Celtic's Kieran Tierney unable to face Valencia in Europa League, says Brendan Rodgers

Rodgers: "We're unfortunate that we have injuries but we've had a few throughout the season. We just carry on like we have all year."

Kieran Tierney
Image: Kieran Tierney has not played since the 2-1 defeat to Red Bull Salzburg on December 13

Celtic defender Kieran Tierney has returned to training after a hip injury but will be unavailable to face Valencia at Celtic Park.

The Spanish club travel to Glasgow for the first leg of their Europa League round of 32 tie on Thursday, with the return leg at the Mestalla due to be played on February 21.

Tierney has not featured since the 2-1 defeat to Red Bull Salzburg on December 13 and Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers admits the midweek match against Valencia has come too soon for the Scotland international as he continues his recovery from injury.

He said: "Kieran Tierney has trained but won't be available. (Emilio) Izaguirre and (Jozo) Simunovic are fit and available.

"Yes, we have players missing through injury but we have had throughout the season and we just get on with it, do our work, do our preparation and we prepare to win every game.

"We're unfortunate that we have injuries but we've had a few throughout the season. We just carry on like we have all year."

19/12/18 LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP.CELTIC v MOTHERWELL.CELTIC PARK - GLASGOW.Celtic Manager Brendan Rodgers
Image: Brendan Rodgers says Celtic should not be afraid of Valencia

Rodgers insists Celtic are at the "best level they could be" going into the clash at Parkhead.

Also See:

The Hoops are six points clear of Glasgow rivals Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premiership and have won all seven games since the turn of the year, scoring 21 goals and conceding none.

The Scottish champions have not lost a goal at home since a 2-1 win over Salzburg at Parkhead on December 13, all of which is encouraging the Northern Irishman.

He said: "We are at the best level we could be at in terms of the start we have made to the second part (of the season) and also to the level of our game.

Celtic's Scott Brown celebrates victory over Hibernian
Image: Scott Brown will lead Celtic in their Europa League clash with Valencia

"The intensity is at a really high level and irrespective of our opponents that is what we always try to achieve in the game, in terms of pressing the game and playing at a really high tempo and have that throughout the 90 minutes.

"So I don't think the players could be in any better form coming into it."

Rodgers acknowledges the importance of keeping a clean sheet but insists his team should not be afraid if they concede to the Spanish side.

He said: "We will try to win the game but if we can keep a clean sheet of course that always helps.

"Yes, we want to make sure you are compact and defend well but if you concede a goal it doesn't mean that you can't win away from home, of course it makes it more difficult.

"We can't be frightened if we conceded a goal because there is many ways you can concede.

"But the idea is to be really aggressive defensively, strong and compact as a team and obviously look to be as creative and attacking as we can."

Play Super 6

Play Super 6

Predict 6 correct scores for your chance to win £250K.

Around Sky