Report: Former Celtic target Piccini ruled out of Valencia clash

By Connor Gordon

February 21, 2019

Ex-Celtic target Cristiano Piccini will not play any part in Thursday’s tie against Valencia.

The winger did not appear in the weekend squad against Espanyol and hasn’t appeared to shake off his injury.

However, the other injury doubt, goalscorer Denis Cheryshev, has overcame an ankle injury from Sunday’s match.

The Hoops have it all to do to overturn a two goal deficit at the Mestalla.

Piccini will not play and others a doubt

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The Daily Record (live blog, 19th February, 15:59) report the man previously on Celtic’s radar will not play against the Hoops on Thursday.

Piccini is experiencing a leg muscle injury which will keep him out of action.

Cristiano Piccini up against Emilio Izaguirre last Thursday. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

How much of a loss Piccini will be for the return leg is anyone’s guess but he is a regular starter and was strong against Emilio Izaguirre.

The Honduran himself is also a doubt having picked up an ankle injury in the home tie.

Other possible casualties for Valencia include Gabriel Paulista and Rodrigo Moreno.

Both men didn’t appear on the squad list for the goalless home draw against Espanyol on Sunday.

However, the return of attacker Cheryshev is an advantage with the Russian scoring in the first leg.

Goal scorer from the first leg Denis Cheryshev fit to play against Celtic. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The former Real Madrid youth was partnered by then debutant Rubén Sobrino who also scored.

Celtic personnel up for debate

The Hoops are another team with an injury crisis of their own with a lot of big hitters still out.

First choice centre-half Filip Benkovic is far from returning while left-back Kieran Tierney is getting closer.

Fans will be wondering if Jonny Hayes will get the nod like he did at Rugby Park where he performed amicably well.

Fans will want to see Hayes at left-back on Thursday. (photo by Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Furthermore, Craig Gordon could be called in to give current first-choice Scott Bain a rest for Sunday’s league tie at home to Motherwell.

However, the new number one is yet to concede a domestic goal this season.

Whoever is available, the Hoops must realise the mammoth task ahead of them and try and get the first goal.

Failure to do that will result in a predictable exit from the cup and a bye-bye to Baku.