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Brendan Rodgers rocked with new injury blow

Brendan Rodgers has been hit with a third injury blow in less than a week.

Stephen Welsh’s injury knock has been assessed with ankle ligament damage ruling him out of action for at least two months. On Sunday, in the win over Aberdeen, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Reo Hatate picked up knocks that have yet to be given a timeline for return.

The timing of Welsh’s injury couldn’t have been any worse with the the young defender likely to have played from the start in tomorrow’s Viaplay Cup tie away to Kilmarnock.

As the hoops set out to defend the trophy Rodgers has no option but to throw Gustaf Lagerbielke in for his debut alongside Maik Nawrocki who will be playing his third match since being transferred from Legia Warsaw.

At lunchtime today in the Daily Record, Scott Burns reported:

Stephen Welsh will be sidelined for at least two months – leaving Celtic facing a defensive crisis.

Cameron Carter-Vickers is already out for a few weeks with a hamstring issue and now Welsh also faces a long spell on the sidelines. The home-grown defender suffered ligament damage in his ankle after an accidental training ground clash on Friday.

The 23-year-old was sent for a scan yesterday and they have confirmed that he will be out for at least eight weeks – if not longer. It means that Welsh will miss a major chunk of domestic games and the start of the Champions League. It is a major blow for Welsh, who penned a new long-term contract on Friday, and Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers.

Nawrocki and Lagerbielke will have no option but to learn in the job while the clock races towards the first Glasgow Derby in just two weeks time.

Unless Cameron Carter-Vickers can shake off the hamstring issue that he picked up during the first half at Aberdeen the new signings could be playing together over the next few games.

In similar circumstances in September 2019 Chris Jullien and Nir Bitton were thrown together late in the day as Celtic won 2-0 at Ibrox with goals from Odsonne Edouard and Jonny Hayes.

With his new contract it looked like Welsh would fill one of four central defensive slots but his injury could now bring a reprieve for Liam Scales who hasn’t even made the bench in this season’s SPFL matches.

The former Shamrock Rovers defender has been strongly linked with a return move to Aberdeen, on loan or on a permanent basis but will be required at Celtic at least in the short term.

Rodgers could try and go into the transfer market for another central defender but with two new signings, Carter-Vickers the clear number one and Welsh resigned any new defender is looking at fairly short term prospects.

With Reo Hatate and Oh Hyeon-gyu also out injured the Celtic squad will be fairly stretched at Kilmarnock tomorrow with three of last week’s matchday squad watching from the sidelines.

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