By Danny Mills

18th Sep, 2021 | 8:00am

McCarthy may not return to full fitness for Celtic until January after BBC man reveal - Mills

James McCarthy may not return to full fitness for Celtic until January, according to Danny Mills.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Premier League and England defender claimed McCarthy will be playing catch up to his Celtic teammates for the next few months.

The 30-year-old made his fourth appearance for the Hoops in the 4-3 defeat to Real Betis in the Europa League on Thursday night.

He is yet to make his full debut for Celtic after moving from Crystal Palace on a free transfer at the beginning of August – just after the season got underway.

BBC pundit Pat Bonner revealed ahead of the game, via 67 Hail Hail, that McCarthy had told him he had missed 16 days of action with Covid.

“One or two endurance athletes and footballers have struggled with covid and pushing their body to the limit on a daily basis,” Mills told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.

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“That can knock you back further than people believe it can. We all think we’re superhuman until we’re not.

“It could take time. Once you miss that pre-season you’re playing catch up. Everybody’s sharing up by playing in those matches. You’re still trying to get fit enough to play in those matches.

“You can end up a little bit behind. He’s a quality player, an experienced player. There’s no doubt he’ll work on everything he needs to work on, maybe do a bit extra in training.

“In the next couple of months, he should be able to get where he needs to be.”

In other news, Frank McAvennie has revealed what his Celtic sources have told me about him Dom McKay exit.