CALLUM McGREGOR and James Forrest did not fly to Estonia for tonight’s Champions League qualifier against Nomme Kalju – with Neil Lennon protecting his star pair from the threat of burnout.
Celtic are coasting with a five-goal first leg advantage from last week’s second round qualifier at Parkhead and the Hoops boss accepted the luxury of giving the Scotland international double-act the night off.
Midfielder McGregor made a remarkable 69 appearances last season with attacker Forrest only six behind.
Lennon, speaking to the Evening Times, said: “We’re not going to change it up too much.
“We’ve left McGregor and Forrest at home. Those two have played a lot of football and it’s a good opportunity to give them a little bit of respite because the games are going to come thick and fast again
“Callum’s been away on international duty in the summer, so he hasn’t really had a much of a break, so, even though it’s only a couple of days, I think even that will be very good for him mentally and physically, as it will be for Jamesie, as well.
“But I want to win the game, I think it would be good for keeping the momentum going, so we’ll still put a very strong team out.”
Lennon has warned against complacency in Tallin as the champions prepare to do a professional job and make certain of a place in the third qualifying stage.
Their possible opponents at the next hurdle will be either Cluj or Maccabi Tel Aviv with the Romanians 1-0 ahead before this evening’s return leg in Israel.
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Nomme Kalju v Celtic tonight – only in your champion CQN.