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‘IT’S A BIG MONTH COMING UP’ DEILA

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CELTIC skipper Scott Brown is facing a fitness fight before tomorrow’s league meeting with Motherwell at Fir Park.
And the all-action midfielder might even struggle to face Molde in the Europa League in Norway on Thursday night.

Brown was crocked in training on his first day back from international duty at Lennoxtown yesterday. He was carried off after rolling his ankle – and club doctors are set to test the damage today.

Ronny Deila said: “It is too early to say something about it. We have to ask assess him more and see the reaction of the swelling. He twisted his ankle in a passing exercise.”

The Hoops gaffer admitted international breaks are a nightmare for bosses as they pray their players get back in one piece.

Leigh Griffiths missed Scotland’s win against Gibraltar with a calf injury, but he trained yesterday.

Nir Bitton (Israel), Stefan Johansen (Norway) and Mikael Lustig (Sweden) all returned needing varying degrees of treatment to minor complains and all of them are doubts for the Motherwell game which kicks off at midday.

Deila admitted he would rather none of his stars were involved with their countries, but he would never stand in their way.

He said: “If I could choose, I would wish everyone could stop playing for their national teams.

“Of course, that’s the best for Celtic. It’s always that. But, again, we have also a responsibility for the national teams and we should also be very lucky that we have a lot of national team players.

“This club should always have that because it’s a big club. But it is always a challenge when they go away and we don’t have so many players here.

“Then we get them back in different physical conditions. You are thinking of that all the time in international breaks. You never know what you are going to get back.

“That’s why this day is a little bit chaotic because you just have to get control over things, but it seems okay.

“Everyone has come back with something. But nobody has any major things and that is positive.”

Deila insisted he won’t have to lift the Scotland players in his squad despite the Euro 2016 misery.

The Hoops are entering a crucial spell with big games coming thick and fast at home and in the Europa League.

Deila said: “I haven’t talked to them before today, so it is very tough for me to say. But they have had some days now to get over that. There is so much more to play for now and I think they will be very, very motivated for the games coming up.

“We have a good chance to get through in Europe and that’s what we want.”

Deila vowed to fly the flag for Scotland on the continent following the national team’s failure.

He said: “We really want to do that. It’s a big month coming up now. There are so many interesting games. We just want to continue developing now and have some good games. We want to play better and better and get the results we need.

“We have two important games against Molde. In the league, we have three big games and also a tie against Hearts in the League Cup. There is so much to look forward to.”

Deila admitted he could still do a deal for Carlton Cole – if the former West Ham striker proves his fitness.

The 32-year-old frontman is back training with the Hoops for another few weeks, but a contract won’t be on the table unless he recovers from injury.

Deila said: “He’s still injured so we haven’t done anything more at the moment. He was running a bit and we’ll see how he does next week.

“He has the qualities we are looking for, he’s a target man, a big guy and a person who brings energy in the dressing room.

“We have to see if he is physically capable of playing the way he did before.

“We are not at the contract stage yet so we’ll wait and see.

“There are a lot of options in January. There are a lot of names going around, but we are looking at strikers in January.”

 
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