Ange Postecoglou addresses James McCarthy’s Celtic struggles and confirms loan deal option for two summer signings

The Republic of Ireland international has made just nine appearances, with the majority of those coming off the bench

Ange Postecoglou is certain James McCarthy will eventually showcase his talent in a Celtic jersey after a frustrating start to life at Parkhead.

The 31-year-old midfielder, who arrived on a free transfer in August after his contract expired at Crystal Palace, has struggled with fitness with injuries issues since arriving in Glasgow.

Sign up to our GlasgowWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Republic of Ireland international has failed to cement his place in the Hoops side, starting only two games and being limited to a handful of cameo appearances this season.

James McCarthy joined Celtic this summer on a four-year deal. Picture: SNS

It is hardly the type of impact many Celtic supporters would have envisaged the former Everton star making. After all, he was arguably one of the most recognisable names to join Postecoglou’s new-look side on a four-year-deal.

The Australian head coach highlighted McCarthy’s lack of a proper pre-season as the main issue behind his slow start but is adamant he will prove his worth once finding full fitness.

Postecoglou urged fans to stay patient and compared McCarthy’s impact to other signings such as Kyogo Furuhashi who had played regular football prior to joining.

Speaking in a fan media conference yesterday, he said: “I don’t like making excuses for players. They understand the responsibilities they have, especially guys like James McCarthy, and (Giorgios) Giakoumakis is in that category as well.

“We signed them when they’d already left their football clubs. They hadn’t done a pre-season and they were training on their own.

“The difference between them and Kyogo (Furuhashi) who had came straight off a season but Jota had done a pre-season, the likes of (Cameron) Carter-Vickers was playing with Tottenham so all all these players that hit the ground running and doing well had pre-season with us and came in very early.

“But James and Giakmouakis came in late. Any footballer will tell you pre-season is the most crucial part of the year so we’ve just got to be patient with them, give them time to get up to speed.

“They’re both training hard. They’ve had some little injuries which isn’t surprising because they haven’t done pre-season.

“The intensity and tempo of training is super tough. It takes players different times to get adjusted to that.

“James will get an opportunity and I’m sure when he does, he will show his quality.”

Former Sheffield Wednesday duo Liam Shaw and Osaze Urhoghide were also signed during the summer as part of the club’s development system but have similarly struggled for first-team action.

Osaze Urhoghide is still waiting for his Celtic debut after leaving Sheffield Wednesday over the summer. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Postecoglou hinted both players could have the opportunity to move out on loan deals in search of regular game time during the January transfer window.

He added: “It certainly hasn’t been an easy introduction for any of our players and the face so many of them have already hit the ground running and made an impact is great and positive.

“They key to that is to keep going obviously because again we’re only in the early stages of developing this football team and our players.

“With the three guys you’ve mentioned, all different scenarios. Osaze and Liam, difficult for them in the fact that sometimes when you bring in young players - they’re certainly players we brought in as development players - it’s much easier to bring those kinds in when the team is settled.

“But obviously we brought them in at a time where a lot of new players are in the team, the team’s finding it’s way. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to get a lot of game time for them but they’re working hard at training every day.

“They’re pushing themselves. I believe even though they haven’t played, they’ve improved as footballers. If you train every day with us, one thing I will say is you will improve.

“It’s about now getting them the right opportunity, that maybe here, that maybe a loan deal somewhere but we’ll make those decisions come January.

“We’ll sit down with the boys and see what the best way forward is.”