CELTIC have confirmed they failed in their attempt to register Wakaso Mubarak in time to play in the Champions League play-offs.
The Ghanaian wide midfielder is still in Russia as the Hoops pursue the work permit needed to complete the year-long loan deal from Rubin Kazan.
Although disappointed they could not get Wakaso registered in time to face NK Maribor tonight, or in the return leg on Tuesday, Celtic will proceed with the transfer, which includes an option to buy the 23-year-old.
Wakaso – who has played for Ghana 19 times, but, crucially, not in 75% of the country ranked 36 in the world’s most recent internationals – has already passed a medical in Moscow.
As soon as the paperwork is in place, he will fly to Glasgow to meet up with Ronny Deila and his new team-mates.
Ironically, paperwork was also at the root of the good news which offset the disappointment of Wakaso missing the signing deadline, which expired at 11pm yesterday.
Efe Ambrose did not travel with the squad when they flew out to Maribor earlier in the day because the club was under the misapprehension the defender was still serving a ban imposed for his red card in the first leg of their qualifying tie against Legia Warsaw.
The manager had previously stated the Nigerian had been given a two-game ban, the first of which he served when he sat out the controversial second leg tie against Legia at Murrayfield.
However, it was brought to Celtic’s attention when they arrived in Slovenia the suspension was only for one match, and travel arrangements were urgently put in place to get Ambrose out to Maribor today.
Ambrose is now safely in the team’s hotel in Maribor, and Deila will assess his condition before deciding if he should be involved.
Given the Legia player eligibility circumstances which gave Celtic a second chance in this competition, it was an embarrassing error on their part.
Whichever players are selected – James Forrest, Adam Matthews and Aleksander Tonev are injured – Deila is confident they will be much better prepared to get a positive result than they were when they faced Legia Warsaw.
However, while personnel and form may change, the manager maintains the fundamentals remain the same.
He said: “If we perform well, we’ll get our results. If we don’t do it, we will not reach it.
“So the performance has to be much better than it was against Legia.
“We also know that, if we come away from here with a good result, we have the crowd behind us at Celtic Park and everybody knows how much that means.”
Nevertheless, Deila understands that, to fail to get into the Champions League once is viewed poorly. To go out twice inside a few weeks would be deemed unacceptable.
He conceded: “There’s always pressure to get to the Champions League.
“But, if you don’t make it, you are not good enough. That’s how it is, and you have to take it from there.
"I think we have improved, are more prepared, and I have a good feeling we can give a good performance and result to take to Glasgow.”