SCOTT BROWN is struggling to be fit in time for Celtic’s crucial Champions League clash with Bayern Munich after being ruled out of Scotland’s World Cup double-header next week.
Brendan Rodgers warned Hoops fans their influential skipper could be sidelined for the massive night against the Bundesliga giants in Germany on October 18.
Stuart Armstrong is also a doubt and will miss the decisive international encounters against Slovakia on Thursday and Slovenia a week tomorrow.
The Parkhead gaffer said: “I’m obviously disappointed for them, on both fronts. The frustration is they are not like six-week injuries. They are injuries which are probably a few weeks, all being well.
“It’s so unlucky for us in terms of their availability for the Hibs game, but also for Scotland, which is a huge loss.
“Scott’s injury is a recurrence of one he suffered 18 months ago at the top of his hamstring. It’s really, really unfortunate. We would hope to have him back for Bayern – if not, then certainly by the Hibs semi-final.
“Listen, the rest is good, don’t get me wrong. Scott is not going to break his rhythm by coming out of the team. Every now and again you take him out of a game, which we did earlier on in the season.
“He will be fine by the time he comes back. It’s just unfortunate.”
Brown walked off towards the end of the 3-0 win in Brussels after feeling a tightening in the top of the league while Armstrong, a sub in the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, felt a weakness in his calf during the warm-up.
Rodgers has attempted to manage the fitness of both players in the midst of a hectic schedule of games, but insisted there was little he could do to prevent injuries no-one saw coming.
He added: “We have played a lot of games and people wonder why you make changes, but you’re always trying to manage the availability of a player.
“Someone like Broony is better in rhythm, so the more games he plays the better he is and his body is used to it.
“Stu is becoming a full international now and that’s not just a physical loading on him, but a mental loading, as well. I’ve tried to manage that since the summer, really, because we’ve had so many games.
“I took him out against Dundee and played him against Rangers and planned to give him a breather for part of the game against Anderlecht, introducing him into the game once it had opened up.
“I knew he could then play this weekend and be ready for the two Scotland games. You’re always trying to manage the physicality and the loading, so it’s really unfortunate.”