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Brendan Rodgers reveals unexpected Lazio boost

Brendan Rodgers has an unexpected selection dilemma for Celtic’s Champions League clash at home to Lazio.

When Gus Lagerbielke was sent off against Feyenoord on Matchday 1 the hoops boss had to send Tomoki Iwata on to partner Liam Scales in the centre of defence.

Since the start of the season Celtic’s central defence has been decimated by injury with a suspension the last thing that Rodgers required in that area of the team.

Lagerbielke started at Motherwell on Saturday despite being suspended for the Lazio match, with half an hour left to play he was replaced by Nat Phillips who was making just his second appearance since moving on loan from Liverpool.

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Cam, we wouldn’t take a risk unless he was fit. He has come through really, really well. He is further down the road than we thought. He has had a real good week of training and he’s been doing lots of other work out on the field before that. I said before that it (his return) might have been after the international break but he’s made great progress.

So we will just assess that to see if he can be in for the squad for tomorrow and if he is, then obviously it would be great news for us.


Rodgers will have to decide whether he puts Phillips in for just his third match since January or go to Carter-Vickers for his first match since lasting 45 minutes away to Aberdeen on August 13.

It is unlikely that either player will be able to last the full 90 minutes which breaks the decision down to who starts and who comes on to complete the match.

Two weeks on from an unfortunate night in Rotterdam Celtic look to be in a stronger position with Alistair Johnston and Reo Hatate both having significantly more game time than when they faced Feyenoord.

On the surface the draw between Lazio and Atletico on Matchday 1 appears to have been the better outcome for Celtic but only if they can take full points from the Italian side.

The old notion of Celtic Park being a fortress on European nights doesn’t stand up to scrutiny with only Ajax losing to the hoops in the Champions League over the last decade.

Last season Ange Postecoglou only managed to pick up two draws against Shakhtar Donetsk despite Celtic enjoying plenty of possession and creating chances in all six matches.

Early on in his media conference Rodgers doubted whether Celtic could get success if they played at 98%.

Champions League victories always have to be earned, a win tomorrow night would take a weight of everyone’s shoulders and give Rodgers’ side some momentum as they get into the nitty gritty of a group that is far from as daunting as first time around for the manager when the hoops were paired with Manchester City and Barcelona followed by Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain.

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