Moussa Dembele travelled with Celtic to Greece to face AEK Athens tonight but he won’t feature from the start of the match, with manager Brendan Rodgers confirming he will be on the bench.
The Frenchman has been out of action since limping off against Armenian champions Alashkert at Celtic Park with a hamstring injury, although has clearly worked hard to get himself ready to feature at some point this evening.
Given the initial thoughts were that he would miss the tie against the Greeks completely, Rodgers let fans know that he would at least be an option from the bench.
As quoted by The Scottish Sun, the Hoops boss said:
It’s a big boost for us. He started the season fantastically well and was unfortunate he got his injury. But he has worked very hard to come back and will take his place in the squad.
It is probably too much to start, he will take his place on the bench. He has looked very fit and strong and the beauty with Moussa is he wants to play, he wants to be involved.
It is too much of a risk to start but I am sure at some point in the game he will play a part.
It’s great to hear Dembele is eager to help the team out and the manager is right not to risk his long-term fitness for the sake of an extra hour or so on the pitch in Athens.
Still, it would be great to see him play the majority of the second half if required. He brings a physicality to the Celtic attack that, for all his strengths, Odsonne Edouard lacks.
Dembele’s compatriot is a sensation when Celtic are in the mood to attack, but we will likely have to take a more pragmatic view of tonight’s game, which may suit the returning star.
Do you think Celtic will go through against AEK Athens tonight? Let us know in the comments…