Who will step up in absence of Liel Abada?

Celtic’s ongoing injury crisis deepened further, as it was announced by the Israel national team boss Alon Hazan that Liel Abada had suffered a quad injury whilst on international duty.

As well as missing both international fixtures against Romania and Belarus, the 21-year-old will also miss the start of Celtic’s Champions League campaign. Having signed a new four-year-deal recently, Abada joins Cameron Carter-Vickers, Maik Nawrocki, Stephen Welsh and Reo Hatate on the club’s injury list and he blames himself for the injury with Israeli media outlet Sports5 reporting that, “The 21-year-old seems to be angry mainly with himself, because he chose to continue kicking at the end of the training even though it was… not an obligation.”

Abada was a player who had been tipped by this writer to be one of Celtic’s top players over the course of the Champions League campaign, and the pressure will now be on the club’s wingers to step up, but who will be the player who rises to the occasion in the absence of Liel Abada?

Yang Hyun-jun

The injury to Abada may allow for more first-team opportunities for Yang Hyun-jun which will be warmly received by Celtic fans after his impressive start to life at Parkhead.

The ¬†South Korean has shone in bursts so far with most of his minutes so far coming from the bench. He caught the eye in a 3-1 win at Pittodrie as he made a positive impact from the bench, providing an assist for Matt O’Riley’s goal and Celtic’s third of the game.

He has looked lively and energetic and plays with a ‘no fear’ attitude, never shying away from taking on an opposition defender. Although Celtic failed to score against St Johnstone at Celtic Park, Yang started that fixture and was arguably the home side’s best attacking threat on the day and he followed that up with a positive impact from the bench against Rangers at Ibrox.

More starting minutes, as well as the added pressure of the Champions League, will provide further opportunities for Yang to impress and, as the saying goes, pressure makes diamonds.

Luis Palma

As the second most expensive signing of Celtic’s summer transfer window, Palma could see the door open for first-team minutes straight away, however, he would have to adapt to a different position. Primarily right-footed and having deputised from the left-wing for most of his fledgling footballing career so far, Palma could switch over to the right side of the field.

However, if Brendan Rodgers wants to make further tweaks to the Celtic front line then moving Daizen Maeda to right-wing, allowing him to cross quicker on his preferred right foot and having Palma playing from the left and cutting inside on to his preferred right foot could be a wise idea.

The Honduran was known in Greece as a good finisher and he mentioned to “expect goals” when speaking to A Celtic State of Mind at a fan media press conference. Allowing the 23-year-old to do just that and providing him higher quality shooting opportunities could be an interesting move that Brendan Rodgers could make.

JAMES MCKENZIE

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