Celtic suffer hammer blow as nature of Daizen Maeda injury explained - forward in race to face Rangers

The Japanese forward injured his knee in the incident that led to his red card against Atletico Madrid

Celtic forward Daizen Maeda faces six weeks out after suffering a knee injury in the challenge that earned him a red card against Atletico Madrid.

The Japanese was sent off just 23 minutes into the Champions League group-stage match in the Spanish capital, which Celtic lost 6-0. Maeda was judged to have committed a dangerous foul on Mario Hermoso, catching him on the shin, with VAR advising that a dismissal was an appropriate sanction. It has now emerged, however, that Maeda strained medial knee ligaments that will sideline him for nearly the rest of the year.

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Speaking in his broadcast press conference, Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said: “Daizen will probably be up to six weeks out with the injury from the challenge. He has strained his medial knee ligament. If he was in stronger in the challenge he probably wouldn’t have had the injury. The clash of feet has just opened up the knee ligament. It’s a big shame for us because he has been brilliant for me since I came here.”

Maeda is likely to miss Celtic’s remaining Champions League matches against Lazio and Feyenoord and faces a race to be fit for the next Old Firm clash against Rangers on December 30.