Anthony Ralston will be available for Ange Postecoglou when Celtic travel to face Real Betis in the Europa League on Thursday evening, according to the Daily Record.
The Hoops begin their Group Stage efforts at the Benito Villamarin Stadium after beating AZ Alkmaar in their play-off. Real Betis secured their spot in Group G, along with Ferencvarosi and Bayer Leverkusen, after clinching sixth on the last day of the 2020/21 La Liga term.
Celtic faced being without Ralston in Spain after the 22-year-old missed Saturday’s 3-0 win over Ross County in the Premiership. He had started their four prior league games, each Europa League and Champions League qualifier plus the League Cup clash with Hearts.
Additionally, Postecoglou trusted Ralston with playing each minute of Celtic’s season until facing Ross County. The right-back missed last weekend’s Parkhead affair with a niggling injury but has returned to training in time for Thursday.
Ralston resumed full training as Celtic increased their preparations for Real Betis and will be able to feature in Spain. The Glasgow native returning to action at the Villamarin will likely see £2.5m summer signing Josip Juranovic move to left-back.
Postecoglou debuted the Croatian on the left-hand side of his backline at Rangers in last month’s Old Firm derby. But the Hoops boss elected to utilise the 26-year-old on the right against Ross County in Ralston’s absence.
Celtic land Ralston boost ahead of Real Betis trip
Ralston being available and fully fit for Celtic’s trip to Real Betis on Thursday evening surely will delight Postecoglou. The £5.5k-a-week full-back has been one of the Australian coach’s most utilised options since taking charge at Parkhead this summer.
The former Scotland U21 international also scored against Hearts, Dundee, and assisted at home to St Mirren in the Premiership. His strike at Tynecastle pulled Celtic level following Gary Mackay-Steven’s early opener, before John Souttar scored Hearts’ winner late on.
Real Betis will be tough for Celtic to break down, so Postecoglou will hope Ralston delivers a creative performance. Manuel Pellegrini’s Los Verdiblancos have only conceded four times in four La Liga games this season. Per WhoScored, they have also only allowed 9.5 shots per game, which is the seventh-best record in Spain’s top-flight.