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BACK PAGE BULLETIN: SINCLAIR MISSING FROM CELTIC NAME-CHECK, DONS STAR SLAMS TV PUNDIT, McGREGOR GERS DOUBT, GRAHAM’S HOPE

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NEIL LENNON has name-checked two Celtic players he could draft in as emergency strikers – but Scott Sinclair still appears to be out in the cold.

The 30-year-old forward has hardly figured in this campaign, despite scoring 61 goals for the Hoops in his first three seasons following his £4.5million arrival from Aston Villa in August 2016.

The Hoops boss was talking in the aftermath of the news Vakoun Issouf Bayo was rated doubtful for tonight’s Premiership meeting with St Mirren at Parkhead.

Leigh Griffiths is also ruled out, but he could return to light training tomorrow after his thigh problem.

Lennon revealed the champions may have to plunge into the January transfer market to bolster his options as a back-up for Odsonne Edouard.

The French Under-21 ace is the ONLY fit frontman for this evening’s game against the Paisley Saints.

Lennon, speaking to the Scottish Sun, admitted: “It may be an area we’ll look at. We are a little bit short there with only one currently at the minute, Edouard, who is fully fit.

“You get anxiety around Edouard because he is a quality player and you don’t want to lose him at any time because he is so pivotal to the way we play.

“We’d have to manage it if that eventuality comes around. If it is the case, hopefully Bayo, Griffiths and a couple of others could slot in there.

“Mikey Johnston can do it, Ryan Christie can do it. There’s a flexibility about them.”

However, Sinclair, who has yet to start a competitive game this term, didn’t get a mention. His two goals this time out have come against FK Sarajevo in the 3-1 away Champions League qualifying win and in the 5-0 Betfred League Cup quarter-final triumph over Partick Thistle last month.

Brendan Rodgers, who signed his former Chelsea and Swansea City forward, utilised the pacy raider as the team’s attack-leader on several occasions.

The most notable achievement from Sinclair while leading the line came when he netted a hat-trick in the Hoops’ 5-0 triumph over Hearts at Tynecastle to secure the club’s first title in the Rodgers regime.

Moussa Dembele and Griffiths were both missing for the crucial encounter in Edinburgh on April 2 2017. Stuart Armstrong and Patrick Roberts claimed the other strikes that memorable afternoon in Edinburgh.

The Englishman is out of contract in the summer and will be able to talk to interested clubs in January and he could agree a pre-contract which would see him walk away for free.

CRAIG BRYSON has angrily hit back at Steven Thompson and vehemently denied his claims Aberdeen lay down to Celtic in the 4-0 hammering at Pittodrie on Sunday.

The Sportscene pundit accused the Dons of chucking it as the champions raced into an unassailable four-goal advantage after a whirlwind opening 45 minutes.

Former Scotland international Bryson came on as a half-time substitute and was clearly upset by the former Rangers, Dundee United and Burnley striker’s comments.

The midfielder, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “What footballer is ever going to lie down? Nobody is ever going to go into a game wanting to get beaten.

“What does it even mean? Lying down, what is that? Is that wanting to get beaten?

“We worked all week on a game-plan and a way we felt would help us get something from the game.

“So, I don’t see how someone can say we went into the game and lay down.”

The former Derby star added: “Sometimes you don’t play well and you don’t win the tackles or headers, but it’s not for a lack of trying. Sometimes a team is just better than you on the day.

“Our downfall was that we didn’t turn up, we certainly didn’t go into the game to lie down.

“The manager would never send us onto the pitch saying: ‘Just let Celtic win’.

“What happened was we were rubbish and they were far better than us.”

ALLAN McGREGOR is a doubt for Rangers for tonight’s Premirship meeting with Ross County in Dingwall.

The veteran keeper suffered a slight injury after landing awkwardly in the 2-1 win over Motherwell at Ibrox on Sunday.

Wes Foderingham is standing by to get the nod from boss Steven Gerrard if the former Scotland international No.1 is forced to call off.

The Englishman, who is out of contract in the summer, played in the 2-1 triumph over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park at the start of the season.

Also likely to be missing is Brandon Barker who sustained a shoulder injury. Glen Kamara should return after illness while Jordan Jones is also working his way back.

Ryan Kent returned to action last week, but Gerrard is managing his game-time after the £7million winger’s hamstring injury and he could miss out again.

BRIAN GRAHAM is hoping to start for Ross County against the Ibrox side.

The 31-year-old striker was impressive after coming on as a substitute in the comeback 2-2 draw with Hibs at Easter Road on Saturday.

Graham was on target as the Highlanders fought back to gain a point and he is looking for his first league start of the campaign.

Nathan Baxter (shoulder), Iain Vigurs (foot), Callum Morris (groin) and Don Cowie (knee) are working their way back to fitness.

 

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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