Scottish champions Celtic take on St Mirren this afternoon, with the Parkhead outfit looking to maintain their imperious domestic form which has seen them take maximum points from their opening six league games thus far.
Ange Postecoglou’s side already look well placed to clinch a second successive league title, with their most recent Scottish Premiership encounter having seen them thrash Old Firm foes Rangers in what was a brutal display on home soil.
The Glasgow outfit also secured the first point of their Champions League campaign away against Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek, having previously produced an encouraging display despite defeat to holders Real Madrid a week earlier.
One man who has been a bystander to proceedings in recent months, however, is defender Anthony Ralston, with the academy graduate having made just a solitary top-flight appearance off the bench to date, totalling only eight minutes.
The 23-year-old’s only other appearance came in the League Cup triumph over Ross County last month, albeit with the Scotland international having showcased his potentially wasted talent in that 4-1 win as he laid on two assists.
That impactful display ensures that the four-cap gem has the same number of goal involvements as teammate and fellow right-back Josip Juranovic, despite the Croatian gem having been the first-choice pick in the current campaign thus far, with the 27-year-old registering just one goal and one assist from his eight appearances.
The Zagreb-born star has been in “outstanding” form since his £2.5m arrival last summer – in the words of ex-Hoops striker John Hartson – although his attacking output has perhaps been somewhat limited, while he also endured a tough evening in Warsaw on Wednesday night.
That clash against the Ukrainian outfit saw Juranovic struggle to contend with the lively Mykhaylo Mudryk, with the fleet-footed winger notably surging clear of the former Legia Warsaw man to lash home an equaliser on the break.
After what was a gruelling outing, it could well be a chance to hand young Ralston a first start of the season in the upcoming clash with the Buddies, with the much-improved asset having perhaps been deserving of a more prominent role following his form last term.
The £1.8m-rated man enjoyed a remarkable transition from outcast to cult hero following Postecoglou’s appointment, notably netting five goals and laying on nine assists in all competitions last term – with Juranovic providing only five goals and two assists last term for the Scottish giants.
Ralston also created 13 big chances in his 28 league outings in that triumphant campaign, while his more senior teammate – who also featured at left-back – created just four big chances from his 26 top-flight appearances.
Lauded as a “warrior” by his manager last season, the £10.5k-per-week Scotsman really sparkled after being handed a regular run in the side during the 2021/22 campaign, with today’s game potentially providing the chance for a well-earned recall to the starting XI.