EOGHAN O’Connell, the young Irish defender who scored his first goal for Celtic against Leicester City at the weekend, has urged Brendan Rodgers to play him in the Champions League qualifier with Astana this week.

Rodgers has signed Kolo Toure, the former Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool centre half, on a one year deal, but the experienced player won't be involved in the first leg of the third qualifying round in Kazakhstan on Wednesday evening.

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Toure, who was released by Liverpool after playing for them in the Europa League final at the end of last season, is short of fitness and won't be put forward to UEFA as a wildcard.

The Scottish champions - who have also been linked with Hasan Ali Kaldirim, the Turkish internationalist who is in the final year of his contract with Fenerbahce, and Jerry St. Juste of Heerenveen - may still add another player to their squad 24 hours before the meeting with Astana.

However, O’Connell, who netted in the International Champions Cup game against Barclays Premier League winners Leicester at Parkhead on Saturday before slotting home a penalty in a shoot-out which his side lost 6-5, believes he can cope with the occasion.

“I wouldn’t have played against Leicester if the manager didn’t trust me,” he said. “He has shown faith in me in the pre-season games the team has played in. I have played parts in every game. It is great for me to have that trust and hopefully I can build on that.

“I think I’m ready for the Astana game. I have been involved in the first team now for the last three and a half or four seasons. I think if the opportunity comes on Wednesday I will be ready to go.”

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O’Connell, the Republic of Ireland Under-21 internationalist who has spent spells at Oldham Athletic and Cork City on loan in the last two seasons, believes Celtic should be looking to triumph against Astana.

“You don’t get into the qualifying rounds of the Champions League unless you’re a good team,” he said. “We have to be very switched on and be ready to go so that we can bring a result home to the second leg.

“But Celtic are one of the biggest teams in the world. We don’t go anywhere looking to draw games. We will be going there to win.”

O’Connell, the 20-year-old who played the entire pre-season friendly against Leicester, admitted he must make the breakthrough into the first team at Celtic in the 2016/17 campaign or he will risk being sold on.

However, he has welcomed the 118-times capped Ivory Coast internationalist Toure, who has signed a one year deal with the Glasgow club, signing and has predicted he will benefit from his arrival.

“I have been here for four or five years now,” he said. “It is coming to the stage where I am in between. It is going to be one way or the other. But all I can do is keep being positive and keep doing the best I can when I get my chance and that is what I will look to do.

“Kolo Toure is a very experienced player. He has played at the highest level for 15 years. All I can do is learn from him and when he comes in I will be looking to do that.

“My situation is a difficult one. I can only do the best I can. Every time I have played it has only been a one off. I am trying to change that. I am trying to get a little run in the side. Hopefully I can take it on from here and get that run.

“It is obviously still just early days with the new manager. We are only a month in. But every time I have spoken to him it has been positive. I will just be looking to keep doing what I can and take it from there.”

O’Connell admitted that Kieran Tierney’s success last season – the teenagers established himself as the first choice left back at Celtic and won both the SFWA and PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year awards – had been an inspiration to him.

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“Everyone looks up to KT,” he said. “He settled in brilliantly last year and had a brilliant season. He is a bit younger than me, but he has set the benchmark with the season he had. You can’t really argue with the awards he won and the season he had. What a season it was!”