Brendan Rodgers has revealed he is “seriously” considering signing a new striker after fresh fitness concerns were raised over Leigh Griffiths.
The Celtic manager previously indicated he was happy to continue with Griffiths and Moussa Dembele – currently sidelined with a hamstring injury – beyond the current transfer window as he did not see any need for a third striker.
But with Griffiths again experiencing problems with a calf strain, which restricted him to a substitute appearance in last night’s 1-0 Premiership win over Partick Thistle at Firhill, Rodgers has had a change of heart.
“I will definitely have to look at it a little closer now,” he said. “My vision is to have two strikers available and fit, pushing each other. If there’s an unavailability and it’s consistent, then I need to seriously look at that.
“The guys are doing great for us. You look at the games they have come through so far. James Forrest is doing great at times, Tom Rogic has played up front as well. But the dynamic of the team is obviously better when you have a number nine who can actually play the role.
“We wanted Leigh to get 90 minutes tonight but his calf was playing up again. That’s always the danger sign. Our plan was to give him 60 minutes against Hearts last Saturday, 60 to 70 against Kilmarnock on Tuesday then try to get him towards 90 tonight in preparation for Astana next in the Champions League.
“But after the Kilmarnock game he felt tightness in his calf on the Wednesday. You always have to be careful with that. So we assessed it and thought it was maybe too big a risk. He felt fine this morning, so he got his half hour at the end of the game.”
Rodgers is also believed to have revisited the possibility of adding central defensive reinforcements to his squad. It’s understood Celtic are interested in highly rated South African international Rivaldo Coetzee, 20, who is with Ajax Cape Town.
Celtic had to survive a late scare last night before securing all three points against Thistle thanks to Olivier Ntcham’s first goal for the club.
Jags manager Alan Archibald felt his side were denied the chance to earn a point in stoppage time when referee Andrew Dallas turned down penalty claims after Miles Storey, signed earlier in the day from Aberdeen, fell under a Nir Bitton challenge.
“It’s a foul anywhere else on the pitch,” said Archibald. “So I don’t know why he has not given it. It is a big call because it is the last minute of the game against Celtic but we got a penalty the other night and I don’t think we will get two penalties in four days. We have had about three in three years.”