What crisis? Rogne upbeat despite being Celtic's only fit centre-half

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The Independent Online

Celtic centre-half Thomas Rogne has played down talk of a defensive crisis at the club ahead of the Scottish Premier League leaders' game with Heart of Midlothian at Parkhead tonight.

With Daniel Majstorovic out for up to three weeks with a hamstring strain, Jos Hooiveld on loan at FC Copenhagen and Glenn Loovens making his way back from injury, the 20-year-old Norwegian is the only recognised central defender available to Neil Lennon.

Speaking at the club's Lennoxtown training complex yesterday, first-team coach Alan Thompson admitted that the prospect of signing someone before the visit of in-form Hearts was "highly unlikely".

Rogne, however, insists left-back Charlie Mulgrew, who partnered him on Saturday when Majstorovic had to go off against Aberdeen, and right-back Mark Wilson, are both capable of moving in to the middle of defence.

"I am probably the only true central defender left but we have boys who can step in and do a job," Rogne said. "I don't know who is playing beside me yet but Charlie did a good job in the last game and Willo [Wilson] can play centre-half. So we will be fine – it's not a crisis.

"It's a strange situation of course but these things happen with injuries and everything and you just have to deal with it. There is always a responsibility when you play and maybe a bit extra now that I'm the only centre-half but that's something I am looking forward to."

Celtic were hoping to persuade Nottingham Forest to allow defender Kelvin Wilson, who has signed a pre-contract agreement with the Hoops and who will move north at the end of the season, to come to Parkhead sooner but it is believed the English club are looking for a fee of as much as £600,000.

Thompson admitted Lennon would have to pick from who he has in his squad at the moment. "I would think in terms of anyone coming in before the Hearts game, it is highly unlikely," said the former Hoops midfielder.

"There are a number of things we are looking at between now and next Monday when the transfer window closes, so we will just have to see what comes from that but at present it is looking like we will have to go with what we have."

On Kelvin Wilson, Thompson said: "It's Forest's prerogative, he is their player although he has signed a pre-contract. We would like to get him in but as I said, there is nothing moving at present. You can understand their situation, he is their player and they will probably want to keep him until the summer."

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