LIAM SCALES admits he is gutted for Celtic to lose their 'leader' Callum McGregor after his captain picked up a serious facial injury against Alloa.

The Celtic players were immediately concerned for their skipper when he went down following a challenge from the hosts' Adam King, and manager Ange Postecoglou confirmed after the game that he would be missing for a significant period of time.

Scales hopes that the Celtic squad is now equipped to deal with his absence better than they were when he was injured earlier in the season, but he conceded the news came as a big blow.

“Absolutely, he is our leader and he is important to how we play," Scales said. "Hopefully it is not too bad and we get him back as soon as we can.

“But as I said, others can come in and do their jobs. The quality the manager has brought in, you can see how good the three lads [Reo Hatate, Yosuke Ideguchi and Daizen Maeda] are and they will definitely help us."

The Irish left-back said that the injury to McGregor had taken the shine off the victory.

“We are through to the next round and that is what we came here to do," he said.

“Injuries happen in football. The lads will have to get checked out but hopefully their injuries aren’t that bad.

“We have dealt with injuries well and hopefully we can keep doing that."

Scales, who was impressive in the win over Alloa, hopes he can now get a solid run of games in the team.

“I would love to stake a claim for a run of games but obviously that is up to the gaffer," he said."