ANGE POSTECOGLOU came to Wales in search of the right team to send out in Celtic’s Champions League qualifier against FC Midtjylland, but as he left to return to Scotland, he barely had 11 fit players left.

It’s probably just as well that the much-needed recruitment drive appears to be picking up pace with the acquisition of winger Liel Abada yesterday, because Postecoglou had his hands tied in naming a team for the last match of this Welsh training camp at Bristol City’s plush new training ground, and his headache only worsened as the match progressed.

Celtic’s visit to Somerset marked the official opening of the Robins’ High Performance Centre, and Postecoglou’s rather threadbare side indeed outperformed the hosts for most of the evening. Callum McGregor and David Turnbull started, and Mikey Johnston got another run-out from the start, but his appearance would be all-too brief. And the match overall was more notable for those who weren’t playing.

The defence in particular is a major area of concern, with Tony Ralston, Osaze Urhoghide, Stephen Welsh and Greg Taylor making up the back four here.

Kristoffer Ajer was in attendance, but not stripped for action. Nir Bitton hirpled across the field to the Celtic bench prior to the game. Christopher Jullien is still over a month away from a return to action. There is a feeling that the impending arrival of Carl Starfelt can’t come soon enough.

There was further bad news on the personnel front as goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas was pulled from the starting line-up after picking up an injury the warm-up, with Scott Bain coming in. And when the other spectators like Boli Bolingoli, Tom Rogic, Ryan Christie and more notably, Odsonne Edouard, are factored in, Postecoglou is currently approaching the Champions Leaguer qualifier against Midtjylland on Tuesday with the makings of a decent team sitting on the sidelines.

As for those on the pitch, Johnston showed up well early on, creating a chance for Albian Ajeti to fire into the side-netting. But the youngster’s injury nightmare continued as he pulled up feeling his right hamstring 10 minutes before the interval. It was a devastating blow for the winger, whose reaction told you everything you needed to know about the probable prognosis. Adam Montgomery replaced the luckless attacker.

Celtic had dominated possession and were pressing Bristol City high up the pitch, with Postecoglou giving the odd bark of approval from the sidelines at what he was seeing from his men.

The only real moment of concern in the first half in terms of a Bristol threat came from a slack ball out from the back from Urhoghide, but Welsh got back well to bail out his mate. From the corner, the Celtic defence couldn’t clear their lines, and Andreas Weimann cracked a left-foot shot off the post.

What was of more concern for Postecoglou though was yet another injury scare moments later as Celtic broke, with Kasey Palmer wiping out Karamoko Dembele with a wild tackle, forcing him to limp from the action too. Ewan Henderson was his replacement.

At the end of the half, Turnbull put Ajeti in on goal with a nice through ball, but from the angle, the striker’s effort was saved by the foot of City goalkeeper Max O’Leary.

Liam Shaw came on at the break for Soro, and Celtic continued to keep the ball well. Ajeti turned provider for Turnbull to force another save from O’Leary, but City boss Nigel Pearson exercised his luxury of sending on an entire new team apart from his keeper, and the fresh energy allowed the hosts to gain the upper hand towards the end of the game.

Celtic held firm though despite a couple of late scares, and all in all, there are undoubtedly positives for Postecoglou to reflect on from the trip to Wales. Three games, two wins and a draw, a couple of goals for Ajeti, and some impressive performances from his young fringe players like Owen Moffat and Montgomery. James Forrest will return to the squad soon after his period of self-isolation, and that will be a huge shot in the arm, so to speak.

In the minus column though are the injury concerns over numerous players, with Ajeti's knee also strapped when he came off late on, as well as the commitment concerns over many others. Olivier Ntcham, for example, was the only substitute named here who didn’t set foot on the pitch.

At this point, probably the last thing that Postecoglou needs is another friendly against Preston at Celtic Park on Saturday. He would be advised to send the likes of McGregor – so impressive here as captain - out for the game in bubble wrap.