Celtic v Ajax: Play Scott Allan & Charlie Mulgrew - Scott McDonald

By Phil GoodladBBC Scotland
Celtic's Scott Allan and Charlie Mulgrew
Scott Allan and Charlie Mulgrew are fit for Celtic
Europa League Group A: Celtic v Ajax
Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow Date: Thursday, 26 November Kick-off: 20:05 GMTCoverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW and DAB digital radio; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Celtic have been urged to give Scott Allan and Charlie Mulgrew a chance to plug the gaps left in midfield against Ajax in the Europa League on Thursday.

Allan has failed to become a regular since arriving from Hibernian while Mulgrew is just back from injury.

But Celtic could have four key players missing through injury or suspension.

And former Celtic striker Scott McDonald told BBC Scotland he thinks Allan and Mulgrew could be vital in a Group A game the Glasgow side must win.

"I think the biggest question tonight is going to be who is actually going to play," he said.

"The good news is that Charlie Mulgrew is back fit.

"Obviously he's not played any football whatsoever, so it would be a big ask for him to come in tonight, but I fully expect him to come in.

Celtic's Callum McGregor and Ronny Deila during training
Callum McGregor will be considered for a starting place by manager Ronny Deila

"He's one of the leaders of the group and I'm sure he will be buzzing to go as well, so I would like to see him in there."

Kris Commons is a serious injury doubt for Celtic, captain Scott Brown has been ruled out long-term, while Nir Bitton and Stefan Johannsen are suspended.

Possible replacement Mulgrew has not played since a 2-1 defeat by Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership on 12 September after picking up a thigh injury.

Allan has made only three appearances for Celtic, all from the substitutes' bench, since his transfer from Easter Road in August.

McDonald also thought Callum McGregor, who has also made most of his 10 appearances this season as a replacement, could come into manager Ronny Deila's thoughts.

"I would like to see Scott Allan get a chance as well to see what he is made of," the Motherwell striker said.

"He's not really had a little sniff since he's come to the club. Obviously injuries have been a problem for him as well.

"But the likes of himself and maybe McGregor will be getting a chance tonight to prove themselves."

Celtic sit bottom of Group A, with Frank de Boer's Ajax a point above in third, two points adrift of Fenerbahce and with leaders Molde having already qualified for the knockout stage.

Celtic midfielder Kris Commons in training this week
Kris Commons has been training this week but is considered an injury doubt

Deila says his side must win to retain hopes of qualifying, but McDonald thinks this takes the pressure off his side.

"If you ask the majority of Celtic fans if they are going to go through to the next round, the response would be pretty grim I think," he said.

"So, from that point of view, there's not a lot of expectation."

McDonald is anticipating an exciting game, despite both sides struggling to live up to expectations.

"I think De Boer has come out and said they will be attacking as well, so hopefully it will make for a good spectacle," he said.

"The disappointment of results in Europe this year hasn't helped, but hopefully Celtic can finish it on a high and give themselves, when they go to Fenerbahce, some chance of qualifying for the next round."

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