Johnston, Bitton and Griffiths fitness boost for Celtic

Only long-term absentees Jozo Simunovic, Daniel Arzani and Jack Hendry are definitely missing.

By Press Association Published: 1 October 2019 - 5.54pm

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Celtic have received a boost ahead of their Europa League clash with Cluj after several players returned to training.

Mikey Johnston, Nir Bitton and Leigh Griffiths are all pushing for comebacks after missing several games.

Only long-term absentees Jozo Simunovic, Daniel Arzani and Jack Hendry are definitely missing for Wednesday’s Parkhead encounter.

Lennon told Celtic TV: “We are looking healthy, we have no fresh injuries. There’s a few bumps and bruises, Moritz (Bauer)’s ankle is still a little bit swollen.

“Nir Bitton is back in training now, Mikey Johnston is back in training now, so the only long-term absentee is Jozo.

“Tom Rogic has a tiny little bit of fluid around the knee but he should train on Wednesday. Griff is back in training now but obviously he has missed a few weeks of training. But the squad depth is good.”

Lennon is glad to be facing Cluj again weeks after the Romanians knocked Celtic out of the Champions League with a 4-3 victory in Glasgow.

Both sides subsequently got off to good starts after being paired against in the same Europa League group, Cluj defeating Lazio at home and Celtic drawing against Rennes in France.

“I’m quite happy,” Lennon said. “They have started the group very well. People talk about revenge, retribution. It’s a motivation for the players because it’s so recent. But in terms of the game, it’s a home in Europe, it’s one we want to win.

“We got off to a great start in the group as well so it’s important we maximise home advantage.”

Lennon learnt lessons from the second leg of their Champions League qualifier.

“We started at a poor tempo and I think that’s what really cost us,” he said. “You can look at the individual goals we conceded in the second half but we let that 45 minutes get away from, us and found ourselves a goal down and chasing the tie, so that’s something we have to look at.

“In terms of their style of play, they are very direct and very effective. I think it’s going to be an energetic, high tempo game and I think that will suit us.”