Brendan Rodgers has told “obsessed” Craig Levein that he will find himself in bother with the SFA following his remarks about Celtic skipper Scott Brown yesterday.

The Hoops skipper had suggested in Monday’s SportTimes that Levein’s remarks last week that “everyone in Scottish football needed protection from Scott Brown” made him a marked man, with referee Kevin Clancy booking him at Rugby Park on Saturday for his first foul.

That prompted Levein to open the argument up again with an accusation that Brown got himself booked deliberately in order to ensure he would be fit for the next game against Rangers on Match 10th.

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Brown’s one-game suspension will kick in for the league meeting with St Johnstone game next weekend and Rodgers was incredulous that Levein had gone to such lengths as to work out Celtic’s forthcoming schedule.

“He is obviously fairly obsessed by our captain,” said Rodgers. “It is a credit to Scott that you’ve got another manager, who is not even playing against him, talking about him. I don’t think you need to say any more.

“If that is what has been said – and I haven’t seen it yet so I have to see it – then he might have something to answer on that.”

Asked about Levein’s study of Celtic’s schedule of games, Rodgers shrugged and said: “Well, he is obsessed then. Christ.”

Meanwhile, Celtic’s defensive injuries have been boosted with the return of Kristoffer Ajer for this weekend.

The defender injured his achilles last weekend but would appear to be fine for the William Hill Scottish Cup tie against Partick Thistle on Saturday. Dedyrck Boyata, however, is in a race against time to be fit for Celtic’s second leg against Zenit St Petersburg in the Europa League after injuring his groin.

“Kris will hopefully be okay for the weekend,” said Rodgers. Dedryck Boyata will probably be a couple of weeks.

“But Patrick Roberts returned to training today so that’s good news for us. And then Mikael Lustig has returned over the last couple of days but we still have a few out.

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“Dedryck was just unfortunate that he stretched and then there was his reaction to the surface last week he nipped his adductor and groin so he’s probably going to be a few weeks. He has obviously been for me, in the main, very very good when he’s been fit in my time here so it is unfortunate.

“It would be touch and go, I think [for return trip to Russia]. Touch and go. I think the medical team is saying a round about a couple of weeks so that would be tight.

“It’s just unfortunate. Kris hurt his achilles last week which was the same injury Nir Bitton had earlier on in the season on that surface, where you can land awkwardly and it just disrupts your achilles a little bit.

“I think the squad is starting to piece itself back together even though we still have some injuries. We have players starting to return and hopefully that will make us really strong for the last part of the season.”