Neil Lennon wants his stars fit for Europe

 

The Celtic manager, Neil Lennon, admits that his team selection for today's trip to Inverness Caledonian Thistle will be based on making sure there is no mistake in next Wednesday night's Champions League play-off fixture with Helsingborg at Celtic Park.

Lennon confirmed that Joe Ledley is out for two weeks with a groin injury while fellow midfielder Beram Kayal could be out for a month with an ankle complaint. Daryl Murphy (hamstring), Dylan McGeouch (broken jaw) and Anthony Stokes (ankle) are already out and could be joined on the sidelines tomorrow by Thomas Rogne (ankle), Scott Brown (hip), Georgios Samaras (thigh) and Kris Commons (ankle) if Lennon believes that is what is needed to make sure they are available in midweek.

Celtic look to defend a 2-0 first- leg lead against the Swedes. Success would take them into the lucrative group stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2008-09. Lennon said yesterday: "The squad is a bit stretched again; there are a few bumps and bruises from Tuesday night [at Helsingborg] and we'll have to change the team a little bit. Rogne, Brown, Samaras and Commons are doubts. I wouldn't look at it that way [giving them the day off] but we want to have our best team on the pitch on Wednesday night and if that means we can't take a risk with them [at Inverness] we won't.

"Joe has a grade one groin injury and he will be out for a couple of weeks. Beram has had a reaction to his other ankle [from the one which was operated on] and he will be maybe three to four weeks.

"The injuries aren't majorly concerning, particularly Joe's injury. Joe has been one of the best signings since I came to the club, and so consistent, he is a big loss to us."

Despite his concern to have the best possible line-up available to face Helsingborg, Lennon denies that Celtic's quest to retain their Scottish Premier League title is taking a back seat this season.

"A lot of focus has been on these Champions League games and it is a concern that people think we are taking our eye off the ball domestically, but we are not," insisted the former Celtic captain.

"We are just trying to manage the squad as best we can for all these games."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence