THE mystery over the non-appearance of James McCarthy during Celtic’s 2-0 win over Motherwell at the weekend has been explained by Ange Postecoglou.

The 30-year-old Republic of Ireland international midfielder has made only two starts in eight appearances for his boyhood favourites since arriving at the start of August.

McCarthy arrived as a free agent after leaving Crystal Palace at the end of his contract to join the Postecoglou squad revamp at Parkhead.

MYSTERY SOLVED…Ange Posetcoglou sheds some light over the James McCarthy no-show at Fir Park.

The cultured anchorman was an unused substitute in the 2-1 victory over Aberdeen at Pittodrie before the international break and there was no show at Fir Park, as CQN reported yesterday.

And there is no chance of the Glaswegian facing the Hungarians of Ferencvaros in the Europa League Group G encounter in Glasgow this afternoon, ruled out with what has been described by the Hoops boss as a “small muscular problem”.

Postecoglou said: “It is difficult for him because he didn’t have a proper pre-season. The ones who came in late have found it hard because everyone else had already started and they didn’t have that fitness base.

“That means they have to catch up and push themselves at training and we train pretty hard here, anyway, plus the games are intense.

“So it’s only reasonable – and he’s not the only one – a couple of others have struggled while trying to get up to speed. ”

NO RUSH…James McCarthy will be back when the time is right.

The Greek-Australian gaffer, speaking to The Scotsman, added: “James had a good 10-day block during the international break, so this is just a minor setback for him, nothing significant. We’re just erring on the side of caution.

“He trained on Monday, but on his own. We didn’t want to rush him back, so we’ll see how it goes by the end of the week. It’s just a small muscular problem, so we’re hoping he’ll be available.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Ferencvaros this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.


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