O'Neill's injury crisis deepens

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The Independent Football

The Celtic manager, Martin O'Neill, has admitted that he is suffering the consequences of having a small squad.

Chris Sutton was the latest addition to Celtic's injury list during the surprise midweek defeat to Aberdeen, and leaves O'Neill in difficulties for today's trip to Motherwell.

But the Celtic manager is refusing to make excuses, and should be boosted by the return of Alan Thompson. The English midfielder has been out of action since sustaining a hamstring injury in Milan at the end of September, but he has returned to training and is in contention to play today.

O'Neill said: "The last thing I want is to make excuses and even though we have a few problems we will have to cope with them. That's the way it goes. You warned me at the start of the season that the squad was not big enough and we are suffering the consequences."

To make matters worse for Celtic, Henri Camara and Stanislav Varga are also struggling to overcome ankle and thigh problems respectively.

For Motherwell, Scott Leitch (knee) and Scott McDonald (back) are rated very doubtful. Midfielder Phil O'Donnell (ankle) has a 50-50 chance of being fit while Kevin McBride has undergone knee surgery.

Rangers welcome back Peter Lovenkrands and Alan Hutton for tomorrow's home Premier League game with Aberdeen. Alex Rae (calf), Dragan Mladenovic (knee), Paolo Vanoli (hamstring) and Maurice Ross (knee) are all nearing returns. Craig Moore (hernia) and Gavin Rae (knee) remain on the long-term casualty list.

The Aberdeen goalkeeper David Preece is out with a head injury, but striker Noel Whelan returns after a thigh strain.