Football/Soccer

Carter-Vickers out of Celtic's Champions League trip to Leipzig

Celticís Cameron Carter-Vickers during the Scottish Cup fifth round match at Celtic Park, Glasgow. Picture date: Sunday February 13, 2022.

ANGE Postecoglou has confirmed star defender Cameron Carter-Vickers will miss Celtic’s Champions League clash with RB Leipzig this evening.

The United States international was a doubt for the Group F clash at the Red Bull Arena after pulling up in training before the St Mirren defeat in Paisley before the international break.

Carter-Vickers missed the weekend win over Motherwell and – with his regular partner Carl Starfelt out since early September with a knee injury – Stephen Welsh and Moritz Jenz are expected to again deputise in the centre of the Hoops defence.

Postecoglou also arrived in Germany without winger Liel Abada and midfielder Aaron Mooy. The Celtic boss said: “Cameron wasn’t 100 per cent so he is not with the team.

“Liel Abada didn’t travel, obviously Carl Starfelt (is still out). Aaron Mooy had a bit of a niggle at training so we left him behind.

“He (Cameron-Vickers) has been out for a few games now so when he is fit, he will be available again – hopefully for the weekend but he is not far away – but our concentration has been on the guys who are fit and ready to go and we are looking forward to the game.”

Postecoglou admits that 23-yearold German centre-back Jenz, on loan from French club Lorient, has played more than expected this season with nine appearances so far but is encouraged by his partnership with Welsh in the two games against St Mirren and Motherwell.

The former Australia boss said: “A bit of his development was in England (Fulham). We were aware of him from there. “We were following his progress and obviously he has had a couple of years of senior football now.

“He was on our radar and we thought he would be a good fit for our club in terms of the age profile, his character and style of player he is and he has fitted in well.

“He is adjusting to the way we play, it is a little bit different from how he has played before.

“To be fair, he has probably played more than we thought he would play but with both our centre-backs having some issues, I think the fact that we have thrown him in, he has done really well and is developing all the time alongside Stephen Welsh, they are both very young, for defenders in particular.

“I think the last couple of games they have played together they are getting a better understanding and we hope that keeps improving.”

The Hoops lost 3-0 at home to Real Madrid on matchday one in Group F before a 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk in neutral Warsaw.

The German outfit lost their opening two matches against Shakhtar and Real Madrid but Postecoglou stressed that points at Champions League level are not easy to find.

He said: “Every game is a challenge – that is the nature of the competition.

“Every team you play is a topquality side so you know that irrespective of what has happened before and what games you have got ahead, the next task is to take on the challenge that is before you.

“Leipzig are a top-quality team and at their home it is going to be a fantastic challenge for us a football club and so we just need to keep performing at the levels we can.

“The first two games have been pretty good from a performance perspective.

“We felt we did well for about an hour in the first game but we did fall away, the second game, our performances was strong.

“We could have won but it is not just about performance, it is about the opposition as well so we will just prepare ourselves to play well and see what that brings us.

“But we are under no illusions, tomorrow is going to be another massive challenge for us.

“There is no quick fix, there is no quick progress, it is about performing at the levels we can, being at our best and seeing where that takes us.”

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