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BOYATA BLOW, AJER BOOST

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BRENDAN RODGERS is concentrating on tomorrow’s Scottish Cup encounter against Partick Thistle at Parkhead, but, looking ahead to the visit of Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday, he conceded Dedryck Boyata will almost certainly be missing.
 The Belgian centre-back is likely to be ruled out with the groin injury he sustained in the loss at Kilmarnock last weekend.
However, fellow-central defender Kristoffer Ajer, who also limped off at Rugby Park, should overcome his Achilles knock in time to face the Firhill outfit and line up alongside Jozo Simunovic, who wasn’t risked on Killie’s dodgy plastic surface.

Asked whether Boyata would be fit to face the Russians in the first leg of the Europa League Cup-tie, Rodgers replied: “I don’t think he will be.

“The medical team are saying it is probably going to be around a couple of weeks.”Still unavailable for the visit of Alan Archibald’s side are Craig Gordon, Tom Rogic and Anthony Ralston (all knee injuries), Leigh Griffiths and Marvin Compper (both calf), Jonny Hayes (broken leg), Stuart Armstrong (hernia) and Paddy Roberts (hamstring).

Rodgers said: “One or two of the guys have started to return to training, the likes of Tom Rogic and Patrick Roberts, but they are still a wee bit of time off the games.

“We will put a strong team out. I am always confident that whatever team we put out will look to get the result.

“I don’t think there is any rotation that I need to think about, it is just about picking the team to win the game.

“It has just been one of those seasons for us. We have had a number of injuries this year, so it is a lot of bad luck, really.

“But whatever squad or team we put out, we always look to win the game and that is our idea for Saturday, to look to get through to the quarter-finals.

“But I know Partick Thistle always give us a tough game.”

 
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