sport

Motherwell v Celtic preview

Celtic are beset by illness and injury problems ahead of their Scottish Premiership clash with Motherwell at Fir Park on Friday night.

Midfielder Tom Rogic has a calf problem, while wide men Dylan McGeouch (ankle) and James Forrest (hamstring) are also doubts for the match.

Forward Georgios Samaras and midfielder Nir Biton have both missed training in the last two days with a virus.

Celtic have been boosted with the return to training of defender Adam Matthews following shoulder surgery, but he will not be involved while Beram Kayal (foot) and Steven Mouyokolo (Achilles) remain out of action.

For the second season in succession Motherwell host Celtic in the aftermath of a domestic cup exit to a team from the bottom league.

Manager Stuart McCall will be hoping for a positive reaction this time, and he will be boosted by the return of a trio of players.

Iain Vigurs, fellow winger Lionel Ainsworth and full-back Simon Ramsden are all available following recent injuries.

But forward Bob McHugh, who played in the Scottish Cup defeat to Albion Rovers, is not included in the squad.

Despite both teams going into the match on the back of completely contrasting results, Celtic boss Neil Lennon is expecting nothing less than the usual frenetic Fir Park encounter with Motherwell.

While Motherwell lost to their Lanarkshire rivals last Saturday, 24 hours later Celtic trounced Hearts 7-0 in the same competition at Tynecastle.

"It will give them an extra edge," he said. "They have to restore some pride. It was a big shock because they have been so consistent over the last couple

of years.

"I remember coaching under Gordon Strachan when we beat St Mirren 7-0 and

the following weekend we lost 1-0 to them in the cup.

"We are in good form and we want to maintain that but we will come up against a very dogged and determined Motherwell on Friday evening."