CELTIC right-back Alistair Johnston is struggling to be fit in time for the season’s kick-off against Ross County at Parkhead on Saturday August 5.

The Canadian World Cup defender has yet to begin training with Brendan Rodgers’ squad after returning from international duty with an injury.

Johnston started his nation’s games against Panama and the USA, but lasted only an hour against the Americans before limping off with an ankle knock, according to a report in the Scottish Sun.

CRUNCH…Alistair Johnston is on the receiving end of a determined challenge from Nico Raskin.

Coach John Herdman admitted the player was “carrying an injury” and a month after sustaining the problem, the 24-year-old back-four operator is still struggling.

Johnston limped off during the champions’ 1-0 Scottish Cup semi-final win over Michael Beale’s Ibrox side on April 30. He was involved in an accidental clash with Borna Barisic and had to be replaced with Anthony Ralston only nine minutes into the second-half.

He missed four consecutive matches before coming back for the last Premiership hurrah against Aberdeen, but was taken off in the 64th minute of the 5-0 success with the Scotland international once again getting the nod to take over.

CHEERS…Alistair Johnston celebrates his third medal in five months with Celtic as he holds the Scottish Cup after the 3-1 win over Inverness Caley Thistle last month.

Johnston played the entire 90 minutes of the 3-1 Scottish Cup Final triumph over Inverness Caley Thistle at Hampden on June 3 that sealed the world record eighth treble.

However, a setback while on duty with Canada could force him onto the sidelines and miss out of Rodgers’ return and the team’s launch into the 2023/24 campaign.

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