PAT BONNER has revealed Celtic new Bhoy James McCarthy has been sidelined by Covid.
The 30-year-old midfielder was tipped to start last night’s 4-3 Europa League loss against Real Betis in Seville, but Ange Postecoglou gave the role to Ismaila Soro to take over from injured skipper Callum McGregor.
McCarthy, who has still to start a game for the Hoops, was introduced in the 57th minute for the Ivorian shortly after the Spaniards’ fourth goal as they mounted a stunning comeback after trailing 2-0 at one stage.
Bonner shed some light of the apparent reluctance of Postecoglou to hand a place in the starting line-up to the Republic of Ireland international he signed as a free agent after the Glaswegian quit Crystal Palace at the end of his contract in the summer.
HOOPS OOPS…Ange Postecoglou can’t hide his frustrations as Celtic ship goals in Seville.
The legendary keeper explained why McCarthy missed out in a couple of matches before his cameo appearance in the 3-0 win over Ross County at the weekend when his header off the crossbar set up Albian Ajeti for his second and the team’s third goal.
Bonner, speaking on BBC Sportsound, said: “He’s not fit though. I spoke to James at the weekend. He’s recovering. He’s had Covid and obviously his fitness isn’t up to standard, so I think that’s probably why he isn’t in the team.
“He told me he was out for 16 days, that’s a long time to be out and he hasn’t been able to train or anything.”
McCarthy helped steady the ship with his introduction against the Spanish cracks and may have done enough to start against Livingston in West Lothian on Sunday – if, of course, McGregor hasn’t receovered from the injury sustained against the Dingwall side.