Celtic 1-3 Barcelona: Celtic's Bitton could miss Astana clash

Nir Bitton, Lionel Messi
Bitton (left) pursues Barcelona' Lionel Messi

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers fears Nir Bitton could miss Wednesday's Champions League third round second leg qualifier against Astana.

The midfielder twisted his ankle during Celtic's 3-1 defeat to the Spanish champions in Dublin on Saturday.

"Disappointment we may have lost Nir Bitton so we'll see how he goes," Rodgers told Sky Sports.

"Looks like he's twisted his ankle which prevented him from being able to move so well in the first half."

The Israel international came off the bench in the first leg of the qualifying tie in Kazakhstan, and brought solidity to the side as Celtic came from a goal down to secure a 1-1 draw ahead of Wednesday's second leg in Glasgow.

Celtic fell behind at the Aviva Stadium to a superb Arda Turan goal before Leigh Griffiths punished a mistake by Barca defender Jose Antonio Martinez to level.

Efe Ambrose's own goal re-established the Spaniards' lead before Luis Suarez laid the third on for Munir Mohamed to tap home.

Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers named a strong Celtic team to start against Barcelona

Despite the injury to Bitton, Rodgers believes the match was a useful excercise for his players.

"It's always a great education when you play against Barcelona whether it's at youth level or senior level," the former Liverpool manager continued.

"It's so impressive how they pass and move the ball. I thought my players were excellent to be fair.

"My players are coming off a long travel in the week, couple of days to recover and play today here in a good game against a real top opponent. Great for my players, another step towards where we want to go.

"It was a good exercise for us. We haven't had an easy game over the course of pre-season. Every game for us has been tough and geared towards trying to qualify for the Champions League.

"Great experience for them and we'll be getting ready now for Wednesday."

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