CROCKED Celtic star Aaron Mooy has been ruled OUT of Australia’s forthcoming double-header against Ecuador.

The back injury which has sidelined the in-form midfielder at the champions has scuppered his hopes of a return to the international squad following his displays in the World Cup Finals in Qatar in November.

Ange Postecoglou left Mooy out of his squad for the 3-1 win over Hibs at Parkhead on Saturday with Matt O’Riley coming in for a rare starting place this year.

PICK IT OUT…Aaron Mooy is about to be congratulated by Kyogo Furuhashi after his quickfire opening goal in the 3-0 Scottish Cup win over Hearts at Tynecastle. Keeper Zander Clark and Toby Sibbick have that sinking feeling.

The former St Mirren, Brighton and Huddersfield Town ace, 32, was in Aussie head coach Graham Arnold’s plans for the friendlies in Sydney on Friday and Melbourne four days later.

The Socceroos team boss told the West Australian: “It’s unfortunate for Aaron that he misses these games, something I know he was very much looking forward to playing.

“But his absence provides an opportunity to a further emerging player as we start this new campaign. After speaking with Aaron, who missed Celtic’s weekend’s game, he would only be able to play limited minutes if he came to Australia.

ON THE RUN…Aaron Mooy in action for the Socceroos.

“So, the decision was made for him to stay in Scotland and continue his recovery.”

Mooy and Reo Hatate, who was forced to come off with an injury after only 13 minutes against the Easter Road outfit, will be given a period of rest before the champions continue their quest for the domestic silverware clean sweep.

The Hoops’ next Premiership outing is against Ross County in Dingwall on Sunday April 2 and then they face Michael Beale’s Ibrox side at Parkhead the following weekend with the Scottish Cup semi-final due at the end of the month.

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