5 things we spotted in Celtic training as Carl Starfelt’s return begs the Hearts selection conundrum
Celtic are back in the Premiership against Hearts on Thursday as they look to keep the pressure on Rangers at the top of the Premiership.
But it was no easy task in the near zero temperatures in Glasgow as Ange Postecoglou put his players to the test at Lennoxtown.
It may have been Baltic, but there was no lowering of standards as Celtic looked to maintain momentum following their win over Aberdeen at the weekend.
Depending on how the Rangers fare against Hibs on Wednesday, a win could move them just one point behind the league leaders.
But that will have minimal consequence for Postecoglou at this point, who has often urged his stars to focus on their own backyard rather than peeking over the fence.
Here are five things we spotted as the Aussie finalized his preparations for Hearts’ trip to Glasgow.
Look who’s back
We haven’t seen Carl Starfelt in training in weeks as he was ruled out with a hamstring injury.
But now he’s back and while a start against Hearts may seem a bit too soon, it will be a relief for Postecoglou to see him on the training ground again.
The center-back was directly in the background and was seen putting himself to the test as he looked to reclaim a place in the first team.
Here to stay?
Coach Gavin Strachan has been reported to be vying for the top job at Hartlepool United.
But while he may be the bookies favorite for a return to his former club, nothing at Celtic’s training to suggest he was about to come out.
He was more involved than ever as he helped Postecoglou and John Kennedy lead the team.
And unless something drastic happens in the next 24 hours, he’ll likely have a say in who gets into the starting XI when Robbie Neilson’s side hit town.
One man Celtic could have his work cut out for is Cameron Carter-Vickers.
The American has been omnipresent in the back line of the Hoops since arriving on loan from Tottenham this summer.
And while Celtic has the option of making the deal permanent, Sport record recently revealed that they will need to shell out £ 10million to do so.
It has been good, but has it been this Well?
It is a call that the policymakers of Parkhead will have to make.
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Left rear union
Josip Juranovic is expected to start again against Hearts and it will likely be left-back as Greg Taylor continues to recover from injury.
But the monopoly of that position won’t last long as Taylor has also been seen returning to training alongside the Croatian.
They may be position rivals, but there certainly didn’t seem to be any disagreements between them as they shared a joke and a smile.
The all-seeing eye
Postecoglou will be especially satisfied with what he saw of his players as the six months of work approached.
But there is always room for improvement and this is a point he stressed several times during a start to the season in reverse.
They remain in touch with Rangers at the top of the Premiership, but Champions League and Europa League outings have shown that there is a lot of work to be done.
It all starts on the training ground and Postecoglou is keeping a close eye on his troops ahead of another big league game.