Celtic are hoping star man Ryan Christie could yet be given a dramatic 11th hour reprieve to face Rangers at Parkhead on Saturday.
Record Sport understands the champions believe Christie should be cleared to take part in the first Old Firm derby of the season despite being ordered to self isolate for a fortnight by government health officials 11 days ago.
And they are closely monitoring an attempt by Arsenal to have Kieran Tierney made available for their Premier League showdown with Manchester City at the weekend.
Both Christie and Tierney were instructed to leave Scotland’s squad last week after former Celtic team mate Stuart Armstrong tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final glory night against Israel.
While Armstrong would be available for selection for Southampton this weekend, after a 10 day quarantine period, Tierney and Christie have been instructed to stay under effective house arrest.
But today Gunners boss Mikel Arteta insisted he was hopeful of having Tierney in his squad for the trip to the Etihad. And Celtic top brass are awaiting developments as manager Neil Lennon prepares for a table top showdown with his city rivals having already lost at least two players to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are still having some discussions with the authorities,” the Arsenal boss said.
“This is getting very complicated when you are sending players abroad and obviously you lose control.
“Some authorities have different regulations to the actual ones in the Premier League.”
Definitely out are Nir Bitton and Hatem Elhamed, with the Israeli duo remaining in their homeland after coming down with the disease on international duty – while star striker Odsonne Edouard could also miss the match after a recording a positive swab after reporting for duty with the French under 21s.
And while Edouard’s availability remains unclear, Celtic have not given up hope of Christie being given a green light to play after a series of negative tests over the last week.
A source said: “We are watching the situation with Kieran and Arsenal very closely but we will have to wait and see how those discussions go. Obviously, if Arsenal are given permission for him to play on Saturday then it would be difficult to understand why the same would not apply to Ryan.”
Curiously, there was still no confirmation tonight of when Edouard will arrive back in Glasgow after completing a 10 day isolation period in Paris.
But Celtic did move quickly to hire a private jet and will fly keeper Vasilis Barkas back into the country in the early hours of Friday morning after fears the £5m new boy could be left stranded in Athens by an air traffic control strike.
Barkas was on the bench as Greece drew 0-0 with Kosovo in a Nations League clash on Wednesday night and had been scheduled to catch a 7am flight back to Glasgow this morning.
But with two days of industrial action set to begin just an hour later, Celtic forked out to ensure he wasn’t left grounded in Athens.
Neil Lennon, meanwhile, insists the football chiefs must reconsider player safety issues around Covid-19 during international breaks.
The manager told Sky Sports Scotland: “It can’t go on the way it is going because we are losing too many players. Not just us, but a lot of other clubs as well.
“Even countries. Look at the Czech Republic for example, in the previous round they had to completely change the squad.
“It totally dilutes the quality and integrity of the competition.
“It is very difficult for me to say you are not going to play for your country, that is something that I would never want to do to a player.
“But these are unprecedented times and we are in a very difficult situation.
“Even at home now, it looks like the virus is ramping up. So ideally we don’t want them to travel, but we are not going to point the finger at them and say you can’t go.”