Celtic may have signed 12 new first-team players during the course of the summer but Ange Postecoglou’s squad is already depleted down to its barebones.
The Hoops have suffered a number of injury blows over the last few weeks with Kyogo Furuhashi now ruled out for over a month.
Giorgos Giakoumakis is also missing due to a lack of fitness and now Greg Taylor will have to undergo surgery on a shoulder problem.
Liel Abada will be absent from the game with Real Betis on Thursday evening due to religious reasons but Postecoglou has now been rocked with another big setback.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the manager admitted that Callum McGregor would miss the encounter in Spain, citing a “knock.”
It remains to be seen how long the skipper will be out for but in a game of this magnitude, he will be a massive miss for Celtic for a whole host of reasons.
First and foremost, Postecoglou is likely to be gutted because he loses his captain and the man who really sets the tone in the middle of the park.
Though, McGregor’s influence extends far beyond his leadership qualities.
He has experience at international level and has performed admirably in big games over the last few months.
The midfielder scored for Scotland against Croatia at the European Championships, found the net against Midtjylland in the Champions League qualifiers and also shone for his country in a remarkable win over Austria during the last international break.
McGregor has been nothing short of exceptional this season and his ability to disrupt the play would have been crucial against Betis.
The Spanish side may sit ninth in La Liga but they have enjoyed the third-highest average (61.5%) for possession in the league.
No player in Celtic’s midfield has managed more tackles – 1.4 per game – than McGregor this term which only exacerbates the blow at hand.
Postecoglou will be able to choose from Ismaila Soro and James McCarthy as his replacements but the latter is yet to start a game for Celtic since signing in the summer.
Consequently, he may not last the entire game in Seville this evening.