Carter-Vickers set to make Celtic return as Hoops look to bounce back

Brendan Rodgers is looking to get side back to winning ways after dropping down the table last week.

Cameron Carter-Vickers is set to return to action this weekend as Celtic look to put the disappointment of last week’s draw to Kilmarnock behind them and get back to winning ways.

The champions lost their place at the top of the Premiership with a 1-1 draw at home to Kilmarnock on Saturday as they were leapfrogged by Rangers.

But ahead of their game against Motherwell on Sunday they have been handed a defensive boost with the news that the USA international has returned from a hamstring injury suffered last month.

Alistair Johnston is also in contention to come back into the team as he returns from a head-knock.

The Hoops face the prospect of potentially being five points adrift of their city-rivals by kick-off at Fir Park with Philippe Clement’s men playing Hearts the day before.

So manager Brendan Rodgers knows it is vital they regain the kind of form that had them leading the pack for most of the campaign when they travel to North Lanarkshire.

And the news that Carter-Vickers, who has been a stalwart of the previous two league winning seasons, and Johnston are available again will represent a major boost.

Speaking to the media on Friday, Rodgers said: “Cameron will be available, Alistair Johnston as well, Odin Holm is also back after being out for the last game, so yeah those three are back in contention.

“When you have that level of player (of Carter-Vickers) that we have missed a lot over the course of the season, him coming back at this stage is very important for us.

“He brings a bit of authority and an assurance to the game for us, so hopefully he can stay injury-free for the rest of the season.”

Celtic have only lost two league games all season, with the last coming against Hearts in mid December, but it has been their inability to see games out that have cost them more points than they would have liked after throwing away leads against Aberdeen, Motherwell and Kilmarnock, for a second time this season, on Sunday.

Rodgers says they are aiming to improve that aspect of their game and insists they are only focusing on themselves, knowing if they want to retain their title they will have to improve on their recent performances.

He said: “We have had time to analyse the performance and the result, that no one wanted, but that’s what training is for, to analyse things. So we have went through it as a group.

“The players have been very good in training this week and we now look to take that into the game at the weekend.

“We can only focus on ourselves, because we can’t control anything that Rangers or any other team does, so we can only focus on our own importance.

“We are not top of the league anymore because of ourselves, and the points that we have dropped, so we have to learn from that and improve our own performance and that’s what the next 12 games will be about, because it is still in our hands.

“It’s about having intensity and consistency in our game, creating opportunities and taking them and in the latter stages it’s about seeing games out and how we manage those situations. So we are looking at specific moments within the games where we can be better.

“We have had eight wins and two draws and it feels like we have had eight losses and two draws, but there has still been a lot of good within the games, it’s just when the result and performance disappoints it doesn’t give you a good feeling.

“My job, along with the coaches, is to train the players, stay positive and keep that mentality and look to be better in our next game.”

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