Nov 13 2012 by Alison Lowson, Perthshire Advertiser
A serious facial injury suffered by defender David McCracken took some of the gloss off St Johnstone’s draw at Celtic Park.
The luckless centre-half is expected to be sidelined for eight weeks after a series of fractures to the cheekbone sustained in a sickening clash of heads with Victor Wanyama in Sunday’s SPL contest.
McCracken was sent to hospital on Sunday and will be assessed again today at McDiarmid Park. Surgery seems inevitable and it’s yet another injury to contend with.
Manager Steve Lomas, who lamented the lack of credit given for his team’s performance in some of the Monday morning press coverage, also revealed that partner Frazer Wright played on bravely despite taking a blow to a lung, which had him coughing up blood.
“The commitment of my lads has never been in doubt and their bravery was in evidence again at Celtic Park,” he said.
“It looks like Cracks has broken his cheekbone in three places. It’s a nasty one. It takes the edge off a great result.
“He will need surgery and I feel so sorry for big Dave. He has been very patient waiting for his chance and then he picks up a bad one just six minutes into the game against Celtic. But he is a tough lad and he will bounce back.
“Frazer also had us worried. He took a sore one early on and he was spitting blood up. But he wasn’t for coming off. It would have been a disaster to lose both central defenders, so it was great Frazer was prepared to play on.
“We have given him a few days off, so hopefully he’ll be OK for the weekend game with Ross County.”
Having lost 5-0 in the League Cup at Parkhead 10 days previously — and with Celtic basking in a Champions League win over Barcelona — the Perth side arrived in Glasgow in determined mood.
Lomas tweaked his line-up in the wake of a loss to Motherwell and he stressed: “I was delighted with the response I got from the boys.
“But it is typical that all the focus has been on Celtic playing poorly rather than on our performance. It was the same when we beat them in Perth.
“Celtic was quite rightly praised for seeing off a team like Barcelona. Yet we have been criticised for being negative. The stats suggest we had around 49 per cent possession, our keeper hardly made a save, which is extraordinary at that venue, while Fraser Forster had a world-class stop from Frazer. It was a save-of-the-season candidate. And the lads also insist we had a stonewall penalty turned down.
“I’m not sure what some people expected from us. Would a lightweight go out and trade punches toe to toe with a heavyweight? That is just bizarre.
“That was arguably an even stronger Celtic team than the one which beat Barca but we handled them superbly. We deserved at least a point.”
The Perth manager, who recently joked his temper was down to “gingerism,” was sent to the stand just days after a two-game suspended dugout ban was imposed for post-match comments aimed at a Ross County player.
He is now resigned to that kicking-in after his latest fall-out with officialdom.
But he was still bemused by referee Iain Brines allowing Celtic striker Tony Watt back onto the field in the build-up to the Celtic goal.
“I assume the touchline ban will come into force. We’ll just have to wait and see,” said Lomas.