CELTIC go into the St Johnstone match this evening not being able to call on three-quarters of their first choice defence while they actively try to pursue a replacement for their one fit first choice defender Mikael Lustig.
It’s a crazy and unfortunate place to be as the bhoys try to separate themselves from the chasing pack. Some of it is just bad luck, but others will point to poor planning.
Tierney’s injury since December has been a significant blow for the club with Rodgers pulling Callum McGregor back to KTs position for the game at Ibrox where it was nothing short of a disaster. Izzy has to be the straight swap, and that’s why he was brought in. Thankfully Rodgers has not played McGregor out of position again.
Then there is boyata and Benkovic; this is where people will suggest there has been a lack of foresight. If Both players are fit they’re Celtic’s first choice pairing, BUT both will not be here at the end of the season, and the news both are injured leaves Celtic down to the bare bones. Something which would have happened and still will happen in the summer. Rodgers spoke about not needing new centre-backs until the end of this season; it now looks like a foolish decision. Ajer and Simunovic will likely deputise tonight, and Celtic fans will have some confidence in Ajer after the weekend but no doubt Benkovic out is a massive blow.
Lustig will likely take his place in defence this evening and is our strongest right back at the moment. The player is aware of Celtic’s search for a new man to fill the position and is still waiting to hear if he will be awarded a new contract from the club before his current deal runs out at the end of the season.
It’s a makeshift defence for the Champions, but if they manage to negotiate another win and continue their form over the next few weeks – absolutely nobody could bet against them winning the league if they can deal with his adversity.
The biggest concern at this moment would be playing a second string defence against a strong Valencia side. Hopefully, news of more signings before the deadline filter through.