Celtic 1-1 Inter Milan

Celtic duo in doubt after Inter draw

July 28, 2012

Neil Lennon faces an anxious wait to see if Kris Commons and Anthony Stokes will be fit for Celtic's Champions League qualifying clash against HJK Helsinki at Parkhead on Wednesday night.

Celtic's Adam Mathew battles with Inter Milan's Fredy Guarin
APCeltic's Adam Mathew battles with Inter Milan's Fredy Guarin

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Commons' fine strike just before the break gave the Hoops the lead in the 1-1 home friendly draw against Inter Milan but he hobbled off near the end leaving Celtic to finish the game with ten men after they had used all their outfield substitutes.

Striker Stokes was carried off on a stretcher in the first half after blocking a clearance from Esteban Cambiasso and he too is a concern ahead of the first leg of the Hoops' third qualifying round first leg against the Finnish side.

The Celtic boss said: "They both have got badly twisted ankles so the next 24 hours are really important as to how they react.

"I think Kris would be a bigger doubt at the minute than Anthony but I will give them as long a possible to see if they can recover for the game on Wednesday.

"Anthony was a blocked challenge while Kris seemed to slip on the turf and go over on it.

"Sometimes they can be the worst ones, when there is nobody near you, all your weight can go on the supporting leg so he was quite swollen almost immediately.

"I don't think there is any lasting damage but it might be a push for him to be fit for Wednesday."

Lennon was more optimistic when explaining the absence of Scott Brown, Kelvin Wilson, Thomas Rogne, James Forrest and Beram Kayal.

He said: "Brown is just precautionary, he is still coming back from surgery in June so we don't want to overwork him.

"Rogne was rested. James got a bang on his foot in training, he had it X-rayed this morning so he should be okay.

"Kelvin Wilson has shin splints; you get them at this time of the year with hard grounds.

"He has been for a scan and it is some soft tissue so he should be okay for Wednesday. "Beram Kayal has done some extra work and will train on Monday as well."

Despite losing a last-gasp equaliser to Rodrigo Palacio, which means Celtic's pre-season record is one win in six games, the Hoops manager is confident his side are ready for HJK Helsinki.

He said: "We played some very good football against a very good side, scored a great goal and created lots of chances. So to say that is the best we have played pre-season would be an understatement.

"We blooded some of the kids at the end and we were down to 10 men for the last 15 minutes and conceded a late goal but that was an irrelevance.

"I would like to win Wednesday's game and win it by as much as possible but having watched Helsinki I know it's going to be a really hard game.

"They have got a bit of pace in their team, particularly in wide areas. They have very fit players who know their way around the pitch and they are going to be hard to beat, to break down, so the onus is on us to try to do that. And we will have to be patient.

"I think physically we are in good condition and the football is starting to look better so I think we are ready."