The Daily Mail has today reported that Arsenal are losing their battle to have Kieran Tierney available for their game against Manchester City on Saturday.
Tierney as well as Celtic star Ryan Christie were ordered to self-isolate for 14 days after being deemed as close contacts with Southampton midfielder Stuart Armstrong, who tested positive for Covid-19 last week.
This led to all three men being ruled out of Scotland’s triple-header against Israel, Slovakia, and Czech Republic respectively. However, perhaps ironically, Armstrong will be available for Southampton’s game at the weekend due to only needing to isolate for 10. He’s free to play on Sunday with his isolation period up on Saturday.
But the Daily Mail has stated that Arsenal have failed to make any substantial progress in lobbying the Scottish Government into letting their player feature at the Etihad. That’s despite Tierney having repeatedly tested negative.
The newspaper reports that Arsenal had been building a case for Tierney not to self-isolate for 14 days. This included evidence of him sitting 2.8m apart from Armstrong whilst playing video games.
Celtic will be interested in all developments
Yet Celtic will undoubtedly be monitoring Arsenal’s situation as we get closer to Saturday’s derby with Rangers at Parkhead. The Mirror says that the Gunners are still hopeful of persuading the Scottish Government to let Tierney play.
If that was to come to pass, then Celtic would almost certainly be in contact with the government to get Christie available for Saturday’s derby. Regardless of whether Tierney would be travelling cross-border, it makes no difference. The situation in England is just as bad as it is in Scotland at the moment.
Celtic have plenty of Covid concerns in their squad to deal with already. With Odsonne Edouard, Nir Bitton, and Hatem Elhamed all testing positive over the last week-and-a-half, the club will be pursuing any relief they can get.
Of course, it’s highly unlikely there will be any special dispensation for Tierney or Christie. Scotland’s National Clinical Director Jason Leith confirmed as much last week (Glasgow Times).
Neil Lennon will instead almost certainly need to turn to the likes of Olivier Ntcham, Tom Rogic, or David Turnbull to take up Christie’s role at the weekend. Not a bad few alternatives to choose from right enough.
It remains to be seen if there are any late twists regarding player availability for Saturday. But with both Celtic and Arsenal’s matches just two days away, it’s all looking even more than optimistic.