On his third appearance back after injury, James Forrest pulled-up in the dying moments of Saturday’s game clutching his hamstring. The player will be devastated but the mood was no better among those walking away from the stadium minutes later. Just as James was back and planning for what looked like an important season in his Celtic career, fundamental questions were being asked about his fitness viability.
We’ve seen this before. Shaun Maloney was forever breaking down, sometimes minutes after returning from injury. Shaun was a different type of player from James, he had a speed on the turn which made him a valuable asset, but likely contributed to his fragility.
The other pace player in the squad at the moment, Derk Boerrigter, has similarly fragile muscles. I hear the same about Aleks Tonev, currently injured. One of England’s greatest hopes of the last 20 years, Michael Owen was another member of the Fast and Fragile club. There seems to be a link between speed and injury.
There’s good news for James, and Derk too. After leaving so many regrets on the Celtic treatment table, Shaun’s limbs matured and stabilised. Michael Owen can tell a similar story, both players found their bodies vastly more robust from the middle part of their careers onwards.
James has to stick with it, continue to work on strengthening his muscles, and try to find what’s causing the problems, which can often be obscure. After a run of inexplicable injuries, AC Milan discovered that poor teeth were afflicting their athletes. Apparently your bite affects your running gate. Owen eventually found that his choice of cars (more specifically, sports clutches), was putting enough regular strain on the wrong muscles to leave him exposed to tears.
James’ and Derk’s bodies will continue to mature, to the benefit of the second half of their careers.
Not that Ronny is short of cover for James, having signed wide players Jo Inge Berget and Aleks Tonev we now have Ghanian Walaso Mubarak going through a medical.
The squad is becoming wing-heavy. It remains striker-light.
Do you know what would produce the greatest irony in sporting history? If Efe Ambrose came on as a late substitute tomorrow night, and we later discovered a rule deep in Uefa’s Articles that forfeit matches don’t count for suspensions. Forfeit matches are so rare no one will be familiar with the rules concerning them. Should we check? Oh yes.
James Alexander Gordon
It was the way he told them. Every week the man would uniquely intone the football results, you knew the outcome of each game, home win, away win or draw, before he read second number.
Really delighted Celtic FC Foundation have nominated Unicef and War Child as their beneficiaries from the Maestro match next month, where we will “assist in their humanitarian work in a number of current Middle East countries”.
Foundation cheif exec, Tony Hamilton, said, “From our living rooms we have all witnessed some of the terrible vivid horror of conflict in recent days and the particular effects that these events have had on children.
“The work of UNICEF and War Child takes no sides but simply cares for all the innocent victims of conflict on a humanitarian level. The match in September will bring together some great names in football who want to make a difference.
“We hope as many supporters as possible can join us to assist children and their families who so desperately need our help.”
I know Celtic fans will want to support this enormously important cause. Read more and book tickets here.[calameo code=000390171ae033f39a0c4 lang=en page=120 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]