SKIPPER Callum McGregor and striker Daizen Maeda could both make surprise appearances against Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Ibrox side in the Glasgow derby at Parkhead tomorrow night.
Ange Postecoglou is not ruling out the Scotland international anchorman or the Japanese striker for the crunch confrontation that could see Celtic go top of the Premiership for the first time this season.
McGregor has been out with a facial injury suffered in the Scottish Cup roughhouse at Alloa and the onfield leader missed the match against Hearts at Tynceastle and also the dramatic visit of Dundee United where a late strike from Liel Abada closed to gap to two points after the Govan club drew 3-3 against Ross County in Dingwall.
LEADING THE APPLAUSE…Callum McGregor is standing by for Glasgow derby.
Maeda has been on World Cup duty for his nation and came off the substitutes’ bench in today’s 2-0 qualifying win over Saudi Arabia.
Boss Postecoglou has provided a positive update on the double-act’s availability and said: “McGregor has a chance. He wants to play, but he wants to be at his best when he plays. We are really pleased with his recovery.
“I will have a discussion with him tomorrow and go through everything with him, if he feels okay we will include him, otherwise there is a game on the weekend.”
Discussing Maeda’s Japan outing, the Greek-Australian gaffer, speaking to Sky Sports, continued: “He only played 20 minutes. He arrives tomorrow morning, I will have a chat to him then to see how he feels.
“He won’t be starting, but he could come off the bench. There is a chance he will be included.”
Playmaker Tom Rogic, though, will almost certainly be sidelined with Australia taking on Oman in a World Cup-tie in Muscat with a 4pm kick-off UK time today.
The Hoops boss added: “Tommy will play 90 minutes so you can pretty much rule him out.”
Nir Bitton is suspended for the derby clash after being sent off against the Tannadise at the weekend and also out are frontman Kyogo Furuhashi and his countryman Yosuke Ideguchi while there is no chance long-term absentees David Turnbull and Albian Ajeti also missing with hamstring injuries.