It looks as though Mbaye Niang’s injury hasn’t been enough to rule him out of tonight’s game against Celtic.
According to L’Equipe, the Rennes striker will be in the “group” to face Celtic tonight in France. This comes after an injury ruled the French-born Senegalese striker missed the weekend’s draw with Brest.
There were fears heading into the match that he could miss out. He had a fitness test yesterday, and given the late nature of the report, it appears as though he may have come through it.
Given the reliability and reputation of L’Equipe, it looks likely that Niang is ready to face us after all.
What isn’t clear, of course, is whether the big striker is fit enough to start or whether he can only make an impact from the bench.
If he does start, it’s going to be a much tougher night for Christopher Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer than it could’ve been. Niang has two goals in four appearances this season for the Ligue 1 side. Overall, he’s managed 16 goals in 48 outings since he joined.
Rennes don’t have a forward as physical as Niang
In a way it almost changes the kind of challenge Ajer and Jullien could’ve had. Niang is a powerful target-man, and will look to hold the ball up and bring others into play. In a way, he’ll look to bully out centre-backs.
If he was to miss out, however, Rennes don’t have another forward that plays in the same way. Niang starting changes the nature of the challenge.
The former AC Milan star also didn’t feature in the 0-0 club friendly at the start of the season. So if you’re trying to think back to that game to remember him, you won’t be able to. He’s a fresh challenge for the centre-backs tonight, and one to relish.
It’s vital that Celtic don’t give Rennes anything cheap to start off. The Ligue 1 side will likely have plenty of possession, but too often do the Hoops give their opponents a goal of a start away from home. That can’t happen tonight.
But we’re going to find out plenty about our first-choice centre-back duo this evening too – of that there’s no doubt. Should Niang start, it’ll be their biggest challenge of the season so far.
Hopefully, they come through it with flying colours.