Celtic man Maik Nawrocki appears to be some way from making his return from injury, judging by developments on Tuesday.

The Polish central defender, signed from Legia Warsaw in July, made a largely positive start to life in Glasgow.

Nawrocki started his first three competitive games as a Celtic player. He even played the entirety of our League Cup loss at Kilmarnock, with the damaging hamstring injury occurring in the final ten seconds of the match.

The 22-year-old hasn’t been seen since, although there were hopes he would be back to play a part in the majority of our UEFA Champions League campaign.

However, Nawrocki won’t be playing a single minute in the competition’s group stage after not being included in the squad revealed by UEFA on Tuesday.

Brendan Rodgers has instead gone with Gustaf Lagerbielke, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Nat Phillips, Liam Scales and Stephen Welsh as his central defenders. The latter is included as a homegrown player.

Paris Saint-Germain v Celtic FC - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Celtic start their Champions League campaign next Tuesday against Feyenoord. However, the group stage is over 13 midweeks this season, as opposed to the nine squeezed in before the World Cup last year.

That’s a fair amount of time for Nawrocki to get fit and play a part. His exclusion suggests that he’s still a fair bit away from making his return. It also piles a good bit of pressure on Phillips being decent.

The Liverpool man was brought in as a last-gasp loan signing amid a genuine crisis at centre-back. While Carter-Vickers will steady things on his return — likely sometime in early October — we could really do with Phillips being a solid presence.

Liverpool Training Session
Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

For all of his excellence at Ibrox, there will be plenty of questions about Scales at Champions League level. Lagerbielke, too, looks like he may have some issues even if it is early in his time at the club.

If Phillips turns out to be a cracker then he could guide us through the opening matches before forming a partnership with Carter-Vickers. If he doesn’t hit the ground running, the whole group stage campaign could be tough to navigate.

So a gutter for Nawrocki who would have signed for us with the Champions League in mind. He will get to sample that stage one day. Perhaps even later this season. You never know.

In other news, the Paulo Bernardo state of play as Celtic debut comes into focus

Related Topics