Injury blow for Celtic as Simunovic sidelined until next year
The defender underwent knee surgery earlier this month,
Neil Lennon has revealed that Celtic defender Jozo Simunovic will be out until next year following a clean-up of his knee.
The 25-year-old Croatian has been sidelined since the Hoops’ 2-0 victory over AIK on August 22.
It was reported that he was expected to miss another three weeks following his operation earlier in the month but ahead of the trip to Hibernian in the the Ladbrokes Premiership on Saturday, the Parkhead boss said: “You are probably looking at three to four months.
“It was a clean-up and he knows what to do for his rehab and we are just discussing maybe if he can go away for a few weeks and do his rehab at home.
“He is alright. It is a blow for us and the player.
“He felt it was a necessity and thankfully it is not a micro-fracture again, which is a serious operation where you are out for six to eight months.
“He has had a clean-up and obviously we have to tread carefully on his rehab and the sooner we get him back the better.”
Striker Leigh Griffiths remains out with an ongoing thigh strain as well as a virus which could leave him a doubt for Scotland’s upcoming Euro 2020 qualifying double-header against Russia and San Marino on October 10 and 13 respectively.
Griffiths’ last appearance for Celtic was as a substitute against Hearts in August and he was left out of Steve Clarke’s squad for the games against Russia and Belgium earlier in the month.
Lennon said: “Not only has he got a thigh strain, he has a bit of a virus at the minute.
“I would love for him to be in the (Scotland) squad but he has not played much football recently so that will be Steve’s call.”
Lennon was speaking at the club’s Lennoxtown training complex just after it was announced that the league leaders will play Hibs in their Betfred Cup semi-final at Hampden Park on Saturday, November 2 with a 5.30pm kick-off.
Rangers play Hearts in the other semi-final the following day with a 3pm kick-off.
“It is a bit of an awkward time for a kick-off,” said the former Celtic skipper.
“They brought in 5.30 kick-offs when I was a player here in 2000/2001, a little bit of an adjustment that’s all.
“It will be a different routine for the players in pre-match but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
“It is a strange time for kick-off but no issues with it really.”
Lennon insists that Saturday’s league game against Hibs will have no bearing on the semi-final.
He said: “Not really. You don’t know what sort of form either team are going to be in going into the semi-final and anything can happen on any given day.
“So I don’t think tomorrow is an indicator at all.”