Tom Rogic has expressed his dismay at being forced to miss Celtic’s trip to Ibrox tomorrow lunchtime.
The Australian playmaker will not feature for Brendan Rodgers’ men in a top-of-the-table derby against Rangers following a club v country tug of war that will also leave Hibernian without Martin Boyle, Jamie Maclaren and Mark Milligan for their home derby against Hearts.
Both Celtic and Hibs had sought dispensation to allow their players to join up later with an Australian squad whose first game in the Asian Cup competition in the UAE does not come until they face Jordan on 6 January.
But Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold and the Australian FA felt they had already compromised by allowing Rogic, pictured, and the Hibs players to take part in the Boxing Day fixtures while their fellow internationals were already joining up with the Aussie squad.
The Australian FA threatened to invoke Fifa’s “five-day rule” which would have prevented the quartet playing in the derbies anyway, had they not travelled to Australia this week. Rogic, while refusing to point a finger of blame, indicated that his hand had been forced over being rendered unavailable for a Rangers game that his club manager Brendan Rodgers stated last week he was “desperate” to play in.
“I’m very disappointed to be missing the game,” Rogic posted on his Instagram page last night. “A decision has been made but I did everything in my power to stay for the match. I am a proud Australian but also love my club. It should never have been a debate between playing for club or country, ideally it would have been for both.
“Another challenge awaits in the Asian Cup, where I will give my all and proudly represent my country.”