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By ESPN Staff

Maloney close to Celtic return

Shaun Maloney is close to a return to boost Celtic's bid for the Premier League title and Scottish Cup, assistant manager Johan Mjallby has revealed.

Maloney, 28, has been out since suffering an ankle injury against Inverness on November 27 but has now returned to training.

Maloney is unlikely to play against Caley Thistle on Saturday, but could soon be available to manager Neil Lennon, with matches against Hibernian, St Mirren and St Johnstone in the SPL before Celtic play Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final on April 17.

Mjallby told the club's official website: ''Maybe the weekend will be too soon for him but he will definitely compete soon for a first-team start. He is definitely on his way in breaking back into the team soon enough.

''At this given time, we just want to give him as much quality training sessions as possible. ''With his experience it's not going to take him a long time to be up there.

''And when you have been out for such a long time, it doesn't really matter how hard you work in a gym or outside, you need to get football in as well as it's a contact sport - you need to be out there playing games and having hard training session to get up to the level you want to be.

''But he will be there soon and will probably get some quality training sessions done this whole week.''

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