives from his side’s performance against the Bundesliga outfit. A front three of Jota, Kyogo Furuhashi and James Forrest caused the hosts problems for large periods of the entertaining encounter, while the midfield also held their own and Joe Hart pulled off some magnificent saves.
However, Nir Bitton was forced off the pitch on the 76-minute mark after picking up an injury, which played a part in Leverkusen’s late fightback and potentially rules him out of tomorrow’s crucial clash.
The Israel international has been putting in some improved displays of late after being restored to his more familiar position at the base of the engine room, but the visit of the Dons could be a good chance to give the injury-prone midfielder a break.
In his place, Postecoglou must unleash summer signing James McCarthy. The £14,000-per-week maestro has only featured from the off on three occasions this season after joining from Crystal Palace as a free agent, failing to showcase his true ability on each outing.
A lack of match sharpness and rhythm has heavily contributed to his underwhelming start to life in Scottish football, though, and once the 31-year-old is back up to speed fully, he will surely provide Celtic with a fantastic option in the middle of the park.
Throughout spells at Wigan Athletic, Everton and Palace, McCarthy racked up 272 Premier League appearances, and he could well be crucial in the Bhoys’ bid to reclaim their Premiership crown come next May.