CALLUM McGREGOR may be on track for a qicker return to the first team that inititally anticipated.

It was feared the Celtic skipper could be out for six to eight weeks after sustaining a dreadful facial injury in the 2-1 Scottish Cup win over the bruisers of Alloa at the weekend.

McGregor didn’t even last until half-time when he had to be replaced by James McCarthy after being clattered by Andy King in a mid-air clash. That led to the Hoops anchorman, clearly groggy after the ferocious challenge from his opponent, being led from the field.

The Scotland international will miss tomorrow night’s match against Hearts at Tynecastle and is still rated extremely doubtful for the home meeting with Dundee United on Saturday and the visit of Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Ibrox side four nights later.

DOWN…Callum McGregor is grounded after the collision of heads.

AND OUT…Ange Postecoglou looks concerned as he Celtic skipper is forced to come off.

Reflecting on his onfield leader’s injury setback, Postecoglou, speaking to Celtic TV, said: “I think he’s better today.

“Straight after the game, he had a slight concussion, so he wasn’t in a great shape. But I exchanged messages with him yesterday and he feels a bit better which is great. Hopefully, his recovery doesn’t take too long.

“You always fear the worst at the time. You could see he was trying to stay up because he’s as brave as they come.

“So for him to come off I knew it was something significant.”

Unfortunately, Yosuke Ideguchi, who was forced off in the second-half after being caught on the ankle with a studs-up follow-through challenge from Muhamed Niang, could sit out the next few games after making his first start for the club.

OVER THE TOP…Yosuke Idegichi’s ankle takes the brunt of a wayward challenge from Alloa’s Muhamed Niang.

The Greek-Australian admitted the midfielder was “not great” and claimed referee Don Robertson should have delivered more serious punishment than a yellow card following the assault from the Senegalese international who had also been involved in the tackle that saw Liel Abada removed from the action 16 minutes earlier.

Postecoglou added: “I think I said after the game it didn’t look too serious, but, to be fair, I didn’t really get a good look at him.

“It was a terrible tackle and one that should have been addressed by the referee. Our player hasn’t come out of it too well and he’ll be missing for a little bit, as well. He is still pretty painful now.

“I knew it was significant. I was optimistic it wasn’t too bad, but, as everyone saw in the footage, the tackle should never have happened and it should have been addressed on the day.”




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