Socceroo Tom Rogic is unlikely to make his return from injury in Friday morning’s (AEDT) Europa League clash with Zenit St Petersburg, but a comeback isn’t far off.
Rogic returned to the Celtic matchday squad for the first time since early December in the weekend’s 3-2 cup win over Partick Thistle following a knee injury.
The Australian remained an unused substitute, although he was close to being brought on, before a late Thistle goal caused Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers to re-think his plans.
Rogic was also intended to gain some valuable game-time for Celtic’s Under-20’s squad but their Monday match against Motherwell was cancelled due to inclement weather.
The Socceroo, who is hoping to impress new Australia boss Bert van Marwijk ahead of the 2018 World Cup, won’t start the Zenit clash at Celtic Park.
Celtic assistant manager Chris Davies added: “Ideally there was a development game he was going to play in because he needs to get some minutes.
“That’s usually the process players go through on their return.
“He’s had some good training and he’s on his way back from being out for a while.”
Rogic returned to Celtic training a fortnight ago and took to social media to express his delight in midweek.
Rodgers explained the ex-Central Coast playmaker, who has been luckless with injury in the past, was unfortunate not to return against Thistle post-game.
“I had to apologise to Tom," Rodgers said on Saturday. "With the late goals it changes your thought process.
“So unfortunately for him, he’s going to have to wait. Tom looks great in training and it’s just getting him some game time."
Celtic faces St Johnstone in the Scottish Premier League on Sunday where Rogic may return, before the midweek return leg against Zenit in Russia.