BRENDAN RODGERS last night admitted to being stunned Callum McGregor had been ignored by Gordon Strachan – especially when he saw who did make the Scotland squad.

The Celtic manager said he didn’t know what else the versatile midfielder could do to be picked by the national team manager who decided to go with the likes of Barry Bannon and Robert Snodgrass, who has been left out altogether by West Ham, instead of one of the Premiership’s on-form players.

McGregor will start against Astana this evening when Celtic are certain to end the match in the group stage of the Champions League as they enjoy a 5-0 lead from the first leg.

Read more: Celtic man Callum McGregor overlooked for Scotland squad again - due to strength in depth in midfield

Glasgow Times: 21/08/17.CELTIC TRAINING.ASTANA - KAZAKHSTAN.Celtic's Callum McGregor..

But while these are good times for Rodgers and his team, there was also disbelief McGregor was not chosen for the World Cup qualifiers against Lithuania and Malta ahead of players the Celtic manager clearly felt were inferior.

“I haven’t talked to Callum about it but I’m disappointed for him,” said Rodgers, “I don’t know what else he can do. I was surprised when he wasn’t in it, then even more surprised when I actually saw the squad. But I don’t think he can do any more.

“Gordon and his staff will have their reasons why. I’m just thankful I’ve got him in my squad. I think about the number of positions he can play and the quality he brings.

"Nothing will change with Callum, he’ll go on and do what he’s been doing over the course of the last 12 months. He’ll show how valuable he is for Celtic.”

Rodgers believes that a problem for McGregor is that he is under-appreciated by many outside of Celtic Park.

Read more: Gordon Strachan: Brendan's Bhoys could end up in the third division - if they think they've made it big at Celtic

He said: “You have seen saw it in the past with international teams that there are some players maybe just don’t quite make the squads and others are there. But we always have to respect Gordon, he is the manager, he sees the players, he goes around the cubs, he sees them play and he sees them perform.

“And sometimes it’s about the dynamics of their group. He’s had a group over the last 12 months that have maybe got close and become a group and sometimes it’s hard to change that. But if you’re talking about footballing qualities then he should definitely be in the squad.”

Scott Brown the Celtic and Scotland captain, revealed it was he who gave his team-mate the bad news that once against Strachan had overlooked him.

Brown said: “I broke the news to him. I told him to enjoy his days off! He might get a holiday, a bit of sun to make sure those wee white legs of his get a tan.

Read more: Celtic man Callum McGregor overlooked for Scotland squad again - due to strength in depth in midfield

“The wee man will keep working hard. The manager knows him, he’s been up to a lot of our games and seen him play. We do have a lot of competition in the middle no matter which formation the gaffer plays, so Callum will keep scoring goals, creating chances and doing what he does for us.

“His time will come for Scotland. But it doesn’t just happen like that, you have to work hard, which he is going. He’s trying to improve all parts of his game. He’s also working with a great manager as well which will push him in the first direction. He might be in the next squad.”

Celtic, meanwhile, are hoping to finalise the signing of South African central defender Rivaldo Coetzee, who plays for Ajax Cape Town, at the end of this week.

The 20-year-old, who has already made 22 appearances for his country, is expected to agree a four-year deal following his £1m move.

And Nir Bitton is expected to be fit to start against Astana. The Israeli, who will again play in central defence, hurt his foot on Saturday at Kilmarnock.