Celtic’s injury problems seem to have no end as Neil Lennon has confirmed that four key players have been left out of the squad travelling to Rome in order to face Lazio in the upcoming Europa League clash.
As Celtic sit at the top of their Europa League group ahead of Lazio, Rennes and CFR Cluj, it is nothing short of a miracle that they have managed to do so with the injury hit squad that Neil Lennon has had at his disposal this season. A draw away to Rennes followed by back-to-back victories at home against CFR Cluj and Lazio means the Scottish champions are currently have 7 points from 3 games.
But their rotten luck on the injury front seems to be continuing with the Hoops boss having confirmed that Boli Bolingoli, Tom Rogic, Mikey Johnston and Leigh Griffiths have been left out of the squad travelling to Rome for the away fixture against Italian giants Lazio. While Bolingoli is the only one out of the four who could have been expected to start the game, the fact remains that the players are carrying a huge amount of workload in the face of injuries.
It will be a toss up between Greg Taylor and Jonny Hayes when it comes to the left-back position against Lazio. Taylor recently started in Celtic’s 2-0 win over St Mirren but that has been his only appearance for the Hoops since his move from Kilmarnock. Hayes has filled in ably when given the chance but it will be interesting to see whether Lennon starts a recognised midfielder in defence in a game of this magnitude.
Tom Rogic had been back in the squad in recent weeks after an extended battle with injuries and even started in the 5-2 away against Hibernian in the Scottish League Cup semi-final last Saturday. Now he finds himself back on the sidelines. Mikey Johnston was also an unused substitute against Hibernian after being out since September but it appears he is not back to match fitness yet.
Leigh Griffiths has been out with a number of problems since August. And although he has resumed training with the first team, it is too soon for him to return to action, especially in a game of this magnitude.
Celtic can expect a tough challenge on Thursday against the Italian side whose Europa League hopes might be hanging on this game, having lost two of their first three games. According to Football Italia, Simone Inzaghi has promised to play his strongest side against the Scottish champions.