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James McCarthy backed to play a key role for Celtic ahead of hectic Christmas schedule

James McCarthy Celtic

James McCarthy is starting to get to grips with life at Celtic.

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has backed Ireland international James McCarthy to play a key role in the Bhoys’ squad this season as he continues his return to full fitness after an injury hit couple of seasons.

McCarthy endured a difficult start to his stint at Celtic Park, suffering with injuries, and a curtailed pre-season, with first-team minutes hard to come by as a result.

But he has begun to impress in recent weeks, and his manager Postecoglou has backed him to play a key role at the club ahead of a busy few weeks over the festive period.

 Ange Postecoglou back James McCarthy to impress for Celtic.

“I thought his performance on Sunday was good,” Postecoglou said ahead of Celtic’s home clash against Hearts on Thursday evening.

“We need to remember that he’s had a disrupted pre-season and that was his first meaningful start for a while.

“It’s not an easy task to come into a team and perform at those levels so he got through the game well which was the main thing physically. He had no issues and he got a taste of it.

“James is one we are going to need this season because of his experience and the way he plays. Everyone knows he can improve and we want him to improve.

“Like the rest of the players, when you come into the team, that’s your baseline and he’s getting the chance to perform at a high level.”

James McCarthy.

McCarthy joined the Bhoys from Crystal Palace during the summer, and has impressed at times in cameos for Celtic since then.

He has, however, been limited to three league starts for his new club so far, with the most recent of which coming against Aberdeen on Sunday.

The Glasgow-born midfielder has only made one full-90 minute appearance for Celtic in a competitive game this season, but he is starting to show signs of promise at his new employer.

And that will only be a positive for Ireland boss Stephen Kenny ahead of an exciting 2022 for the Boys in Green.

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