BRENDAN RODGERS admits the Dedryck Boyata situation is “sad” as the defender remains at home while his Celtic team-mates prepare for tonight’s Champions League game against AEK Athens.

The Belgian World Cup centre-half – who has not played since June 28 – has been left at home with a mystery back injury.

Rodgers has had to plan for the second leg of the third round tie without the experienced 27-year-old in the midst of a welter of accusations from the player’s agent.

With the game balanced at 1-1, it looks likely the Hoops boss will go with Jozo Simunovic and Jack Hendry in the central defence with Kristoffer Ajer banned and Marvin Compper still injured.

The Irishman refused to be drawn when asked if the former Manchester City star had played his last game for the club.

Asked how much of a distraction the Boyata issue had been, Rodgers replied: “More sad than a distraction.

“He is a player we would have loved to have here with us.

“He is a player who has been with us over the last couple of seasons and at this time it would have been great to have him here.

“But he is not and we need to put the faith in squad who want to be here and want to play for the result.

“And that is my focus, on the players we have.”

* DON’T miss all the action from tonight’s big game in Athens with the best match report in your champion CQN.

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