Leigh Griffiths - Football Weeks

Despite Dembele and Forrest: Griffiths, Boyata and Roberts are three big miss for Celtic vs Zenit

Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic side return to European action after Christmas for the first time in three years when they take on Russian side Zenit St Petersburg at Parkhead in the first leg of the Europa League last 32 tie on Thursday.

Rodgers will be some selection headache about who and who field against the Russian side and are managed by former Premier League winning boss Roberto Mancini.

There’s also Celtic poor record form at the Parkhead in Europe to deal with, as they haven’t won any of their last six Champions League group stage matches, including three earlier fixtures this season.

Some players in the form of Moussa Dembele and Callum McGregor have been badly off-form, and they will have to up their game significantly if Celtic are to progress through to the next round.

However, the biggest issue for the club could be Celtic’s injury list, with the likes of Craig Gordon set to miss this crucial clash. Here, we look at three injured Celtic players who will be the biggest miss at the Parkead against Zenit.

Leigh Griffiths

Probably the best player Celtic will miss most on the night. Griffiths was in great form with two goals before suffering another calf injury which will see him sidelined for at least four weeks.

With Moussa Dembele struggling to find his scoring boot, the Scotland international would have been a great to have, and he already proved his worth in Europe this season with a goal in the club’s win over Anderlecht.

It would be a huge bonus to have Griffiths in the squad for the return leg in Russia, as the striker would pretty must guarantee the team with goals.

Dedryck Boyata

Here’s anothe player that would be a big miss to Celtic on Thursday. The Belgian centre-back had recently formed a great partnership in the heart of defence with Kristoffer Ajer, which had lead the Bhoys to an eight-match unbeaten run.

Unfortunately, an injury suffered in the club’s 1-0 loss to Kilmarnock means that he will miss both legs of the tie against Zenit.

Boyata will be a real miss for the game, as the defender has turned in some superb performances for Celtic in Europe, such as in the 3-0 win over Anderlecht. His replacement against Zenit – probably Jack Hendry – has some big role to play in.

Patrick Roberts

Patrick Roberts

Roberts, who was a huge part of the Celtic team which won the treble last season, has been badly missed since suffering a hamstring injury in December.

The winger’s creativity and footballing brain have been something which Celtic could really have done with, particularly in Europe. He has a good record in Europe, and scored in the club’s win over Anderlecht, and even though James Forrest is in the best form of life, the Manchester City on-loan star would be a good option to have in the squad, even if off the bench.

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