By Coral Barry

Brendan Rodgers has handed Eoghan O’Connell his first start in the Champions League for Celtic’s crucial qualifying clash with Astana.

Celtic flew into Kazakhstan on Monday ahead of the tie without four of their senior centre-backs, which has forced Brendan Rodgers to reshuffle his pack with two changes from the side that started against the Lincoln Red Imps last week.

The Hoops breezed by Red Imps in their last qualifier, but lost the first game in Gibraltar and Rodgers has selected as strong a side as he can to avoid a repeat.

As expected before the game, defender Efe Ambrose returns to the starting line-up after being dropped from last week’s encounter with the Red Imps.

He is joined by 20-year-old O’Connell in the heart of the defence who will make just his fifth start for the club.

New recruit Moussa Dembele keeps his place upfront alongside last season’s top goalscorer Leigh Griffiths.

Patrick Roberts also remains in the side after he marked his impressive display against the Red Imps at Celtic Park with a goal.

In other Celtic news, Neil Lennon is looking to use his Hoops connections to prise youngster away from Celtic Park.