Celtic head into their clash this evening full of confidence under Ange Postecoglou.
The Australian has picked up the rubble from a horrendous 2020/21 campaign, tossed it aside and made the Hoops look infinitely better.
Their attacking play is a joy to behold and in their last two domestic games, the Bhoys have recorded a whopping 72 attempts at goal.
However, as they play AZ Alkmaar in the second leg of their final Europa League qualifying match this week, they will have to do so with a reduced squad.
That’s because Ange Postecoglou has been dealt a gutting blow ahead of the clash.
According to the Scottish Sun, they will be without both James Forrest and James McCarthy who did not board the flight to the Netherlands.
Suspected injuries are reportedly the reason for their absence and although not regular starters in the XI, it will be a mighty concern for Postecoglou.
Forrest has been a major player for Celtic for a number of years now and has already shown what he can do throughout the club’s Europa League campaign.
He scored two important strikes against Jablonec in the early stages of their qualification campaign while the Scot also assisted a goal against the Czech opposition.
McCarthy is yet to start a match under Postecoglou but his experience may have been invaluable off the bench in seeing out a game of this magnitude.
Having an entirely fit squad is even more important at the moment because of the Old Firm derby this weekend.
If Celtic see out the clash with AZ Alkmaar this evening then it may have given the manager an opportunity to rest players late on with a view to them earning some rest before the Rangers match.
McCarthy’s absence is not such a big blow in this case but Forrest is a big game player and could have made a huge impact in both of Celtic’s upcoming matches.
Although the cause of their injuries or the time they’ll spend on the sidelines hasn’t been disclosed, the new head coach will have every right to be gutted.