Dedryck Boyata: Celtic defender a major doubt for Salzburg match

Dedryck Boyata and Niall McGinn
Dedryck Boyata (left) played only 61 minutes against Aberdeen
Scottish Premiership: Motherwell v Celtic
Venue: Fir Park Date: Wednesday, 5 December Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata is almost certainly out of next week's Europa League match against Salzburg with a hamstring injury.

However, manager Brendan Rodgers hopes Belgium international Boyata, 28, will be back before the end of the month.

The Scottish champions require a point at home to Salzburg to guarantee reaching February's round of 32.

Celtic visit Motherwell in Wednesday's Premiership match, having won the League Cup on Sunday.

Belgium cap Boyata picked up his injury in the Hampden win over Aberdeen and Rodgers said he was "very proud" to have equalled Walter Smith's record of seven successive Scottish domestic trophies, Smith doing so with Rangers between 1992 and 1994.

"Time always judges you," said Rodgers. "I always say that. Time will judge as a team. We're certainly not finished yet in terms of what it is we want to achieve. We're very hungry to sustain this period of our game and what we're trying to do and obviously what we're trying to win."

Captain Scott Brown has come on as a substitute in Celtic's past two games, having been injured for a few weeks prior to that, and Rodgers said: "There is no doubt that Scott Brown's a very important player for us.

"People have been trying to write him off since I first came in here and he has proven to be an outstanding player for me and a great captain.

"He still has a big role to play for me. As for the team in general there will be changes within it, of course, but the team played very well and then Scott used his experience coming into the game late on to ensure we closed the game out."

Celtic go into December's league fixtures trailing Rangers, with Steven Gerrard's side one point ahead having played one game more.

"We're in a very, very good position as a team and as a club," added Rodgers. "We sit just behind with a game in hand and we've won our first cup competition and we have a great opportunity to qualify for Europe.

"It's very, very early on. We haven't even completed the second round of games as of yet. What has been great about this year is the competition. There's no doubt the competition has increased in the division - lots of teams stepping up, playing very, very well - likes of Rangers, Kilmarnock. Hearts and Hibs have hit a little spell but still very good, very competitive.

"Competition brings the best out of you."

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