Celtic striker Moussa Dembele says that he won’t gamble on his fitness in order to play in the Scottish Cup final against Aberdeen.
The 20-year-old, who joined Celtic from Championship side Fulham last summer, suffered a hamstring injury in the Hoops’ semi-final win against Glasgow rivals Rangers last month.
The Frenchman, who has made a major contribution in Celtic’s remarkable season, has scored 17 goals in 27 appearances for the Hoops and would be a certain starter if healthy.
It was thought at first that the 20-year-old’s season would be ended by the hamstring injury he suffered, but he has apparently responded well to treatment and is yet to be ruled out of the Celtic squad ahead of the Scottish Cup final.
However, rather than aiming to be back for the final, Dembele has said that his priority is to be ready for Celtic’s first Champions League match in July.
Speaking about his injury, and as reported by the Daily Mail, he said:
The injury is doing well. I’m working in the gym every day, trying to get fit. I don’t know if I’m ahead of schedule – I’m just working as hard as I can and we’ll see what happens.
I’m just trying to get fit and, if that’s before the cup final, that would be good but if not I’ll just go on holiday and then come back for pre-season training. There’s a chance I could play in the final maybe but also maybe not.
It’s three weeks until the final so there’s still time but I will listen to the physios. With an injury like this, you need to take care. Personally, I will need to be 100 per cent fit if I am to play, especially with a muscle injury.
Otherwise, I will just get injured again so I will just take my time. If I am not fit in time for the final then I will come back stronger for the Champions League qualifying games.
Celtic will be favourites for the final regardless of Dembele’s fitness and Leigh Griffiths is more than capable of playing up front but having the Frenchman fit, possibly for a late substitute appearance, could be a welcome boost if he can recover in time.