Celtic duo Maeda and Carter-Vickers return to squad for Hearts clash

John Kennedy revealed that other long term injuries are sill a few weeks away.

Celtic duo Daizen Maeda and Cameron Carter-Vickers will return to the squad for this weekend’s visit of Hearts as they return to Premiership action.

The return of the first-team regulars will be a welcome boost for the champions as try to get back to winning ways in the league following last week’s defeat at Rugby Park.

Both were missing for the game at Kilmarnock and the midweek win over Feyenoord in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Maeda has been out for six weeks after suffering a knee injury in the 6-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid, while Carter-Vickers sat out the last two-and-a-half games with a hamstring issue.

However John Kennedy also revealed that other long-term injuries Liel Abada and Reo Hatate are still a bit away from making their return.

Speaking to the media on Friday, in the absence of Brendan Rodgers, assistant manager Kennedy said: “They will both come into the squad, they are good.

“(Liel) Abada is still working through rehab, he is probably a couple of weeks away, and Reo (Hatate) is slightly behind him. Other than that we are pretty good.”

If they take all three points against Steven Naismith’s men at Celtic Park on Saturday then they will extend their lead at the top of the table to eight points, albeit with Rangers, who are playing the League Cup final on Sunday, having two games in hand.

But if they fail to beat Hearts then the Ibrox side will have a chance to go top of the league in the Old Firm game on December 30 if they win all their three Premiership fixtures before then.

However Kennedy said they are just focusing on their performance levels rather than worrying too much about the points difference at this stage.

He said: “For us it’s just about focusing on performances, and not get drawn in to ‘you must win every game’ or the pressure and everything else that’s by the by and in the background.

“We just need to focus on our performances and make sure everyone is on the same page and doing their jobs and we know when we do that and put in good performances the points will come anyway.”

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