Brendan Rodgers hopes Cameron Carter-Vickers will be fit to face Rangers

The defender felt a tight hamstring in the win over Dundee.

Brendan Rodgers hopeful Cameron Carter-Vickers will be fit to face Rangers SNS Group

Brendan Rodgers is hopeful Cameron Carter-Vickers will brush off his Dens Park injury concern to face Rangers.

The Celtic manager also gave his strongest suggestion yet that Reo Hatate and Liel Abada could feature in Saturday’s derby.

The champions ensured they will go into the Parkhead clash on top of the cinch Premiership by beating Dundee 3-0 thanks to Paulo Bernardo’s first Celtic goal and substitute Mikey Johnston’s late double.

But the sight of Carter-Vickers walking off with the physio shortly after the 52nd-minute opener briefly curtailed the visiting fans’ celebrations.

The influential centre-back missed two-and-a-half games with a hamstring complaint earlier this month and Celtic fans will hope the latest issue does not lead to a similar outcome.

“He’s hopefully OK,” Rodgers said. “He felt a bit of tightness and we had said to him before that he didn’t need to be a hero. If he felt anything, just come off. We’re hoping he’s OK but we’ll find out in the next couple of days.”

Abada last played for Celtic in their victory at Ibrox on September 3 before suffering a thigh injury while training with Israel. Hatate has been out for two months with a hamstring injury.

“They could be around it,” Rodgers said. “It’s another thing being ready to start, of course. Liel looked really good on the field when he trained with the group (on Christmas Day).

“We kept him at home to do another session to build him up. We’ve missed his running, his goals. He’ll be brilliant for us for the second part of the season.

“Reo is at a good level but not a level to start. We’ll see how he goes over these next few days.

“He’s training hard, working well and it will be like having two new players when we get those two back.”

Celtic also saw Bernardo and Johnston give themselves a major morale boost. The on-loan Benfica midfielder poked home from close range before Johnston cut in from the left to fire his first Celtic goal since December 2019 and then added another following a one-two with Matt O’Riley.

Rodgers said: “For Paulo it was really, really good. He’s such a mature player for a young player.

“Mikey can make that impact. The challenge for Mikey was the fact that he had played a lot of games back to back, and he hasn’t done that much for Celtic.

“It can give him confidence. The beauty with Mikey is that he’s stayed fit. It’s up to him whether he’s going to be a Celtic player, but we keep working with him and we feel he can come into the game and make an impact.”

Celtic had 37 shots at goal and 23 corners but Dundee manager Tony Docherty felt his side had shown a good defensive structure in the first half.

“It was important that we kept that defensive structure but I just felt they had a couple of chances just before that making those trademark Celtic runs down the side, and they get their goal,” he said. “I thought it was really fortunate.

“But once they get that first goal, then you see Celtic and the quality they bring off the bench. They are a real quality team.”

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