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Celtic: Parkhead outfit receive Stephen Welsh fitness boost

Celtic have been handed a boost ahead of Sunday’s Premiership clash against Hearts, following positive news regarding the fitness of defender Stephen Welsh.

What’s the word?

As per Football Scotland, the 22-year-old is now ‘back in full training’ ahead of this weekend’s encounter, having been absent from the Parkhead outfit’s last two games due to illness.

Having been ruled out of the win over Ross County, the Scotland under-21 international had been expected to be available for the trip to Kilmarnock last Sunday, although he was ultimately left out of the squad entirely for that 5-0 victory.

The report suggests that the centre-back had not recovered fully from a viral infection, hence his absence at the weekend, although the expectation will be that he should be available for selection to face Robbie Neilson’s side in a few days’ time.

Postecoglou will surely love it

That news will no doubt be well received by Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou, with the title-winning coach likely to want as many options as possible for the visit of the Edinburgh outfit, particularly amid recent injury woes concerning his defensive unit.

The thumping triumph at Rugby Park on Sunday saw summer arrival Moritz Jenz limp off early in the second half, having earlier netted an acrobatic overhead kick for his second goal of the season already.

While the Hoops boss has since revealed that the issue was nothing serious, it remains unclear as to whether the 23-year-old will be in line to start this weekend, hence the further need for Welsh to make his return.

Should Welsh start this weekend?

Not for me!

Not for me!

Yes!

Yes!

Equally, Jenz’s replacement against Derek McInnes’ side, Carl Starfelt – who netted his first goal for the Old Firm outfit off the bench – has himself only just returned from a spell on the sidelines, with potential doubts over his ability to feature from the start this weekend.

Not only would Welsh’s return provide quality cover, the academy graduate could also be a genuine option to partner Cameron Carter-Vickers in the backline, having notably netted in the opening weekend win over Aberdeen.

Following a breakthrough 2021/22 campaign in which the £1.35m-rated ace made 24 appearances in all competitions for the Scottish champions, Postecoglou revealed in pre-season that the 6 foot 2 brute has “gone up a level” since then, with the hope being that he can kick on again in the new campaign.

With four impressive centre-backs to choose from, the 56-year-old no doubt has a real selection headache on his hands, although he will no doubt love the intense competition provided by Welsh’s return to fitness.

Article title: Celtic: Parkhead outfit receive Stephen Welsh fitness boost

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