Celtic have had an extremely topsy-turvy beginning to the new season with Ange Postecoglou overseeing the Hoops’ worst start to a campaign in 23 years.
The Bhoys have played some mesmerising attacking football in that time frame but the problem is that Celtic are still a liability at the back.
What hasn’t helped matters in the last few weeks is a number of injury blows rocking the Lennoxtown camp.
Greg Taylor will miss the next 12 matches after undergoing shoulder surgery while we might not see Callum McGregor return to the squad until the match with Bayer Leverkusen has been and gone.
He missed the game against Betis because of a minor knock but that has now turned into something more substantial.
The skipper was absent from Celtic’s defeat to Livingston and won’t be fit enough to face Raith Rovers on Thursday evening in a big blow to their chances.
Who plays in his continued absence is a topic of hot debate after James McCarthy’s performance against Livi.
He was ridiculed by supporters after failing to set the world alight. He was too slow to transition play and surrendered possession on 15 occasions. It’s also been reported that he’s struggling with the intensity of Postecoglou’s methods.
It feels likely that the manager will revert back to Ismaila Soro versus Raith but he hardly set the world alight in his last start against Betis, nearly being sent off.
Consequently, it might be worth Celtic unleashing Liam Shaw.
The 20-year-old hasn’t made a big impression on the Hoops coaching staff since arriving from Sheffield Wednesday in the summer but a League Cup tie against Championship opposition feels like the perfect time to hand him a debut.
He earned plenty of experience last season in the second-tier of English football where he was described as “sensational” for his displays by The Mirror’s James Whaling.
Shaw is defensive by nature but unlike McCarthy, he has long levers that enable him to gallop from one end of the pitch to the other.
One of the Irishman’s key criticisms was his failure to really drive Celtic forward when they needed it against Livi.
Their young summer signing, therefore, could inject something that Postecoglou’s midfield is lacking.
For instance, against Rotherham earlier year, he completed three key passes and four dribbles as Wednesday lost 2-1.
That type of dynamism is exactly what Celtic lost when McCarthy was selected in the middle of the park.
If Shaw can conjure up a similar type of performance, he should weave his way into Parkhead hearts swiftly.