BRENDAN RODGERS went into yesterday’s crucial Premiership encounter without EIGHT players.
After the 2-0 triumph over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park, the Celtic boss faced FIVE more being added to that list before the visit of Hibs on Wednesday.
Tom Rogic, Dedryck Boyata, Kieran Tierney, Olivier Ntcham, Filip Benkovic and Leigh Griffiths were all missing for a variety of reasons for the trip to Perth.
Long-term crocks Eboue Kouassi and Daniel Arzani won’t be available for selection until next season.
And Odsonne Edouard was stretchered off after only five minutes’ appearance as a substitute for Oliver Burke while James Forrest had to go off with a hamstring injury only moments after giving the champions the lead in the 78th minute.
Mikael Lustig failed to come out for the second-half, Ryan Christie could hardly walk at the end and, to add to the manager’s woes, Kristoffer Ajer picked up a needless red card in stoppage time.
However, Rodgers is refusing to wilt under the injury pressure as he attempts to guide the team to an unprecedented treble treble and an eighth successive Premiership crown.
The Irishman said: “Listen, we’ll make do. We have some outstanding players who can play in those positions. We will assess it on Monday and see where we’re at.
OUCH…Odsonne Edouard writhes in pain following his injury against the Saints. Pic: Geo.
“Odsonne’s had an impact on the front of his foot. Shaughnessy’s stretching and his foot catches Odsonne as he’s gone to hit it. It’s accidental.
“These modern boots now are not so tough. It’s just caught him right on the front of his foot, so he’s in a wee bit of pain. Hopefully, he’ll be okay.
“James is more of a worry. He felt his hamstring a bit tight. Ryan got a bang on the ribs, he could hardly breathe. Unfortunately for him, he was on my side so I kept shouting at him to keep going.
“Mikael had an issue with his Achilles which got worse as the first-half wore on, so Jeremy Toljan came on.
“As for Kris, these things happen. It’s unfortunate. He had nowhere to go with the pass, the boy has pressed him and he’s taken him down. I wasn’t sure initially if it was a red card, but, having seen it again, it was fair enough.
“Thankfully, we added to the squad in January, which we needed to do, and, hopefully, we’ll get some players back.”
Ivorian international striker Vakoun Issouf Bayo, who has not played a competitive game since December 8, may make his first Hoops appearance quicker than expected following his £2million arrival last month.