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JOHANSEN INJURY SETBACK

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STEFAN JOHANSEN will miss Celtic’s Champions League qualifier against Lincoln Red Imps in Gibraltar tomorrow night after being ruled out for up to THREE weeks with injury.

The Norwegian midfielder, who has been linked with a £1.5million move to Turkish outfit Galatasaray, was forced to limp off early during Saturday’s goalless draw against Maribor.

Now it has been revealed that he will be sidelined for the next two to three weeks.

Back-up goalkeeper Logan Bailly is also out after suffering a suspected broken ankle.

Meanwhile, Nir Bitton has been attracting attention, but Espanyol have dropped their bid to sign him after failing to match the Scottish champions’ valuation of the player.

Despite being taken over by new super-wealthy Chinese owners, the Spanish club were unwilling to go beyond £5million for the Israeli midfielder, rated at least double that by the Scottish champions.

So Bitton will remain a Celt, but Brendan Rodgers is still on the look-out for reinforcements as he prepares for his first season in Paradise.

He said: “I have really enjoyed working with all the players and getting to see them.

“Some I knew, like Scott Brown along with a few of the international boys, but others I didn’t have a great idea of — and it’s been really good to look at them closely and see how they are working.

“I have been really impressed by the quality of the team and if we can get some players in to help them and increase that quality, it should serve us well for the season.

“There are one or two areas the players need help with and that’s something the club and I are looking closely at, to see if we can do anything on that front.”

The new Hoops gaffer also insisted the four-game pre-season tour of Slovenia and Austria has been more than worthwhile.

He added: “It’s been a huge benefit as it takes you away and you are virtually in each other’s pockets for the two weeks.

“We have put in a lot of great work, not just on the field where the fitness has been developed throughout, but also in the tactical ideas we are trying to implement, which I can see improving on a daily basis.

“You get to see them more in a pressure situation but certainly, over time, they’re challenged in every aspect of the game – technically, tactically, physically and mentally.

‘They have coped excellently and their willingness and attitude to be better players has been very clear.”

 
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