CALLUM MCGREGOR may not be available for Celtic before their home Europa League tie against Bayer Leverkusen, with manager Ange Postecoglou erring on the side of caution as he looks to prevent his captain picking up a long-term injury.

McGregor has been nursing a hamstring issue since playing for Scotland in their win over Austria a little over three weeks ago, and was subsequently forced off during Celtic’s next match against Ross County.

Postecoglou had indicated at the weekend he was hopeful of having his skipper back for tonight’s League Cup tie against Raith Rovers at Celtic Park, but he has now earmarked the match against the Bundesliga outfit next Thursday as a more realistic timeframe for his return.

That means he will also sit out this Sunday’s Premiership clash with Dundee United.

“It’s hard to put a timescale on it but it’s nothing major,” Postecoglou said.

“Callum is obviously not 100 per cent and with him you would know even if he was close then he’d be available.

“If I had to make a call then, all going well and if the rehab goes well, he should be available to face Bayer Leverkusen but likely to miss the next two.

“It’s one of those things every footballer goes through. Some are pretty durable and get through it but it’s just our luck that for Callum it’s come at this time as he’s started so well for us.

“It’s disappointing for him but he has played so much football it’s probably inevitable at some point that he would need a break and hopefully this might even be a positive for him in that he gets refreshed for when he comes back.

“I know that when he’s available he will hit the ground running and won’t need any time to adjust. We just have to be careful he is 100 per cent because we wouldn’t want to lose him for an extended period.”