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Celtic can cope with Kayal injury

By Ronnie Esplin

Celtic manager Neil Lennon will not reassess his January transfer plans despite potentially losing Beram Kayal for the rest of the season.

The midfielder will undergo surgery on Monday to repair the ankle he damaged during a challenge with Rangers midfielder Lee McCulloch.

Celtic will discover the extent of Kayal's lay-off after the operation, but Lennon revealed the Israel international could be out for four months or more.

However, Lennon has a number of options in central midfield with Victor Wanyama and Ki Sung-yueng both in good form and Scott Brown back to full fitness following his own ankle injury.

Joe Ledley will also come into contention for a midfield role after deputising at left-back for the fit-again Emilio Izaguirre.

Kayal was initially ruled out for at least one month but Lennon said: “He had a second scan and he needs surgery. We don't know what the outcome of the surgery will be.

“It was a good challenge between two committed players.

“It could be a minimum four months or we could maybe get better news. The result is he needs surgery, we are just not sure on the extent of it yet.”

Lennon, whose team have won 10 consecutive Scottish Premier League games, added: “It would be a huge blow for me, the player and the club itself.

“It's no coincidence that this run has coincided with Beram signing a new contract.

“He is a pivotal player for us, but one area we have real quality strength in depth is midfield.

“I've got plenty of cover in midfield, but no one likes to lose a player for a concerted period of time.”

Lennon, whose team face Peterhead in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup tomorrow, has already signed Sweden right-back Mikael Lustig and has previously admitted his interest in signing a centre-back and striker.

Lennon added: “There are a number of players interesting us in a couple of positions. I'm not in a position to talk about individuals.

“I'm happy with the squad. We've got strength in depth and we have Kris Commons and Glenn Loovens a week away from full training and Mark Wilson, who has made a great recovery, two weeks ago.

“Allied to that, we have Lustig in there who is not far away from being fit.

“We are obviously looking to improve the squad but if we can't, it won't be a disaster.

“There is no pressure on me to trim the squad at all and no one has come knocking on my door.”

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