By Coral Barry
Brendan Rodgers revealed that he expects Kolo Toure to make his competitive debut for Celtic in the second leg of their Champions League qualifying tie against Astana next week.
The new recruit was left out of the Celtic squad that has travelled to Kazakhstan for the first leg, but is in line to make his first appearance for the Hoops against Barcelona this weekend.
Celtic play an International Champions Cup pre-season game against the La Liga champions in between the first and second legs against Astana, and Rodgers is eager to give the centre-back a run out on Saturday so he can be ready for the second leg.
Speaking at his press conference ahead of the first game on Wednesday, Rodgers explained why he left Toure behind.
“Toure is close to being available. I felt it would be unfair to bring him with just having one day with the team [training],” said Rodgers as quoted by the club’s Twitter page.
“After a good week’s training and some game time at the weekend, I would expect him to play some part next week.”
Astana’s manager has already said he has studied how to beat Celtic, but knows the Hoops head into the clash as firm favourites after coming through the last qualifying round comfortably.
Celtic put their shock 1-0 defeat to Lincoln Red Imps firmly behind them last week by routing them 3-0 in the second leg at home, and Rodgers will be hopeful his side can produce a similar display on Wednesday.