Celtic winger James Forrest to have ankle surgery as Kristoffer Ajer awaits scan results
The problem, sustained in the Europa League victory in Riga on September 24, has not healed as was hoped, and will now require remedial action that could keep the Scotland attacker out for another six week.
“James requires surgery, so that will hopefully take place next week and get that tidied up but he'll be out for a period of time,” said the Celtic manager. “I don't know how long, it will depend on how successful the surgery is.”
Forrest’s continued absence will be keenly felt by the Parkhead club. In the past two seasons, he netted 34 goals and contributed 44 assists. As Celtic look to move within one game of a quadruple treble in facing Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final, the 28-year-old’s unavailability will deprive them of the performer who has make the most telling contribution to their record 34 consecutive cup tie victories, through playing in 30 of them and claiming 15 goals and nine assists in doing so.
“Of course he is a big miss,” said Lennon. “He's a brilliant player, whether it be for club or country, and he's had such a fantastic period over the last three or four years whether it be goals or assists. It's a huge blow to us and he's difficult to replace. At the moment, we are going with Moi [Mohamed Elyounoussi] and Ryan [Christie] in the wider areas. Mikey [Johnston] is still a bit away from being fully fit, so having James out is a huge blow.”Meanwhile, Kristoffer Ajer is awaiting the outcome of a scan being forced off during Thursday’s 2-2 draw with Lille with a groin strain that will keep him out of the semi-final.
“We haven't got clarity on the extent of the injury,” Lennon said. “We won't be able to determine how long he’ll be out until we get the scan results. He’s been playing really well and I just think it's a culmination of a lot of games, a bit of muscle fatigue in there. [Hatem Abd] Elhamed has trained, [Nir] Bitton got half-an-hour in Lille, we've got [Shane] Duffy, so Elhamed will probably come back into the squad now.”
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