Celtic manager Neil Lennon will likely have to plan without defender Jozo Simunovic for the club’s next two matches due to injury.
The Scottish Sun reported that the 25-year-old is set to undergo further checks on a knee problem that caused him to miss the Hoops’ last two matches against AIK and Rangers.
According to The Scottish Sun, the centre-back will miss Celtic’s trip to Hamilton in the Premiership on Saturday and is highly unlikely to be in the squad for next week’s Europa League group stage match in Rennes.
Simunovic’s absence adds to the catalogue of defensive injury problems with which Lennon has already had to cope this season.
Nir Bitton, who has played at centre-back in his last four Premiership games, limped off with a hamstring problem during the recent win at Rangers and is likely to miss most of September, as reported by The Scottish Sun.
Summer signing Hatem Abd Elhamed, who has played at right-back for Celtic but can also operate in the centre of defence, incurred a dead leg on his debut against St. Johnstone last month and missed the 5-2 win over Motherwell with a minor muscle problem.
While the spate of defensive injuries has limited Celtic’s options at the back, at least Christopher Jullien goes into this weekend off the back of an excellent display against Rangers, one which led The Sun‘s Derek McGregor to say that he was “imperious in the air, especially in [the] closing stages with Celts under pressure”.
Simunovic’s injury blow has come at an inopportune time for Lennon, who was already without Ajer and Bitton for Saturday’s trip to Hamilton.
With O’Connor inexperienced and Jack Hendry frozen out of the team since February, Lennon could go with a centre-back pairing of Jullien and Abd Elhamed at New Douglas Park, with the latter’s right-back slot possibly going to recent arrival Moritz Bauer.
Celtic fans, how big a blow is Simunovic’s absence in the wake of other injuries and what would be your defensive line-up for the Hamilton game? Share your views in the comments section below!
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