Emilio Izaguirre ready for Celtic return

Celtic left-back Emilio Izaguirre is ready to return after recovering fully from a broken ankle sustained against Aberdeen in August.

"He had 90 minutes in a bounce game on Tuesday and came through it fine," said manager Neil Lennon.

"Emilio is a naturally fit boy anyway. He has had a traumatic injury but we are not going to pressure him.

"He is desperate to play. He's been frustrated and there's no doubt at times it's been hard for him."

Celtic are at home to Kilmarnock on Saturday, with Rangers to follow next Wednesday.

Izaguirre signed a contract extension until 2015 shortly after suffering his injury.

And Lennon believes the Honduran will quickly recapture the form that saw him named Scotland's player of the year last season.

"He'll be back and he'll be better than he was before," added the manager. "I don't like making predictions, but he'll be physically stronger and mentally stronger, too.

I think the players are in buoyant mood at the minute without being complacent

Neil Lennon Celtic manager

"He's bursting a gut to be involved and there's no doubt we'll have to temper the expectations and apply the brakes. We're talking with the medical staff all the time and we'll use precaution.

"He's had his family here with him and I think that's helped. He had a wee break back home, but he's just desperate to get back playing.

"We want to get him back to the way he was last season. We will be careful with him."

Lennon insisted that even if Izaguirre does not feature against Kilmarnock, he will still consider him for the Old Firm derby.

Celtic's last meeting with Killie saw the Glasgow side hit back from 3-0 down at half-time to earn a draw at Rugby Park.

"It's a game which brings its own dangers but we want to make it eight wins in a row and go into the Rangers game on the 28th with a good mentality for that game," said Lennon.

"It's very important, just to maintain the run and keep the pressure up at the top of the table. I think the players are in buoyant mood at the minute without being complacent."