Celtic leave Kristoffer Ajer and Olivier Ntcham out of Champions League squad to face Midtjylland

Kristoffer Ajer and Olivier Ntcham have both been left out of Celtic’s squad to face Midtjylland in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League qualifying second-round tie on Tuesday night.

The Norway defender and French midfielder were not included in the Hoops squad registered with UEFA ahead of their clash against the Danish side at Parkhead.

Ajer has had a fitness issue, but he has been heavily linked with a move to Brentford while there has been speculation about the future of Ntcham, who was sent out on loan to Marseille in the second part of last season.

When asked about the Norwegian following Saturday’s 1-0 friendly defeat by Preston, Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou said: “I’m concentrating on the ones who are involved.

“I can’t afford to waste time on anyone other than the ones who are here and committed to being here.”

Recent recruit Osake Urhoghide is in Postecoglou’s squad, but fellow new signings Liel Abada and Kyogo Furuhashi have not been included.

There is scope for Celtic to add two players to the squad before midnight on Monday.

Griffiths in contention to face Midtylland

Leigh Griffiths is back in contention for Celtic’s Champions League qualifying clash with Midtjylland on Tuesday night.

The 30-year-old striker was sent home from the Hoops training centre in Wales earlier in the month, as police and the club carried out investigations into his social media activity.

Police Scotland said it had established “no criminality”, after carrying out a “full assessment” on claims Griffiths exchanged improper messages with a 15-year-old girl, as well as another teenage girl on social media.

Ahead of the visit of the Danish side, Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou said on Monday: “He [Griffiths] is ready to go.

“I think I said before, the whole process with Leigh was pretty simple for me.

“Obviously with regard to the incident other people took control of that investigation and, from what I understand, everything has been sorted in terms of understanding what took place.

“From then he was made available and that’s when he came back into my consciousness as a footballer.

“And I am not the kind who absolves himself of responsibility of things but, with a limit of 24 hours every day and the amount of things I need to concentrate on, I decided that I will concentrate on the things I can control.

“And once Leigh came back into the squad and everything was settled in terms of the incident then he is back being a Celtic player, back as part of the squad, and available for selection tomorrow.”

Winners face PSV or Galatasaray in third qualifying round

SNS - NEWPORT, WALES - JULY 07: Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou during a pre-season friendly between Celtic and Sheffield Wednesday at Dragons Park on July 07, 2021, in Newport, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Ange Postecoglou will take charge of his first competitive Celtic game on Tuesday

Celtic will face PSV or Galatasaray if they beat Midtjylland in the second qualifying round.

Celtic are bidding to reach the group stage for the first time in four years, but they must first beat Denmark’s Midtjylland in their two-legged second qualifying round tie before taking on PSV or Galatasaray.

The first leg of that tie will take place at Celtic Park on Tuesday night, and will be Postecoglou’s first competitive game as Celtic manager.

Celtic will be away in their first legs of the third qualifying round, which will be played on August 3 or 4. The second legs will take place on August 10.

Celtic will play Czech side Jablonec in that competition if they cannot get past Midtjylland.

How to follow the game

Keep up to date with all the action from Celtic Park via our live minute-by-minute match blog, with our coverage getting under way at 6.30pm on both the Sky Sports app and website.

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