DEDRYCK BOYATA could have played his last game for Celtic. The Belgium defender limped off midway through the second half at Hampden on Sunday having been in the wars with his head-clash with his former team-mate Gary Mackay Steven and having also suffering a thigh injury.
His eventual day had its highlights too, including getting a wonderful assist for the only goal of the game. Boyata’s 40 yard pass to Ryan Christie was inch perfect and cut the resolute Aberdeen defence wide open.
Now though, The Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed that Boyata had suffered a hamstring injury in the Cup Final and will be out for the next few weeks.
That’s a massive blow for Celtic ahead of crucial league games and also the Europa League ‘decider’ against Salzburg next Thursday, where the Scottish Champions need a draw to ensure qualification.
And with the winter break beginning after the game at Ibrox on 29 December, Boyata will be free to speak to clubs and offers are likely to arrive, including one from Fulham.
That could see Boyata leave in January ahead of Celtic’s match against Airdrie in the Scottish Cup, towards the end of next month.
Rodgers though is not yet ready to give up all hope of getting the player to sign a new deal at Celtic but as we reported this morning – see HERE – that is looking unlikely.
Brendan has been speaking to the media today at his usual pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow evening’s trip to play Motherwell at Fir Park.
“Motherwell is always a tough game for us. We’ll go there looking to win. Dedryck will unfortunately miss out as he has a hamstring strain,” Brendan stated.
If The Celtic manager is concerned about the Rangers moving to the top of the league on Sunday with their controversial win over Hearts at Tynecastle, he wasn’t showing it. Unlike the Ibrox club, Brendan realises that they have played a game more than the Champions.
“We’re in a really good position as a team. We’ve won a cup and done well in Europe, therefore we’ve played less in the league,” Brendan pointed out.
As always Brendan was full of praise for the hunger shown by his players in every game, including of course at the weekend.
“We’re always hungry for more. It’s a testament to the players who want to learn more all the time.
“The players take confidence from their training. You can see that in how we like to play and how that reflects on the field.”
And putting the chat on the 7th consecutive trophy won since he took over in the summer of 2016, Rodgers wanted to thank everyone on the park and behind the scenes at Celtic, before turning his – and their – focus to the 8th and 9th trophies which are there to be won this season. That and the chance to progress in Europa League of course where after two fine wins on the bounce Celtic are in pole position to beat RB Leipzig to the second qualifying spot.
That, frankly, looked rather unlikely after the German Red Bull side’s win over Celtic a month or so ago.
“I’m thankful to everyone here at the club who helped to make it all happen. I’m obviously proud but I don’t want to dwell on it because there’s so much more we want to achieve,” Brendan said.