Celtic have been dealt a major injury blow regarding Carl Starfelt ahead of their upcoming Europa League clash.
According to a report by Sky Sports, the centre-back has been ruled out of both Thursday evening’s trip to Ferencvaros TC and Sunday’s visit to Dundee due to a hamstring injury picked up in the 0-0 draw with Livingston last weekend.
Speaking about the 26-year-old’s injury, Ange Postecoglou said: “We lost Carl Starfelt in the last game and similar sort of timeline to Tommy [Rogic] I suppose, we are hoping he will be back after the international break, but he will definitely miss these two games.
“It is always a blow when you lose players to injury. To be fair to Carl, he has played every game since he got here and it’s not surprising that he has something like this happen.
“We would have loved to have rotated him earlier, but we tried to build some cohesion, consistency in the back four and we didn’t want to chop and change too much because we had to at the start of the season.”
Considering just how impressive Starfelt has been since his £4.5m move to Parkhead this summer, in addition to the fact that Celtic simply must defeat Ferencvaros if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Europa League, the confirmation that the centre-back will not be available for selection on Thursday is sure to have left Postecoglou gutted.
Indeed, over his 11 Scottish Premiership appearances this season, the £2.7m-rated defender has helped his side keep five clean sheets and has chipped in with one goal, as well as making an average of 1.5 interceptions, 1.1 tackles, 3.7 clearances and winning 6.3 duels per game.
These returns have seen the Sweden international average a SofaScore match rating of 7.23, ranking him as the Hoops’ fourth-best performer in the top flight of Scottish football of players still in Postecoglou’s first-team squad.
Furthermore, the centre-back has also been in impressive form over his three Europa League appearances for the Bhoys, helping his side keep one clean sheet, in addition to making an average of 1.3 interceptions, one tackle, 1.7 clearances and winning 3.7 duels per fixture – with these returns seeing the 26-year-old average a SofaScore match rating of 6.90.
As such, the fact that Celtic will be without Starfelt on Thursday evening will undoubtedly dent the Hoops’ chances of leaving Hungary with all three points in a fixture that could well prove to be season-defining for Postecoglou and his side.