Ange Postecoglou fears Celtic star man Jota will sidelined for the Premier Sports Cup Final – and the New Year Old Firm showdown.
The Portuguese ace sat out the 3-0 destruction of Dundee United at Tannadice after limping off in last week’s win against Hearts.
Postecoglou’s early optimism over the injury has faded though and there are now concerns the 22-year-old will be out until after the winter break.
Celtic face Hibs at Hampden in the Premier Sports Cup Final on December 19 and are gearing up for the clash with Rangers on January 2.
Stephen Welsh and Anthony Ralston are also out – but the pair have a better chance of being involved while Jota is facing a race against time.
Postecoglou said: “We’re saying a few weeks at the moment and he’s obviously keen to come back.
“But out of the three of them he was the most significant injury.
“It’s a blow because, apart from the team aspect, he was enjoying his football and wanted to kick on.
“So it’s a little bit of a blow for him. He’ll work hard in rehab and we’ll try to get him back as soon as we can.”
Postecoglou is understood to be lining up a triple swoop in Japan – planning a raid on his former club Yokohama F Marinos for hitman Daizen Maeda, plus Kawasaki midfielder Reo Hatate and former Leeds United playmaker Yosuke Ideguchi from Gamba Osaka.
The Hoops boss remained tight-lipped on the transfer target but he insisted Celtic are busting a gut to seal deals early in the January window.
He said: “Myself, (chief exec) Michael Nicholson, all the key people at the football club, we’re working really hard. We want to be well organised and get the right players in.
“I know what we need in terms of making our squad a bit more well rounded and robust for a challenging second half of the year.
“We’ll just keep working away. No deals are done yet, nothing’s been signed.
“I know people get excited about names and I’ve probably been linked with the whole of the J-League.
“There’s also the Korean league that is decent, if you want to go fishing there. There will be plenty of names.
“From my perspective, we know what we need – and I’m fairly confident we‘ll get them in and get them in early.”
Postecoglou admitted he’s keen to plunder the Far East market though – with the Japanese leagues now over and players ready to move.
He said: “I don’t want to say that – because everyone will go there and start looking.
“I’m obviously at an advantage because I worked there.
“It would be silly of me not to use the experience I have and the knowledge I have.
“That’s why we got Kyogo here. I was 100 per cent certain he would do well, especially with the way we play.
“And it’s not just Kyogo. If you look at all the big leagues around the world, you’ll see Asian players.
“Not just from Japan but from Korea, from Australia, from Iran. There are some very good footballers on that side of the world.
“But if people don’t want to look there, I’m happy to be the only one.”
Postecoglou has concerns about Jota but he revealed James Forrest was only taken off at half time at Tannadice as a precaution.
He said: “I’m hoping it’s nothing too bad. He felt a bit tight and, with the game going the way it was going, we had enough injuries coming off the last game.
“Liel Abada needed a bit of a run anyway, so we wanted to put him on.
“I don’t know if it’s anything serious. But it was more of a precaution than anything else.”