BRENDAN RODGERS is facing a double dilemma as he prepares for Celtic’s return to action against Ross County at Parkhead on Saturday.

The Hoops boss is sweating over the fitness of central defenders Carl Starfelt and new Bhoy Maik Nawrocki ahead of the big day in the east end of Glasgow when the champions will unfurl their eleventh Premiership flag in 12 years at a sell-out stadium.

Both the Swede and the Pole missed the 1-1 draw with Wolves at the Aviva Stadium yesterday where Rodgers went with Stephen Welsh and Liam Scales as his partnership in front of Joe Hart.

IRISH EYES…Brendan Rodgers pays careful attention to the action at the Aviva Stadium.

The Irishman is hoping to assess their fitness levels in James Forrest’s testimonial game against Spanish aces Atheltic Bilbao on Tuesday night before he plans for the 12.30pm kick-off against Malky Mackay’s Highlanders.

Neither Starfelt nor Nawrocki, who sealed a £4.3million move from Legia Warsaw during the week, travelled to Dublin for the friendly encounter against the Midlands outfit where Kyogo Furuhashi opened the scoring and the English top-flight side equalised five minutes from time through a dodgy penalty-kick.

Rodgers is already without left-sided Japanese star Yuki Kobayashi until late August while Cameron Carter-Vickers, who missed the remaining six games of last season following a knee operation, was also a no-show against the Molineux side.

There is a chance the World Cup pivot will get a chance of a comeback against Bilbao. Anthony Ralston has returned to training, but, of course, Alistair Johnston will remain on the sidelines for the early matches after sustaining a pre-season injury in action for Canada against the USA.

DEBUT DELAYED…Maik Nawrocki’s hopes of an early appearance against Wolves were scuppered.

Rodgers, speaking to The Scottish Sun, revealed: “Carl twisted his ankle, so he couldn’t travel. Hopefully, he’ll be okay for Tuesday.

“Kobayashi will be out for a few weeks. He obviously got injured in one of the games in Japan.

“Maik tweaked his ankle before he trained with us, but we’re hoping he will be okay for Tuesday.

“Hopefully, Tony and Cam won’t be too far away. They’ve come back training with the squad. It was too soon for them to play.

“They’ll be back with us in the morning for training and then we’ll see where they’re at for Tuesday.”


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