The American had started every Premiership and Champions League game so far this season up until the trip to St Mirren prior to the international break, and Hoops manager Ange Postcoglou has now confirmed that the centre-back will also be absent for the visit of Steven Hammell’s side this afternoon.
There were initially hopes that the 24-year-old would make it back in time for the match, having ‘pulled up’ in the Champions League draw against Shakhtar, but it hasn’t come to pass.
Speaking to GiveMeSport, O’Rourke explained that the arrival of Carter-Vickers last season shored up Celtic defensively, and he hinted that their supposed weakness from set-pieces could return in the absence of the American.
The journalist said: “It’s a big blow. Carter-Vickers came in on loan last season and really sorted out Celtic’s problem, which was defensively.
“They were weak from set pieces and conceded a lot of goals as well, but Carter-Vickers came in and sorted the defensive problems out.”
This isn’t just a concern for Celtic against Motherwell, with the Hoops looking to return to winning ways after a shock defeat at St Mirren two weeks ago. They may also have one eye on the midweek Champions League game against RB Leipzig, which could be crucial to their chances of progression to the knockout stages.
Postecoglou says that Carter-Vickers is still doing individual training for now, and he expects to make a decision on the 24-year-old in the early part of next week.
The former Tottenham defender is joint-first in the Hoops’ squad for interceptions per game (1.2) and first outright for clearances (four) and blocks (0.7). He is also in the top three for aerial duels won (3.7) and accurate long passes (2.7), a sure sign of his no-nonsense defensive nature.
It’s duly hard to disagree with O’Rourke’s assessment of Carter-Vickers’ importance to the Celtic cause.
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