CELTIC playmaker Tom Rogic yesterday suffered a setback in his bid to put himself in contention for a start in the Europa League match against Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday night.
Rogic, who has been sidelined for over two months with a knee injury, was due to play in a development game against Motherwell at Cappielow, but the game was postponed due to adverse weather conditions.
Brendan Rodgers had hoped to give the Australian game time before the last 32 tie with Roberto Mancini’s side and now has a big decision to make about who to play off lone striker Moussa Dembele.
Charly Musonda, who joined the Scottish champions on an 18 month loan from Chelsea during the January transfer window, has only started in two games in Scotland.
The Belgian failed to make an impact in the No.10 role in the William Hill Scottish Cup fifth round match against Partick Thistle and was replaced after 65 minutes.
Elsewhere, Callum McGregor has struggled to reproduce the form which he showed last season as the Parkhead club won a domestic treble and has been left out of the starting line-up in the last three games.
Rodgers had wanted to give Rogic, who played in all six of Celtic‘s Champions League group games this season before picking up his injury, against Thistle and the player was standing on the touchlines waiting to come on near the end.
However, Conor Sammon netted a goal to make the scoreline 3-2 and Ivorian midfielder Eboue Kouassi was put on instead to see out the victory and secure a quarter-final place.
“I had to apologise to Tom,” said Rodgers on Saturday. “With the late goals it changes your thought process. So unfortunately for him, he’s going to have to wait. Tom looks great in training and it’s just getting him some game time.”
Rodgers admitted the 25-year-old is in contention for the first leg of the Zenit match even though he hasn’t played since the 1-0 defeat to Anderlecht at Parkhead back at the start of December.
The Scottish champions face a tough task getting the better of Roberto Mancini’s side in the Europa League last 32 double header.
On the plus side, winger Patrick Roberts has returned to training while right back Mikael Lustig should be fit to start despite suffering a knee injury in the first half of the Partick match on Saturday.