Celtic rocked by “significant” Old Firm blow as fresh injury woes add to latest int'l call-up
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Celtic handed series of fresh Old Firm blows as Rangers count absences

Celtic have been handed a series of blows ahead of the Old Firm clash with Rangers amid an international call-up for Daizen Maeda and a “significant” injury to captain Callum McGregor.

Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu has called January Celtic signing Daizen Maeda up to his squad ahead of World Cup Qualifiers with China (27/01) and Saudi Arabia (01/02).

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This comes after Australia coach Graham Arnold called up form midfielder Tom Rogic up to his squad for WCQs with Vietnam (27/01) and Oman (01/02).

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However, Japan have not called up new Celtic signings Reo Hatate and Yōsuke Ideguchi to their squad with fellow Japanese star Kyogo Furuhashi potentially already ruled out of the fixture.

But now Ideguchi is one of three players who went off injured in Celtic’s 2-1 Scottish Cup clash with Alloa, joining Liel Abada and Callum McGregor on the club’s treatment table alongside the likes of David Turnbull.

Whilst Ideguchi and Abada could make quick recoveries, Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou lamented the “significant” injury to club captain Callum McGregor that is “not going to be short-term” [Glasgow Times].

Whilst the notion Daizen Maeda, Tom Rogic, Kyogo Furuhashi, Liel Abada, David Turnbull and – perhaps most pertinently – Callum McGregor could miss the Old Firm is a boost to Rangers, the Gers are not without their own problems to seek ahead of the game.

Daizen Maeda, Callum McGregor add to Celtic woes as Rangers count Old Firm absences

The Parkhead side are preparing to welcome Rangers to Celtic Park on February 2nd for a hotly anticipated Old Firm clash that could have huge ramifications in the title race.

But as the match approaches both sides are counting the cost of the fixture being rescheduled with the game now set to take place during a non-European international break.

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Rangers are nervously awaiting the outcome of the situation surrounding Nigeria star Joe Aribo who has qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations knockout round with the Super Eagles.

A tough clash against Tunisia awaits Nigeria and Aribo’s presence at the Old Firm clash a week Wednesday may depend on the outcome of this game.

One player who won’t be making the match is Colombian striker Alfredo Morelos, who has been recalled to the Los Cafeteros squad for their World Cup Qualifiers with Peru (28/01) and Argentina (01/02).

In terms of injuries, the likes of Ryan Jack and Filip Helander are working their way back from long-term problems whilst Steven Davis and Scott Arfield remain out of the side; all four of these players are established internationals.

Ianis Hagi was subbed off early with a knock in the 4-0 Scottish Cup win over Stirling Albion.

Nigerian international Leon Balogun only returned against Albion, as did Kemar Roofe, but there remain doubts surrounding the availability of Rangers striker.

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Roofe could also be called up for Jamaica’s qualifiers with Mexico (27/01), Panama (30/01) and Costa Rica (02/02).

Whatever happens, both Rangers and Celtic are sure to be counting the cost of the rearranging of the Old Firm fixture with both sides set to be without some key players no matter what happens.

However, one international manager has handed both Rangers and Celtic managers an Old Firm boost as the list of absentees continues to mount.

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