Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has revealed Callum McGregor and Liel Abada will play no part in Thursday’s Europa League match against Real Betis.
Club captain McGregor has picked up a knock that rules him out of the Group G opener, while Abada misses the match for religious reasons. Kyogo Furuhashi remains sidelined with a knee injury.
The Celtic boss does have Anthony Ralston back in full training and the defender is available to make the trip to Spain. Postecoglou said the game came too early for Giannis Giakoumakis to make his debut but that the Greek striker would be available in the next week along with “three or four others”.
The manager admitted absences made it impossible for him to field a settled team but said that persevering would bring its own benefits.
He said: “Cal’s got a bit of a knock so he’ll miss tomorrow. Liel Abada will miss tomorrow night as well because of Yom Kippur. It’s obviously a fairly significant religious day so he’ll miss out.
“It’s not great [losing McGregor] because he’s an influential player.
“We’re going through a period at the moment where we’re getting some significant outs but it’s kind of been the state of play since I’ve got here. We’ve been in a constant state of flux and not able to settle.
“That’s an opportunity for us to just build resilience through this period. We just keep doing what we’ve been doing and play our football.
“If we can get through these periods without shifting from the kind of team we want to be then it makes us stronger once we get everyone back.”
Despite the challenges for team selection, the Celtic boss said he was looking forward to getting started in the group stage, with Celtic facing Betis before tackling Bayer Leverkusen and Ferencvaros. And while the team travel to Seville in search of three points, the trip also marks a return to the city where Celtic contested the UEFA Cup final in 2003.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Postecoglou said. “There’s a historical significance with us going back to Seville and it’s an opportunity for us to test ourselves against a very good side away from home.
“We were pleased to get into this group stage because we knew we would get some pretty exciting fixtures to be involved in.”