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Friday 23 February 2018

Dembele doubt for Anderlecht clash

Moussa Dembele
Moussa Dembele

Moussa Dembele is a doubt for Celtic's final Champions League group game against Anderlecht after feeling the effects of a challenge by Motherwell defender Cedric Kipre.

The France Under-21 striker is likely to miss both of this week's Scottish Premiership encounters against the Lanarkshire side despite initially staying on the pitch following the early blow during Sunday's Betfred Cup final.

And Celtic will not know until the swelling settles down whether he will face the Belgian side at Parkhead next Tuesday.

Dembele scored Celtic's second goal from the spot in their 2-0 win after Kipre was sent off following a controversial incident with Scott Sinclair, but went off soon afterwards.

Kipre, Dembele's former team-mate in the Paris St Germain youth ranks, went unpunished for the tackle after going over the top of the ball and the Celtic striker was booked for a similar challenge on Carl McHugh moments later.

Celtic assistant manager Chris Davies said: "Moussa's got a bad knock and twist of the ankle. Thankfully it's not what it could have been, which is a long-term one. He was limping around after it.

"The more you watch it back in the replays, the worse it gets. He is, luckily, quite robust physically and he got away with it.

"It's likely he will be (out for the weekend as well). We will just have to see how he responds. Obviously it's swollen and sore. We will find out in the next few days."

Celtic will qualify for the Europa League knock-out stages if they avoid a four-goal home defeat against Anderlecht and Dembele could be struggling to make the game.

"We will just have to see how it goes," Davies said. "It's quite difficult to tell when it's 48-72 hours after that kind of injury, that twist and contact. We will just have to see but hopefully he will be available for that."

Nir Bitton will also miss tonight's trip to Fir Park after a knock forced him out of the final.

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