Celtic will leave Leigh Griffiths at home when they head to France this week.
His omission – which sparks fresh doubt over the striker’s future at Celtic Park – was confirmed by the club last night.
It comes after the 29-year-old’s failure to hit the fitness and condition targets set for his return after lockdown.
As a result, he was ordered to complete an individual catch-up programme at Lennoxtown, and omitted from the club’s training camp at Loughborough University.
That in turn has knocked him out of the plans for the trip to the Continent, seen by manager Neil Lennon as a crucial part of the build up to the Champions League qualifiers.
Celtic next go to Lyon where they will play Nice before playing Lyon themselves on Saturday in the Veoila Trophy.
They will then travel to Paris on Tuesday week for a game against Paris Saint Germain in the Parc des Princes.
Speaking from Loughborough, the Hoops manager had emphasised the significance of the matches following a break of four months without a competitive fixture.
“I think is important to get the boys away. We have had a few hard weeks back at Lennoxtown so this really break up the pre-season for us,” he said.
“It is all part of the preparations and the players are working very, very hard.”
What it all means for Griffiths in the longer term is the question Celtic fans will be asking with the club’s statement on the matter, brief.
It read: “Leigh is undertaking his own personal fitness programme, along with some other players at Lennoxtown, and will team up with the squads when they return from France.”
Lennon has been very supportive of the striker in the past, especially over his much-publicised mental health issues.
At the same time, with a huge season coming up with the bid to win 10-in-a-row, he’ll want players to keep distractions to a minimum.
The immediate beneficiary of Griffiths’ fitness issues will be Patryk Klimala, who has been promoted to partner forward Odsonne Edouard.
Signed for £3.5 million in January, the 21-year-old Pole has only made four appearances and has been talking of having finally got up to the level of fitness he needs to do himself justice.
Celtic’s games will be broadcast live within the UK and Ireland on Premier Sports.
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