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Abada and Maeda in Celtic fitness race as duo battle to be fit for Rangers clash



Liel Abada and Daizen Maeda are both battling to be fit for this month’s Old Firm clash at Parkhead.

Israel winger Abada has been absent since September after suffering a thigh blow on international duty, while Japan attacker Maeda injured his knee in the challenge that cost him a red card against Atletico Madrid last month. The attacking duo have both returned to light training at Lennoxtown and Rodgers expects them to be available for selection in the coming weeks.

Celtic have a mammoth run of six fixtures before the December 30 Glasgow derby showdown and Abada and Maeda have set their sights on being involved against Rangers.

Rodgers said: “Liel and Daizen are both on the pitch now which is great news for us. Daizen is probably a wee bit ahead of Liel. But I’m expecting at some point this month that they will be available. They are back out on the field with the medical and rehabilitation team. Hopefully it won’t be too long before they are back in with the squad again.”

Asked about the prospect of them facing Rangers, Rodgers said: “I’m not thinking about that, to be honest. I’m thinking of Hibs really.”

Meanwhile Reo Hatate will fly back to Scotland this week after being allowed to continue his rehab in Japan. The playmaker, 26, has been out of action since October and won’t kick a ball until after the winter break in January.

Rodgers added: “Reo is starting to move. We allowed Reo to go back to Japan and get some work there because he was in the really early stages. He’s worked really hard there and he returns later on in the week, which will be great, and we’ll assess him when he’s back.”

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