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Celtic will be without Reo Hatate until after Christmas after Brendan Rodgers confirmed the extent of the midfielder’s injury.

Hatate was forced out of last week’s Champions League draw with Atletico Madrid after tearing his hamstring.

The Japanese midfielder was in tears leaving the pitch with Rodgers confirming that the injury will sideline him for at least eight weeks.

“It’s a disappointment for him,” said the Celtic manager. “He’s had a bit of a broken start to the season.

“We are not 100% on exact timings for him but it would certaily be until after Christmas, we think. It is a disappointment for him. He has had a bit of a broken start to the season and this will take him to the halfway point of the league so it is frustrating for him.

“Especially someone who commits himself to his game and his professonalism and everything he tries to do right. He is in a great place for that support with the coaching staff, the medical team and we whle staff here will support him like we do all the players. Hopefully we can get him back sooner rather than later.”

Rodgers has also revealed that Celtic will take a closer look at everything around Hatate’s training regime in oder to ascertain the reasons why he appears to be so susceptible to hamstring issues.

Hatate, who signed a new deal last month that ties him to Celtic until 2028, has been integral to Celtic since Ange Postecoglou signed him in the 2022 January transfer window. 

The midfielder has had an issue with his other hamstring last season and had a calf problem earlier this campaign.

“If you watch the game, the first 35 seconds he has over-stretched and he has felt it,” said Rodgers. “It’s such a shame for him. He was out with his hamstring last year, it’s his other one this time. So we just need to try to get to the bottom of that.

“He is a guy who has come into the game late. He has done fantastic when he has been fit and available for Celtic. It is a case of trying to look deeper into everything around his development and what he is doing here and what he is doing away from here because ideally you want all of your best players available and he is certainly one of those.”

There was better news for Celtic with Rodgers confirming that Canadian fullback Alistair Johnston will be fine for Wednesday’s game against St Mirren. He was forced out of the weekend draw at Easter Road after taking the ball full in the face from close range.

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