Giorgos Giakoumakis fitness timescale revealed as Postecoglou confirms Celtic without SIX top team stars vs Real Betis

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CELTIC will be without SIX top team stars as they face Real Betis in Seville, Ange Postecoglou has confirmed.

Liel Abada is out of Celtic’s Europa League opener for religious reasons.

Giorgos Giakoumakis won't be considered against Betis in Seville

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Giorgos Giakoumakis won't be considered against Betis in Seville

That means Albian Ajeti is the club's only recognised striker

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That means Albian Ajeti is the club's only recognised striker

Skipper Callum McGregor, full-back Greg Taylor and James Forrest are also missing from the Group G opener in Spain.

Greek striker Giorgios Giakoumakis is still deemed to be short of fitness while Kyogo Furuhashi remains sidelined with a knee injury.

The absence of on-form Israeli winger Abada, who’s scored four goals in his first ten appearances for Celtic, is a major blow to Ange Postecoglou.

Thursday is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

Jewish people traditionally observe it with a day-long fast and intensive prayers.

Teenager Abada comes from a Mizrahi Jewish family and Postecoglou revealed he knew the player would miss out when the draw was made.

He said: “It’s a significant day in his religion and quite rightly he’s not able to participate.

“Yom Kippur is an important day in the holy calendar for Jewish people. It’s a day where you’re not allowed to participate in events, a day of reflection.

“I was more than aware of it — as soon as the fixtures came out we kind of knew he wouldn’t be available, because the date doesn’t change.

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“It’s not the first time it’s happened in my career, where a player’s religious beliefs have meant football doesn’t take the priority we all think it should maybe.

“That’s the case for Liel and we’re very respectful of that.”

McGregor is out with a hamstring injury which saw him subbed during last Saturday’s victory over Ross County.

Postecoglou added: “Cal’s got a bit of a knock and will miss the game.

“That’s not great because he’s a very influential player for us, but we’re going through a period just now where we have some significant people out.


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“It’s been the state of play since I’ve got here. We’ve been in a constant state of flux and haven’t been able to settle.

“Giakoumakis isn’t quite ready. He’s among the ones who will return at the weekend or next midweek, but this game is too early.

“Greg Taylor will probably need surgery on his shoulder so we’re expecting him to be out for a medium-term time frame.

“James Forrest isn’t far away. He’s got one final  hurdle to get over in terms of being available for selection.

“He’s working hard in rehab and training but hasn’t joined the group yet. We’re hoping he will over the next seven to ten days.”

Tony Ralston is fit after missing the win over County, with defender Josip Juranovic likely to revert to the left-back slot he filled on his Hoops debut against Rangers last month.


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