Scottish football: Scott Brown is likely to miss Celtic’s Champions League last-16 clash with Juventus next week, as well as Scotland’s World Cup qualifying double-header against Wales and Serbia later in the month, according to Hoops manager Neil Lennon.
Lennon, whose side travel to Motherwell tomorrow evening in the Scottish Premier League, confirmed at his pre-match press conference that his captain was extremely doubtful to play any part as the Scottish champions aim to overturn a 3-0 deficit in Turin.
Asked whether Brown, who has seen a specialist for his abductor problem, would miss the trip to Italy, Lennon replied: “Oh yes, I would imagine so. He (Brown) is out indefinitely.”
Lennon, who also ruled out defender Mikael Lustig due to a thigh complaint, added: “We are still waiting to hear from the specialist, whether he requires surgery or not and I am hoping that we will get a definitive answer by the end of the week.
“Lustig is still out and Charlie Mulgrew (glute). They are the only three absentees.
“Lustig is out for two to three weeks. It is bone bruising so it could even be longer. So I imagine he will miss Juventus. We are hoping Charlie will be fit for Juventus and the game at the weekend.
“Kris (Commons) is back from his virus and Lassad (Nouioui) has had a bit of a virus, but he is in the squad.”
Elsewhere tomorrow St Mirren face Hearts, with Buddies goalkeeper Craig Samson insisting his side can finish in the top six of the SPL this season, but only if they can string together some wins.
St Mirren bounced back from a 4-1 home thrashing to Ross County in January by putting together a run of four games unbeaten.
However recent losses to Hibernian and St Johnstone have reversed that pattern and Samson is eager for confidence to be restored, especially as his team are set to face Hearts in the League Cup final on March 17.
“The top six is still a live issue for us,” Samson said. “Just look at Ross County. They were only a point above us when we played them here. They beat us 4-1 and have not been beaten since.
“Now they are sitting three points from second place. So if we go and do the same as that — push ourselves on, get wins on the bounce, put pressure on teams — then we can get in the top six.”
Basement club Dundee, who remain 15 points from safety, host St Johnstone.
New Dark Blues boss John Brown has been an unpopular choice with many followers of the club, but he hit back at his critics, including those in the media, today and maintains that he can pull off what looks an impossible feat by keeping the strugglers in the top flight.
“There are a lot of guys out there who have been critical of the appointment,” said Brown, who replaced Barry Smith last week.
“They probably put their CV in last week and they’re now saying it’s the wrong decision by the board.
“Maybe it’s because they didn’t get the opportunity. So there’s a bitterness there.”
Of his side’s plight, he added: “People say there’s a mountain to climb, but people climb mountains every day.
“It’s a big ask, but I’ve got a group of guys who now have a taste of the SPL. We could just see out the season and try to pick up a few draws.
“But I’d rather lose a few and win more. We’ve got 11 games left and we’re going to have a real go, I guarantee you that.”
Hibernian take on Kilmarnock, with the two sides currently neck-and-neck in the middle of the table.
Killie have resigned former favourite Kris Boyd, who returns to the club following stints at Rangers, Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest, Eskisehirspor of Turkey and the Portland Timbers in the US.
Of his ambitions for the future, Boyd said: “It would be a lie to say Scotland hasn’t crossed my mind, but I’m a long way away from that. The first thing is get into the Killie team.”
Second-placed Inverness CT host ninth-placed Dundee United, who, given that only four points separate them from tomorrow’s opponents will harbour hopes of improving on their current position.
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