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Friday 15 December 2017

Celtic refuse to rule out injured Stokes for Old Firm clash

Anthony Stokes. Photo: Getty Images
Anthony Stokes. Photo: Getty Images

Celtic assistant Johan Mjallby will not rule Scott Brown and Anthony Stokes out of Sunday's Old Firm clash at Ibrox after both players missed the trip to Spain for Celtic's Europa League group opener against Atletico Madrid tomorrow night.

Brown failed to recover from an ankle knock which caused him to miss the Clydesdale Bank Premier League win over Motherwell at the weekend.

Stokes picked up a thigh injury in training yesterday but Mjallby, speaking at Glasgow airport before Celtic flew to Madrid, said: "I think it is too early to say.

"Unfortunately they will not be available for tomorrow night but they still have a chance for Sunday.

"Anthony has a thigh strain, he shouldn't be too bad but we were surprised to see that he picked it up in training yesterday and that's it, we have to deal with it."

Controversy continues to surround the tie.

UEFA yesterday confirmed they had rejected Sion's appeal against their expulsion from the competition, allowing Celtic to take their place in the group which includes Udinese and Rennes.

The Swiss club, who beat Celtic 3-1 on aggregate in the play-offs, were thrown out of the tournament on September 2 after being found guilty by UEFA of fielding ineligible players.

Sion vowed to fight their expulsion but lost their appeal following yesterday's hearing, although earlier in the day, a Swiss regional court backed their fight to be reinstated.

Sion can take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within 10 days of written receipt of the decision.

However, Mjallby said: "The main thing is that we are in the draw and that's the way it should be because they played with some players who weren't allowed to play and UEFA have made the decision that we are in the group stages."

Sion president Christian Constantin claimed his side also plan to travel to the Spanish capital but the former Celtic defender joked: "I don't care, good for them. If they can pay for the tickets and go and watch the game then fine for him.

"The most important things is we are in the competition and we have been planning for it since we were told we are back in."

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