Hamstrung Celtic have to be pioneers


The closing 8 minutes against St Johnstone, after Nir Bitton put Celtic 1-3 ahead, allowed you and me, the manager and the players, to close out a game in a relaxed mood for the first time since the win over Dundee United seven games ago.

The intensity of Celtic’s games in recent months has seen wins over the Tayside trio of St Johnstone, Dundee United and Dundee provide the only relaxed closing moments in 14 games, 11 of which went into the final moment with points or a trophy on the line.  Only twice in that run, at Leverkusen and Paisley, were Celtic denied a win, testament to their ability to get the job done when the chips are down.

There is more to our contagion of hamstring injuries than sheer workload, but we have to consider this factor in assessing why so many players are out with the same injury at the same time.

Hamstring injuries are a curse.  I tore mine (right leg) well over a decade ago, it remains weaker than my left and probably always will be.  The new Hibernian manager, Shaun Maloney, was robbed of unknown triumphs by the failure of his hamstring to fully heal.  It is an injury that lies dormant, then cuts you down as though a sniper was on hand.

The first reaction to a hamstring injury is to check the warm-up.  Muscles need to be carefully stretched before being asked to deliver explosive power.  When an injury happens in the early stages of a game, or of the second half, as Kyogo’s did on Sunday, the warm-up is an obvious place to look, but I honestly doubt this is the case here.  Celtic will be pouring over this issue, every detail will be examined, especially for Kyogo on Sunday.

What you cannot do midseason is set down a base layer of fitness.  Players have to conserve energy in their legs, they do not have time to redevelop their muscle patterns, that is work that is done preseason, although a three week winter break permits a very short window of remedial work.

Preseason 2021-22 was not ideal at Lennoxtown.  The players ended the previous season with no manager in place to lay down his requirements for preseason.  When Ange Postecoglou was eventually appointed, he had to wait weeks before getting to work with the players, not to mention those he was working on signing.

None of this is easy to get right.  Most Celtic players play international football, they usually get to two domestic cup finals, and the club play more European football than any other (it’s true, check it).  All this, while competing until the final kick of the ball.  Celtic are at the bleeding edge of fitness requirements for football players, the parts that bleed first are hamstrings.

It is up to the sports scientists to pioneer and find a fix for this, but the tools they work with leave them little scope until June next year.

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  1. here doctor, i keep getting battered about in a quite brutal way while playing in my chosen profession within the scottish football league ………..



    em, move to a better environment then.

  2. Stephbhoy @315



    Jaysus fella. I think you’ve created your own logic there.



    Huns have adopted it for 2 years and with its insight have reaped the benefits of reduced injuries in their squad.



    We are at the point where we still don’t have a Head of Football Department, still need to invest in supporting technology and then yet to see that benefit roll out for the team.



    We’re behind but I’m sure you are ok with our 1 year old modernisation report that would have thrown up this kind of investment.



    A joined up club would have scouted, hired and then fully supported a coach with an infrastructure to deliver on his vision. We are a disjointed club highly reliant on AP for success at the moment.




  3. I missed Forrest, many would have let him go during the NFL years as “always injured”.



    and Big Tom, Beofre Ange many would have let him go as “always injured and a 70 minute engine capacity”

  4. INIQUITOUSIV on 27TH DECEMBER 2021 10:14 PM



    From last thread.



    My dad is from Aird Tong. He still goes back up but not as often. I am hopefully going to take my American lady there on next trip across. Shoot me an email if you like to aipple @ gmail .com.





  5. Here’s my point:



    “We brought in Anton in terms of our sports science and he has been brilliant since he came in, not just with what he is able to input, but also helping the existing staff because we have been a man or two short in that area,” Postecoglou said.



    As for January, Ange needs to build a scouting and recruitment team (his words).



    Give the man a fair shot of success by hiring someone to oversee this infrastructure.



    We were heading for modernisation until we’ve seemingly pulled back from Sporting Directors and Heads of Recruitment….we do have a legal beagle in charge after his probation so contracts will look good :)




  6. LEFTCLICKTIC on 28TH DECEMBER 2021 11:52 AM




    hope you are all on the road to recovery especially Mrs.


    One good break you are not missing any Bhoys games.






    That’s the main thing :-)))






  7. I know that the transfer window doesn’t officially open until January 1st, but I am disappointed that we haven’t announced any new signings yet, as agreement can be made between clubs , subject to officially signing.

  8. AIPPLE @ 4:54


    Hi Aipple – just read it. I’ll shoot you an email later today.😊





  9. STEPHBHOY67 on 28TH DECEMBER 2021 5:07 PM


    Wits happening?






    Nope – sorry – not a flippin’ clue :-)))

  10. Saint Stivs @ 4:22 pm


    “Lets be honest none of us really know what we are babbling on about when it comes to these things.”



    ….and ain`t that the truth !

  11. Cheers Saint Stivs, a lot of good reading there.



    Yes, Anton is the new trainer. He has had to hit the ground running as well because as Paul said the pre season and early season was chaotic.

  12. So now Celtic being criticised for not announcing signings before the transfer window opens and allows them to sign players.



    I’ve heard it all now.

  13. THEBHOYFROMU.N.C.L.E on 28TH DECEMBER 2021 6:04 PM


    He’s injured…






    hammy, sprinting onto the pitch without warming up.

  14. I’m with Saint Stiv’s on our speculations being, I’ll be polite, under-informed.



    Have you spoken with any Celtic Sports Scientist?


    Toured or checked out our facilities?


    Noticed any reduction in the expenditure or staffing of said department?



    Or will we just go with pet theories?



    Buy bigger more robust players1- what, like Jullien and Giakoumakkis?


    Sevco have got better methods- cos Liverpool sold them some secrets- so how has Jack been out for so long- Kent and Hagi & Helander out with injuries.? What is this secret method and how does it prevent injuries. Does Klopp never complain about his injury list?


    Even Paul’s suggestion- that our Sports Scientists develop something exciting and innovative- is far fetched.



    Sports Science exists in the real world. Researchers publish their work and it is peer reviewed. Everybody knows what everyone is up to and if it is something new and secret, it is likely to be illegal and unethical and unpublished.



    Then we have some recommending we go back to the days of untrained trainers, sponges and cortisone.



    Of course departments can improve but to suggest we are country rubes on this issue is unconvincing.



    And yes- I have seen our Sports Science equipment and have spoken with some of the guys who set it up and serviced it. And even then, I feel out of my depth in critiquing it.



    Ange has worked a miracle having inherited a legacy of abysmal squad management.






    Totally agree there .👍

  16. Meant to add- I remember us laughing and shouting homophobic chants at Aberdeen’s Zoltan Varga when he went on to the pitch before a match and continued his stretching warm up- sometimes wearing tights under his shorts.



    How must have felt when he saw the other 21 players on the pitch, including all his team mates, walk onto the pitch and amble about a bit before kick off.



    Meant to add- I remember us laughing and shouting homophobic chants at Aberdeen’s Zoltan Varga when he went on to the pitch before a match and continued his stretching warm up- sometimes wearing tights under his shorts.







    How must have felt when he saw the other 21 players on the pitch, including all his team mates, walk onto the pitch and amble about a bit before kick off.







    you and your pals may have done this but you can leave me out of your generalising .

  18. BIG WAVY on 28TH DECEMBER 2021 4:29 PM



    With due respect mate you have no idea what celtic do or don’t have, its pritty much all conjecture on your part.



    Technology does not need time to bed in, it would take no time whatsoever to have all players data etc imputed into an i.t system and for it to be operational


    So long as the people reading the data are doing so correctly, it’s also likely to be very user friendly for those in the know.

  19. Marspapa



    I had a spot in the jungle then – edge of penalty box- 2nd barrier back. I am confident in my memory of how Varga was received by a lot of us.



    If you had a different contemporary view I believe it was a minority view. How many British football clubs were doing protective stretching as a requirement in the early 70s. You can still watch the run outs pre- kick of on old MOTD programmes. How many wore compression tights without getting called out as dances from the terracings?



    I will own up that me and my mates gave hin the same pelters he was getting elsewhere. It took me a few years to grow up about such matters.

  20. So what is the script with Joe Hart?



    Will he be back when the fitba resumes?



    I’d be looking to bring in a Keeper from within the SPFL as backup (Barkas was excellent with the ba’ @ his feet up in Perth)



    He has been pivotal to what we have done so far this Season.



    Hearing Josip screaming @ the dynamic Abada to make a move made me very Happy.



    We need as many Strong willed players as possible. Josip is Already in that Category and we have an absolute Gem in this player.



    Shout Shout let it all out.

  21. as an aside to the Sport Science debates , I thought I knew some stuff, but on watching the Martinez documentary (with Shaun Maloney prominent) his methods for the belgian fa (who started it all before him)


    use of performance analytics coupled with nutrition and taylored to the individuals needs, are total fascinating.



    this is a long read, but it strikes a cord for me with modern business,



    i am interested if this sorcerors apprentice takes what he has learned into the job at hibs,



    biggest thing for me though, the player needs to want it.



    as an aside to my aside.


    I thought ange with all the staff at the end of the league cup final was very telling, he is happy with them, believes they are professional and high contributors, or else he would have swopped them out already.







    Yip there was a lot of stuff shouted and sang ( the add ons) back in the day …..



    There were clowns who threw bananas at a certain black player too…..



    I was highlighting not everybody joined in with these things , each to their own .

  23. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Looking at TV schedules tonight I came across a movie I’ve never heard of



    Mortal Engines from 2018



    Information button reveals the following …



    “Hundreds of years after a cataclysmic event destroyed civilisation, a mysterious young girl emerges as the only one who can stop the city of London, now a giant predator on wheels, from devouring everything in its path”



    I know recreational drugs are prevalent in the movie industry .. but even still ?

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