Strachan shrugs off striker crisis

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan refuses to be fazed by the latest disruption to his squad.

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan refuses to be fazed by the latest disruption to his squad.

The Hoops moved 19 points clear of Rangers at the top of the Bank of Scotland Premier League on Sunday with a 2-1 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

However victory came at a cost to Strachan’s squad with his strike department faring particularly badly.

A training ground injury had ruled Maciej Zurawski out of the trip to the Highlands while Craig Beattie, starting alongside Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink for the second consecutive game, lasted only until half-time when he was substituted due to another hamstring problem.

His replacement, Kenny Miller, played only 15 minutes before being taken off with a hip problem.

To add to Strachan’s woes, Vennegoor of Hesselink was then sent off after receiving two yellow cards, the second for leaving the field to celebrate his last-gasp winner with supporters.

Strachan told Celtic View: “That was just something that we had to deal with.

“On Thursday we had four smashing strikers fit and ready to go.

“By 4pm on Sunday, we had three injured and one with a suspension coming up.

“But we don’t make a big song and dance about it.”

The Celtic boss again finds himself thwarted in his season-long quest to find an ideal strike partnership.

And with defenders Bobo Balde and Gary Caldwell still out with long-term injuries, and Steven Pressley suffering from a back injury, the Celtic squad could be tested fully in the weeks ahead.

Strachan added: “I see other teams having two or three injuries and it’s a crisis.

“At times, we have been without six or seven players and that can be a problem.”

Vennegoor of Hesselink’s second yellow card still rankles with the Celtic boss.

Referee Iain Brines explained on the Scottish Football Association’s website why the second caution was necessary.

Brines reported: “I had no option to show the card, the second one for this player in the game, since the instructions over the past three seasons have been perfectly clear.

“The player ran off the pitch and over the track to the terracing boundary where he was surrounded by spectators, some of whom ran from other areas of the terracing.”

But Strachan remains unimpressed, adding: “I said to my staff that I would go home and watch the French or Italian football on television, see players celebrating behind the goal and nothing will be done about it.

“I’ve seen people run 20 yards behind the goals, leap up onto a fence, swinging a strip above their head and the referee just ushers them back onto the pitch.

“We are so officious in Britain. But I liked my players’ discipline on Sunday.

“It’s rough and tumble at Inverness and maybe we make it too hard for ourselves because we get up and get on with it after a tackle.

“But I’d rather it that way, because when of our players gets injured, we know they are actually injured.”

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