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Celtic's Brendan Rodgers cannot guarantee start for fit-again striker Leigh Griffiths

By Gavin McCafferty

Published 23/09/2016

Choice: Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembele are both up for selection
Choice: Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembele are both up for selection

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers will put himself under no pressure to reinstate Leigh Griffiths following the striker's return from injury.

The Scotland international hit 40 goals last season and had notched seven before he picked up a hamstring problem then a calf complaint which have kept him out for the last four games.

French striker Moussa Dembele took over the lone striker's role and scored a hat-trick in the 5-1 home win over Rangers with his clinching goal in the 2-0 Betfred quarter-final win over Alloa on Wednesday night taking him on to eight for the season.

Griffiths is set to return to the squad for the visit of Kilmarnock in the Ladbrokes Premiership tomorrow and, asked if he could find a way to get both players into the team, Rodgers said: "It is not a big worry for me.

"You have to pick a team that works, it's not about finding the room for names in the team.

"I have great defenders that might not play, I can't get all of them in.

"So a team always has to have offensive and defensive balance and if that means some players have to miss out, they miss out.

"But the spirit in the team, everyone respects that we are picking a team to win the games and thus far the mentality has been superb and we hope to continue that at the weekend."

Celtic have created dozens of chances in their last two games but were held to a 2-2 draw by Inverness and then took 83 minutes to find the net against Ladbrokes League One leaders Alloa.

"I am nearly sure that if Leigh had been involved in the last couple of games he would have helped himself to some goals," Rodgers said.

"However, the most important thing is that we are creating chances and the regularity with which we are getting into the final third.

"We needed a bit more quality in our final ball last night and that might have made the chances easier. We just need to show that bit more composure."

Old Firm handed Hampden date

Celtic and Rangers were last night paired with one another in the semi-finals of the Betfred League Cup.

Rangers smashed Queen of the South 5-0 on Tuesday night, while the Hoops laboured to a 2-0 win over Alloa on Wednesday — and the derby rivals will lock horns for a place in the final on Sunday, October 23.

The other last-four clash sees Aberdeen, who overcame St Johnstone 1-0 thanks to an injury-time header from Adam Rooney last night, take on Championship side Greenock Morton.

Belfast Telegraph

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