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HOOPS STEP UP DEFENDER SEARCH

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CELTIC will step up their efforts for a new central defender in this transfer window.

Christopher Jullien could be OUT for the rest of the season after his sickening clash with a post in the 3-0 win over Dundee United in midweek. His knee injury will keep him sidelined for three to four months and wipe out the remainder of the campaign.

Nir Bitton replaced the French star at Ibrox yesterday and, ironically, was red-carded in the 62nd minute to leave the dominant Hoops a man down on a day where Steven Gerrard’s side won without having a single effort at goal – the winning strike being deflected past Vasilis Barkas by Callum McGregor in the 70th minute.

The champions’ chances of claiming a historic tenth successive are now remote as they are 19 points off the pace although they have three games in hand.

Neil Lennon has refused to accept the record-breaking sequence is over at nine consecutive championships, but acknowledged he must strengthen a defence that has leaked goals at an unacceptable rate at home and abroad during a term that is threatening to fall apart.

The Hoops gaffer, speaking to the Sunday Mail, said: “It is an area where we will probably look to bring someone in.

“He is going to be out for a few months. He has ruptured ligaments in his knee. Obviously, that was a blow coming in to the game, but I thought we were good.

“I was happy with the team, we had plans in place for later in the game, but the red card changed that. I’m bitterly disappointed. There were a lot of good things to come out of the game.

“I hate losing, especially games of this magnitude and I don’t think we deserved to lose.”

OWN GOAL AND OH SO CRUEL AS 10-MAN CELTS LOSE

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