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Celtic could find Juranovic replacement in Ben McPherson

Celtic‘s latest Old Firm derby stalemate saw World Cup star Josip Juranovic endure a grim return to club action, with the Croatia international having produced an unusually shaky display after entering the fray early in the first half.

The 27-year-old had been called into action following an injury to usual left-back Greg Taylor inside the opening 20 minutes, although the former Legia Warsaw man looked distinctly uncomfortable in that role, having “nearly cost” his side at Ibrox, as per The Athletic’s Owen Brown.

The attacking right-back – who did feature on the left of the defence on 13 occasions last term – was no doubt culpable for Ryan Kent’s equaliser after being caught out of position in the build-up to the goal, having also been far too easily outmuscled by the lively Fashion Sakala.

The latter man had given Juranovic something of a “torching” – in the words of journalist Jonny McFarlane – as the Hoops defender was simply unable to deal with the winger’s sheer pace and directness down the flanks.

Such were his woes, former Bhoys striker Scott McDonald noted that it looked as if the £16k-per-week man was “still in Qatar“, while another former Paradise hero – Chris Sutton – stated that the 27-cap dud had been “awful” and “terrible” on the day.

Following what was “possibly one of his worst performances for Celtic” – according to Glasgow Live’s Matthew Fulton – it looks as if Juranovic could well be leaving on something of a sour note, amid rampant reports that some of Europe’s top clubs are chasing his signature.

On the basis of that latest outing, Postecoglou should have no qualms about ditching the highly-coveted asset this month, particularly with the title-winning coach already having a potential replacement within his ranks.

The former Yokohama F. Marinos boss could well turn to promising full-back Ben McPherson if the Glasgow side are to allow Juranovic to depart in the near future, with the 18-year-old currently shining in the youth ranks.

The promising Scotsman has scored once and registered one assist in 18 appearances in all competitions so far this term, having solidified his place at right-back for the club’s ‘B’ team of late.

The teenager was also part of the U19 side that defeated RB Leipzig in the UEFA Youth League earlier this season, with that exciting crop of youngsters having been lauded as “terrific” by youth boss Stephen McManus.

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Such form was recently rewarded with a new contract extension, with the Scotland youth international having committed himself to the club until 2025, showcasing just how highly thought of he is by those at Paradise.

A player who has “worked tremendously hard” – according to McManus – McPherson could well be the next figure to force his way into the first-team reckoning, with the impending exit of Monday’s derby day villain, Juranovic, potentially set to open the door for a chance at senior level.