I remember a situation several years ago when we had five full backs and converted-full backs out injured at the same time. The injured count for central defenders is not currently as high but the situation is just as critical.
Erik Sviatchenko joins Jozo Simunovic, Dedryck Boyata and Kristoffer Ajer on the injured list. Kolo Toure is certain to be added to the Uefa squad before tonight’s deadline but will be pushed to be match fit for next week.
Fortunately, the man who has spent more time injured over the last two seasons than anyone else, Mikael Lustig, is fit and able to move from full back into the middle, with Saidy Janko able to deputise on the right.
More words have been written about Efe Ambrose than any other Celtic player this month. It’s quite possible he’ll move on towards the end of the transfer window but he’s set to be given an opportunity to make good his error in Gibraltar by leading an unfamiliar defensive line-up in Astana tomorrow.
If I had a choice, I would prefer Celtic in adversity than Celtic over-confident. We know we will have to protect the defence tomorrow so the match plan should be straightforward.
Astana are not without their concerns either. Kazak media are concerned Astana are weaker than a year ago, due to the departure of Georgi Zhukov the likely absence of captain and top scorer, Tanant Nuserbayev, added to the turmoil at the club this week, caused by Lyon’s bid for midfielder, Nemanja Maksimovic. They will battle tomorrow, but their preparations are far from ideal.