Celtic have been handed a huge injury boost ahead of their Viaplay Cup semi-final against Kilmarnock this afternoon.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference (via BBC Sport), Ange Postecoglou revealed that, having missed the Hoops’ last three fixtures with an unspecified injury, Sead Haksabanovic has now returned to training ahead of the semi-final on Saturday afternoon, with the 23-year-old appearing to be available for the Hampden Park showdown.
The Celtic manager went on to reveal that Anthony Ralston, James McCarthy and Stephen Welsh have also returned to training ahead of the match, but after picking up a knock in the 2-2 draw against Rangers at the start of the month, Greg Taylor is once again ruled out against Killie.
Considering just how impressive Haksabanovic had started to look for Celtic prior to the World Cup break, the news that the winger finally appears to be available for selection once again is undoubtedly a huge boost for Postecoglou and his side.
Indeed, over his 11 games in the Premiership so far this season – only five of which have come as starts – the £1.75m summer signing has highly impressed going forwards, scoring three goals, registering one assist and creating four big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 1.2 shots, making 1.4 key passes and completing 0.4 dribbles per game.
These returns have seen the £5m-rated forward average a simply sensational Sofascore match rating of 7.17, ranking him not only as Postecoglou’s sixth-best performer in the league but also as the 11th-best player in the entire Premiership.
Furthermore, after a haul of three goals – including a brace in a 4-2 win over Dundee United and the winner in a 2-1 victory over Ross County – in November, the Montenegro international was named the Premiership Player of the Month – demonstrating just how effective the 23-year-old can be when fully fit and firing for the Bhoys.
As such, Haksabanovic’s return ahead of today’s semi-final is most certainly fantastic news for Postecoglou, as the forward’s availability undoubtedly provides the Celtic coach with another hugely impressive attacking option as the Hoops aim to reach the final of the Viaplay Cup.