Brendan Rodgers says Reo Hatate, Marco Tilio and Yuki Kobayashi have all returned to Celtic training during the international break.
The trio have been missing for all of, or large parts, of the opening weeks of the season and their presence is a boost to a squad that has been hit hard by injuries since Rodgers’ return to the club as manager.
For the Celtic boss, it’s now about timing their returns efficiently with an eye on their long-term health, rather than expecting too much from them too soon.
The manager has also referenced the rehabilitation of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Maik Nawrocki, with the American international expected back by the end of next month.
Rodgers said in a press conference on Thursday [Celtic TV]: “Some of the guys have been out for a little bit longer term. Reo Hatate will be back, which is great news for us, he’s trained.
“Just with some of these guys now, it’s just about when to put them in because some of them haven’t played for a period of time. It’s about finding the right game and moment and the right amount of game time so that they’re not overloaded.
“It’s great to have him back. And Marco Tilio has been back training but he’s missed all of pre-season so we’re just waiting for the right moment for him.
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“Cameron Carter-Vickers is doing very well, and hopefully on schedule to be back in October. Maik Nawrocki is a little bit longer. Yuki Kobayashi is back training now as well, so we’re just starting to get players back now, which is good.”
The news that Liel Abada is missing for a number of months was just the latest blow this week, but hopefully, Celtic can avoid any other long-term issues and start to get a full-strength team back on the park before long.
The returns of Hatate and Carter-Vickers will be especially significant considering how key they have been to successes in recent seasons.
In the meantime, the fit players have to show they can step up and deliver big results, just as they did last time out in Govan.