Celtic sweating over key player's fitness for Bayer Leverkusen clash

The hamstring issue that has led Callum McGregor to miss Celtic’s last two games could yet prevent him featuring in the Europa League at home to Bayer Leverkusen next Thursday.

Callum McGregor current two-week spell on the sidelines is only the second of any note the Celtic captain has endured in the past four years. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

In revealing that the club captain will not feature in the League Cup quarter-final that will see Raith Rovers make the trip to Glasgow’s east end or the cinch Premiership hosting of Dundee United on Sunday, Ange Postecoglou gave no guarantees that the 28-year-old will be back in the heart of midfield for the Group G encounter with the Germans. Although, the Australian remains hopeful that will be the case.

“It’s hard to put a timescale on it, but it’s nothing major,” he said of McGregor’s period on the sidelines. “Callum is obviously not 100 per cent and with him you would know even if he was close then he’d be available. If I had to make a call then, all being well with the rehab, he should miss the next two games but be available next week. With a bit of luck, he should be ready to face Bayer Leverkusen. Obviously, we still have a week to go but if things go well then we expect he’ll be OK.”

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McGregor has played in excess of 250 games since the beginning of the 2017-18 season - his only previous notable injury break a three-week absence for a calf strain in early 2019 - and Postecoglou believes his period out now could prove beneficial later in the campaign.

“It’s one of those things every footballer goes through,” the Celtic manager said. “Some are pretty durable and get through it, but it’s just our luck that for Callum it’s come at this time as he’s started so well for us. It’s disappointing for him but he has played so much football it’s probably inevitable at some point that he would need a break and hopefully this might even be a positive for him in that he gets refreshed for when he comes back. I know that when he’s available he will hit the ground running and won’t need any time to adjust. We just have to be careful he is 100 per cent because we wouldn’t want to lose him for an extended period.”

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