Ange Postecoglou admits Celtic 'got away with it last season' as Carl Starfelt return date set

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou intimated that the injured Carl Starfelt could be ready to return to action for the club’s first away encounter in the cinch Premiership that rolls around with the trip to Dingwall on August 6.

Starfelt has been sidelined since sustaining a hamstring injury on international duty for Sweden in early June and initially was expected to be unavailable for the early part of the campaign. A factor in the loan arrival of Moritz Jenz, who made his debut in the 2-0 home victory over Norwich City with which the Scottish champions completed their pre-season programme. However, Postecoglou is comfortable with the progress that Starfelt has made over the pre-season to believe that he is on course for a squad return in the foreseeable future.

"We're hoping he'll join in training at some point this week,” said the Celtic manager. “He's in the last stages and doing all the physical stuff away from the group. So knock on wood, he's passed every stage and the handover to the football department should happen next week. That means that hopefully within a week or two he's ready to go.”

Postecoglou considers his team ready to go on their defence of the title following a straightforward win in which he expressed satisfaction over his team’s control, crisp passing, and “not dropping off” when he emptied the crammed subs bench - as they could not avoid in the friendly draws with Legia Warsaw, Blackburn Rovers and Banik Ostrava in recent weeks. The depth of his squad - bolstered by the arrival of four new faces over the summer - has left the Australian believing he has the numbers to negotiate fighting on four fronts, with the 56-year-old making a candid admission over largely managing to do that in his first campaign.

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“If we are going to play 60 games this season and try to compete in every competition then you have to have a strong squad,” he said. "Our whole recruiting process so far has been about making our squad robust. If we had some fragility last season then it was around the fact it was too much of a burden on the individuals and we ended up breaking down and losing key players for large chunks of the season. So we want to avoid that this season. In many respects we got away with it last season. In terms of the league, the Champions League and the cup competitions this season we want all of our players to be healthy so to have that will spread the burden amongst them.”

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou with referee WIllie Collum after the 2-0 friendly win over Norwich City at Celtic Park. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
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