CELTIC have been hit by a massive treble blow as they prepae for tomorrow night’s crunch Champions League confrontation with Borussia Monchengladbach.
Central defenders Kolo Toure and Jozo Simunovic and last season’s 40-goal man Leigh Griffiths have all been ruled out of the tie against the Bundesliga giants who won 2-0 at Parkhead just under two weeks ago.
Griffiths and Simunovic both missed training today and were not part of the travelling squad to Germany.
Thirty-five-year-old Ivorian international Toure trained on his own at the club’s Lennoxtown base away from the rest of the squad.
Assistant manager Chris Davies said Griffiths’ absence is down to illness while Croatian defender Simunovic is still working his way back to full fitness after injury troubles in recent months.
Griffiths sustained a calf injury against Aberdeen in August and was sidelined for a lengthy period while Moussa Dembele came in to take his chance.
The Scotland striker started last Wednesday’s 4-0 win over Ross County in Dingwall, but was an unused substitute during the 1-0 victory over Aberdeen at Pittodrie at the weekend.
He missed the Hoops’ opening Champions League group match against Barcelona, but came off the bench in the home games against Manchester City and Monchengladbach.
Eoghan O’Connell, who played in the qualifiers against Astana and Hapoel Be’er Sheva, has been included in the party.
The young Irishman could partner Erik Sviatchenko in the middle of the rearguard or boss Brendan Rodgers could again utilise Mikael Lustig’s versatility and bring him into central defence.
Cristian Gamboa, who made his debut in the 7-0 rout in the Nou Camp shortly after arriving from West Brom, could take over the right-back role.
The Hoops, of course, are already without impressive left-back Kieran Tierney with the Scotland international likely to be ruled out for two months.