Celtic right-back Mikael Lustig has opened up on the injury that could rule him out of the Celtic vs Rangers clash on Sunday.
The Swede is one of the players likely to play this weekend if he is match-fit. But, unfortunately, he picked up a knock whilst on international duty with Sweden.
Lustig had to come off after just 24 minutes against Romania on Saturday. Sweden went on to win the game 2-1, but Lustig’s injury overshadowed the game from a Celtic perspective.
Despite the knock, the Swede has remained with his international squad ahead of Tuesday’s meeting with Norway. Speaking in the Scottish Sun, he claimed that he’s still targeting a return during the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
“At first, I thought it was an ordinary thigh knock and that I could run it off. But then I started to feel it and looked down to see that it was swollen.
“I tried to play on, but the longer the game went, the more difficult it became to run. It hurts and I don’t know how long it can last. It is borderline for Tuesday, but it is clear that we will do everything to make me fit.
“It’s a big game that I want to play in (Rangers), but we will see. First of all, I have to get fit for Norway. That seems far away right now, but you never know.”
Looks like going to the wire
There’s a couple of ways at looking at this one.
Firstly, there’s the idea that if Lustig still believes he could make Tuesday, then there’s a good chance he’ll be fine for Sunday. But that’s not based on anything substantial. We don’t know the extent of the pain the Swede is currently in.
The more realistic one is the idea that this could go right to the wire. Lustig isn’t committal over being available for Sunday, and this feels like one that could be touch-and-go right up until kick-off. Neil Lennon will take to his press conference at the end of the week and update us all on team news. Hopefully Celtic fans get confirmation of his availability then.
If Lustig does miss out, the alternative is clearly Jeremy Toljan. He’s failed to impress in any of his 11 Celtic appearances so far, however. Against the likes of Hearts and Kilmarnock, Toljan seemed to struggle with the physical side of Scottish football.
Unfortunately, there would be no alternative. Cristian Gamboa hasn’t played since December, and only has seven Celtic appearances to his name this season. Starting him is surely out of the question.
So hopefully Lustig can see this one through. It’s worth keeping an eye on Tuesday’s clash between Sweden and Norway to see if he makes it.