Ambrose answers emergency call

16 July 2013 04:16

Celtic's defensive injury crisis ahead of their Champions League qualifier against Cliftonville at Solitude on Wednesday night has led to an early recall to action for Efe Ambrose.

The Nigeria defender was given extra time off following the Confederations Cup.

However, with defenders Adam Matthews, Charlie Mulgrew and Virgil van Dijk injured, plus Steven Mouyokolo signed but not available until the second leg next week, manager Neil Lennon has called upon the services of Ambrose earlier than expected.

"Efe Ambrose is in contention," said the Northern Irishman, who has also seen Victor Wanyama leave for Southampton. "He looks great, he looks in good condition. These guys play almost 12 months a year. He has had a couple of weeks off.

"He had a heavy schedule with the Confederations Cup, had a holiday, did a little bit of training in Nigeria and then joined us yesterday and he looks fine.

"It probably would have been ideal for him to do a little bit of conditioning work but looking at him yesterday he looks in fine fettle."

Midfielder Joe Ledley and striker Gary Hooper are also out with injuries with the latter expected by Lennon to leave the Scottish champions in the next week.

Norwich were reported to have put a deadline of yesterday on their £4million bid for the 25-year-old Englishman while QPR boss Harry Redknapp indicated the club were not close to bringing Hooper to Loftus Road, albeit he is a player firmly on their radar.

He told Sky Sports News: "Philip Beard (chief executive) has made an enquiry but I don't honestly know where we're at. We're certainly not close to it at the moment.

"He's a player we like but it's whether they want to sell him or whether we can pay enough money for him - basically whether there's a deal to be done between the two clubs.

Source: PA