Forrest hurt again as Biton fears ease

NEIL Lennon today heaved a sigh of relief when it was confirmed Nir Biton's groin injury will only keep him out of action for a few weeks - and not end his season.

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Nir Biton's injury is not as serious as first feared
Nir Biton's injury is not as serious as first feared

However, this was balanced out by the news James Forrest also picked up a groin injury while on international duty last week, and will be sidelined for up to three weeks.

The winger was just finding his best form again after being out with a similar problem.

But, to Celtic's dismay, during the preparations for the friendly against Poland, Forrest strained a muscle and took no part in the match in Warsaw.

Forrest is now receiving treatment from the medical team at Lennoxtown, along with Biton, who reported back on Monday after spending a few days in Israel after limping out of the action after 66 minutes of Wednesday's friendly against Slovakia.

Initial reports coming out of Israel claimed that scans showed the 22 year-old had ruptured a thigh muscle.

That immediately sparked fears he would be out for the final 10 game of Celtic's season.

But, after undergoing examinations in Glasgow, the player's injury was categorised as not serious, and he is expected to be missing for just two or three games.

With Virgil van Dijk suspended for Friday's SPFL game against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park - as revealed in SportTimes on Monday, his appeal against his dismissal at Aberdeen has withdrawn - the loss of Biton and Forrest injury leaves Lennon with selection problems.

So, he is delighted Stefan Johansen is ready to resume in the starting line up having fully recovered from the ankle knock which kept him out of the defeat at Pittodrie and on the bench until the final few minutes of the rout of Inverness.

Johansen is acutely aware he needs to play in at least seven of Celtic's remaining games to qualify for a league winner's medal.

That would make it a remarkable quick-fire double for the Norwegian, who led Stromsgodset to the title in his homeland in November.

"It would mean a lot to me to win two championships in one year," he said.

"Of course, it's not as many as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has won something like 13 titles.

"But, to win a championship with a club like Celtic is huge.

"You can feel the fans want it, and, of course, the players and the coaches want it, too.

"Football is about winning. And, when you are a professional player, you always want to win.

"Now we have the chance to lift another title for the club, and I hope I will get enough games to qualify for a medal."

Johansen has quickly bought into the fact that, at the Hoops, the pressure to be successful is ever-present.

"Winning is in the DNA of this club," he said. "It drives them to be successful every time they play.

"That brings pressure. But, if you can't handle that, you are in the wrong place.

"It's the job you have, and it's the job you have to do."

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