Date: 12th October 2018 at 5:30am
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The international break can be a fairly worrying time for Celtic, Brendan Rodgers and supporters. With plenty of senior caps in the side, these periods are a busy time for the first-team squad and injuries are always a concern.

However, it is also a good opportunity for some players to rest up and prepare for the challenges ahead.

Leigh Griffiths noted he wanted to focus on his fitness to force his way into Rodgers’ plans moving forward and recent absentees like Scott Brown have the chance to get a break and recover.

Both Brown and his midfield teammate Nir Bitton could be returning to action soon, so when can supporters expect them back in green and white?

Nir Bitton

Nir Bitton in action for Celtic

When was he injured: The Israeli midfielder had an ongoing issue with his knee last season, eventually undergoing surgery in Belgium back in February, with Brendan Rodgers confirming he would be missing not just for the rest of the campaign but for the entire summer too. Out for eight months now, it’s been a long way back to first-team action for the player.

Potential injury return date: He should be available for selection shortly after the international break, as reported by The Scottish Sun last month.

How important will he be?: Bitton has had something of a niche utility role in Brendan Rodgers’ squad over the last 18 months, with the ability to play both in defence and in midfield. He was fairly impressive at centre-back last season before his operation so the hope would be can provide competition for the likes of Kristoffer Ajer, Dedryck Boyata and Filip Benkovic. That could be especially important if Boyata ends up leaving in January.

What the manager has said: “It will probably be after the next international break before he’s back. He had a minor setback that puts him back a couple of weeks but he’s working tirelessly to get back. He’ll be great for us when he’s back but he’s still a little bit of time away. Normally they say that if you’re out for six months it’s a similar period until you are back to where you left off. It will be nice to get him on the pitch. Whether or not he plays he’s a great influence on the group. He’s highly respected and we want him back ASAP.”

Scott Brown

Scott Brown celebrates a Celtic win

When was he injured: The Hoops captain was forced to withdraw from the recent trip to RB Salzburg with a hamstring injury, also missing out on the trip to Perth a few days later.

Potential injury return date: 20/10/2018, with Brendan Rodgers confirming he will rejoin training after the international break.

How important will he be?: Scott Brown’s influence on the Celtic team cannot be overstated and although the side picked up a massive win over St Johnstone in his absence, you’d imagine he’ll be straight back into Brendan Rodgers’ starting eleven sooner rather than later. Whether it’s with Olivier Ntcham or Youssouf Mulumbu, Brown will be vital throughout 2018/19 and we can only hope his injury isn’t an issue moving forward.

What the manager has said: “He’s the type of player, especially the Scott Brown of the last two years who has matured and has a real tactical idea of the game, who’s a breath of fresh air. That’s irreplaceable. That type of player in the modern game is becoming even less, the competitive edge, a mix of new and old-school mentality.”

 

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