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Europa League, Europa Conference League qualifying play-offs preview: Rangers, Celtic, Spurs in action

Rangers and Celtic will look to defend their leads from the first legs of their Europa League qualifying play-offs; Tottenham must overturn a slender deficit against Pacos de Ferreira in Europa Conference League play-offs

Nuno Espirito Santo's Tottenham will play in the inaugural Europa Conference League

Team news ahead of the Europa League and Europa Conference League qualifying play-off second legs involving Celtic, Rangers, Tottenham, Aberdeen and St Johnstone.

Europa League Qualifying play-offs

AZ Alkmaar vs Celtic (agg: 0-2) - Kick-off 7.15pm

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Ange Postecoglou says reaching the Europa League group stages gives Celtic the chance to do something special

Celtic beat St Mirren 6-0 at Parkhead on Sunday for their sixth successive win, with all the players coming through unscathed, and Ange Postecoglou insists there will be no change to their attacking outlook in Holland.

"I think that is the best approach from us," said the Hoops manager. "If we go there and try to defend for 90 minutes, I just think you are asking for trouble.

"They are a good team and we know at home they are going to be playing fairly high tempo and high intensity football to score a goal. If we sit back we are just going to invite pressure on ourselves.

"Our best football has been going the other way, going forward, and if we score goals, it puts more pressure on the opposition. We won't change our approach, it is the best strategy for us."

New signing from Legia Warsaw, right-back Josip Juranovic, is ineligible for the game.

Alashkert vs Rangers (agg: 0-1) - Kick-off 6pm

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Rangers departed from Glasgow Airport on Wednesday afternoon for their Europa League tie with a number of players and manager Steven Gerrard missing following a covid outbreak

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is self-isolating and will miss their Europa League play-off tie against Alashkert on Thursday after the club confirmed a Covid-19 outbreak.

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Captain James Tavernier, Ryan Kent, Scott Wright, Calvin Bassey and goalkeepers Allan McGregor and Jon McLaughlin have also not travelled for Thursday's second leg in Armenia - which Rangers lead 1-0.


Leon Balogun, Filip Helander, Borna Barisic, Joe Aribo, Cedric Itten, Alfredo Morelos, Connor Goldson, Nathan Patterson, Steven Davis, Glen Kamara, Scott Arfield and Ianis Hagi were among the group who travelled.


Europa Conference League Qualifying play-offs

Tottenham vs Pacos de Ferreira (agg: 0-1) - Kick-off 7.45pm

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Sky Sports News' Kaveh Solhekol says Harry Kane's long-term future at Tottenham remains unclear, despite confirming he'll be staying at the club this summer

Tottenham head coach Nuno Espirito Santo will make a decision on whether to start Harry Kane in the second leg after the striker declared he was staying at the club this summer.

With the Kane situation sorted, Nuno must now deal with the future of Tanguy Ndombele. The club's record signing is yet to feature this season and is understood to have asked to leave the club.

Asked if that was true, Nuno said: "I am not going to answer that. For this game, he is not on the UEFA list so he is not available for (Thursday). Nothing has changed, no, nothing has changed."

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Sky Sports News' Michael Bridge and Dharmesh Sheth reflect on Harry Kane's decision to release a statement confirming he will remain at Tottenham this summer

Cristian Romero is back in the frame having missed the victory over Wolves with a knock sustained at the end of the first leg in Portugal. Joe Rodon and Cameron Carter-Vickers will not be options, however.

Asked if he was set to make changes again or whether he'd take a different approach with us trailing 1-0 in the tie, Nuno replied: "It does not have to do with the result of the first leg, it's to do with a lot of things we have to understand.

"The travelling, this week is totally different, we are all together, that allows us to make different decisions because it is different circumstances. We still have to decide, but it is a must-win game."

St Johnstone vs LASK (agg: 1-1) - Kick-off 7pm

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Callum Davidson says their second-leg clash against LASK is one of the biggest in St Johnstone's history as they bid to reach the Europa Conference League

Callum Davidson is relishing the prospect of having key midfielder David Wotherspoon back in his St Johnstone squad for Thursday's Europa Conference League play-off second leg with LASK.

The 31-year-old former Hibernian player has been sidelined for Saints' last four games after contracting coronavirus.

However, he has trained this week and is in contention to face the Austrian side in Perth in the second leg of a tie delicately poised at 1-1 following the first leg in Klagenfurt last week.

The manager will be able to call on most of his players but Craig Bryson is out and Liam Gordon is "50/50".

Aberdeen vs Qarabag (agg: 0-1) - Kick-off 7.45pm

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Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass confirms defender Andy Considine has undergone ligament surgery and will be out until Christmas

Aberdeen have been rocked by the news that defender Andrew Considine is out until after Christmas after having surgery on his cruciate.

The 34-year-old Scotland international suffered a knee injury in the first leg of the Europa League conference play-off against Qarabag in Baku last week and had an operation on Wednesday morning.

Dons manager Stephen Glass has confirmed that Ryan Hedges would be out until after the upcoming international break with a hamstring problem.

Jonny Hayes and Connor McLennan will be given every opportunity to prove their fitness after sustaining knocks against Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday, while Jack MacKenzie is available again after recovering from injury.

What is the Europa Conference League?

UEFA Europa Conference League

The UEFA Europa Conference League will be the third UEFA club competition and run alongside both the Champions League and Europa League.

The idea behind the Europa Conference League is to give more clubs a taste of European football, particularly sides from countries that struggle to qualify for the other two UEFA competitions. But there's a spot up for grabs for English clubs, too.

Read story in full here

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