Celtic manager Neil Lennon has provided a positive update on the fitness of two players ahead of tonight’s Europa League group match against Rennes at Parkhead.
Speaking in his pre-game press conference yesterday, Lennon confirmed that left-back Greg Taylor is “ready to play” and winger Mikey Johnston is “also available for selection”, with the updates provided by the club’s official Twitter account @CelticFC.
One confirmed absentee for the visit of the Ligue 1 club, however, is Jonny Hayes (as per @CelticFC), with the Irishman dislocating his shoulder in last week’s win over Livingston, as tweeted by @ScotlandSky.
Taylor’s availability has come at a very opportune time for Celtic, with stand-in left-back Hayes ruled out and the more regular Boli Bolingoli missing through a hamstring injury since limping off in the Betfred Cup semi-final against Hibernian at the start of the month, as per Video Celts.
Taylor, who signed from Kilmarnock on transfer deadline day, has made just two appearances for the Hoops so far, starting against St. Mirren a month ago and coming on for Hayes against Livingston last weekend (as per TransferMarkt).
While no strong judgement can yet be made on the 22-year-old given his lack of game-time, Ryan Brown of Read Celtic noted that he had “spent most of his time well forward but looked strong at the back when called upon” on his Hoops debut against St. Mirren.
The 20-year-old has been out of action for nearly three months with a thigh problem but he featured regularly in the Hoops’ Champions League and Europa League qualifiers, and with Lennon’s team already through to the knockout stage, tonight’s match should provide a relatively comfortable environment in which to get him back into action after his lengthy layoff.
Having Taylor and Johnston available for tonight’s match is a positive not just in itself but even more so in the context of injuries to other players in their respective positions.
With the pressure off due to Celtic booking their passage to the last 32 in the win at Lazio three weeks ago, this seems the perfect game for the duo to get valuable minutes ahead of a packed December with nine fixtures in 29 days.
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