CELTIC boss Neil Lennon has been hit by a savage double injury setback.
CHRISTOPHER JULLIEN, who injured a knee in a collision with a post in the 3-0 win over Dundee United on December 30, could face another “six to nine months” on the sidelines.
JAMES FORREST, who hasn’t figured since sustaining an ankle knock in Rigia September, is now behind his scheduled comeback date.
CQN broke the news this morning that defender Jullien’s season was over as he headed back to France for rehab. However, it is even worse than was first feared.
Our exclusive tale scuppered any thoughts of a comeback for the 27-year-old centre-back this season.
At the time of the injury against the Tannadice club, the Parkhead boss admitted: “It’s a bad injury, we are going to lose him for a period of time, perhaps three or four months.”
But that has been obliterated by a new timescale of six to nine months as the French ace could also be forced to sit out a large chunk of next term when Euro qualifiers will be due.
Lennon, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “Christopher is out for a long period of time – maybe six to nine months and he’s gone back to do some rehab in France.”
Losing winger Forrest for five months was another devastating blow and it was hoped he might even win a place in the squad for Sunday’s trip to Dingwall for the 7.30pm kick-off against Ross County.
However, such a notion has been put on ice while Scotland manager Steve Clarke will also be keeping an eye on his progress as he puts his squad together for the Euro clashes against England, Croatia and the Czech Republic in June.
Lennon added: “He’ll be fit enough when the Euros come around and, hopefully, he’ll have enough games to put himself in people’s thinking.
“In terms of the timescale, he’s had a wee bit of a setback in his rehab, so we’ll keep an eye on that and scrutinise it as closely as we can.
“We want him to come back fresh and hit the ground running because he’s been out for a long time and it’s been a real body blow for him and for us.
“I can’t give you a timescale on it, but it shouldn’t be too far in the near future.
“We’re hoping he might begin training next week and if that’s the case he might need a week or two to get adjusted in training sharpness, the cardiovascular work that’s involved with that.
“And then you might see him in squads again.”
Shane Duffy and Mohamed Elyounoussi have sustained knocks and will be assessed before the journey to the Highlands.