Celtic's virus cases give Rangers chance to strike
LONDON, OCT 16: Celtic's plans for the first Old Firm clash against Rangers of a potentially historic season have been thrown into disarray by a series of positive coronavirus cases while players have been away on international duty.
The Scottish champions have expressed their frustration after star striker Odsonne Edouard and Israeli pair Nir Bitton and Hatem Elhamed all tested positive. Ryan Christie will also miss Saturday's match after being forced into a two-week isolation period as a close contact of Scotland teammate Stuart Armstrong, who also tested positive.
"While we apportion no blame whatsoever to anyone, this is now a very difficult position for us and, clearly, for all other clubs," Celtic said in one of many statements over the international break, which hints at a broader club versus country battle ahead of the November internationals.
"Like all other clubs, we must do all we can to protect our squad and limit the very clear and obvious risks to players."
The Covid cases are all the more disruptive before the first Old Firm derby for 10 months, with so much on the line for both sides. Celtic are aiming for a record-breaking 10th consecutive league title, bettering the nine-in-a-row mark reached by Celtic in the 1960s and 70s and Rangers in the late 1980s and 90s.
The Hoops have made a positive start to their title defence after previous coronavirus-related disruption when left-back Boli Bolingoli failed to quarantine after a trip to Spain in August, leading to the postponement of two fixtures. —AFP