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Celtic striker Daizen Maeda to miss Rangers clash after Japan call-up

Celtic v Hibernian – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Celtic have lost Daizen Maeda for the visit of Rangers after the striker was called up for Japan.

Maeda will not be joined by Reo Hatate, who has dropped out of the international squad, while there was no place for Yosuke Ideguchi.

The three Japanese players all made their Celtic debuts in a 2-0 victory against Hibernian on Monday with Maeda getting the opening goal.

Celtic’s other Japanese international, Kyogo Furuhashi, is missing from the squad because of a hamstring injury.

Hoops manager Ange Postecoglou has warned fans not to expect a swift return for the forward and he is also set to miss the derby on February 2.

Japan face China on January 27 and Saudi Arabia on February 1 in World Cup qualifiers, meaning Maeda will miss cinch Premiership games against Hearts, Dundee United and Rangers.

His absence means Celtic are likely to have to turn to Giorgos Giakoumakis as their main striking threat.

The Greek striker has had a slow start to his Celtic career but returned from knee surgery off the bench against Hibs.

Another striker, Albian Ajeti, is out with a hamstring injury as it stands.

Australia midfielder Tom Rogic will also miss the same three matches after he was called up for the Asian World Cup qualifiers on Friday.

Rangers will be missing Alfredo Morelos for the derby clash after the striker was called up by Colombia.

Ibrox midfielder Joe Aribo could also miss the game, depending on how far his Nigeria team progress in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Celtic would have had the right to seek a postponement if they had three or more players called up for international duty.

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