Just as a wave of positivity was starting to engulf Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic side again, the Hoops suffered a worrying knockback on Thursday night.
The Bhoys still secured their pathway into the next round of Europe but it didn’t come without defensive mistakes and injuries.
Considering Celtic had kept four clean sheets in their last five matches, the performance they put in against AZ Alkmaar this week was extremely out of sorts.
Joe Hart made a howler when he failed to clear a long ball that led to a goal before Carl Starfelt turned the ball into his own net.
Postecoglou’s men were able to hold on but that wasn’t before injuries to Japanese sensation Kyogo Furuhashi and left-back Greg Taylor.
In this instance, it’s probably Taylor’s injury blow that will come as the biggest concern.
Celtic are already light on full-back options and not even the acquisition of defender Liam Scales will sufficiently solve those woes.
Boli Bolingoli hasn’t played a single minute of football under Postecoglou while the young Adam Montgomery is surely too inexperienced to be thrown in at the deep end.
He did catch the eye in the second half in the Netherlands but it would be a risk to trust him on a regular basis.
With Taylor attracting widespread criticism throughout the early stages of the season and during the course of the summer, a left-back was already required.
However, after a fitness blow on Thursday, they simply have to go and sign another full-back in the market.
The man they should pursue is Derby County’s Lee Buchanan. The Hoops were linked with a move for the 20-year-old a few months ago and they must now take the opportunity to pounce on the Championship side’s awful financial situation.
Adept in offensive situations, the £2.2m-rated Buchanan might actually be an upgrade on Taylor. He’s very highly rated by Rams boss Wayne Rooney who has tipped him to play for England and described him as “incredible.”
The young defender registered three assists in 2020/21 but was phenomenal in the air for a player in his role.
In terms of the overall Celtic squad last season, only Shane Duffy and Christopher Jullien were more efficient when the ball was off the ground.
As a result of that and the club’s lack of cover at left-back, the Bhoys simply have to make an attempt to bring Buchanan to Parkhead.
Montgomery is a talented individual himself but he is not in a position to become a regular just yet.