Thomas Rogne has played down talk of a defensive crisis ahead of Celtic's SPL clash with Hearts at Parkhead tonight.
With Daniel Majstorovic out for up to three weeks with a hamstring strain, Jos Hooiveld away on loan at FC Copenhagen and Glenn Loovens making his way back from injury, the 20-year-old Norwegian is the only recognised central defender available to manager Neil Lennon.
First-team coach Alan Thompson admitted that the prospect of getting someone in before the visit of the in-form Jambos was "highly unlikely".
Rogne, however, insists left-back Charlie Mulgrew, who partnered him on Saturday when Majstorovic had to go off against Aberdeen, and right-back Mark Wilson are both capable of moving in to the middle of defence.
"I am probably the only true central defender left, but we have boys who can step in and do a job," he said.
"I don't know who is playing beside me yet, but Charlie did a good job in the last game and Willo (Wilson) can play centre-half. So we will be fine; it's not a crisis.
"It's a strange situation but these things happen and you just have to deal with it.
"There is always a responsibility when you play and maybe a bit extra now that I'm the only centre-half, but that's something I am looking forward to."
Celtic were hoping to persuade Nottingham Forest to allow defender Kelvin Wilson -- who has signed a pre-contract with the Hoops and who will move north at the end of the season -- to come to Parkhead sooner, but it is believed the English club are looking for a fee of as much as £600,000.
Hearts, who are unbeaten in their last 11 SPL games, could become genuine title contenders if they win tonight.
Jim Jefferies' side beat Rangers 1-0 at Tynecastle last Saturday to go within two points of the champions and seven behind leaders Celtic, having played a game more than the Ibrox men but one less than the Parkhead club. (© Daily Telegraph, London)