CAMERON CARTER-VICKERS stood up to be counted in Celtic’s dramatic last-gasp 2-1 win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park yesterday.
The 24-year-old US international central defender had been injured and forced to miss the previous three games that saw two defeats from St Mirren and RB Leipzig and a win over Motherwell.
However, he was pitched back into the action in Perth and, in doing so, was also handed the captain’s armband by Ange Postecoglou in place of crocked Callum McGregor who is now out of the next 10 games at least, as CQN reported yesterday.
ON THE BALL…Cameron Carter-Vickers was welcomed back by Ange Postecoglou.
It was a hard shift for Carter-Vickers on a day the Hoops dominated 75 per cent of the possession, but were always susceptible to breakaways from the home side, particularly late in the second-half when the champions’ failure to put the game to bed acted as oxygen to Callum Davidson’s players.
Joe Hart was called in for an act of defiance in the 69th minute when he displayed lightning reflexes to get down to his right to push an angled drive from Stevie May onto the far post and to safety.
Carter-Vickers was in the midst of the penalty box pandemonium when Ali Crawford’s free-kick dropped into the box three minutes into stoppage time. The former Spurs man, a £6million permanent recruit in the summer, fought his corner while Giorgos Giakoumakis was clearly having his jersey pulled by Andy Considine.
Unfortunately, Stephen Welsh appeared to switch off at the vital moment and that allowed Alex Mitchell time to take a touch before whipping a low shot past the exposed Hart from a few yards out.
SAINTS AND SINNERS…Cameron Carter-Vickers (extreme right) sinks to his knees as the Perth outfit grab a stoppage-time equaliser.
It could have been a frustrating and hugely disappointing return for Carter-Vickers, but, thankfully, Giakoumakis claimed the winner when he turned in a left-wing cross from Alexandro Bernabei one minute from the end.
Postecoglou welcomed the return of the defender known as ‘The Fridge’ to his team-mates, especially with RB Leipzig due at Parkhead on Tuesday for a must-win Champions League confrontation.
The Hoops boss said: “It was good to get Cam back in. He is one of our more experienced players, it is crazy saying that with his age and the fact it is only his second year here, but that is the kind of group we have.
A BIG HAND…Ange Postecoglou applauds the Celtic fans at McDiarmid Park.
“Having his experience was good and he felt pretty good again. Probably got a bit tired towards the end, but the 90 minutes will do him good.”
Offering an update on McGregor’s situation, Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “The initial reports suggest he’ll probably be out until after the break at this stage.
“We haven’t got the final report, but it looks like he’ll miss the next three, four weeks which will put him out until after the break.
“The good thing is that with the break he will be raring to go when the season resumes and that will be a massive bonus for us.”