Celtic FC's UEFA Champions League hopes have been dealt a blow with the news that Giorgos Samaras has been ruled out of Wednesday's Group G opener against SL Benfica.
The Greece striker suffered an elbow injury after coming on as a substitute in last Friday's FIFA World Cup qualifying victory over Latvia and a subsequent scan has confirmed ligament damage to his left elbow. That means the 27-year-old will miss the game against Benfica at Celtic Park although manager Neil Lennon is hopeful he could return for their second Group G fixture at FC Spartak Moskva on 2 October.
"It's a bitter blow to lose him for the first game because he's been a huge performer for the team, particularly in Europe," said Lennon. "He played his part more than anyone to get us here, but it softens the blow knowing he won't be out for long. We're hoping he'll be fit, at least, for the Spartak game."
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