Celtic manager Neil Lennon reckons left-back Kieran Tierney could miss the remainder of the season, as reported by The Daily Record.
Tierney was missing from yesterday’s squad to face Hibernian at Easter Road with the Hoops boss confirming he is set to see a specialist imminently to figure out the extent of the pelvic and calf problems that have dogged his season.
As quoted by the paper, Lennon said: “He is a bit sore, he is going to see a specialist this week to get a clear indication of where he is. He may require surgery but we are trying to hold that off until the end of the season.”
Obviously Tierney’s absence is a blow to our treble bid but it’s also an indication of a much deeper problem in the squad.
The fact that Celtic may be considering holding off needed surgery until the end of the season is a serious problem in itself and it’s not one of Lennon’s making, but Brendan Rodgers’.
The former manager has failed to provide the Celtic team with enough depth in key positions that allows us to tactically rest key performers when they need it or before big matches.
It’s been noted this season that players like Tierney and Callum McGregor play more minutes than almost any other player in world football, as if that is something to be celebrated and not be worried about.
Sure, it’s a terrific sign of their endurance but ultimately a reflection of the club asking too much of them and their bodies.
Tierney revealed recently that the number of games he’s had to play over the last two or three seasons has had a direct impact on his current fitness problems and the pain he is suffering.
Tierney’s body breaking down is unlikely to do with the stamina of the player and is a worrying sign potential problems to come for players like the aforementioned McGregor and James Forrest.
It may not be Celtic’s fault that we have to play over 60 matches a year when taking part in extensive summer qualifiers and going deep in domestic competitions, but we must build a squad capable of coping with those demands from a fitness perspective.
We need to address this issue in the summer. We need better players than Emilio Izaguirre as back-up, we need more wingers to challenge for first-team places, we need another creative midfielder who can impact games on a consistent basis.
The players are simply beginning to look a bit burnt out and Tierney’s injury is just a symptom of a bigger problem.