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Kennedy given boost after eight match absence

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Nir Bitton came through a full-scale friendly at Lennoxtown today as John Kennedy put his whole squad through a game against Kilmarnock.

The Israeli injured his ankle in the home defeat against St Mirren on January 31 and has been out of action for eight games. Bitton played alongside Stephen Welsh in central defence for the first half with an entirely different XI coming out for the second period.

Stephen Welsh has come into the side to form a steady partnership with Kris Ajer but the return of Bitton provides another alternative as well as having Shane Duffy on the sidelines.

James Forrest also played in the friendly this morning which should put him in line for a starting place in next Sunday’s Derby match if it is allowed to be played.

Celtic should have been at Ross County this weekend but with the Scottish Cup on hold that match was brought forward to February 21 and turned out to be Neil Lennon’s last in charge.

The Celtic squad will now have two days off then return to Lennoxtown to prepare for Sunday’s match with the focus turning towards the Scottish Cup.

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