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John Hartson has been ruled out of the UEFA Cup finalagainst FC Porto, after failing to recover from a slipped disc.

The club confirmed that Hartson’s slipped disc will require surgery, forcing him out of the final in Seville. Despite the setback, Hartson has travelled to Spain to support his team-mates.

“I will give the lads my support and the most important thing is for them to win,” said the Celtic striker.

“But missing out on the UEFA Cup final is still hard to take.”

Manager Martin O’Neill admitted Hartson’s absence was a huge setback.

“This is an absolutely massive blow, both for John and for the football club,” O’Neill told the Celtic website.

“He’s been absolutely immense for us this season, and has played a crucial role in helping the team to reach the UEFA Cup final. It’s terrible news, and I’m just so disappointed for him.”

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