Baldé recovery boosts Celtic spirits

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The Independent Football

Celtic have emerged from a miserable few days with some good news as they look to pick themselves up from their Old Firm defeat at the weekend.

Celtic have emerged from a miserable few days with some good news as they look to pick themselves up from their Old Firm defeat at the weekend.

Their manager Martin O'Neill now expects his captain Jackie McNamara and defensive linchpin Bobo Baldé to take on Clyde at Broadwood in the Tennent's Scottish Cup this Sunday after recent concerns over their fitness.

The French-born Baldé came through the 2-0 defeat by Rangers unscathed after passing a late fitness test on an ankle injury, while the versatile Scotland international McNamara was taken off during the second half with a dead leg. But O'Neill said: "Jackie's taken a sore one in the Rangers game and been left with a dead leg. But the medical people are hopeful of him being fit for the Clyde game and that's obviously good news.

"Bobo also came through the game without any reaction after passing a fitness test beforehand so we're hopeful of having them both in the squad for going to Broadwood."

The Scottish Football Association confirmed yesterday that they would be writing to Celtic for their view of the incident in Sunday's Old Firm game in which Rangers' Fernando Ricksen was hit by an object thrown from the crowd.

The Dutch midfielder needed a stitch in a cut just above his eye and Celtic have urged their own fans to report the culprits who aimed missiles at Ricksen as he prepared to take a corner late in the game.

Strathclyde Police are studying CCTV footage to identify the offenders, but the Scottish FA is not planning to discuss the matter formally until the 15 March meeting of its disciplinary committee which will review Celtic's comments.

Celtic have also been dealing with speculation surrounding their goalkeeper Robert Douglas. The Leicester manager Craig Levein has remained silent yesterday on reports linking him with Douglas. It has been suggested that the former Hearts manager is ready to offer Douglas an escape route this summer.

The Scotland No 1 was inconsolable after his mistake set up Rangers' Old Firm win at Parkhead and handed the visitors the initiative in the Premier League.

It was the latest in a string of costly blunders by Hoops goalkeepers and Douglas is now expected to lose his place to talented teenager David Marshall, despite Martin O'Neill's vote of confidence.

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