CELTIC manager Brendan Rodgers last night called on the Scottish government to help the Ladbrokes Premiership get rid of artificial pitches.

The Scottish champions face a difficult league match against Livingston on the much-criticised synthetic surface at the Tony Macaroni Stadium tomorrow.

Rodgers, who believes astroturf shouldn’t be allowed in the top flight in this country, admitted he will have to rest key players because of the venue.

The Northern Irishman stressed that he can understand the financial motives behind top flight clubs Hamilton, Kilmarnock and Livingston installing 4G.

However, he has appealed to Holyrood to provide funding for them to maintain grass surfaces - and protect the image of the Scottish game around the world.

“For me, the Premiership is the flagship of Scottish football and there should not be astroturf pitches in it,” said Rodgers. “Simple as that. If this is the flagship league, which it is, we shouldn’t have it.

“The teams which do have them probably need some help as well. They obviously need to generate money, that’s why they do it. But let’s see if government, if councils, can help the teams that have them find an artificial pitch somewhere else close by and let the main stadiums be grass.

“We are trying to promote a level and a standard. Whether we like it or not, that (plastic pitches) doesn’t make your flagship league here in Scotland the best standard.

“I respect and understand all the other stuff that comes with the community clubs. That’s what I’m saying. It’s not just their fault. They need help. So can we, in football and in government, help the teams?"

Rodgers added: “There are enough teams, Motherwell, Dundee, Partick Thistle when they were there, St Johnstone, that have fantastic pitches.

“St Johnstone have got a lovely grass pitch and just outside of it they have an astroturf pitch to make the money from the community. If they need to train and work there that’s what they do.

“So we have to promote a standard because it is beamed around the world. I’m not sure that’s what we want to promote as our flagship league. I just think it’s standards you know.

“I’m not so sure about the injury thing. You’ll get injuries on good pitches. But I think it’s about standards and about the quality of game for supporters. I have always said it – I have never seen a good game on an astroturf pitch. I’m sure we’re not going to see the best game at the weekend.”

Rodgers admitted that Filip Benkovic, who was excellent in Celtic’s stunning 2-1 win over RB Leipzig in the Europa League on Thursday night, may have to be left out against Livingston tomorrow. “Big question mark,” he said. “Of course it is frustrating.”