Celtic begin the defence of their Scottish League Cup crown away at Ross County on Wednesday evening, with manager Ange Postecoglou providing a positive fitness update ahead of that upcoming clash.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of that trip to Dingwall, as per the Daily Record, the 56-year-old revealed that he should well have the benefit of a fully fit squad to choose from.
The title-winning coach stated: “Everyone pulled fine from the weekend. Joe had quite a few stitches in his head but everyone else pulled up really well. We’ve got a fully fit squad. We’ll make some changes but it’s about trying to put out a team that will reach the level of performances we need to win a difficult game and it’s a quick turnaround for Saturday.”
That could indicate that January arrival Yosuke Ideguchi could well be available again having been sidelined in the early weeks of the new season, while striker Giorgos Giakoumakis appears in line for a return after having been absent from the 9-0 thrashing of Dundee United on Sunday due to illness.
As Postecoglou alluded to, that fact should allow the former Yokohama boss the chance to shuffle his pack for the meeting with Malky Mackay’s side, with it set to prove a valuable chance to hand some much-needed minutes to his fringe players.
With a deep squad to choose from – and one that could well get deeper with more incomings potentially on the way – the Hoops boss will no doubt need to rotate when he can, in order to keep those on the periphery happy.
The upcoming encounter should also provide the one-time Australia boss with the chance to look more closely at his new additions, with the likes of Aaron Mooy, Benjamin Siegrist and Alexandro Bernabei having all been used sparingly, or not at all, thus far this term.
Having a deep and competitive squad will no doubt be a bonus moving forward, with games set to come thick and fast as the start of the club’s Champions League voyage begins early next month.
Despite having no doubt been delighted by the performance of his side in the brutal dismantling of the Tangerines at the weekend, Postecoglou won’t be able to solely rely on the same leading figures throughout the campaign, hence the need to hand others a chance to shine.
Having a fully fit squad also bodes well for this weekend’s clash with Old Firm rivals Rangers, with the Celtic manager no doubt having one eye firmly on that crucial tussle.
It will then be a big boost to be able to rest some of his key men ahead of that meeting at Parkhead on Sunday – with the absence of injuries making that a possibility – while it should also enhance their hopes of progressing in a competition in which they triumphed last season.