EMILIO IZAGUIRRE feared the worst when he was stretchered off in Celtic’s 2-0 win over Hibs at Parkhead last night.
The Honduran left-back was the victim of a horror tackle from the Easter Road side’s defender Darnelll Johnson late in the game.
The challenge – viewed as “clumsy” by Brendan Rodgers afterwards, as CQN reported last night – left the player writhing in agony on the touchline before the Hoops’ medical team signalled the need for a stretcher.
There were only eight minutes to go when Johnson launched into the wayward tackle and the champions were forced to put on Jonny Hayes as a direct replacement to see out the game.
It was bad news for £2million Ivorian striker Vakoun Issouf Bayo who was waiting to come on as a late substitute to give the fans their first sighting of the powerful frontman.
Izaguirre’s reaction clearly indicated he thought he had taken a bad one in an assault that brought Johnson a yellow card from referee Craig Thomson when a straight red looked the more likely punishment.
Rodgers said: “I think it scared Emilio a little bit, in terms of him having issues with his ankles before.
“The medical team tell me they think he’s got away with it. He’s a little bit sore and, hopefully, he’ll be okay in a few days. Olivier Ntcham, too, could be back somewhere towards the weekend. He’s been training all week.
“It was brilliant having Dedryck Boyata back and he was unfortunate not to score. Odsonne Edouard could be okay and James Forrest’s scan was clear. Again, we’ll need to monitor the tightness of that.
“I think he’ll definitely be available for Valencia.”
With Kieran Tierney yet to kick a ball in 2019, Izaguirre has been a solid stand-in and Rodgers hopes he is okay to slot in again when St Johnstone visit Parkhead in the Scottish Cup on Sunday.