Celtic 'hopeful' Cameron Carter-Vickers will face Rangers as Liel Abada and Reo Hatate chances rated

Celtic's Cameron Carter-Vickers goes off injured during the 3-0 win at Dundee. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)Celtic's Cameron Carter-Vickers goes off injured during the 3-0 win at Dundee. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Celtic's Cameron Carter-Vickers goes off injured during the 3-0 win at Dundee. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers offers injury update after the 3-0 win at Dundee

Brendan Rodgers is hopeful Cameron Carter-Vickers will be fit to face Rangers on Saturday after the defender limped off near the start of the second half in the champions’ 3-0 win over Dundee.

Paulo Bernardo’s first for the club and a late double from substitute Mikey Johnston restored Celtic’s five-point advantage over Rangers, having played two games more. The Ibrox side will have the chance to go ahead of Celtic this weekend providing they beat Ross County in midweek.

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Saturday's Old Firm clash at Celtic Park has the potential to be the defining clash of the season. Rodgers was not only optimistic that Carter-Vickers would be involved, but he also expects to name both Reo Hatate and Liel Abada among the substitutes. The latter hasn’t played since the 1-0 win over Rangers in September while Hatate has been out since October.

“He’s hopefully OK,” said Rodgers, with reference to Carter-Vickers. “He felt a bit of tightness (in his hamstring) and we had said to him before that he didn’t need to be a hero. If he felt anything, just come off. We’re hoping he’s OK but we’ll find out in the next couple of days.”

As for Hatate and Ababa, who trained at Lennoxtown while the team were in Dundee, he said “they could be around it” when asked whether the pair could feature against Rangers. Rodgers added: “It’s [another] thing being ready to start, of course. Liel looked really good on the field when he trained with the group last night. We kept him at home to do another session to build him up. We’ve missed his running, his goals. He’ll be brilliant for us for the second part of the season.

“Reo is at a good level but not a level to start. We’ll see how he goes over these next few days. He’s training hard, working well and it will be like having two new players when we get those two back.”

Although both will be significant additions to the first-team pool, Johnston’s re-emergence is timely. He scored his first Celtic goal for four years and added another for good measure six minutes later to complete the scoring at Dens.

“The challenge for Mikey was the fact that he had played a lot of games back to back, and he hasn’t done that much for Celtic,” said Rodgers. “The intensity, demand and expectation can become difficult, but he can certainly come off the bench and make an impact.

“It can give him confidence. The beauty with Mikey is that he’s stayed fit. It’s up to him whether he’s going to be a Celtic player, but we keep working with him and we feel he can come into the game and make an impact. We were really pleased for him to get the two goals.”



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