Blow for Celtic as defender Boyata is ruled out of battles with Linfield
Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata faces up to three months out with a knee injury.
The Belgium international - who established himself as a regular starter in the second half of last season - will miss Celtic's Champions League qualifying campaign, including both legs against Linfield, after suffering medial ligament damage during a friendly draw with Slavia Prague on Tuesday.
Assistant manager Chris Davies said: "It looks like a pretty bad knee injury. The timeline we are looking at is up to three months, but we're optimistic."
Davies was speaking at Glasgow Airport as Celtic flew out to Dublin for today's friendly against Shamrock Rovers without the former Manchester City centre-back.
"It's really disappointing for Dedryck," he said. "We are all disappointed for him but he has hard work ahead during rehab."
Boyata's injury will pave the way for Jozo Simunovic and Erik Sviatchenko to line up in central defence when Celtic begin their Champions League qualifiers against the Blues at Windsor Park next Friday.