Brendan Rodgers confirmed yesterday that Maik Nawrocki has recovered from his hamstring injury, sustained in the League Cup defeat at Kilmarnock two months ago. Since then, Celtic have been through a crisis in central defence. Cameron Carter-Vickers and Stephen Welsh were already absent, Nat Phillips came in on loan, then immediately picked up an injury, and Gustaf Lagerbielke collected a red card and subsequent suspension in the Champions League. Only Liam Scales has remained available throughout.
Now, Brendan’s immediate problem is different: how to create a partnership from this group capable of facing Hearts and Atletico Madrid over the next six days. Given Cameron is certain to start, that makes the two players he has partnered in central defence this season the only realistic options: Liam and Maik.
Coincidentally, Cameron has played exactly one and a half games with each. Recency matters. Cameron and Maik faced Ross County and Aberdeen in August, Cameron and Liam partnered against Lazio and Kilmarnock this month. We have to go into the next three fixtures: Hearts, Atletico and Hibs, with Cameron and Liam. Thereafter, all bets are off.