By Tom Blackburn
Celtic have left Efe Ambrose out of their Champions League squad as they prepare for Wednesday night’s play-off with Hapoel Beer Sheva.
The list released by UEFA shows Ambrose has lost his place in the squad to new goalkeeper Dorus de Vries, while centre-backs Dedryck Boyata and Erik Sviatchenko are included as they bid to return from injury.
The omission leaves Ambrose further from Brendan Rodgers plans at Parkhead, and he could be heading for the transfer exit before the transfer window shuts in a fortnight’s time.
The manager has opted to include De Vries, who was only signed from Nottingham Forest on Monday, in the Celtic squad ahead of long-serving Ambrose.
The Daily Record have previously reported that 43-time Superleague winners Olympiacos are interested in bringing the Celtic centre-back to the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium for a fee of £1million.
Celtic face Hapoel in the first leg of their play off on Wednesday, know there are big financial rewards for reaching the group stages.
Former boss Neil Lennon has spoken to Rodgers in preparation to the match and told him the qualifiers are both awful and great.
“I think Brendan knows what’s at stake. It sets the whole season up brilliantly,” Lennon said to BBC Scotland.
“I have spoken to him about it personally. I said, ‘look, these are your biggest games of the season’.
“The build-up is awful – it’s just like a Celtic-Rangers game. But once the game’s underway, it’s great.”
Ambrose has fallen down the pecking order at Parkhead after former Liverpool boss Rodgers reunited with veteran centre-back Kolo Toure.
The player, who signed for the Hoops four years ago from Israeli side F.C. Ashdod, has earned 51 caps for his national side, as well as making 166 appearances for Celtic since his 2012 arrival.
The Bhoys number four made 31 appearances for the Scottish Champions in 2015-16, but is considered expendable with just 12 months remaining on his Celtic Park deal.
In other Celtic news, Joey Barton mocks Rodgers appearance ahead of Celtic tie.