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Injuries are unfortunately commonplace in the game of football, as Celtic know all too well.

Due to the physical demands that are put on players game after game, the accumulation of them are inevitable throughout the season for every team. In years gone by, losing star players could be catastrophic for your team’s chances of having a successful season, whether that be when fighting for league titles or at the other end of the table when fighting relegation. These fine lines could make or break your campaign as a whole.

Thankfully, the game has developed significantly since then, both in terms of finances and medical advancements. Because of this, teams can afford to have able replacements available when a player is out injured to take their place on the pitch. This has been further boosted by the recently implemented five substitutions rule, which allows for more players to make a bigger impact coming off of the bench.

Football is much more of a squad game now, with less emphasis placed on just the 11 players starting for a team, but rather the 16 in general that could potentially make an impact throughout the game. Celtic, in their most recent match against Aberdeen, had to call upon those players waiting in the wings, as two of their biggest stars had to be taken off due to injury in the form of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Reo Hatate.

READ MORE: Brendan Rodgers' Celtic warning: Reo Hatate must read the room

However, the club are operating in a time where these injuries can be managed without too much consequence. It was reported that Carter-Vickers’ halftime substitution was purely precautionary. Still, with the central defender just back from a knee operation, Celtic would be wise to manage his game-time. Stephen Welsh – his replacement at Pittodrie – put in an admirable performance alongside Maik Nawrocki in the second half, in turn not allowing the home side any more goals as Celtic won 3-1 away from home.

The Scottish defender has been in and out of the Celtic team since his initial introduction back in 2020 under Neil Lennon. There had been rumours that Welsh was set to be leaving the club, but it seems that Brendan Rodgers wants him to stay at the club.

Following the game on Sunday, he said: "I thought he was excellent when he came in, I like Stephen. I took him with me one pre-season when he was a young player because I really liked him.

“For whatever reason he hasn’t maybe played the games but he’s a Celtic boy who wants to be at the club. I want him to be at the club. I said to him, ‘I can’t guarantee you how many games you are going to play. You may play 40 games in the season’. But I know he is always ready. He trains very hard every day and he came into the game, he played with composure, and he is aggressive. It was really well done from him.”

Despite this praise from the manager, it really is now or never for Welsh at the club. With the arrival of Elfsborg stopper Gustaf Lagerbielke, it feels like the defender has got to stake a claim now, or face being a bit-part player like he did last season once again.

Circling back to injuries in the modern game, a player’s shortcomings can mean a lucky break for another player waiting in the wings for an opportunity. Hatate – himself given a chance to impress following his substitute appearance in place of David Turnbull – only completed 24 minutes before leaving the field due to a calf injury. The most recent reports have suggested a tear in his calf, which would keep the influential midfielder out for at least a month on the sidelines.

Hatate, a standout for Celtic since his arrival from Kawasaki Frontale in his native Japan, has had to settle for a spot on the bench for the opening two games, so this latest setback is not ideal for him with regard to making a positive impact on the team. It may also scupper the chances of the midfielder securing a move away in this window, a scenario that he himself spoke about in detail during Celtic’s Japan tour.

This turn of events may solidify Turnbull’s starting place in the Celtic team, but it may also open the door to the likes of Odin Thiago Holm to stake their claim in Rodgers’ plans going forward. The Norwegian midfielder put in another stellar substitute appearance, following on from impressive showings against Athletic Club and Ross County, respectively. Calm on the ball but aggressive off of it, Holm looks every inch a promising talent for Celtic going forward in the middle of the park. This Sunday may be the time to unleash the dynamic midfielder from the off against Kilmarnock in the League Cup.

The manager clearly rates Holm, too, as he was singing his praises post-match. He said: "Odin's a good player. He’s going to really show his talent as he goes through his time at Celtic. He’s a fantastic footballer. He’s got an edge, he can see a pass, he can move well."

READ MORE: Kyogo, Larsson and the art of an elite-level Celtic striker

Celtic have got to turn the negatives of these two injuries into positives. Yes, two of their most impactful players face varying lengths of time on the sidelines, but those replacements coming in will certainly have a point to prove. With spaces very much still up for grabs as Rodgers looks to cement his team, those players who are called upon must take their opportunity when it comes and do so with conviction.

For Welsh and Holm especially, this may be their ideal time to shine in a Celtic jersey. If called upon, here’s hoping they take full advantage.