TOM ROGIC is ready to get the green light to make his first appearance for Celtic after being out for THREE months.
The stylish Australian international midfielder has not played for the Hoops since the 4-3 victory over Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Boxing Day.
However, Neil Lennon is lining up the playmaker to be prepared to meet Steven Gerrard’s men when they travel to Parkhead for the Premiership confrontation on March 31.
The Irishman signed Rogic, 26, from Central Coast Mariners six years ago in his first spell in charge at Parkhead.
However, Lennon, who is in interim charge of the team until the end of the season when his position will be reviewed, hasn’t had the opportunity to work with the Wizard of Oz since taking over from Brendan Rodgers after his sudden defection for mid-table Leicester City.
The champions wanted Rogic to be allowed to play at Ibrox before the turn of the year, but his nation insisted he joined them for their build-up to the Asian Games.
The player sustained a knee injury during that tournament that has ruled him out this year.
COMEBACK BHOY…Olivier Ntcham is poised to make his first appearance of 2019.
Rogic, though, is on course to make a comeback for his first outing in 2019 and it’s an identical situation with Olivier Ntcham who last performed in the disappointing 1-0 defeat at Ibrox.
The Frenchman damaged a hamstring during the club’s winter training camp in Dubai and hasn’t been seen since.
Lennon, though, is poised to to welcome back both midfield men, but there is no chance of Ryan Christie of joining them this month.
Further good news for Celtic is the announcement Callum McGregor, who has been battling to overcome a calf injury, could line up against Dundee at Dens Park tomorrow afternoon.
Lennon, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “We’re hoping to get Tom Rogic on the grass next week and then he can have 10 or 12 days build-up towards the Rangers game after the international break.
“Olivier Ntcham is also close to coming back, but they’ve had no game-time, really. It’s a balancing act for us. We’ve got to get some good work into them over the next week to 10 days after Sunday and see how they react to that.
“But I am optimistic that Tom will be able to play against Rangers – and the same applies to Ntcham. Ryan Christie has a hamstring injury, so he won’t make the Rangers game.”
Lennon was far from impressed with the lack of inventiveness from the middle of the park in the goalless draw against Aberdeen at Parkhead a week ago and believes Rogic can sprinkle some stardust in that area.
COMEBACK BHOY…Callum McGregor could face Dundee tomorrow.
He added: “We’ve missed that maverick kind of player and little bit of creativity. Tom can bring that. Christie can bring that and so can Callum to a certain extent.
“It’ll be great to have Tom back. He’s a big-game player and he has proven that over the last couple of years. It’ll give everyone a huge lift psychologically to have him back involved again.
“He has done brilliantly well. He’s had a fantastic time of it the last few years. The quality of his play is exceptional and he’s scored some really important goals in big games.
“He has made a great progression under Brendan over the past two-and-a-half years, as has Callum. Ryan’s having a stellar season, as well.
“We’ve still got the likes of James Forrest, Odsonne Edouard and all those players who can add something to the team.”