Celtic duo Reo Hatate and Cameron Carter-Vickers both face a spell on the sidelines in a new injury blow for the club.
The Hoops will be without the pair for around six and three-weeks respectively as they look to retain their Premiership and Scottish Cup titles.
Japan international Hatate was taken off during their Asian Cup win over Bahrain earlier this week and will be out for action for around a month and a half.
The midfielder, a key member of Ange Postecoglou’s treble winning side last season, has barely featured for the league leaders this season after a string of injury problems.
Meanwhile Carter-Vickers, who has also suffered a series of injuries this season, will miss the next three weeks after picking up an injury in training.
The defender’s injury meant a potential loan move for Gustaf Lagerbielke was kiboshed over fears of cover in the backline.
Meanwhile Hatate being sidelined could prove to be a source of frustration with fellow midfielder David Turnbull leaving for Cardiff City on transfer deadline day.
However Callum McGregor, Matt O’Riley and Paulo Bernardo have been the first choice three for Brendan Rodgers for most of this campaign.
Speaking to the press on Friday, the manager said on Hatate: “It looks like he has actually done both calves, from what I have seen, so he is probably going to be five to six weeks.
“Another part of this season where we have had no luck from an injury perspective to our top players. He will be back very soon and we will start treatment and get him back as soon as we can.”
The Celtic boss also confirmed he had prevented Lagerbielke moving on loan to Lecce after Carter-Vickers experienced further aggravation of recent injury problems after last weekend’s win over Ross County.
The centre-back has suffered several lay-offs this term with a hamstring problem after missing pre-season amid his rehabilitation from knee surgery.
Rodgers said: “The medical team are saying probably around three weeks.”
Hatate’s injury did not prevent Celtic selling Turnbull, who had six months left on his contract to the Welsh club playing in the English Championship, and Rodgers explained that was a different circumstance to his defensive situation.
“It goes back to the summer, knowing where David was at in his thinking.
“Obviously he was in the last year of his contract so I felt it was best for us and for him to get out and play.
“He has done well here. It hasn’t worked out quite how he wanted it to, but he is a good guy, he worked very hard and now he will have the chance to have a permanent place to play.”
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