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All quiet on the Celtic defender that made his debut two years ago

Two years ago Dane Murray was the centre of attention, the centre of the Celtic defence.

With Kris Ajer transferred to Brentford and Carl Starfelt self isolating Ange Postecoglou was down on his options for the Champions League qualifier against Midtjylland.

Those options became even more restricted when Nir Bitton earned himself a red card just before half-time.

The new boss had two untried central defenders on his bench, Leo Hjelde was rumoured to be lined up for a move to Leeds United which meant that it was debut time for Dane Murray.

Just turned 18, Murray barely put a foot wrong, the occasion and support of Stephen Welsh got him through although a clanger from Vasilis Barkas meant that the Danish side equalised as they took command of the tie with their home leg to come.

Murray and Welsh started against West Ham in a very tough pre-season friendly, in this match Postecoglou decided that he could no longer trust Barkas with Scott Bain selected for the return leg in Denmark while an SOS was sent to Joe Hart in what turned out to be an inspired move.

The young team impressed in the extra-time defeat to Midtjylland, Tony Ralston’s career began to take off but it was the last first team experience for Murray under Ange Postecoglou.

Matches in the Lowland League followed, he became known as the guy that played in Denmark as he turned out at the various small town stadiums for the B team.

In April 2022 an injury against Dalbeattie Star brought his season to an end, and almost the whole of the 22/23 season was written off before he returned to action at Ibrox in April as the Celtic B side won 3-1.

Unfortunately it seems that there has been another injury set-back as the Instagram post below confirms.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Dane Murray (@_danemurray)

In the pre-season matches and first two Lowland League matches of the season Murray has been missing with no updates on the state of his fitness.

Two appearances in 17 months is a worrying statistic but he is better off in rehab than trying to play through what has clearly been a testing time just as he could have been thinking about his career kicking on.

Now, at the age of 20 he has to put aside thoughts of lost time and opportunities to get himself fit and playing again.

With his contract expiring at the end of this season Celtic could take away some of the concerns by adding 12 months onto his current deal to eliminate that problem from his thoughts.

One concerning issue is that most of the clubs play on plastic pitches, including Celtic.

There can be little doubt that an artificial surface puts extra pressure on ankles and knees, the turns that come naturally on grass usually end in a fall on plastic, slide tackling has almost been eliminated.

Murray could be making use of his absence to build himself up but after a long time out it is natural that there will be some emotional hurdles to overcome before he can claim that he is properly back.

The early turns and tackles will be a concern but pretty quickly he has to get over those issues and back into the firing line, hopefully picking up on the early promise that gave him his first team debut a month after his 18th birthday.

Bosun Lawal was Murray’s regular partner in the B team central defence, loan options are being looked at for the Irish youth internationalist as he enters his third season as a Celtic player.

Going out on loan to Admira Wacker could be the solution for Murray- once he gets back playing from his nightmare spell on the sidelines.

After two seasons at Leeds, Hjelde is hoping that he can push on in the Championship under new boss Daniel Farke.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Dane Murray (@_danemurray)


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