NEIL LENNON faces a frantic race before tonight’s midnight deadline for another wide Bhoy.
The Celtic boss needs a replacement for Mikey Johnston after confirming the crocked Scotland Under-21 winger would be out for a lengthy spell.
Lennon has not anticipated a busy run-in to the closure of the transfer window, but the injury setback to the youngster has changed the situation.
Johnston hobbled off minutes from the end of the 3-0 win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park in midweek and the knee ligament damage is worse than first feared.
The 20–year-old forward will not require surgery, but is facing months on the sidelines which will spark activity from the Hoops gaffer who is struggling for width in his squad.
HEADING FOR THE EXIT…Mikey Johnston limps off against St Johnstone with Neil Lennon looking grim.
Ironically, Scott Sinclair has gone to Preston while Lewis Morgan is on his way to join David Beckham’s MLS outfit Inter Miami while Mohamed Elyounoussi is also struggling for fitness afer sustaining a foot injury on international duty last year.
Lennon, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “Mikey got a bad one. We are just waiting to see, but it’s going to be long term, a couple of months, at least. It looks like there’s ligament damage.
“We were trying to coax him in sporadically, give him 20 minutes here and there because he’s a real asset as an impact player, so it’s a bad one.”
Lennon didn’t look too pleased with his player when he limped off in Perth to leave the team with 10 men in the closing stages with all three substitutes already used.
The Irishman explained: “People are making an issue of that. I basically just said to him go in because it was freezing and there’s no point him sitting there with his kit on having just come off with a bad injury.
“Make sure you go inside and keep warm. Too much has been made of that.”
Lennon admitted Johnston trying to stay on could have made the injury worse.
He said: “Possibly. There was movement in the knee. We were making a substitution at the time and I was ‘hold on a minute let’s see how he is’ and he said to the physio he was fine and he obviously wasn’t.
“It might have compounded the problem. It was annoying for me because we were making a substitution and he said he was all right to carry on. But quite clearly after a couple of minutes that wasn’t the case. We had already made the substitution. So it was a learning experience.”
FINAL APPEARANCE…Mohamed Elyounoussi races away from James Tavernier in the Betfred League Cup win at Hampden – his last Hoops outing.
Lennon added: “If we don’t bring anyone else in, I’m delighted with the squad and with 3-5-2 anyway you are limited to the amount of wingers you can use.
“I’m not saying that’s going to be the tried and trusted formula for us going forward, but we’re playing very well with that formation.
“If someone is available we will maybe possibly look at it, but at the minute there’s nothing on the horizon.
“If we can do some business, great, if we can’t do some business, then great because I am really pleased with the squad of players I have got.
“We have a good squad, decent depth and once we get a few injuries back we will be fine.
“Sometimes in the last couple of days something crops up, so you have to wait and be patient.
“I might be sitting Friday night late on and something might happen. We are not in a panic to do anything.”