Celtic have been dealt a major injury blow ahead of their upcoming Europa League fixture.
According to a report by the Daily Record, Celtic centre-back Stephen Welsh looks set to miss out on the Bhoys’ trip to Bayer Leverkusen this Thursday after the defender was withdrawn during the Scottish League Cup semi-final against St. Johnstone on Saturday due to injury.
The defender’s knock came in the 76th-minute of the cup clash, with the 21-year-old being on the receiving end of a Shaun Rooney elbow which saw the St Johnstone defender pick up a yellow card – although Sky Sports reported at the time that the 25-year-old was lucky not to be shown a red.
Considering just how dangerous Rooney’s elbow quite evidently was, it would not appear to be an exaggeration to suggest that the decision to only award the right-back a yellow card was something of a shocker by referee Nick Walsh.
Indeed, speaking to Premier Sports, the former Celtic centre-forward, John Hartson, said of the incident: “I think his elbow is up. When you watch it back and slow it down; and obviously Stephen Welsh is caught heavy because he has had to come off. But that for me I think in today’s game, with the rules that referees have to adhere to, he is a very lucky boy not to get a red card.”
Derek McInnes then added: “If that is in England it’s a red card once the referee has reviewed that, so he is lucky. Obviously, the boy Welsh has had to come off and I hope it’s nothing serious for him.”
However, despite the former Aberdeen manager’s hopes, it does indeed look to have been a rather serious injury for Welsh, as the defender now appears set to be out of contention for Celtic’s crucial European tie on Thursday evening.
This will undoubtedly come as a major blow to Ange Postecoglou, as the 56-year-old has now been left with just three fit senior options in the position, two of whom – Osaze Urhoghide and Liam Scales – have made a total of three appearances in all competitions for the Bhoys so far this season, something that would appear to considerably dent Celtic’s chances of picking up all three points from the fixture.