MOUSSA DEMBELE, last season’s 32-goal hitman, won’t be fit in time for Celtic’s opening Champions League encounter against Paris Saint-Germain at Parkhead on September 12.

The French Under-21 striker is still on the road to recovery following his hamstring injury.but will not figure in Brendan Rodgers’ plans.

However, the Hoops boss confirmed moves to strengthen his squad for the challenge ahead are still ongoing ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline.

Rodgers was in Paris on Thursday while the draw was being made in Monaco – but kept his cards close to his chest on the reasons for his travel plans.

But he was happy to confirm that defender Rivaldo Coetzee is all but signed while negotiations continue on their bid to bring Paddy Roberts back for a second loan spell from Manchester City.


The Parkhead gaffer said: “I don’t want to put a number on it, but there are possibilities we’re looking at.

“Obviously, we’re looking to get Rivaldo over the line this weekend – he’s having his medical at the FIFA medical centre over there so, hopefully, we can get that done.

“He’ll then join the South African squad. He could come straight in and play.

“Their season has just started, but he’s a full international who has played over 20 times for his country and we’ve had good reports on him.

“We’ve tracked him for a wee while now and he suits how we play. He’s a defender first of all, he’s aggressive and steps into the play and he’s also a very good footballer who can play anywhere right across the back line.

“He plays off the left side in the centre, but he’s two-footed and good in the air. And he’s hungry, which is important.

“The situation with Patrick is ongoing. We always have to respect that he is not our player. He is a Manchester City player and was involved in their squad when they went out to Girona and we have to respect that. We will see.”

Another familiar face who was spotted at Lennoxtown training ground yesterday was Kolo Toure, but it was nothing more than a social visit from the man who has just taken over as a coach for the Ivory Coast’s Under-23s squad.

Rodgers added: “This was the first time Kolo was back in the UK. He is a loveable guy and it was great for some of the guys to see him because a lot of them wouldn’t have spoken to him over the summer.”


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