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DUFFY OUT, ELHAMED STANDS BY

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SHANE DUFFY will be missing from the Celtic squad for tomorrow night’s rearranged Premiership fixture with Hibs at Parkhead.

The Republic of Ireland central defender left the champions’ warm-weather training camp early to deal with a personal family matter and will not be considered for the visit of the Edinburgh outfit.

Makeshift centre-back Nir Bitton, red-carded in the 1-0 loss at Ibrox last weekend, is suspended to pile the problems on boss Neil Lennon as he prepares for a must-win confrontation with the Hoops 22 points behind Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox outfit who beat 10-man Aberdeen 2-1 at Pittodrie this afternoon.

Christopher Jullien is likely to be out for the remainder of the campaign following his knee injury sustained in the 3-0 win over Dundee United just before the turn of the year.

Lennon may bring in right-back Hatem Abd Elhamed to play alongside Kristoffer Ajer in a reshuffled rearguard with Jeremie Frimpong and Diego Laxalt on the flanks.

The Hoops cannot afford to make any mistakes and asked if the team were capable of going on a 19-game unbeaten run to be in with a chance of their tenth successive title, assistant boss John Kennedy, speaking to Sky Sports News, answered: “It has got to be the mindset. There is nothing else for it.

“We have got to approach it as positively as we possibly can. We know the situation is difficult, we know the challenge, but we will never, never lay down and allow things just to pass.

“We are going to attack it and go with real purpose and drive to try and turn it around and, hopefully, at the end of the season we can be in a better place and sit down and look at it then.”

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