Celtic will kick off their Europa League campaign on Thursday when they travel to France to take on Rennes. But the Scottish champions have received an injury blow before the game as Neil Lennon has confirmed that a thigh injury will prevent Leigh Griffiths from featuring against Rennes.
Celtic will be looking to make a strong start to their Europa League campaign when they travel to Roazhon Park to take on French Ligue 1 side, Rennes. The two teams have already faced each other in pre-season in a game that ended in a 0-0 draw.
The French side have made a strong start to their 2019/20 season and currently sit at second on the Ligue 1 table. Rennes are a handful for anyone at home, already holding a 2-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain this season and have a 3-1 win over Arsenal in last season’s Europa League at Roazhon Park.
After their embarrassing exit from the Champions League qualification round at the hands of CFR Cluj, Celtic will be looking to make up for it with a lengthy run in the Europa League. Naturally, they will have to be wary of the threat that Rennes possess or else they can expect to come back from France without a point in the bag.
Neil Lennon though is clearly aware of Rennes’s quality. Speaking to Football Scotland, the Celtic manager said:
“Rennes are excellent on the ball and use the 3-5-2 system very, very well. They have had some stellar results already this season, including beating PSG, and they are sitting second in Ligue 1.
“We have given this game quite a bit of thought over the last few days and we have worked on a few things, and the players are ready.”
Lennon will be without veteran Celtic striker, Leigh Griffiths, on Thursday. The 29-year-old picked up a thigh injury in training and has not travelled with the rest of the squad to Rennes. The injury is not long-term though and he might be back as early as this Sunday’s game against Kilmarnock.
Since joining the Hoops in 2014, Griffiths has scored 107 goals for the Glasgow club including a 40-goal season in 2015/16. But in recent years, he has seen his career go off the tracks and currently finds himself behind Odsonne Edouard and Vakoun Issouf Bayo in the striker pecking order. As a result, he will not be as big of a miss as he would have been a few seasons back.