DAIZEN MAEDA is on the brink of getting the green light from Brendan Rodgers to make a quickfire return against Hearts at Parkhead tomorrow afternoon.

Originally, it was believed the Japanese speedster would be ruled out for the remainder of the season with his last appearance coming in the 3-3 draw at Ibrox last month.

Meada scored a breathtaking goal in only 21 SECONDS against Philippe Clement’s shell-shocked side. He played the entire 90 minutes-plus, but was diagnosed with a ligament problem afterwards and missed three consecutive matches.

The international wide Bhoy sat out the league wins over St Mirren (3-0) and Dundee (2-1) plus the 6-5 penalty-kick triumph over Aberdeen in the dramatic Scottish Cup semi-final just under a fortnight ago.

IN FOCUS…Daizen Maeda during training at Lennoxtown this morning.

Now, though, Maeda is back in the running and a delighted boss Rodgers, speaking to Sky Sports, said: “He’ll come into the squad at the weekend.

“The expectation that he was not going to be available was the initial thinking medically. But he’s recovered remarkably well.

“I think we all see he’s a specimen physically. He has got back and it’s good news for us.”

The champions have struggled in the wide areas with Nicolas Kuhn, Luis Palma and Yang Hyun-jun failing to convince in recent games where it has been left to the evergreen James Forrest to lead the way with vital goals against the Dons and at Dens Park.

Maeda put in a full training shift at Lennoxtown earlier today and gave every indication he would be ready for action if he gets the nod from his gaffer.

Rodgers, who today picked up the Manager of the Month Award for April, looked ahead to the visit of the Tynecastle club and said: “Hearts have done well this season. We played a very good game against them earlier in the season.

PRIZE GUY…Brendan Rodgers with his Manager of the Month for April award.

“For various reasons, the other two were not so good, but this is us at home now in the final stretch of the season, super-motivated and hungry to play well.

“If we can do that and play well, then we want to be able to pick up three points.

“The fans play a huge part and I think that has been the difference over the last few months – how everything has been connected – because they, along with ourselves, the staff, our connection to the team.

“It’s a real extension of what we see on the field and that support they give the team is unrivalled when everyone’s onside and they’re with us.

“So, to have that in three of the last four games at home will be special.”

Rodgers added: “It’s great for the supporters to dream, but, for us, what we really have to focus on is our job on the field. If we can do that, we can finish off and have a really good season.

THE CELTIC VIEW…Brendan Rodgers speaks to the media this afternoon.

“My focus is, firstly, the team. I need the team to peak. Of course, individual players have gained fitness, which is important, and I think this is the first time when we’ve had a clean bill of health which is absolutely brilliant.

“But, ultimately, it’s about how we function as a team which will determine where we finish.”

After the meeting with Hearts, the Hoops will prepare for the visit of Rangers a week later, then there will be a midweek match against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park before the final Premiership encounter of the crusade against St Mirren in Paradise on May 18.

A week later, an eventful season will come to a conclusion with the Scottish Cup showpiece showdown with Ibrox opposition at Hampden.

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