Celtic hope to land Wakaso

  • Last Updated: August 19 2014, 11:29 BST

Celtic have a "50-50" chance of signing Ghana winger Mubarak Wakaso in time for the first leg of their Champions League play-off against Maribor in Slovenia on Wednesday night, according to assistant manager John Collins.

Wakaso Mubarak: Celtic target (l) in action for Ghana against Portugal
Wakaso Mubarak: Celtic target (l) in action for Ghana against Portugal

The Ruban Kazan player will move to Parkhead subject to a medical and the Scottish champions are hoping the loan deal is completed before 11pm on Tuesday night so that he can be registered for the match.

Collins, who confirmed that James Forrest and Adam Matthews will miss the match through injury, was speaking at Glasgow airport before the Scottish champions flew out to Maribor and said: "It is probably 50-50. The medical is being done overseas and hopefully he will join us over there (Slovenia), fingers crossed, but nothing definite.

"He has pace in the wider areas, can deliver on his left foot, that is what we are looking for, to add pace at the top of the pitch."

Celtic's tie against Maribor was finally confirmed on Monday night after the Court of Arbitration for Sport turned down Legia Warsaw's last-ditch request to be re-admitted to the Champions League.

The Polish club had beaten the Hoops 6-1 on aggregate in the third qualifier but were punlished by UEFA for bringing on a player who should have been suspended in the second leg at Murrayfield.

Legia failed in their appeal to European football's governing body before taking the case to CAS and after days of speculations, Collins is now focusing on the task in hand.

The former Celtic midfielder said: "I don't need to tell the players, everyone at the football club knows that we have a second chance and it is important that we capitalise on that.

"We are looking forward to it. They are the Slovenian champions, we have had them watched a few times but again, it is all about our performance.

"We want to keep it tighter at the back, make sure we don't concede soft goals and when the chances come along put them in the back of the net.

"They are probably a similar standard (to Legia) but we are two or three weeks further forward in our preparation and match practice.

"You have seen in the last couple of games, players are getting quicker, sharper and more confident, we are scoring more goals and keeping it tighter at the back."

Collins admits he is disappointed about yet another set-back for Forrest.

The Hoops winger picked up a hamstring injury near the end of the 6-1 win over Dundee United at Parkhead on Saturday while Matthews

had to be replaced before kick-off by Efe Ambrose after injuring his calf in the warm-up.

"I don't want to use the word fear, obviously I am disappointed for James," said the former Scotland international.

"He has worked ever so hard in the last three weeks to get himself back to match sharpness.

"He has had these niggling injuries the last couple of years but fingers crossed we can get him fitter and stronger and the injuries become less and less.

"It is disappointing for James but we will wait for him getting back fit because we know he is a good player."