MOUSSA DEMBELE is OUT of both matches against Rosenborg and is now involved in a race against time to be fit to play any part in the two legs against AEK Athens that follow, should Celtic overcome the Norwegian Champions for the second successive season.
Brendan Rodgers confirmed the bad news this afternoon on the official Celtic website.
“Moussa will be out for a few weeks,” the manager revealed.
“Thankfully it’s not a longer-term hamstring. Sometimes these things can be six to eight weeks but it’s not that – it’s two to three weeks maximum. It was unfortunate for him as he’s looked very fit in pre-season.”
There’s better news however on fellow French striker Odsonne Edouard who also gave his manager an injury scare in last week’s 3-0 win over Alashkert.
“We had a scare with Odsonne as well and he only just re-joined training on Monday,” Brendan continued.
“After the game, his knee had swollen up. He hadn’t trained for a few days but he looked fine on Monday in training.
“Whether Odsonne is up there on his own or he’s playing with someone, he’s already proven, he can play the role really well.”
Rodgers was speaking to The Celtic View and was eager to point out the intensity of training that has had to go in to get the players ready for these vital summer challenges.
“It’s such a difficult period of the season as you’re having to get players to a level of fitness, whilst trying to put together a team that can cohesively work together to gain results in arguably your biggest games.
“It’s a very tough period and also difficult for the teams in the Betfred Cup as they’re virtually being judged straight away as the season has just started, and the players aren’t clearly at their highest levels of fitness.
“We have periodised our programme, knowing the intensity of the games we’d be playing. Bear in mind we also played a lot of the game last week with 10 men, so it gave us a chance to work on things, and we go into the game on Wednesday fully prepared.”
Meanwhile Leigh Griffiths and Jonny Hayes, who both picked up injuries at the start of pre-season, are expected to return to training later this week.