Safety first for Strachan’s men

By Brian McLaughlin

Celtic boss Gordon Strachan has introduced non-contact training in a bid to curb the club’s current injury crisis.

With 11 players currently out injured, Strachan is keen to ensure that no more key players are sidelined ahead of Celtic’s crucial Champions League clash with Danish champions Aalborg on November 25th. Failure to beat the Danes would send the SPL champions crashing out of the tournament.

Strachan said: “I cannot remember ever having an injury list like this during my managerial career, it’s not as if they are similar injuries, so it is very strange. There are different types of problems, so there’s not an aspect of our training we can look back on and pinpoint as leading to something.

“At this moment in time, we cannot have any practice games on the training pitch. We cannot do any contact stuff, I don’t have enough players at my disposal for it. I simply cannot afford to do it in case someone else gets hurt.”

Despite this move, the worst of the injury crisis that has hit Parkhead in recent weeks appears to be over, with Dutch defender Glenn Loovens back in training, along with Greek striker Georgios Samaras, with Loovens likely to feature in tonight’s match against Kilmarnock at Celtic Park.

The speedy recovery of set-piece master Shunsuke Nakamura has also given the Bhoys a boost, with the Japanese international returning to training just a week after injuring his knee in a training ground collision with first-team coach Neil Lennon.

On this, Strachan said: “The doctor cannot believe it after the scan results on his knee. Naka says he wants to play, which is a good sign, but we’ll have to see how he is. It’s the same for Loovens and Samaras. I would think Loovens would be the first one back.”

Former Cardiff man Loovens is close to return for Celts
Former Cardiff man Loovens is close to return for Celts