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KT IS OK; Gaffer says Tierney ready for Well clashKT'S IN LINE TO SKIP BACK.

Byline: KEITH JACKSON & MICHAEL GANNON

BRENDAN RODGERS last night revealed Kieran Tierney is on the brink of a Celtic return - while appearing to rule the left-back out of Thursday night's Europa League rescue mission in Valencia.

Tierney has been sidelined for more than two months since damaging a hip against Red Bull Salzburg in the group stage. But Rodgers expects the 21-year-old to be ready to resume his campaign against Motherwell on Sunday - in time to take the armband back from skipper Scott Brown who will serve a one-match suspension having been sent off after bagging a late winner at Killie.

The Celtic boss said: "By the end of this week that'll be two full weeks Kieran will have had training with the team.

"So we would hope maybe by Motherwell at the weekend he'd be in with a chance. We'll assess that and see how it goes.

"But he's looking very strong. He's looking back to the running ability he showed before the injury because physicality is very important for Kieran in the role he plays, getting up and down the line.

"But he looks back moving as well as he has done so we are hoping that come the weekend he'll be fine."

Striker Oliver Burke, 21, is praying for a miracle in the Mestalla but knows pride will also be at stake after last week's 2-0 first-leg defeat.

Burke - whose form has fired him in line for a Scotland recall - is refusing to give up on the tie but says the first aim is to help the club save face on the European stage.

The Hoops took a huge stride towards the title with Sunday's dramatic win at Kilmarnock - now they're out to take a step on the road to recovery on the continent. Burke said: "It is definitely about pride. We have to go there and show we are capable and show what we can do.

"It was an amazing experience for me to play at Celtic Park in a big European game. It's a privilege to be a Celtic player, with massive crowds and great fans.

"This is a huge stage for me. I really enjoyed it - for a while. It was sad how it turned out and I was pretty down afterwards.

"It's about picking yourselves up to go again.

"The boys are all really looking forward to going to the Mestalla. We'll get behind each other and hopefully we can kick on.

"We showed signs we can penetrate and get in behind them. We created a couple of chances and hopefully this time we can get a bit closer and stick a few of them in the back of the net."

Burke suffered a frustrating night, playing the lone frontman role against Valencia's centreback partnership of Mouctar Diakhaby and Ezequiel Garay.

He hopes Rodgers lets him loose on the Spaniards this week and added: "It was difficult up there on my own but it's about me waiting for my opportunity when the boys get on the ball.

"I have to be in the right positions and create the right runs as much as I can.

"They were the better side last week but we need to pick heads up and have a go at them in the second leg."

CAPTION(S):

THUMBS UP Tierney set for weekend return

WAIT TO GO Brown celebrates late goal with Burke, left

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 19, 2019
Words:565
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