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Lennon - Safety the key issue

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Celtic manager Neil Lennon

Celtic manager Neil Lennon

Celtic manager Neil Lennon

Celtic boss Neil Lennon insists the football authorities must reconsider player safety issues around Covid-19 during international breaks.

The Scottish champions could be without four players for the Old Firm derby against Rangers at Parkhead on Saturday.

Israel duo Nir Bitton and Hatem Elhamed and Scotland midfielder Ryan Christie will all miss out with coronavirus issues.

Odsonne Edouard has been in quarantine since testing positive while on duty with France Under-21s and although he will make it back to Glasgow in time for the lunchtime kick-off, he still must be considered a doubt after his period of self-isolation.

Lennon said: "It can't go on the way it is going because we are losing too many players. Not just us, but a lot of other clubs as well.

"Even countries. Look at the Czech Republic for example, in the previous round they had to completely change the squad.

"It totally dilutes the quality and integrity of the competition.

"It is very difficult for me to say you are not going to play for your country, that is something that I would never want to do to a player.

"But these are unprecedented times and we are in a very difficult situation."

Ahead of the first Old Firm derby of the year, which will be played behind closed doors, Rangers lead the champions by a point having played a game more.

However, Lennon - whose side have won their last eight games - insists it is too early for any conclusions to be drawn from the result.

He said: "It is way too early. We had this conversation after we won at Ibrox last year and after we lost at Celtic Park in December."