Brendan Rodgers has revealed Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths is making good progress with his hamstring injury recovery but remains a doubt for the Champions League clash with Barcelona on Wednesday night (23 November). However, Jozo Simunovic, Emilio Izaguirre, Tom Rogic and Kieran Tierney are all expected to be fit to face the La Liga giants.
Griffiths has already scored nine goals in 17 appearances for Celtic this season after enjoying an impressive start to the campaign, netting five times in the Champions League qualifiers to lead the Hoops to the group stage. However, the 26-year-old has struggled to maintain that form in recent times due to different fitness issues.
The Scotland international already missed the Champions League 7-0 defeat to Barcelona in the reverse fixture earlier in September, due to a calf problem and could also be out on Wednesday after he suffered another hamstring injury during the recent international break while on duty with Scotland.
Griffiths consequently missed the league victory over Kilmarnock at the weekend and Rodgers has revealed that he needs to be assessed before making a decision over his availability to face Barcelona.
"We'll assess Leigh on Wednesday morning," Rodgers said in his press conference as quoted by Daily Record. "He did the warm up with the group Tuesday morning and he's making good progress."
However, Rodgers gave a more positive update on the rest of his players as all of Jozo Izaguirre, Tom Rogic, Kieran Tierney and even Simunovic, who was rested for the 1-0 victory over Kilmarnock following his serious knee injury, are expected to feature against Barcelona.
Asked about Simunovic's availability for the Champions League clash, he said: "I think all being well that will be the case. I think playing on the Astroturf [Kilmarnock last Friday] was a no-go. That was why it was a great result for us, not only did we win the game and keep a clean sheet but we had no injuries. Astro would have been a no-go for him, but he has had the recovery in between and he will be fine.
"Most of the other players are available and back in, with Emilio Izaguirre and Tom Rogic back in training after the international trip and the other guys coming back from injury, like Kieran Tierney, have had more time."
Celtic host the La Liga champions from their vulnerable position at the bottom of the group C with only two points, needing a victory to keep any hopes of booking a place in the knockout stage. The Hoops were humiliated by Barcelona in the reverse fixture but later held Manchester City to a 3-3 draw and Rodgers believes his side can also upset Luis Enrique's side when the Catalans visit the Celtic Park on Wednesday.
"We showed them too much respect [in the first game] and the scoreline was bitterly disappointing at the time. However, the players have learned from that in terms of their courage to get on the ball and their bravery to play," the former Liverpool boss added. "We want to get a victory. We know it will be hugely difficult but we don't have any fear. We have to impose our style, play our game and take our chances. If we can do all that, we give ourselves an opportunity to get a result.