Boyata 'with teammates' as transfer-linked defender offers update

The Hoops travelled to the Greek capital with the third qualifying round tie evenly poised at 1-1 from the first leg, but found themselves two goals down after 50 minutes.

The Dutch side's reward is an intriguing clash with Dynamo Kiev, who eliminated Slavia Prague 3-1 on aggregate after goals by Benjamin Verbic and Artem Besedin fired the Ukrainian side to a 2-0 home win over the Czechs.

Within six minutes his side were trailing to a Rodrigo Galo strike and it looked a forlorn task when Croatian striker Marko Livaja headed in a second five minutes after the break.

And while this left Celtic short for their vital Champions League qualifier against AEK Athens, the Northern Irishman has made a major statement.

His agent, Jacques Lichtenstein, was subsequently quoted as saying that, because the Belgium defender is in the final year of his Celtic contract, he could not afford to risk playing when not 100% fit. "We gave AEK a lot of problems but you have to defend properly and we didn't do that".

Celtic's Champions League hopes came crashing down on Tuesday night - and Swansea City duo Oli McBurnie and George Byers have taken great joy in their defeat.

"I don't want to make excuses", added Rodgers.

Celtic drop into the Europa League play-off round, where they will face Latvia's Spartaks Jurmala or Suduva Marijampole of Lithuania. "I've always said we needed to strengthen (in the transfer window) and hopefully we can do that now".

Brendan Rodgers' side will need to find a way to score a goal tonight if they are to progress to the group stage of football's most prestigious competition, with the away goals rule in effect.

  • Angelo Rivera