KOLO TOURE is poised to be handed a dramatic return to the first team for Celtic’s vital Champions League encounter against Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany on Tuesday.
The veteran Ivory Coast international had a nightmare in the 2-0 loss in the first game against the Bundesliga outfit, practically gifting them both goals with uncharacteristic mistakes.
Toure, brought in by his ex-Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers in the summer after being released by the Anfield side, issued a public apology afterwards when he owned up: “I’m 35, but made the mistakes of a 16-year-old.”
The ex-Arsenal and Manchester City stalwart sat out last weekend’s Betfred League Cup semi-final win against Sevco Rangers with Jozo Simunovic making an impressive return to the line-up alongside Erik Sviatchenko.
Versatile Mikael Lustig partnered the Dane in the 4-0 midweek triumph over Ross County, but the 22-year-old Croatian defender was back in place for yesterday’s 1-0 victory over Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
However, Rodgers believes Toure possesses the ideal temperament for major challenges such as the one now facing his team in the Borussia Stadium.
The Hoops boss said: “The only reason there has been changes in that position has been down to fitness.
“Kolo’s a true warrior – you don’t get to achieve what he has in the game at 35 without that strong mentality.
“Any game I’ve ever had, especially away from home in tough places, he has been one of the leading players.
“He is someone who will always give his best, so I know if I call on him for this game that he will be ready.”
Celtic need to take something from the Borussia tie, otherwise their hopes of extending their European campaign will be effectively over.
They face a tough task, though. The Hoops have never managed to win in Germany in a UEFA competition.
Rodgers added: “I didn’t know about that record, so it would be great if we could put that one to bed.
“But Borussia Monchengladbach are one of the crack teams of Europe and I think they showed that against us.”