Ange Postcoglou relieved injury disruption didn't knock Celtic off course - but will assess damage from Hearts win

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou cited a raft of injury casualties as having been responsible for the late wobble in the 1-0 victory at home to Hearts survived by his team to allow them to post a seventh win in an eight-game unbeaten run in the cinch Premiership games.

Celtic's Anthony Ralston is forced off injured during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Heart of Midlothian at Celtic Park, on December 02, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Celtic's Anthony Ralston is forced off injured during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Heart of Midlothian at Celtic Park, on December 02, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

The Australian was forced to rejig his back four even before a ball was kicked with Cameron Carter-Vickers missing out for the first time since joining on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, his place taken by Carl Starfelt in a first appearance for a month following injury.

Anthony Ralston was lost to a knock after 37 minutes, Josip Juranovic switching from right to left of the backline to accommodate the introduction of Adam Montgomery, before Nir Bitton was pressed into action for the close 20 minutes when a fitness concern left Stephen Welsh unable to continue. This change followed Jota giving way to Michael Johnston after the Portuguese seemed to suffer a hamstring problem.

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These enforced changes leave Postecoglou with a thin squad for Sunday’s trip to Dundee United and the Celtic manager is in no doubt they sapped Celtic of the assurance exhibited across a dominant first half hour.

Celtic's Stephen Welsh goes off with an injury in the second half. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

“We will get a round up from the medical people,” he said of the potential injury fall-outs from the Hearts success. “Tony felt something in his ankle which is disappointing because he’s been outstanding for us. With the others, I’m not really sure but we’ll see how they come through. It’s always a worry but that’s why we’ve got a squad. I’m pleased. We started the game well and played it on our terms. We lacked a bit of a ruthless edge and couldn’t get that second goal.

“We lost some players during the game which I think disrupted it.”

Postecoglou was terse over his Tynecastle counterpart’s claim that the officials decided the outcome with Kyogo Furuhashi in an offside position when he fastened on to a Ralston cross to net the only goal, just after the half-hour mark. "It’s a goal, mate,” he said. “I’ll let it go and I’ll let our performances speak for themselves. If people think the referee decided this game, well, that’s their analysis.”

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