STEPHEN WELSH has been given the green light to re-join training with the Celtic first team.

The centre-back has been crocked since a freak training ground accident in mid-August just hours after penning a four-year extension to his contract.

At the start of the season, Welsh answered an SOS from the champions when Brendan Rodgers pitched him after half-time in the second Premiership game of the campaign against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

The 23-year-old academy graduate was given the nod to line up alongside new Bhoy Maik Nawrocki against the Dons after Cameron Carter-Vickers had been forced to call off during the interval with a muscular problem.

SMILES BETTER…Stephen Welsh and keeper Joe Hart with the Premiership trophy last season.

Welsh rose to the challenge and played his part as the visitors claimed three points in a 3-1 win with goals from Liel Abada, Kyogo Furuhashi and Matt O’Riley.

However, the former Scotland Under-21 international captain damaged ankle ligaments during a training routine as he prepared for the Viaplay League Cup-tie against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park thw following weekend and has been out ever since.

Now Welsh is on the way back and his timing will be be welcomed by Rodgers who will soon have all his central defenders fit and available for selection, as CQN reported earlier today.

Carter-Vickers has returned from his hamstring setback, Liam Scales has been outstanding since being pressed into first-team duty and Gustaf Lagerbielke and Nawrocki, joint £7.3million recruits in the summer, are also getting back to peak fitness.

On the minus side, though, the champions could be without Reo Hatate for the remainder of the year although there is hope Liel Abada will be okay to resume by the middle of next month.

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