Celtic have been handed a major boost regarding the fitness of James McCarthy.
In recent comments cited by The Scotsman, Ange Postecoglou revealed that the central midfielder’s absence from Celtic’s last three fixtures was due to the 30-year-old suffering a minor injury setback, although, the Bhoys boss continued to state his hope that the Republic of Ireland international would be available for the visit of St Johnstone this weekend.
Speaking about the current condition of McCarthy, the 56-year-old said: “James had a good 10-day block during the international break so this is just a minor setback for him, nothing significant. We’re just erring on the side of caution.
“He trained [on Monday], but on his own. We didn’t want to rush him back so we’ll see how it goes by the end of the week. It’s just a small muscular problem, so we’re hoping he’ll be available [for St Johnstone].”
While McCarthy has struggled for game time somewhat since his move to Parkhead this summer, largely as a result of the former Crystal Palace midfielder having not enjoyed a full pre-season, his potential return to the Celtic squad will undoubtedly come as a boost for Postecoglou nonetheless, as well as being news that will have fans of the club buzzing.
Indeed, the £2.7m-rated midfielder, who has the experience of 272 Premier League appearances and 42 international caps behind him, will certainly provide the Hoops manager with an excellent option in the middle of the park when he is back up to speed, and could well be crucial in the Bhoys’ push to reclaim their Scottish Premiership crown this season.
And, with it looking as if the man who Roy Hodgson dubbed a “class player” will be available for Celtic’s fixture against St Johnstone this Saturday, McCarthy’s return to Postecoglou’s squad would undoubtedly increase the 56-year-old’s chances of picking up another three points against the Saints.
That’s something that the Greek-Australian manager will certainly be hoping for after three impressive wins on the bounce.