Celtic head into their final Europa League group stage fixture with CFR Cluj knowing their place in the next round of the competition is secure.

Neil Lennon’s side have already won Group E and are four points clear of Thursday’s opponents, meaning they’re able to rotate their squad.

Celtic are taking full advantage of their position, with five first team regulars not making the trip to Cluj.

Midfielders Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie and Tom Rogic haven’t travelled, with key figures Fraser Forster and Odsonne Edouard sitting out the Matchday Six fixture.

One player that Celtic boss Lennon was already without is captain Scott Brown, who sits out the trip to Romania following a suspension.

The Bhoys head coach has confirmed that Vakoun Issouf Bayo will feature on Thursday evening, according to BBC Sport.

Craig Gordon is set to replace Forster, while Moritz Bauer, Nir Bitton, Scott Sinclair and Leigh Griffiths will also come in to the line-up.

There’s a possibility that Lennon could hand out three Celtic debuts against Cluj on Thursday evening, which includes 16-year-old winger Karamoko Dembele.

18-year-old midfielder Scott Robertson and 19-year-old striker Grant Savoury are also in the squad for the trip to Romania.

It could be a special evening for the teenage trio despite Celtic already securing their place in the next round of the competition.

While the Bhoys have clinched top spot, their opponents Cluj head into the fixture needing a point to join the Scottish champions in the next round.

If Celtic win then the Romanian outfit would be knocked out if Lazio defeat Rennes in the other fixture in Group E.

Lennon’s men celebrated clinching the League Cup on Sunday with a 1-0 victory over bitter rivals Rangers, and have the luxury of being able to rest players on Thursday evening.

With the fixtures piling up in December, Celtic will head into their final group stage fixture with no pressure on their shoulders.


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