Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic side head into Wednesday evening’s Scottish Premiership clash on the high of winning the League Cup final on Sunday afternoon, the 56-year-old manager’s first trophy in his tenure as the Bhoys boss.
However, as has so often been the way for Celtic so far this season, the victory did not come without its negatives, with influential attacking midfielder David Turnbull being forced off with a hamstring injury just half an hour into the 2-1 victory over Hibernian.
Another concern for Postecoglou will have undoubtedly been the performance of centre-back Carl Starfelt, with the defender looking extremely shaky in the heart of the Bhoys backline throughout the fixture – losing Paul Hanlon for Hibs’ opener, as well as missing two big chances for his own side.
Indeed, the Daily Record’s Keith Jackson awarded the £2.7m-rated man a four in his player ratings on the night, stating of the 26-year-old’s display: “The big Swede looked like a cat on a hot tin roof throughout. Should have netted two headers but fluffed them both and lost his man at the opener. Never seemed comfortable with the ball at his feet he looked like an accident waiting to happen and could have conceded a penalty right at the death.”
As such, while it is undeniable that the player who Kieran Devlin suggested has been “rattled” since his red card against Ross County has been impressive for Celtic on the whole this season, averaging a SofaScore match rating of 7.24 over his 15 Premiership appearances, should the defender continue the level of his performance against Hibs in the coming weeks, he could end up costing Celtic dearly.
As such, in a bid for Postecoglou to help snap the £17k-per-week defender back into form as quickly as possible, it would be wise for the 56-year-old manager to axe Starfelt against St. Mirren on Wednesday, to prove that the player who John Hartson once dubbed “Sunday League” is not untouchable in the Bhoys’ backline – something which should help get him out of his funk upon his eventual return to the side.