CELTIC have been hit by a hammer blow with Reo Hatate ruled out for a number of weeks with a hamstring problem.

The Japanese international midfielder, who has just returned to top form, limped off in the early moments of the Hoops’ 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid at Parkhead in midweek.

Brendan Rodgers will now have to plan ahead – starting with tomorrow afternoon’s match against Hibs at Easter Road – but the Irishman does not have a time period for Hatate before the player will again be available for selection.

On-loan Benfica star Paulo Bernardo came on as a substitute against the Spanish cracks while David Turnbull, who kicked off the season in the first team, remained on the bench.

GRIM-FACED…Brendan Rodgers confirms the Reo Hatate news at the media conference. Image courtesy Sky Sports.

Hatate, 25, had just recovered from a similar injury in August that kept him out of the team for the 1-0 win at Ibrox in early September, but he came back to start the Champions League opener against Feyenoord in Rotterdam 16 days later.

The playmaker will almost certainly miss the second leg of the double-header against Diego Simeone’s side in the Spanish capital a week on Tuesday.

Rodgers, speaking to Sky Sports, revealed: “No definitive timeline, but he will definitely be out for a few weeks.

“We are waiting for it to settle down, waiting for the result and we will see where he is at. But it looked quite a bad one.

“If you watch the game, the first 35 seconds he has overstretched and he’s felt it very early on.

“It’s such a shame for him, it’s a different one, but he was out with a hamstring last year. It’s the other one this time.”

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