Wednesday 17 January 2018

Brendan Rodgers refuses to rule Moussa Dembele out of Scottish Cup final

Ronnie Esplin

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has not ruled Moussa Dembele out of the William Hill Scottish Cup final.

The French striker pulled up in the first half of the 2-0 semi-final win over Rangers on Sunday with a hamstring injury.

It was believed that the 20-year-old would play no further part in Celtic's season but the Hoops boss claimed he still "has a chance" of facing Aberdeen at Hampden on May 27.

"He will be out for the foreseeable future," added Rodgers ahead of their Ladbrokes Premiership contest with Rangers at Ibrox on Saturday.

"He had his scan on his hamstring. We will monitor him and assess it over time and see how he reacts.

"There is a period of time with individuals with hamstrings which is never to say that he can't be back within that.

"He was on a bike today and moving the hamstring so we will see.

"It is a hamstring tear, not overly serious, but we will assess it over the next two to three weeks."

While Rodgers is hoping Dembele will recover before the end of the season following his Hampden setback, he claimed that Patrick Roberts, his on-loan attacker from Manchester City, was lucky not to leave the national stadium with a broken leg following the early challenge by Andy Halliday, which only brought the Ibrox midfielder a yellow card.

The former Swansea and Liverpool boss was speaking in the context of FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirming that video referees will be used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Rodgers said: "If you assess a lot of yellow cards I would be nearly positive that up to 50 per cent of them would be reds. If there was video technology at our game at the weekend they would have lost a player after three minutes."

Asked if Roberts had been lucky, Rodgers said: "I think he was very very lucky. Thankfully for himself he actually saw it coming out the corner of his eye. If he is planted then it is a broken leg.

"At that speed, going in, that was reckless. It was reckless. Thankfully he came out of it unscathed and he was brilliant in the game.

"It wasn't a good challenge at all and I think everyone who saw that, recognised it. I don't know if (referee) Willie Collum was unsighted or not.

"You are hoping that those types of incidents are seen in the game because the game is to be competitive but you don't want your talented players being injured and that is important."

Press Association

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