McGregor has 'a very good chance' of returning for Ibrox clash

The Celtic captain will miss this weekend's game against Livingston.

Callum McGregor has ‘a very good chance’ of returning for Rangers clash SNS Group

Celtic captain Callum McGregor has a “very good chance” of making his return from injury against Rangers at Ibrox next weekend.

However the midfielder, who has missed recent games with an Achilles injury, won’t be part of the squad that takes on Livingston at Almondvale on Sunday.

The influential 30-year-old has been a big miss for club and country since he was taken off at half-time in the 7-1 win over Dundee.

He missed the 2-0 defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle and both of Scotland’s friendly defeats to Northern Ireland and The Netherlands.

He has now returned to training but will not be risked on the artificial surface of the Tony Macaroni Arena on Sunday.

Speaking to the media on Friday, manager Brendan Rodgers said: “Callum has been out on the field, but we are not risking him in this game. But he should hopefully re-join training next week.”

When asked if he still had a chance of facing Rangers seven days later, the Celtic manager said: “Yes, a very good chance.”

Reo Hatate is set to make his return after playing only 19 minutes for Celtic since October. The Japan midfielder briefly returned from a hamstring injury at the start of the year only to suffer calf problems during the Asian Cup.

Cameron Carter-Vickers is also expected to play after being left out of the United States squad amid ongoing hamstring issues but Celtic could again be without wingers Yang Hyun-jun and Luis Palma, the latter of whom has a calf injury.

Rodgers said: “Cameron is fine, Reo Hatate is back and available in the squad, which is great news. He has worked very hard, he played a bounce game in the time off and he has built up his fitness.

“Yang has come back (from South Korea duty) with a bit of tightness so we just need to make sure that’s nothing more serious. He played two 60 minutes and a 30 minutes when he was away, so he has come back a little bit tight. We just have to check and make sure he is OK.

“Luis Palma will probably just miss out on this weekend but will hopefully be available soon.”

Rodgers admits Livingston’s artificial pitch comes into his thinking when making his team selection.

“You certainly have to consider it,” he said. “Like, for example Callum, you have to think along that route.

“There’s no doubt it comes into your thinking, especially on the back of an international break when players have been travelling.

“I think we are all hopeful in the future that we will have quality grass pitches here that the supporters can see the best possible game they can, but at this moment we play on the plastic pitch so we have to deal with that.

“Of course that means we have to think about team selection and the welfare of the player, and obviously from Callum’s perspective it’s probably too much of a risk for us.”

Celtic lead the Premiership pack by a single point as the league returns to action this weekend, but they could find themselves back in second spot by kick-off on Sunday if Rangers, who also have a game in hand, beat Hibernian at Ibrox on Saturday.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in