Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has maintained his team will not be starved of goals if Leigh Griffiths is ruled out of tomorrow’s first league derby against Rangers at Parkhead in four years. The club’s top scorer appears increasingly likely to be sidelined with the hamstring problem that forced him to miss Scotland’s win in Malta.
If that happens Rodgers could pitch Moussa Dembele into the central striker role, or switch Scott Sinclair into the middle and utilise fit-again Patrick Roberts in the wide area Sinclair would vacate.
Griffiths’ long-term health will be prioritised over patching the player up only three days before Celtic’s Champions League opener in Barcelona.
“He’s trained this week and Thursday was a light day and he was just away getting a scan on the injury,” Rodgers said of the player’s absence from training yesterday.
“We’ll see how that is over the next 24 hours. If he does [miss the game], it will obviously be a big disappointment.
“But I go back to when I first came in here and I mentioned the possible over-reliance on Leigh. What I needed to get was goals from different people and different areas of the field.
“You can see Scott Sinclair has goals, James Forrest has three from three in the league, Moussa Dembele has played and scored, Tom Rogic is scoring... and even Scott Brown.
“That’s important and, if Leigh doesn’t make it, we have to ensure he is going to be ready for the season rather than put a big risk into him.”
Philippe Senderos could be pitched into his competitive debut for Rangers at Celtic Park despite playing less than an hour of organised football in the past three months.
The 31-year-old Swiss central defender is being seriously considered by Rangers manager Mark Warburton for a starting role after playing for 56 minutes in a testimonial match against Linfield in Belfast last Saturday.
That was the former Arsenal player’s first action since a friendly for Switzerland against Belgium at the end of May. But Warburton has been impressed by the fitness levels displayed by Senderos.
“He is certainly up for selection,” said Warburton. “We will choose from a party of 19 players for Saturday and Philippe is definitely in contention.”
With Danny Wilson’s availability uncertain because of a calf injury, Senderos could partner Rob Kiernan in central defence.
Rangers captain Lee Wallace is expected to be fit having recovered from the muscle problem which prompted him to withdraw from the Scotland squad. Warburton’s selection options have also been bolstered by the return to fitness of midfielder Jason Holt and last season’s top scorer Martyn Waghorn.