It will be a Premiership classic on Saturday when Celtic take on Aberdeen at Parkhead. Last season’s top two go head to head and from the recent history, we can once again expect a tight affair. The Dons provided good contest to Celtic in recent years both home and away and Rodgers must not get complacent while approaching the game. The Hoops are placed second on the table with six points, two less than rivals Rangers although, Celtic have two games in hand. Aberdeen, on the other hand, have five points on the board from three games and sit fourth on the table.
Celtic have managed to reach the group stage of the Champions League under their new manager Brendan Rodgers, something former manager Ronny Deila failed to do in his two years at the club. Having passed his first test, Rodgers will now put his sole focus on the domestic title for now and will be in the driver’s seat in the title race if they can see off the Dons.
The Hoops have defeated Hearts 2-1 and St. Johnstone 4-2 so far this season and will be keen to make it three out of three as they host the Dons. Aberdeen had a relatively slow start to the new campaign with two back to back 0-0 draws against St. Johnstone and Hearts but picked up all three points against Partick Thistle with a 2-1 win. Most of Celtic’s first team players will be tired having troubled all the way to Israel in the midweek and Derek McInnes’s side will be looking to take advantage.
Celtic almost have a fully fit squad right now. Only Gary Mackay-Steven is out with injury as he continues his rehab following an ankle surgery. Jozo Simunovic is training with the first-team after a long injury layoff but lacks match fitness.
Aberdeen will be without three key players as they travel to Paradise. Ryan Jack (knee), Peter Pawlett (groin) and Jonny Hayes (hamstring) are all missing through injuries for the Dons.
Predicted XI and tactical setups
Rodgers has tried different tactics at Celtic but it was 4-2-3-1 which looked most successful for the Hoops. Celtic will stick to their favoured formation against the Dons. Craig Gordon will keep his place under the bar. The back four is expected to be Lustig, Toure, Sviatchenko and Tierney. Nir Bitton and Scott Brown are likely to start in the middle of the park. Tom Rogic will start as the number ten while James Forrest and Scott Sinclair will start on the flanks. Leigh Griffiths will spearhead the attack.
Starting XI: Gordon; Lustig, Toure, Sviatchenko, Tierney; Brown, Bitton; Forrest, Rogic, Sinclair; Griffiths
Aberdeen will also line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Lewis will start under the bar behind the back four of Logan, O’Connor, Reynolds and Considine. Shinnie and McLean are likely to pair up in the middle of the park. Pawlett will start as the number ten while Rooney and McGinn are likely to start on the flanks. Miles Storey will lead the attack for the Dons.
Starting XI: Lewis; Logan, O’Connor, Reynolds, Considine; Shinnie, McLean; McGinn, Pawlett, Rooney; Storey
Aberdeen have come up solid against Celtic in recent years but the quality of Rodgers’ Celtic squad will be too much for the Dons who are missing some key figures. We predict a 3-1 win for Celtic.