BRENDAN Rodgers has resolved to rectify Celtic’s defensive concerns when the transfer window re-opens in January. The Celtic manager goes into today’s BetFred Cup semi-final against Hibernian at Hampden without the injury-jinxed Jozo Simunovic, who has suffered a recurrence of a hamstring problem and is almost certainly also out of the return Champions League match against Bayern Munich at Celtic Park on Halloween.

Out too is Danish defender Erik Sviatchenko, whose return to training following a knee ligament injury has come too late for consideration for selection at Hampden, while Tony Ralston has been out of action since sustaining the knee injury which kept him out of contention for the Scotland Under-21 side.

Already identified as a problem area this summer, when only a failed medical prevented the Parkhead side’s Ajax Cape Town’s Rivaldo Coetzee from signing up, that leaves just Dedryck Boyata and untested Norwegian youngster Kristoffer Ajer as the club’s fit, recognised central defenders. While he used the example of Everton to show that "isn't all about money" the Northern Irishman nonetheless said he would be looking to supplement that area of his squad in January. The likes of Mikael Lustig, Kieran Tierney and Nir Bitton have all deputised in that area this season.

“It’s definitely an area I need to look at now,” said Rodgers. “But in the mean time we move on with the players we have and we’ll always look to find a way.

“Jozo’s [injury] is similar to what it was before, it’s a recurrence and could be two or three weeks," he added. "It’s been an issue for us from when he came in from the first day. He is a player who, unfortunately, has had his fair share of injuries. He’s always had that, he’s had a different plan from the others and it’s just unfortunate. You look at every detail to try to help them but sometimes the body just doesn’t allow it. So it’s been difficult for Jozo but he’s a tough boy and he will come again. He just seems to pick up these niggles and knocks.

"It was the case before he came in as well but it’s definitely an area of the pitch where you need stability. Unfortunately we haven’t had that. Erik is back in training but obviously won’t be ready for the game.”

While some players opted to use the Lennoxtown gym in any case, Rodgers gave his players the day off as they looked to get the 3-0 defeat in Munich out of their system. As much as there was to work on from that night, there was only time for a brief review yesterday of the Bayern game. "You never dwell on the past for too long - that’s always the key to how I work."

Today will be the fifth time Rodgers has taken a team to Hampden and it almost goes without saying that he has won the previous four. He feels it is important that Celtic 'play like a big team' as they seek to prolong the club's unbeaten domestic run to 60 matches, and keep hold of the first trophy captured in the Rodgers era.

"When you are a big team, it’s important you play like one," said Rodgers. "And they have played in those games like a big team, with great control and poise. They have come through whatever challenge they have been set.

"This is a great trophy to win. Okay, even if we hadn’t won it last year I felt the team was developing and improving. But it’s great for the clubs to have a trophy so early in the season. And when it is there, you obviously want to grab it."