Celtic could be without 10 players against Ross County

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Interview - Celtic manager Neil Lennon

Celtic have nine players out for their SPL trip to Ross County, but boss Neil Lennon expects the injury problems to ease in time for Tuesday's Champions League tie in Sweden.

Lennon expects at least three absentees - and the doubtful Gary Hooper - to recover for the game with Helsingborgs.

"If Gary Hooper doesn't make tomorrow, I would imagine he would be back for Tuesday," said Lennon.

"Pat McCourt, James Forrest, Scott Brown - they will be ready, I think."

Captain Brown and fellow midfielder Forrest were missing as Scotland defeated Australia in midweek, while winger McCourt pulled out of the Northern Ireland squad.

Dylan McGeoch fractured his jaw in last weekend's friendly with Real Madrid and is joined on the injury list by fellow fringe midfielders Rabiu Ibrahim and Filip Twardzik, plus strikers Anthony Stokes, Daryl Murphy and Mohamed Bangura.

Bangura trains with Celtic first-team on Friday despite being ruled out by Lennon
Bangura trains with Celtic first-team on Friday despite being ruled out by Lennon

With Hooper also doubtful for the trip to Dingwall, Celtic could be minus 10 of their first-team squad - and four strikers - as they face a side unbeaten in their last 36 league games following two draws in the top flight after their Division One title victory.

"Stokesy has a bit of bone bruising on the ankle, you can never put a length of time on that injury, Murph has a hamstring obviously, Mo is a thigh," said Lennon.

"They are not long-term injuries, but we could be doing with them at the minute.

"I am not overly concerned. I am hoping that the majority of those boys will train on Sunday.

"We are hope we have a bigger and more vibrant squad coming into the game on Tuesday.

"We might have to draft a couple of younger ones in tomorrow, but we will still have a strong squad."

Lennon was pleased that the international midweek passed without additional problems but will see who comes through unscathed in Dingwall before turning his attention to Champions League play-off against Helsingborgs.

"It is a huge concern regarding Tuesday as well," he said.

"Obviously it is a big game tomorrow. We're not looking too far ahead of us.

"Ross County are unbeaten in 36 and that's an impressive record at any level.

"We started the season very well, but I have three of my main strikers out, which is a major concern."

Lennon said that new signings were still possible whether or not Celtic progress to the Champions League group stage or drop down to the Europa League.

"If we don't get in, I am sure we will have money to spend," he said of Europe's top club competition.

"We have looked at a couple of players, but we have been put off by wage demands or prices."

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