Celtic were left to count the cost of Sunday’s lethargic 1-0 win over Aberdeen after defender Emilio Izaguirre broke his right ankle at Pittodrie.
The Honduran left-back faces up to six months on the sidelines as a result of the injury in a game settled by a 74th minute goal from Irish striker Anthony Stokes.
Hoops boss Neil Lennon must now decide whether to buy a left-back or try Charlie Mulgrew or Mark Wilson in the position.
Goalscorer Stokes believes Celtic will cope while Izaguirre is on the sidelines.
“Emilio will be missed, he is a top player. I think he cleaned up with every award last year and that says enough about his ability,” said Stokes.
“We’re going to miss him but the good thing is we have a big squad with plenty of other players who are ready to step in and take his place.
“I don’t think most of the lads realized the injury was that bad until after the game. It’s terrible but it’s just one of these things that can happen in football.
“I thought early on there were two or three hard tackles going in. It’s always likely to happen especially on a greasy surface like that.”
Celtic struggled to make a breakthrough until Stokes exchanged passes with Kris Commons and swept home from 10 yards after the winger had cleanly won the ball from Richard Foster.
Stokes added: “We didn’t create too many clear-cut chances but I was just glad I got on the end of the pass from Kris.
“It was a great cutback and an easy enough finish for me in the end. You just have to be patient in those games. We played football and got the goal.
“I think Aberdeen played well. We had to play around them because there wasn’t much space. There were a lot of long-range efforts as well.
“It was frustrating because they kept it tight, but we got the breakthrough.”