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Sunday 24 September 2017

Moussa Dembele declared fit to play in Scottish Cup final

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 18: Kolo Toure, Moussa Dembele and Brendan Rodgers manager of Celtic look on during a Celtic training session on the eve of their UEFA Champions League Group C match against Borussia Moenchengladbach at Lennoxtown Training Centre on October 18, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 18: Kolo Toure, Moussa Dembele and Brendan Rodgers manager of Celtic look on during a Celtic training session on the eve of their UEFA Champions League Group C match against Borussia Moenchengladbach at Lennoxtown Training Centre on October 18, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Gavin McCafferty

Celtic striker Moussa Dembele is fit to play in the William Hill Scottish Cup final, manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed.

Dembele has not played since suffering a hamstring injury in the semi-final victory over Rangers on April 22.

But Rodgers revealed the 20-year-old was back to fitness ahead of Saturday's Hampden clash against Aberdeen.

Speaking at a Hampden media conference, Rodgers said: "He's fine. He has trained all week so he is available. He would be able to start."

If he were to start at Hampden, Dembele would have to displace Leigh Griffiths, who has netted four goals in five matches in his absence.

Rodgers said: "When Leigh was playing earlier on in the season, Moussa was on the side. Leigh gets injured and Moussa comes in and does fantastically well. Leigh has missed a lot of the season through illness, injury and through the form of the team.

"A little bit like the likes of James Forrest. James has played a lot this season, Patrick (Roberts) got into the team and did very well and it was difficult for James to get in.

"I know I can rely on them all and whoever we put into the team, I'm sure will do a fantastic job."

Rodgers added: "All the players throughout the season have given me selection issues. We had our 208th session today of which in the main the players have been available for most of them.

"We have had a number of injuries throughout the season, but every player who has come in has done very well, so I never have had to rely on just 11 players. The squad has really come to the fore over the course of the season. Playing our 59th competitive game, of course you need that squad."

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